Some of you may have noticed I have been in the media a bit recently. I was featured in a Washington Post associated press article about real estate agents a couple of months ago, which was picked up by MSN, Yahoo, Time, and many other major media outlets. I even had to do a photo shoot for the article, which was extremely cool. I did not get that media coverage by sitting around and waiting for people to find me. In fact, I signed up for a public relations company to learn how to reach reporters and the media. Josh Elledge is the head of that company (UpEnd PR) and helps many people get PR and has been mentioned over 2,000 times by the media himself. Josh also runs a savings blog and podcast called Savingsangel.com, which has had over 5 million dollars in sales, mostly thanks to media coverage. Josh works with real estate investors and real estate agents to gain PR and improve their business.
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How did Josh get started working with the media?
Josh got his start with the media, by becoming a journalist with the Navy. He made many contacts in the industry and had instant clout because he was in the Navy. After leaving the Navy, Josh worked for public relations firms and started his own companies. At one point, he even owned a small newspaper. While Josh was starting new companies, he knew he had to save money, so he and his wife learned how to budget and save as much as they could. After encouragement from his friends, Josh then started Savings Angel, a blog and podcast that teaches others how to save. Josh grew his blog and podcast using almost entirely free media coverage and estimates he has spent less than $500 on advertising (Josh gives many great tips on how real estate agents or investors can save money on this episode). Thanks to the success Josh had getting media coverage for himself, he started mentoring others on how to get coverage as well.
Why is media coverage important for real estate agents and real estate investors?
Media coverage is obviously very helpful to me, because I run a blog. The more exposure I get, the more traffic I get and the more books I can sell (Thank you to everyone who left a review for one of my books on Amazon and emailed me; I mailed out over 50 autographed books this week)! Media coverage may not seem that important to real estate agents or real estate investors, but it can be very helpful.
- Real estate agents: National media coverage may not help real estate agents get business, but local coverage can be huge. Some local newspapers and magazines like to go to one or two agents in their area to get quotes. That is free advertising for those agents. Media coverage also gives credibility to agents. If the media thinks the agent is good enough to be in the paper or on television, they must be a great agent!
- Real estate investors: I can vouch that having a good reputation gets me more deals. I have built that reputation over 15 years of investing in real estate and being a real estate agent. Getting media coverage, can drastically shorten the time it takes to build a good reputation. If a real estate investor is trying to buy a house from an off-market seller, being in the media will most likely make that investor seem more trust worthy.
Josh helps clients get media coverage on both the national and local level.
What does Josh think some of the most important things anyone looking for media coverage should do?
Josh has helped me with many parts of my business to make it more media friendly. He gives some specific tips for agents and investors to make themselves more media friendly.
- Website: When you are a professional, your website is what most people see first. If you are an agent, investor, or even an insurance agent, people will search for your website. If you are trying to get media coverage, reporters will check out your website as well. Making sure your website is mobile friendly, updated often, and has a media kit is very important.
- Digital reputation: If you search for your name online, what do you find? Is it good or bad? People Google other people all the time to see what they can find. If you are in the media, have a good website, or even a LinkedIn profile, good things usually show up first.
- Social media: Many reporters love to use Twitter. If you have an active Twitter account and use it to promote reporters, they will be much more likely to use you in a story. It is also important to have a solid LinkedIn profile and LinkedIn can be a great place to contact the media as well.
One of the worst things you can do is email a bunch of reporters (who don’t know you) asking to be in stories.
How can you contact Josh?
The best way to reach Josh is to find him on Upendpr.com. He has a ton of free resources and more involved coaching programs as well. He has done an awesome job for me.
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[0:00:14.0] MF: Welcome to the InvestFourMore Real Estate Podcast. My name is Mark Ferguson and I am your host. I am a house flipper, I flip 10 to 15 houses a year, I own 13 rental properties with a goal to buy 100 by 2023. I’m also a real estate agent. I’ve been licensed since ’01, I run a team of nine and we sell close to 200 houses a year.
So on this show, we’d like to interview house flippers, landlords and the best real estate agents in the business. So stay tuned for some great shows, if you want more information on my rentals, on the numbers and how I buy properties, check out InvestFourMore.com.
[00:00:58.1] MF: Hey everyone, it’s Mark Ferguson with InvestFourMore. Welcome to another episode of the InvestFourMore Real Estate Podcast. Today, I have a really cool guest on the show, Josh Elledge, who has helped me a ton with my blog, with PR and I’m going to talk a lot about that. He’s with Savingsangel.com also with upendPR.com but he is on TV all the time, featured in many major media outlets. He’s helped me be featured in MSN, Yahoo, The Washington Post, Trulia, Zillow, Time, just all over the place and it’s not just a short little blurb about me.
I had an AP photographer come take a picture of me for a featured story for The Washington Post and that was all thanks to Josh. So we’re going to talk to Josh about how he’s helped me, how he can help other people looking to get PR as well as a few other interesting things like how to save money, which is what his main or what his first blog was based on, and then how to help realtors get PR as well to help their business. So Josh, thank you so much for being on the show. How are you?
[00:02:05.3] JE: Awesome Mark, thanks for having me.
[00:02:07.7] MF: Yeah, I appreciate you being on and I’m excited to talk to you. We talk a lot on the phone and it’s always — I’m amazed at how much knowledge and information you have about anything marketing and internet, everything so it’s great to have you on. What I’d love to start with is if you can give us some background, tell us how you got into the PR business and started your blog. How did you get started in all of this?
[00:02:28.8] JE: Well a long time ago, right out of high school I joined the United States Navy as a US Navy Journalist and did a lot of radio, did a lot of TV, got to work in public relations a little bit and that was great experience. I’m serving our country and telling the story of the United States Navy. Beyond that then, I kind of followed a career in Internet marketing and at one point, owned a couple of, several different small businesses. Some didn’t do real great, some of them did okay.
One that didn’t do very great was a newspaper, a small town newspaper which that’s a hard business but it was great experience so that added to my journalism experience. And then about nine and a half, 10 years ago, I was working in marketing, working for a lot of attorneys or law firms and I was involved in doing their internet marketing and that position was coming to a close and so in the meantime I had gotten really, really defensive about how our money was being spent by my wife and I.
So I started studying all the experts, went to all Dave Ramsey’s programs and I got to that line item for groceries and I asked my wife how much money do you think we spend at the grocery store? Maybe about four or $500 and she laughed at me. She’s like, “Are you kidding? We spend about double that amount,” and I thought, “Holy cow that is a big ticket item.” If you didn’t have to spend quite so much at the grocery store, that would be a lot of money that you could play with.
You could do other great things like maybe invest in real estate or whatever it is that you feel so inspired to do and so I studied all the experts and come to find out that the best way to cut your grocery bill in half is that you really need to understand how retailers work. You need to understand how discounting works, how coupons work, why they work but how to use them unlike typical consumers. You have to use them and time them very, very well because if you can get all of your products for 50, 60, 70% off, well that’s how you cut a grocery bill in half.
So by themselves it doesn’t sound like a lot of money but again, just kind of that power of accumulating all that savings, very shortly, we were able to pocket an extra four, $500 a month from our grocery bill and we were able to move ahead with our money and I liked this idea so much that I started telling friends about what I’d figured out and again, I was just tracking everything using my Excel spreadsheets and at their behest they said, “You really need to put this on the internet. This could be pretty big,” and so we did.
When I launched the company Savings Angel, this was again back in January 2007, I had no money for marketing but what I did have was a little bit of experience and how to work with the media. So what I did was instead of reaching out to potentially places I could advertise because we all know no matter what your business is, if you work on commission, if you work and you are paid consummate to the amount of business that you do, exposure is everything.
Amazing things happen when you’re discovered or people know about you or you’re recognized as an authority in your space and so that’s exactly what I did with Savings Angel. I started reaching out to some local radio stations, reached out to some small town newspapers and ad magazines and anywhere I could where I said, “Well I don’t really have any money for advertising but maybe I could create this great content for your audience, truly just bring a lot of value and maybe we could work something out in the back end or whatever?” But today, Savings Angel has done over $5 million in sales and we’ve spent less than $500 in advertising. So yeah Mark, it works. I found that PR works if you do it well.
[00:06:41.0] MF: That’s awesome and I want to say one thing, Dave Ramsey has some awesome concepts but he leaves a bad taste in my mouth because he hates real estate investing now but as far as savings go, he has some awesome concepts. But like you said, there’s a lot of real estate investors out there or potential real estate investors who want to get started in real estate, want to buy houses but it’s expensive. You have to have money down, you need reserves.
If you’re renting a property in case something happens and there’s a lot of people out there trying to sell, “Well you don’t need money, you don’t need credit, you don’t need anything to get started in real estate,” which I don’t always agree with those concepts. I think if you can save money, you’re so far ahead. So before we get into some of the other stuff, do you have any quick tips for people trying to save, you know, a couple minutes spent on that subject?
[00:07:25.0] JE: Oh man, yes. If there’s nothing else on the subject of saving money on your consumables, the thing that you spend money on every single month it’s this. Now, really, really good advice for luxury items, you’ve often heard, “Don’t buy it unless you absolutely, positively need it, like your cable bill. You don’t need it so just drop it.” That’s really good advice. Now here’s the thing though, you and your family cannot stop eating.
It’s just a condition, humans need food, kids need diapers when they’re in the diaper stages, you can’t stop buying toilet paper. The consequences of doing this Mark are not so good so we need to keep buying those products. So how can we make the best of that situation? Well, here’s the thing I want you to remember, stop buying what you need. Need based shopping is the most expensive way to feed your family and to buy all these consumables that you buy on a regular basis.
So what do I mean by that? Well, when you go into a grocery store and you say, “I need this. I need tomato ketchup, I need napkins, I need cheese, milk, I need some apples, and blah, blah, blah.” You know whatever’s on your list. How much negotiating power do you have at that point? You have none. That’s like walking into a real estate transaction and saying, “I’m not leaving this table until I get this house.” What just happened to your point of negotiation?
You have none right? You are in a bad position. I don’t want you to be like that. Instead I want you to go into a grocery store and say, “I don’t need anything. I’m only here for your absolute best deals that you have for sale,” and then what will happen is you will stock up on those items in the weeks and months ahead, the next time you would normally put that on your need based list, you won’t need to because you already have it.
So you just go shopping from your own food supply instead, and so I want you to get in this habit of every single week just loading up on products that you don’t need but you will consume in the next 12 weeks and when you get that product, and you get that really great deal, buy 12 weeks’ worth. Now, it’s going to take about a month or two of adjustment but after about two or three months of doing this Mark, you’ll find that it’s very, very easy to take an eight, $900 a month grocery bill down to about five or $600 a month. Especially if you’re not afraid of printing out some coupons from your computer, or using your stores app, whatever it is that makes it easy to redeem offers because you can really save a lot of money. We’ve got a lot of free help, we’ve got a free coupon data base and pretty much everything that you need at Savingsangel.com to make it very, very easy for you.
[00:10:27.8] MF: Awesome. I have one more question from that, which my wife always loves to buy organic natural food like that, which always tends to be much more expensive than normal food. Do you have any tips on that side of it? Are there any things people can do who want to get the premium items that don’t always go on sale very often?
[00:10:45.4] JE: Yes, absolutely. So because you believe in or you are in a position where that line item for your household is a little bit more or in some cases much more than other peoples’, you should be particularly sensitive to that line item. So what that means is that it’s more important. If you want to invest in higher quality products for your family and again, this would be minimally processed more organic whole foods, then it’s really important that on the product lines that you don’t care as much.
Like for example your paper plates, right? That is a consumable that you may buy on a regular basis, that’s just one example. You may say, “I never buy paper plates.” Look I don’t care. There’s just stuff that you buy on a regular basis. It’s really important that you identify what’s something that you don’t care about as much and that you always make sure you take advantage of those savings when they’re available so that you can take those savings.
For example, there was a period in my life when I lost 60 pounds and I did it with what I call “the coupon diet.” I essentially just took all of my savings on the things I really didn’t care about as much like frozen vegetables for example. I was really, really good about that. The paper products and health and beauty products and cleaning supplies, that sort of thing. I made sure to take all of that savings, and I invested it in the produce section and I ate a lot of very healthy food.
As a result over the course of the year, I lost 60 pounds just by changing the way that I ate. You could absolutely buy a lot of junk food with coupons but it’s a myth that that’s all you can get. As a matter of fact right now in our coupon database, it’s free. You can go look right now, they are generally always between 60 to 100 different coupons for organic products. So they’re out there, you just need to be a little bit more mindful when you shop and you can keep those savings.
The savings is not insignificant. We’re talking again, a hundred, $200, $300 a month or more and what I find is that generally, a person who just casually does this and spends maybe an extra one hour a week Mark, can generally save themselves about $40 to $50 plus dollars an hour for their work. So it’s a really good return on investment. I’m a fan.
[00:13:13.4] MF: I’m a huge fan of return on investment. Yeah, I see the coupon clipping shows where they spend weeks going through coupons.
[00:13:19.6] JE: No, please you don’t need that.
[00:13:20.7] MF: That is crazy, that’s not worth the time but cool, thank you Josh for the savings part. I want to move onto some other stuff as well. You have been a master at public relations and PR. So can you talk more about how you built that up in your other business, Up End PR and how you help people get public relations?
[00:13:40.8] JE: Yeah, so cumulatively I’ve been on radio or TV or published in print now getting on 2,000 different times and the way that you want to think of this, I mean a lot of times let’s say you might approach a PR agency like, “Hey, I want some exposure for my business. This is our product. I just want people talking about it.” Well, I could probably work with just about anyone and we can get you on your local TV. We could get you in the newspaper and we can get them to do a story or segment about your product and that’s a onetime hit and that’s good.
Hopefully you get some good traffic from that, get some sales from that, that’s all well and good but that’s playing the short game. I would much rather work with somebody who wants to become a thought leader for their industry because here’s what I know Mark about thought leaders is once you get to that place, you generally don’t have to worry about marketing so much anymore and I say, you’re not going to stop marketing but the marketing you do is going to just be so effective. Even when you’re not doing marketing, let’s say you do Facebook ads or something like that.
Even when you’re not doing eight advertising, you’re still bringing in business because you have other people who are responsible for audiences and you have other journalists and influencers and they’re saying, “Oh I need someone who can talk about real estate investing, who do I go to? Oh I go to Mark. How do I know that? Well, I just did a Google search and this guy obviously perceived as an expert because The Washington Post, Trulia, Realtor.com, all these people are talking about him. That’s who I want to talk to.” And so it’s really, really good if you can be perceived of as an expert in your industry. You’ll get lots of free advertising.
So on this subject of coupons or on consumer based stuff and now, actually getting in the media with just a little bit of research, you’re likely to come across my name. In fact if you Google my name, “Josh Elledge“, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. I do a lot of media and as a result, I just don’t have to advertise really hard. How cool would that be if you can just develop this system, this machine that would just continue to drive customers to your front door whether or not you’re actively out there hustling and advertising. It’s a great way to build a passive income stream for your business.
[00:16:26.1] MF: Yeah and I can say, from personal experience, your company’s help me a lot getting in front of different media sources and it wasn’t hard either. You had your program you had set up and you did some personal coaching with me as well and I was pretty surprised when I didn’t know my article was going to be in The Washington Post. I had no idea, I knew that Associate Press did the photo shoot with me and it was going to be a pretty big deal but yeah.
The first time I found that I was going to be in The Washington Post, when someone called me up and said, “Hey, I just saw you on The Washington Post.” I’m like, “What?” So that was pretty crazy. That was awesome.
[00:16:59.8] JE: That’s really cool. Today Mark I write a syndicated newspaper column and that’s great. So every Tuesday, it’s like I’m guaranteed to be in front of over a million readers. Twice a month, I’m on in 75 TV markets. Now I’m sharing this and by the way, I’ve done a ton of local TV. I’ve been going in every Tuesday morning for the past six years now and I just want anyone to know that anybody can do this. There’s not some secret club where you’ve got to have a special knock or something like that to get in the door. Anybody can do this and all of these skills are extremely learnable.
Now, there’s a couple of ways that you can go about getting this kind of attention. You can pay your way in and you can hire this out to PR firms. In my experience, for most startups and small businesses and entrepreneurs, it can be very expensive. It’s really, really easy to blow through three, five, $8,000 a month to a PR firm and they will charge you a lot of billable hours. Unfortunately, that’s kind of the way that a lot of PR is set up which is great for corporate America who has large budgets but if you’re more of a scrappy startup and you really want to earn your way there, then that’s what I focus on.
Is more of a done with you solution where we really focus on just empowering organizations to do this themselves and if you can get good at these skills, then it’s a skill that we’ll pay you for life as an entrepreneur and again, once you’re perceived of as an expert in this industry, it’s a really cool position to be in. A great example would be Harry Campbell who owns The Ride Share Guy and he’s a big fan or Uber, Lyft and that whole industry.
So when we started I said, “Harry you’re sitting on a gold mine because right now, nobody is talking about Uber and Lyft as an expert. There may be Uber and Lyft drivers out there and of course, Uber and Lyft themselves can choose to participate but there’s nobody who’s really pitching themselves as an expert for the industry. Go ahead and be that guy,” and he decided to be that guy and really stepped up his media game and within two months, he was able to walk away from his full time job as an engineer in California and just pursue his passions.
Now today, he does two things: He designs products and services for his audience and he makes a very good income and he responds to media requests. That’s where I would love, the person who is listening to this who really wants to attract more business, I would love for them to experience that same thing because that’s what I do. I get a media request from the Chicago Tribune and my philosophy is when you get media request or you get journalists like, “Hey, I am working on this story. Can you help out?” I pretty much like to drop everything that I am doing and will immediately jump on that opportunity to be of service.
[00:20:02.3] MF: That’s awesome and we are talking the other day about possibly being on the podcast and you always ask me to refer people to you and I kind of say, “No I don’t want to,” because I don’t want to create more competition for myself but you mentioned that you work with a lot of realtors and agents for a creating PR for themselves. I didn’t know that. I didn’t even think about that. So how can you use that PR as an agent to help your business to help market yourself?
[00:20:26.8] JE: Right, so anytime that we do PR, it is always about and again, I am just speaking generically, PR in the sense of “I want you in front of audiences” and we’ll talk specifically about media placement. PR is more than that but specifically when it comes to media placement, the purpose here is that I want to make sure that as an agent, as someone who is rewarded, the more business that they do, that’s the kind of person that I like working with.
So what we want to do is we want to get your name and we want to show your expertise and how successful you are, your thought leadership, your subject matter expertise, I want you to be in front of audiences that have a high correlation with the kind of people that ultimately will do business with you. So sometimes that means that you’re going to be a little bit thoughtful, well not sometimes, you always want to be thoughtful about who you’re working with.
So it might be very exciting to be quoted in the Associated Press, and that’s quite a feather in your cap, if you are a local realtor. But in terms of is that an outlet where you’re going to have a highest number or concentration of your target clients is? Well it may or may not make sense for you to do that. It may make more sense for you to be on your local Fox affiliate or NBC affiliate or in your local business journal or writing an article for a local real estate magazine.
Really you just have to do a little bit of research to find out where it makes sense for you to be spending your time and so that’s one of the maiden decisions that you want to make. It is identifying who you want to work with and what is the value that you’re going to bring not only to that journalist or to that influencer but also that audience.
[00:22:34.0] MF: No, that makes sense and being in the Associate Press was awesome for me but at the same time, it didn’t really bring business my way except that my local newspaper picked up that article as well and published it. So that was nice.
[00:22:47.9] JE: Yeah, right and there’s a lot Mark, there’s a lot of benefit to being in the media aside from just the direct response that you’ll get from that placement. Really the direct response from a media placement, that’s like one of I think six or seven main areas of benefit when you get media placement, it boosts you up in terms of credibility which allows you to be seen and ushered into larger and larger and larger media outlets. So it’s really going to help you climb that ladder.
If you think that you and I can get started immediately and I can get you put in The Today’s Show overnight, it just doesn’t work that way. Producers are not going to take risks on unknown guests. So it’s really important that you earn your way to the top. So that is one of the main benefits, is cultivating a relationship with that influencer, with that reporter, that’s one. Working your way up the media list, that’s the second one. Putting yourself in a position where people see you as an authority.
Namely your customers, potential partners, potential investors, really when they see that placement, they already knew you and they may not even seen that story if it weren’t for you then passing it along but when you pass that story along and you promote these appearances that you have, it just makes your audience say, “Wow, this person is the person in my town to work with when it comes to buying or selling a home,” or whatever it maybe.
And so all of these things are going to be extremely helpful for you in terms of just making everything work in your business. You could put “as seen on” on your website, on your social media, on your e-mail signature, it’s perfectly acceptable to toot your own horn when you get all these media placements and you’re going to find things like even getting e-mails responded to, you can measure it. When people see that you are an expert in your industry and you’re not just some shluppy sales person, there is a measurable improvement in e-mail response rates, it’s crazy.
[00:25:20.2] MF: That’s awesome and nothing thing I just thought of, I don’t know if you have ever done this before but the same could be applied to real estate investors as well who maybe are trying to buy houses that aren’t for sale and one of the biggest challenges is credibility and people knowing you’re for real, a real investor and if you have the same attributes you’re just talking about, that could be very beneficial to them as well.
[00:25:41.5] JE: Oh my goodness, could you imagine? I’m sure that there are these amazing opportunities that come and go but for whatever reason, they just don’t happen because someone else got cold feet or didn’t trust you or someone else sold them better but if you’ve got all of that 3rd party credibility behind you, I want the person who is listening to this, I want you to get all the best deals and if you’ve got all of that authority behind you, it’s only going to help.
[00:26:13.3] MF: Very true and in the real estate business, we’ve worked really hard to build a reputation over the years as honest, trustworthy people who do what they say but it’s taken 10, 15 years to really solidify that in business but having the PR and third party helps quicken that process a lot. I can see that happening.
[00:26:33.3] JE: Yeah, you know another thing that’s interesting is people look at, let’s say it’s a real estate investor or a realtor that all of a sudden gets their own show on HGTV or something like that. How did that happen? How does someone become a YouTube celebrity? Well, it doesn’t happen overnight and people don’t get discovered. So if you’re just hoping that you can do your job and then all of a sudden you’re going to get discovered, that’s not how it works.
Being discovered takes a lot of work and it’s work that’s absolutely worth it but it all revolves around building your brand and networking with influencers and telling your story to large audiences and if you continue to do that, that is how you get discovered. I want to get you in front of bigger and bigger and bigger audiences who see you and it’s a numbers game. We just have to get you in front of enough people and eventually the right people are going to see you, and it might be a partner that really wants to work with you and it could be something that could be amazing for your business and income.
[00:27:43.7] MF: Right, very true and are you familiar with Grant Cardone?
[00:27:47.0] JE: Yeah, I’ve heard the name. Oh yeah.
[00:27:50.2] MF: I think he’s become a PR genius lately. He’s everywhere now and no one knew who he was a couple of years ago and he’s kind of created himself as a household name in the real estate world and entrepreneurial world too just by being on podcasts, on all over the place. So it’s amazing what it can do.
[00:28:07.9] JE: Yeah, absolutely so yeah do what he does. Do as I recommend, it works. It really does.
[00:28:14.8] MF: Very cool, so you help real estate agents, maybe you could even help investors. You become an expert at savings as well. What other benefits do you see that you can help people with in the real estate world? I’m drawing a blank here, but are there more things that you can add onto what we talked about?
[00:28:34.0] JE: We’ve talked about the reason why quite a bit, would you mind if I share it some how-to’s and some step by step I think the most important things that I think someone should be doing?
[00:28:45.2] MF: Yes, that would be awesome.
[00:28:46.4] JE: Okay, cool because a lot of times people will say, “Well this all sounds really great. Okay, I’m in it,” and I say, “Okay, now go do two hours’ worth of PR,” just as kind of a fun thing and then I watch them panic and they say, “I don’t know what to do.” So usually most people who work in sales or entrepreneurs, if I were to tell them, “Go do two hours’ worth of PR,” after the panic subsides what they’ll end up doing is just spamming journalist for the next 90 minutes.
I could tell you that is probably the worst thing you could do. As a matter of fact, I have worked with a lot of startups and business owners and sometimes they’ll respond back, “Well Josh, I already did PR and it didn’t work,” and I asked them what they did and sure enough, they were just spamming or they blasted out a press release and guys, that stuff doesn’t really work anymore. PR has become much more personal and it is, it has become that thanks to social media.
Which really eliminates thousands of dollars’ worth of billable hours what you would normally have had paid a PR firm for. Now you could do this yourself but it’s really important before you start reaching out to influencers and journalists that you work on your brand first and this is so important. The reason why Mark is, and you and I have worked on this quite a bit, and you’re grilling it, what you’re presenting now and it’s no wonder that your success rate is so high.
So what you need to work on is when you make a pitch or when you make an offer to somebody, they are going to make a decision and we all do this. It’s like when you get an e-mail and it’s unsolicited, now the offer doesn’t sound bad. It sounds like, “Hey, this could probably work out in my favorite here” and so then you’re like, “Okay, well who is this person now?” and so you rely upon cues to make that decision very quickly and you might be sending an e-mail.
It might end up in the inbox of an unpaid intern who’s in charged with making a very quick decision about you and so there’s a few things that producers in the media are going to look at to make that assessment very, very, very quickly. Number one, assuming your pitch is good and that’s a different subject that we could talk about, but assuming that that’s good, then they are going to look at three things. Number one, they’re going to look at your website because it’s linked in your signature. So they’re going to pull that up.
Now, you may not have much control over this because you’re part of an agency that takes care of that for you and there’s really no opportunity or you’re not allowed to have your own blog or whatever and that’s unfortunate but if you do have the ability to have your own presence online, I would really recommend you invest some effort into it and your website, if you have one, needs to have been updated in the past couple of years.
It needs to be mobile responsive. When I scroll down to the very bottom, it better say copyright 2016 or whatever the current year is. If it’s last year, it shows that you’re kind of asleep at the wheel and so these are the little things. It needs to have a press kit on there and a press kit is really nothing more than just an executive summary that makes the journalists’ job really, really, really easy to work with you. That’s really all it is and so if you can make these and put these resources together for journalists and influencers that might potentially work with you.
In their mind, they’re like, “Hey, this person is a pro, I’d love to work with her,” all right? So that’s your website. Your website is number one. Number two is your digital reputation. If we do a Google search for the name of your company and your name or your name or whatever, a combination what comes up? As I mentioned earlier, you can Google my name and you’re going to find a lot of stuff that endorses me as an authority in the field of either working with the media or as a consumer expert.
You’re welcome to do that. By the way, that’s a really powerful statement. As a matter of fact, I just did a presentation to my local realtor’s group and there were about 30 decision makers in the room, kind of the board members for the Orlando Regional Realtors Association and I said, “Well, go ahead and Google me,” and several of them did and I was watching them as I was continuing my presentation and I could tell that they’re like, “Okay, yeah this guy knows his stuff.” That is a really powerful statement when you can do that.
So in order to improve your Google search results, your digital reputation, you just need to be out there and don’t worry about getting in the biggest media outlets. Just work with whoever you can and just serve audiences and if you’ll do that, you’re search results will significantly improve and then number three and Mark, you know I’m going to get into this is Twitter, is the defacto go-to platform for connecting with influencers and particularly influencers within the media.
Even if you are not a big Twitter user, you don’t have to be but you at least need to build up a brand on Twitter, show some engagement, show a number of followers and have a good avatar, good cover image, a good bio and that’s really going to go a long way and by the way, I would say number two would be LinkedIn. Those two are probably the most important if you want to be an expert, a reliable source that the media can very quickly determine, “Oh yeah, this gal really knows what she’s talking about,” and that’s what we want to build.
So if you work on those three things, what’s going to happen is that everything else will significantly improve. Every time you do a pitch to a partner, to an investor, to the media, to a YouTube celebrity, whoever it may be, your chances of success just went up by 20 to 40%. It’s really significant, especially if your stuff is bad, one out of a hundred would respond normally. If you’re talking about reaching out to big producers but now, getting those things in place really, I mean your success rate is going to go through the roof by comparison and I like it when people have lots of really success stories right out of the gate in working with the media.
[00:35:23.3] MF: That’s really good information and I would say too, not just for working with influencers or trying to get stories but with your clients as well are going to do that same thing. If someone wants to buy a house from you and they don’t know you, they’re going to Google you and see what they found out or if you have a business partner who’s thinking about working with you, he might Google you or look at you on LinkedIn to see is this person legitimate? Did they just showed up five minutes ago or are they around for a while?
[00:35:48.7] JE: Yeah for sure. So what I just prescribed, it will help you in nearly — in terms of growing your business, it is money and time well spent. The return on investment for just getting your brand right, for just getting all the foundations set up, it will pay you for life. Just take a couple of months, really work hard on this and you’ll find simple things like people responding to your e-mails more often and customers coming out of the woodwork.
We all love those stories of like, “Well how did you get introduced to that person?” I don’t know, they just found me and we love those and in order for those things to happen, there are lots of people that are finding you, they’re just not real motivated to take the next step and by getting those things in place, the next steps will take place.
[00:36:42.6] MF: That’s great. I have a question for too that just popped into my head. When you do those media placements and you get some credibility behind you, do you put that everywhere? Do you put that on Twitter, do you put that on LinkedIn, do you put that in your e-mail signatures or do you just point people to that stuff if they want to see it?
[00:37:01.9] JE: Yeah, so when you get a great media placement, that is the first half of the job. The next half is where you do your part to promote those placements. Sometimes, a lot of times, people would just kind of like, “Okay, we got the placement and next, now what?” And so it’s really important that you leverage this placement by letting all your existing audiences know, your future customers, your potential partners, don’t be bashful about this.
If you brag about it on Facebook, people aren’t going to respond to that negatively. It’s really exciting to be in the media. It’s really exciting for people to see you quoted in a news story or to have a YouTube celebrity or a podcaster talk about you. It’s really cool for your friends and family. It’s cool for your potential customers. They really like that, it makes people proud of you so go ahead and share that whenever that happens.
[00:38:04.6] MF: No, that’s good stuff. I know a lot of people including me, it’s hard sometimes. You feel like you’re bragging but you do get a good reaction from people when you share that and you’re willing to show that to other people, it creates conversations, people who you haven’t talked in a long time reach out to you. So it really is a good thing when you can get out there and help yourself and others as well.
[00:38:27.7] JE: Yeah, for sure and again, it’s amazing when you just use that as an excuse to share what you’re doing with people and you can almost get away with that, I am thinking Facebook in particular. It’s amazing just thinking about great businesses that’s happened for me as a result of sharing some of those media placements. So go do it, you’ll love the results.
[00:38:53.1] MF: That’s awesome. All right Josh, we’re coming to the end here a little bit but I had a couple more things, one, if someone wanted to start right away improving their brand, what’s the first thing that they should do? Should they get on Twitter, should they work on their website, what do you think is the very first thing they should do is to work on their brand?
[00:39:13.0] JE: Yeah, they really need to update. I’d say about 90% of members and clients that I work with, their website needs a lot of work. Unless you’re really into web development, it’s easy to let that slip away and if you haven’t updated your website in a couple of years, guess what? It’s time. Because design standards change and what we learn about what works changes every year but at least, I would say every two years, itat least at the very least needs a facelift and so make sure that that’s all placed.
And then also, within your website you need to have a press kit of some sort where it just shows that you’re used to working with the media. It’s just going to really improve your success rates significantly and then, the next thing I want you to do is just start getting active with other bloggers, other influencers, magazines, just anyone you can and I want you to take the approach of serving them. Don’t ask for stuff in return, right?
You always get those e-mails, those dumb e-mails if you’re a blogger. “Hey, we would like to guest post on your blog. All we ask for in return is a follow link back,” and blah, blah, blah and they start listing all these demands and I’m thinking, “Who are you?” You know when you do that, there’s not enough in it for the influencer. The influencer is probably okay on content, when you work with the media it is never appropriate to start selling to that producer talking about what’s in it for you.
In fact, when they say stuff like, “Oh we should get you a lot of clicks on your website,” and it’s funny, they always use that phrase. I want you to be coy about that and I want you to just be like, “I appreciate that but that’s not really why I do this,” and I really want you to just make sure that your heart is pure. The reason we’re doing PR is because we want to serve audiences. We want to be the good girl or the good guy, right? We just want to be of service to people.
If you help enough people get what they want, guess what? Those famous quote, Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar or one of the two said, “You’ll get what you want.” But again, you just have to have that mind of serving audiences with no thought of what you’ll get in return. Trust me, professionals with reciprocate. You just need to give them the space in order to do that.
[00:41:37.9] MF: Yeah, great information. I can vouch for getting requests for guest blogs on my site and some of them you can tell are just companies that they don’t even take the time to read your blog. They just say, “I saw your blog in the real estate industry.” It’s like a recorded message almost they’re sending out. They just changed one sentence, they’d probably send it to a thousand people. Yeah, it’s crazy.
Awesome, well Josh terrific information. If somebody wants to get in touch with you or they want to work with you, what’s the best way to contact you or to reach you on your site or how should they get a hold of you?
[00:42:12.4] JE: Oh sure, I do lots of pro bono work. I’m in the stage of my business now where it’s all about leaving a legacy. So the more people that I can help and help influence and serve, the better and I’ve got free video workshops at my website and that’s at upendPR.com. I’ve got some great articles, some great videos that are really going to help you out and really help the next six to 12 months really up your media game and start getting a lot of exposures and a lot of traffic and a lot of new paying customers.
Again, I’m passionate about this and I’m eager to hear about more stories and more businesses out there and gosh, if I can help make connections for you, make great things happen I’d be honored.
[00:42:56.3] MF: Oh awesome stuff and I can vouch for you that yeah, you do what you say and you’ve helped me tremendously and help me meet a lot of great people. Any last parting tips? I know you’ve given a ton of great information but anything else before we head out of here?
[00:43:08.5] JE: Yeah and again, that is in terms of being successful, if you’re in sales, if you’re an entrepreneur, if you are paid consummate to the amount of results that you deliver, the two most important things that you can do, and again, this is kind of this Michael Gerber philosophy is, what’s the most important thing that we can do as “business owners” even if you don’t feel like you’re necessarily a business owner? Is to grow our businesses. It’s to grow our operations to grow our sales.
And in my experience, the two most important things that you can be doing in order to grow your business, is a network with influencers and a lot of times, they may not let you in immediately into their circles. So you have to earn your way up there and you also sometimes have to serve your way into those circles. So find ways that you can provide value to people with large audience so that’s number one.
And number two, when you do get the opportunity to serve that audience, it is that again, you always just give your best stuff. Always serve, give, educate, bring value and if you do that enough, people will feel that and they’ll naturally want more from you if you always focus giving your best self. Sometimes let’s say you sell information, I’ve obviously got products and services that will teach you how to do all these stuff but I just believe in giving away all my best stuff because obviously, you can only give away so much value in a three minute segment.
As opposed to hours of content that you may have on your website. The highest value you can give a potential customer is generally transactional one where they are paying you for your time or you’re finding a way to get compensated with money for your time. So in my opinion again, just like if you’re in Broadway and you have the opportunity to be on The Today Show, you don’t want to say, “Well I’m going to save my best performance for my paying ticketed customers.” No, you’re going to perform your heart out on The Today Show.
So always, always, always be your best self in front of every audience and people are going to appreciate that, they’re going to love you, they’re going to get to know you and like you and trust you and they’re going to want to go to you.
[00:45:29.7] MF: Great stuff. Awesome Josh, well thank you so much for being on the show and I’ll have links to your website and to you on the podcast notes. Thank you again for being on it, I’m sure we’ll talk soon and I hope you have a great rest of the week.
[00:45:43.8] JE: Awesome Mark, thank you so much.
[00:45:45.6] MF: All right, take care.