Event of the month: How to Generate Free PR for your business by Cameron Herold
Event Review by: Desiree Dupuis
Partner, Corporate Insurance Specialist at Three Sixty Financial Group
The number 1 rule for the way the universe works is If you want something, put it out there. Well that is exactly what happened. Cadi Jordan asked to see Cameron Herold speak in Vancouver and a few short months later, that request was fulfilled.
Cameron Herold is a Vancouver Superstar. As the former COO of 1-800 Got Junk, he was instrumental in helping the company grow from 14 employees to 3100 and increasing revenues from $2 million to $105 million in just 6 years. During this time, with the help of Cameron (along with Tyler Wright) 1-800 Got Junk was featured in the media over 5,000 times and included a huge high profile segment on Oprah in addition to Fortune Magazine, Wall Street Journal, and NY Times. Cameron now runs Back Pocket COO and recently published his book “Double Double”.
In my opinion, the best speakers are story tellers. They are approachable and humble and they bring you in with their humorous and true personal stories. This is exactly what Cameron Herold did at the ByzHub event on July 7th when he presented his talk on how to generate free PR for your business. Aside from being an outstanding speaker, Cameron knows how to put together a presentation. No boring powerpoint slides filled with useless text. It was a fast moving slide show full of pictures and videos that kept the audience engaged and interested. The event was over-sold with 230 people in attendance.
I was beyond impressed by Cameron's ability to take a seemingly overwhelming topic such a PR and break it down into 3 simple actionable steps:
1. Know your angle: The media makes money from advertising. The media wants interesting stories. They want stories that are different and that people want to read. When you are pitching a story, put yourself in the readers shoes and answer this question from their perspective “So what, what's in it for me?”. Give journalists and reporters an angle to work with. There are some angles that never get old: rags to riches stories, student entrepreneurs, businesses that help the community, and so on. Pick your angle, write your story, and pitch it.
2. Know your target: You have to know who the readers, listeners, and viewers you want to hear your story are in order to determine what media you need to target. For example, 1-800 Got Junk was looking for investors and business owners for franchise opportunities so one of their targets was CNBC squawk box since the viewers of this programming are mostly business people.
3. Pick up the Phone: The media wants your stories. Journalists spend their time trying to come up with good stories. You are helping them do their job by pitching to them. Don't call the editors or the producers, call the journalists, reporters, and photographers. Give them a call, their phones aren't ringing because no one uses the telephone anymore! Cameron's advice for your first line “Hey, do you have 2 minutes? I think I have a great story for you…”. The key to knocking on doors and calling on the right people is also knowing when and where is a good time and place to do so, be conscious of your timing and practice on the ones that aren't on the top of your list.
In addition to these 3 steps to landing media, Cameron also provided some valuable insight on the role that PR plays in an organization. I have a business degree and have always worked in Marketing. I always thought that PR was a function of Marketing. That was until Cameron Herold taught me otherwise. PR is a sales job. It is a job that takes tenacity, determination, and they will to get a yes. In his words “when a Sales person gets a ‘No', they think ‘F ya', I am one step closer to landing that yes!”. While on the contrary, it usually only takes just one “No” for a marketing and/or communications person to turn around and bark up a new tree. A good PR person is a sales person. They keep calling and pursuing their target until they get the yes. One of 1-800 Got Junk's biggest wins (their tipping point) took 16 months of determination and hard work before it came to fruition.
I thoroughly enjoyed Cameron's presentation and appreciated how straight-forward, simple, and easy he kept the information. It is an honour to have access to someone who has achieved such great success and is willing to share the systems and tools they used and relied upon to get them there.
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to finally meet Cameron and to enjoy a cocktail with him and many others at the after-party at the Boathouse. This event was networking at its finest. It was the perfect combo featuring a high profile speaker, valuable and relevant information, and great people.
For more stories from the event, search twitter for the hashtag #ByzHub.