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  • Writer's pictureYaakov Citron

Giving Small Businesses Access To Media Through Press Releases – Insights From Mickie Kennedy

Something's new at Solo2CEO! I'm excited to announce our new podcast format. This is the first of the many episodes that we will be featuring virtual interviews.

Today, we have Mickie Kennedy, the founder of eReleases, joining us to discuss the power of press releases in marketing.




Mickie, tell us about what you do at eReleases. 

I run an online press release distribution platform. We prepare and send out press releases on behalf of clients, aimed at getting earned media coverage for them or articles written about them.


Where do press releases fit in terms of marketing priorities?

From a marketing standpoint, measuring ROI is difficult because you cannot track conversions directly. However, some of our clients see positive changes after press releases. Significant revenue boosts are noted, and although it is hard to quantify, the impact on the business can be substantial.


Why is earned media effective in converting leads?

Sharing articles with your leads and customers generally generates emotional responses that ads don’t. People would want to support you when they read articles about your company because they feel connected. These customers are more likely to be loyal to you.


What is the difference between eReleases and automated services like Brand Featured?

Automated services often result in paid placements, which may look good on LinkedIn. In contrast to our press releases which have no guarantee of media pickup, we aim to be authentic to offer credibility and genuine interest from journalists.


How can a business owner effectively choose a press release distribution platform?


Services that do not promise specific placements in return for payment are a good choice. Authentic services focus on crafting compelling press releases and enhancing relationships with journalists.

When choosing a distribution platform, knowing if they are using a wire service is important. These have direct feeds into newsrooms where journalists can access industry-specific feeds tailored to their interests.


Are all wire services the same?

Not all wire services are true wire services. Many don't have relationships with journalists and just focus on replicating your press release on various websites. Your press release appears on multiple sites, and does not necessarily mean media pickup or earned media.

When you say earned media, it is coverage that you receive because a journalist finds your content newsworthy, while paid media is paying for your content to be featured.


How can a small business get media coverage?

Working with a genuine wire service provider like PR Newswire helps small businesses gain visibility. At eReleases, we make sure that your content goes to national distribution at a lesser cost than usual.


How do you know if a business is newsworthy?

We usually audit the business by looking into the story behind the company, the founder’s journey, or the obstacles the business faced and successfully overcame. Real stories of the business are interesting to future clients.

People are interested in stories that capture emotional connections. So instead of just listing the company’s products and features, it is better to include stories that include human interest for more appealing content.


How do you conduct an effective industry survey?


We usually use SurveyMonkey to design our survey with approximately 16 relevant questions. Survey questions should be based on current industry issues, making sure that they are relevant and timely, providing valuable data for the press releases.

We partner with smaller independent trade associations to help us distribute the survey, with offers to mention them in the resulting press releases. This way, we both benefit from this collaboration.

We aim for at least 100 responses for surveys. If the initial survey has a low turnout, we request that the trade association promote the survey.


What's the value of having a comprehensive resource page on your website?

A resource page where you can compile all the survey responses is very helpful. Journalists often visit this page to look for unique content angles. While you may focus on certain questions, they may find others more interesting and build a story around those.


How can businesses get regular local media coverage without spending money?

Persistence and patience are important for your business to get local media coverage. Attention to bylines in your local paper and asking for contact details of the journalists who cover your industry in your local market. By introducing yourself and explaining the relevance of your story, you’ll eventually get a response.


How can a small business owner reach out to local journalists?

A business owner may start by researching and identifying the journalists who cover his industry. Get their contact information and introduce yourself, informing them of what you can offer. Be sure that you are prepared to increase the chances of a journalist taking an interest in what you offer.


What makes a great quote in a pitch, and how should a pitch be presented?

A great quote in a pitch adds power and meaning and creates a strong and concise impact. Journalists appreciate well-prepared pitches, and being honest about your preference for email shows that you are thorough and considerate of your time.


How important is it to build relationships with journalists?

Building relationships with journalists is essential for your PR journey. Pitching ideas regularly gives you a better chance of being featured in their stores. As time goes on, they might reach out to you for expert opinions or quotes. Consistency and patience are two traits that would help you imprint your presence in their network.


What is the key to successful PR, according to you?

In every business, building relationships is important. Developing connections is an effective way to help spread your message, and eventually leveraging it through press releases can increase visibility.

Media coverage not only boosts advertising effectiveness but also attracts investors by establishing credibility through recognition by journalists and editors. For startups, good initial marketing can make subsequent efforts easier.


What advice do you have for small businesses considering PR?

Businesses look for alternatives to paid advertising, and press releases can be a cost-effective way to market even during economic downturns. Because of this, I encourage you to experiment with press releases by emphasizing creativity and testing different hooks. PR efforts can help build meaningful stories that are interesting to journalists and audiences.


What is the typical investment for a small company wanting to issue a press release?


A press release with eReleases costs around $350 for distribution, excluding writing. I encourage small businesses to try writing their own press releases because they are straightforward and written at an accessible level. eReleases offers review services by experienced editors, providing support regardless of who distributes the press releases.


Should businesses commit to a single press release or a campaign?


I advise you to commit to a PR campaign rather than a single release. A proper campaign usually has six to eight different press releases. We offer a free video masterclass on strategic campaign building, emphasizing the importance of varied and meaningful releases to maximize impact.


How do you conduct PR audits for businesses?


One important process is the identification of industry gaps and blind spots that trade publications overlook. By addressing these unreported issues, businesses can create interesting stories that attract media attention. An example is highlighting the competition between independent carpet companies and big box stores that led to viral success in niche publications.

 

I encourage you to experiment with press releases, emphasize creativity, and test different hooks. Even during economic downturns, press releases can be a cost-effective way to market, because businesses look for alternatives to paid advertising. Committing to a strategic PR effort can help build meaningful stories that are interesting to journalists and audiences.


How can someone get in touch with you?


The best way to reach me is through my direct LinkedIn profile, available on the eReleases website. For general inquiries, our eReleases staff can provide guidance and support throughout the PR process. For more information and to get started on your PR journey, visit eReleases.com.

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