Should you be using a Public Relations agency? What is a PR agency? What do they do? On this weeks episode, Jordan sat down with Michelle Griffith of Boardroom PR to answer these and other questions you might have.
As a publicist, Michelle works with clients in a variety of industries: law, insurance, healthcare, nonprofit and real estate. She works with these individuals, associations and companies includes traditional and online media campaigns, such as social media and search engine optimization (SEO).
Since joining BoardroomPR in 2006, Michelle has been involved in several nonprofit associations and has played an integral role in generating media and community attention to worthy causes, such as Legal Aid Service of Broward County/Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida and Florida’s Children First. She served as the 2016 Chair of the Legal Marketing Association’s Orlando City Group and currently serves as Secretary for the group.
Ms. Griffith co-manages Boardroom’s Central Florida office and work out of the agency’s Central Florida and Fort Lauderdale office locations.
Episode 16: Michelle Griffith of Boardroom PR – Full Transcript
Michelle Griffith 0:00
You’re paying an expert to essentially be your personal publicist, and promote you throughout the month in as many different outlets, on as many different topics as we possibly can.
Picture a world where costs are down, profits are up, and customers are clamoring at your door. You’re listening to “Let’s Get Up to Business” from Jordan Law. Our interviews with business owners, service providers and area experts can teach you how to create a world of success and profitability. If you’re looking for an attorney to assist in your business formation, employment agreements, or other legal business needs, contact Jordan Law at 407-906-5529. You can also reach us on the web at JordanLawFL.com. Jordan Law, we protect you and your business.
Jordan Ostroff 1:10
Hello, and welcome to “Let’s Get Up to Business”. Joining me today is Michelle Griffith from Boardroom PR. Thanks for coming on board.
Michelle Griffith 1:17
Thank you for having me.
Jordan Ostroff 1:18
So tell us a little about yourself.
Michelle Griffith 1:20
Well, I started out with a love of the theater when I was younger, I always loved being in community theater and plays. And while I enjoyed that, but knew it wouldn’t translate into a professional career, I decided to take that into a career in public relations. So I could still tell other people’s stories and be in front of an audience – actually, usually, sometimes, behind the scenes, but helping someone else now be in front of an audience. And I love getting to interact with clients, the client service part of it, for me, is my absolute favorite. And I have the unique story that actually Boardroom PR was my very first job out of college.
Jordan Ostroff 2:07
Michelle Griffith 2:08
Yes, and I’ve been with them now for 13 years, through three different cities: South Florida, Jacksonville, and now Orlando.
Jordan Ostroff 2:18
Excellent. So throughout this podcast, I know we’re going to talk about, you know, marketing from kind of the public relations standpoint, setting yourself up as a thought leader and industry expert, and kind of how to build those relationships with media to help push those things. So if anybody knows that that’s something that they’re interested in and wants to reach out to you for more information, what’s the best contact info?
Michelle Griffith 2:39
Well, our website, BoardroomPR.com, has a great wealth of information. You can also reach me at my office, 407-973-8555. Or, of course, everyone loves email and that’s MGriffith@BoardroomPR.com.
Jordan Ostroff 3:00
So I know, you know, we’ve had other marketing companies on, but not, but obviously not a Public Relations company. So can you talk to me a little bit about what the differences?
Michelle Griffith 3:08
Absolutely, we get this question a lot. Public Relations is the act of convincing or telling a story to the media in order to inspire them to want to share the story in their reporting, or to show them why your client is the perfect source or an expert to comment on what they’re reporting on. So versus advertising, where the message is controlled and you’re paying for the placement, but you get to decide exactly what it says, exactly how it looks, the images used, PR, where we are not paying the reporters, we are the storytellers to convey the messaging from our clients to try to convince these mediums outlets to write about what they’re doing or the issues that they’re passionate about.
Jordan Ostroff 4:05
So I guess you’re trading, you’re trading the spending money to do the targeting for having to make sure that your message is good enough to be of interest to the media, is that a fair comparison?
Michelle Griffith 4:18
Yes. And with ads, you might spend $1,000, let’s say on one time ad, but with PR, it’s a retainer typically agreement. So you’re paying an expert to essentially be your personal publicist, and promote you throughout the month in as many different outlets on as many different topics as we possibly can because of course, our success is judged by the feeling among our clients that they are getting their message out there. So we try to do as much as we can. So it’s really that difference of, even though it’s not guaranteed, it’s a much broader campaign for the amount that you’re spending.
Jordan Ostroff 5:07
So sitting here, I mean, as a business owner, and as this podcast being, you know, geared towards business owners, what sort of things should I be looking for, as the business owner? Like, okay, if I want to be, you know, I want to grow my business by being the, seen as an expert in this field, and what like, what, what, what should their goal be when they reach out to you versus a normal, maybe not normal marketing company, but a non-Public Relations type marketing?
Michelle Griffith 5:33
That’s a great question. Our COO loves to use the term, what’s your one thing? So really, it’s up to us through our conversations with prospects or clients to help them determine what’s that one thing or two things that are really going to help them at this point in their business. If it’s a new business, let’s say, maybe they’re looking to create awareness: we’re here, we’re in this field, call us and here’s why. If it’s a more well established business that people already know exists, maybe it’s to build up the younger next generation, since some people might only know the more seasoned professionals at the company, or it might be to promote new service offerings or an expansion. It really just depends on what the particular goals are. But really, virtually, any business that you’re in, some form of public relations is beneficial, and really almost necessary these days with social media and e-newsletters, websites, all the different channels that people are getting their news and information from.
Jordan Ostroff 6:49
So it seems like, though, the business or the business owner and the business need to be more sort of aware of what they’re trying to sell, what message they’re trying to portray, I mean as opposed to with ads, where you may be able to blanket, you know, 27 different campaigns across different Google ads.
Michelle Griffith 7:06
Correct. And, and I don’t mean to rule out advertising all together, I think advertising is an essential part of really robust campaign. And there’s definitely the appropriate times when we would recommend placing an ad. But I think that you need to consult with a professional who can help you figure out where’s the best place or places that you can be to reach your target audiences or to blast out your personal message to the most amount of audiences.
Jordan Ostroff 7:42
And so, kind of walk me through. I’m assuming it depends on a case by case basis. But are you, are you helping the business owner come up with that message? Are they coming to you with the message and you’re tweaking it? Is it a mix of both of those?
Michelle Griffith 7:57
It’s both. It could be a situation where, let’s say, a study just came out that supports the need for the product that you’re selling and they want to promote this study and therefore promote why their products or services are so necessary right now. Or perhaps they just know that they aren’t as well known as they should be and they feel that they’re a great company that’s just the best little known secret, but no one wants to be the best kept secret, you want to shout it from the rooftops how amazing your business is. So, it really depends on the business.
Jordan Ostroff 8:46
It’s funny, you mentioned that. Somebody posted online, one of the, a lawyer in another state, you know, “the best kept secret is the person that went out of business six months ago”.
Michelle Griffith 8:54
Exactly. Yes. I, it’s amazing how many people out there are really good at what they do, they just haven’t found that way yet to reach their target audiences or convey that to the public. So, that’s really what I love kind of digging in and figuring out, what is that one thing, as I said before, that’s going to help this company get to that next level.
Jordan Ostroff 9:21
So I know you touched on, you know, almost every profession needs and I totally agree, I mean, we’re so inundated with ads and with contact that anything that sets any industry apart, I mean, or any business apart from their industry, can be huge. But what are the most common, I guess, business types that you work with?
Michelle Griffith 9:40
For us, it’s mostly professional services. Law firms, real estate developers, accounting firms are a big part of what we do, but also schools, education institutions, large homeowners associations who want to reach their residents. Nonprofits, definitely, is a big part of our practice. Retail. Different PR firms will have different specialties, some might focus on restaurants and hospitality, for Boardroom, we’ve always been heavily involved with the professional services, but we’ve done it all.
Jordan Ostroff 10:22
So when you’re pushing these professional services, you know, this is, this is the conversation I have with people all the time. Am I pushing myself or am I pushing my team? Do you all have a position on that or are you doing that on a case by case basis?
Michelle Griffith 10:38
I think both. I mean, I want to elevate the individuals at the company. But I also want to elevate the company itself. And a lot of times that goes hand in hand. For example, if you are a lawyer and you’re promoting the thought leadership of one lawyer that indirectly promotes the firm as well, because the firm is listed with the lawyer in the story. Or on the other hand, if you’re promoting the success of the real estate development company itself, then the people who work there reap the benefits of that, because the company has been in the news
Jordan Ostroff 11:16
See it’s interesting. So to devil’s advocate what you’re talking about, you know, the issue we have, I think if I could go back, I wouldn’t have named that firm Jordan Law, I think it would have gone with something less, you know, specific to me. Because, you know, we’ve got five attorneys at the firm, and I think I’m the best lawyer in the world. But I think the other four people, lawyers here are better than me. And so we get a lot of people like, “oh, it’s Jordan Law” or “oh, refer to Jordan” or “oh, you know, I saw your article on here”. They always want me to be the one to do it, even when I’m trying to tell them, “hey, you know, so and so’s better at this than I am, which is why I’ve hired them to do it, you know, at the firm”. So it’s, I don’t know, I guess that’s something, that might be something that’s more unique to lawyers, because every time I hear from like doctors, people don’t feel that way, they get that doctors, you know, they’re a brain surgeon versus a heart surgeon. But for a lawyer, they’re like, “oh, you know, can’t you help me with this will?” and I’m like, I know nothing about it. That’s not our thing.
Michelle Griffith 12:05
And I think, of course, it seems the standard in law, is to have the last names in the firm name. And that’s how so many law firms are identified with the founders’ names. It’s, it’s definitely different, when you’re talking about a five lawyer firm versus the national 500 lawyer firms, but I would still say that that would be a case where I would go in and say, “Okay, let’s play off the fact that people know Jordan Law and are familiar with it services, and now build up this individual to say, ‘Did you know this person is here? This is what they do’.” And then look for opportunities for them to be spotlighted or positioned as an expert in, in their fields to build them up while still continuing to build up the firm so people make that connection that they are there now.
Jordan Ostroff 13:07
Gotcha. So you’re, so you all are focused on building up as many different people at the company as possible to build up the company as a whole.
Michelle Griffith 13:15
Yes, but the other side of that is not everyone wants to participate in the PR process. It’s interesting, because there might be situations where someone is a little bit farther along in their career, and they’re not necessarily looking to take on new business. They’re already known and they’re happy to participate if called upon, but they might not participate as much as a younger person who’s getting started and looking to get their name out there. Or there might just be some people who simply aren’t good in front of the camera or on radio. For those people, it’s better for them, maybe, to write a byline article, where they don’t have have to speak directly, they can just put their expertise on paper. And then you’ll find there are the ones that just have no interest at all, and you can’t force them because their results won’t be very good. So while we love to have as many people participate as possible, we never get 100% participation with any client.
Jordan Ostroff 14:22
Well, see and it’s always so funny to me, because like, for there are so many industries, where I totally understand what you’re saying, you know, and even with lawyers, there’s going to be those guys, guys or girls who went to law school, who are super intelligent, who never want to go before a jury, who never want to, you know, want to write up the wills, want to, you know, want to write up the briefs, do appellate law, whatever it is along those lines. But it’s always funny to me when you have somebody who’s a litigator who hates talking on camera. Like, alright, so you’re going to go in front of a jury and you know, argue over millions of dollars for this person, argue over this person going to, you know, going to jail or not for the rest of their life. But to sit in front of an iPhone camera for two minutes, that’s what freaks you out? You know, it’s interesting.
Michelle Griffith 15:00
Oh, I know. And there are these professionals who are so good at what they do. Take an accountant, for example, who just has to be so savvy with financials and just really intelligent and then you are trying to get out of them, what are the things going on right now? What are, are some areas you can talk about? And then sometimes people, all of a sudden, become very modest. And although they may be told that they’re good at what they do, they second guess themselves and think oh, well, maybe I don’t want to call myself an expert in that. So part of what we also do, as publicists, is media training and helping people feel comfortable to do that, and help them figure out what are the best areas that they will be able to share expertise and gain that leadership.
Jordan Ostroff 15:53
Well it’s interesting you mentioned the media training because, obviously though nothing along the lines of that, but I coach trial team over at Barry University and we’ll get these kids that, they know they want to be litigators, but they’re not ready. You know, “Oh, I’m only a 1L or a 2L, I’m not ready to do that”. I’m like, all right, so here’s your homework, stand in front of the mirror for a minute with your hands at your side, and just look at yourself in the mirror and just stand there and you’ll see, like, even on them over the course of a week or two, they’ll get so much more confident, you know, talking in front of people just from staring at themselves in the mirror for, you know, a minute here, a minute there. It’s just, it’s crazy how everything’s a skill that you can train.
Michelle Griffith 16:26
Oh, absolutely. And I like to, advising younger people starting out in their careers, to get involved in young professionals groups. It’s less intimidating, everyone’s in the same position and it gets them used to speaking to others and going to events and networking. So that then they can be ready to move up and go in front of that larger, more experienced audience.
Jordan Ostroff 16:55
So I know, you know, you touched on the, the accountant who has difficulty getting in front of the camera. What are some of the other, you know, major, I guess, problems may not be the right word, but major issues that you come across either people coming to you with the wrong message or not having a message or, you know, what are the biggest issues you see at the very beginning of working with a new client?
Michelle Griffith 17:16
That’s a great question. Sometimes, what people perceive to be very important issues of public importance may not always be perceived that way by the media. And there are some who will, are just open to discussion and understand that we may need to find a new angle and other people who just feel very strongly that what it is that they are talking about is important and the media should report on it. So it’s having those kind of discussions can be difficult at times, especially with the shrinking news media market. There aren’t as many opportunities as a couple years ago, maybe to pitch different beat reporters, now you’re talking to maybe one general business reporter who’s hearing from multiple different industries and can’t always report on this one single particular issue that only affects a small subset of the population. But in those cases, that’s where we go to other outlets, such as social media, where we can do targeted campaigns or e-newsletters, special events. We can try to find the other audiences that way. But to answer your question, it’s really helping the people who might not fully understand what a topic that the general news media would be interested in is.
Jordan Ostroff 18:45
Alright, so the, so the biggest issue that you see is them not knowing what the, what the story needs to be? I mean, is that what it is, or am I putting words in your mouth there?
Michelle Griffith 18:56
No, that, that’s true. It might be not knowing what the story is. For example, if they, if a company has a product, that’s a great product, but only helps a very small specific part of the consumers as a whole, then a newspaper is not necessarily going to write about this company, because the vast majority of their readers can’t even use this service. Now if it tied into a particular hot issue in the news, maybe that’s a different story. But it’s about refining the story to figure out what is going to get that mass appeal, what’s going to grab their attention, because these reporters are getting pitched constantly and researching their own stories. So it’s about helping the client figure out the best way that we can actually get them out there without something that the majority won’t really be interested in.
Jordan Ostroff 20:00
Or I guess, finding the specific journal that targets the people that are in that industry so that it, being so high purpose specific means more to them.
Michelle Griffith 20:10
Exactly. Maybe a daily newspaper is not the way to go for you. Maybe you need a specific industry trade journal that targets the CEOs of skilled nursing homes at, to talk about this very specific, new law that was passed that affects those caretakers in a very specialized health care setting that the general public wouldn’t understand but those people would. So, and that’s just one example of thousands of magazines, I’m sure everyone has seen out there, that touched different industries. So that’s another good point, too, is refining. Maybe it’s not for this audience, but maybe it’s for that audience.
Jordan Ostroff 20:53
Alright, so we’ve got this audience where you found the right audience for their message, walk me through what the next steps are, I mean, how are you getting them to, you know, actually getting it published, actually getting interviewed, you know, whatever it is, along those lines?
Michelle Griffith 21:13
Great. There are multiple actions that we’ll take. First of all, we will reach out to reporters to let them know that we’re working with this company, they are available as a source on these various topics and maybe here are two or three current issues that you might want to speak with them about right now. We will also look for byline article opportunities, if there’s someone at the company who likes to write. As I mentioned before, there might be others who like to write more than they like to talk to people. So we’ll look for those placements that look really great on a website or social media, when you can take that article link and then blast it out. We’ll also look at everyone’s personal social media pages, are they active on LinkedIn? I am still surprised how many business professionals don’t feel that they need to be active on LinkedIn or social media.
Jordan Ostroff 22:10
I use my Facebook all the time, I just don’t understand LinkedIn. I don’t know my, my password, I can only log in on my phone.
Michelle Griffith 22:18
Well we, we will talk after this. But something that we’ve done that’s become pretty popular is doing LinkedIn Lunch and Learns with our clients where we just sit down over some sandwiches and explain some simple steps to have a LinkedIn presence that isn’t too overwhelming. So there’s the social media aspect, there’s also, we’ll look to see, would it be appropriate to start a blog for this person to share their expertise on their website and keep the website content fresh? Or perhaps an e-newsletter would be appropriate to be sending out information to their audiences and staying top of mind once a quarter, let’s say? So it’s, it’s really multiple things that we start with. And then from there, just refining which opportunities arise.
Jordan Ostroff 23:12
Now it would seem to me like it would get easier for you, the longer you work with somebody because you’re going to get them more, you have better curriculum vitae, a better resume. They’ve been, they’ve been published here, they’ve been interviewed there. Is that true?
Michelle Griffith 23:27
Yes. Yes and no. Yes in the sense that the longer we work with someone, the more we’ve gotten to know them, the more they have gotten to know us. So we’re past the ramp up period. They, they know what kind of news to send us, we know the, what opportunities will best work for them. But then, let’s say if it’s an example where we announced that a company has opened, so now we’ve made that announcement, everyone’s aware. Now we have to go back and say, okay, how do we keep them in the news now? Some companies constantly have things going on. Law firms, for example, typically always have different laws they can comment on, issues, things in the news that pertain to their practice areas. But maybe you’re a company that sells a product or service that you aren’t constantly able to put out a new product or a new offering, then it, we get a little more creative and thinking now that you’re there, how do we keep it going?
Jordan Ostroff 24:29
But do you find that it’s easier to get interviews for people when they’ve been interviewed before?
Michelle Griffith 24:35
Definitely. Particularly with television, a lot of the producers will want to see examples of that person on past television shows. So we like to keep little video clips that we can easily email to show because, of course, when you’re putting someone on TV or radio, you want to know that they’re going to be engaging and know how to speak in the right kind of sound bites, and it just helps the process so much more when you can show those examples.
Jordan Ostroff 25:06
So how, you know, it’s, it goes back to that age old, like, hey, looking for an entry level job for somebody with experience. If you don’t have the experience, you know, how do you get the experience to get the entry level job that requires experience? So from this standpoint, I mean, what are some steps that a business owner can take to start setting themselves up in that expert role, in that thought leader role so that when you know that first TV opportunity becomes, they’ve got something else to fall back on to build that, or to snowball that into more opportunities to speak?
Michelle Griffith 25:36
I say shoot your own videos. I mean, video content is so popular right now, not only on social media, but on your website, having a YouTube channel, sending it out in your e-newsletter. Some people even on their website bios will have a little video introducing themselves, so people get to know them versus just reading about them. And that’s the best way to just start creating a little library of yourself that you can show to other people.
Jordan Ostroff 26:08
So there’s this thing going around as a lawyer in the lawyer realm where you know, you have the, the thing in your car, and while you’re driving to and from court, you know, record yourself while you’re driving, is that what you’re talking about?
Michelle Griffith 26:20
No, that, that is interesting, though. I guess more for me, I’m thinking short, less than a minute long videos. It could be an introduction to the business, it could be an introduction to a particular person. For a real estate project, let’s say it could be, we’re on site today at the groundbreaking of this new luxury condo tower. Or it could be we’re at a special event, and we’re interviewing someone. It could even be a testimonial, if you have a customer who had a really great experience and is willing to come on with you and just share their story. So just those short, because you know, everyone’s attention spans are so small these days, we have so much thrown at us. So,
Jordan Ostroff 27:08
We’re more like goldfish now.
Michelle Griffith 27:09
Yes. Yes, exactly. So those, those type of video content.
Jordan Ostroff 27:16
And who, what advice do you have for somebody who’s doing that? I mean, who are they trying to target? How should they come up with the story to tell the topics to go over? I mean, what’s, what’s your suggestion for them?
Michelle Griffith 27:28
Well, in an ideal situation, you would be working with a professional, whether it be a PR firm, a marketer, if you have an internal marketing department or an external Freelancer or agency that you work with. And it’s a professional’s marketplace right now, as we keep saying, there’s a lot of competition for messaging, there’s multiple channels out there. And there’s a lot of people putting out different content. So your best chance to break through and really put out a professional looking video, or anything, is to work with a professional. If that is not an option for you, then I would say start by figuring out who are your target audiences and what can I convey to them that helps them versus just promotes me? I don’t want to be self serving, I want to show my potential clients how I can help them or give them information that they can use that indirectly will make them think of me in the future.
Jordan Ostroff 28:38
Alright, so short videos, hopefully have a professional make them look good. And target providing value to clients or at least providing potential solutions to clients.
Michelle Griffith 28:47
Mm hmm. We don’t want to just always talk about I’m so great and that’s why you should hire me, you should hire me because I can help you and here’s how I can help you.
Jordan Ostroff 29:03
So I mean, look, I only know this from a lawyer perspective, I’m sure everybody gets this. Multiple times per week I get sent, hey, you’ve been offered the greatest criminal defense attorney in Florida, in the history of all time, for the low, low price of $1500, you know, you can accept this award and do this. I’m assuming every industry has those sorts of things.
Michelle Griffith 29:22
Jordan Ostroff 29:23
So when you get these people that, you know, would you recommend somebody to purchase some of these? Or what else can they do? You know, a lot of people feel like they need to pad their resume. Those seem to be an easy way. And I can tell you, I haven’t spent any money on them because I think it’s wrong, especially from a lawyer standpoint. But I get the allure, you know, as a new business owner with nothing going for me like who am I to be in this video? How do I get over my imposter syndrome? So what advice do you have for people from that perspective?
Michelle Griffith 29:52
I would say, as a general rule, when clients ask us about various awards or lists opportunities where there is a cost involved, we recommend against it, because we don’t feel that you should have to pay. I understand what you’re saying for someone just starting out where they feel it would be really beneficial to say on their website that they were a recipient of XYZ. But you also have to be careful because consumers are savvy, and you might have spent the money to say that you’re part of this list but if it’s a list that not many people have heard of, that might not really have enough of an impact to justify the cost.
Jordan Ostroff 30:34
But it sounds so good, they told me I was the greatest criminal defense attorney in the history of all time. How can I say no to that?
Michelle Griffith 30:41
Yes, it, they, they make it very enticing and they offer plaque packages so you can display it in your office and reprints so you can send it out to your clients. I would say there are many opportunities out there for awards that you do not have to pay for. They’re not a guarantee. But the Business Journal has many different awards and surveys that don’t cost anything to apply for. The top 25 lists in various industries, every single week, they have a different top 25 list, and you never have to pay to be included in those. Also, different trade journals and associations have their awards. There’s so many different opportunities out there that you don’t have to pay for. So I try to go that way first. If, if all else fails, then I wouldn’t want to rule out those opportunities completely but my recommendation or what I would do for a client would just be let’s sit down and see what else, what else is out there. What else can we apply for? And perhaps once you get that award, if you want to spend the money to buy the Super Lawyers plaque, or the who’s who plaque and then you can feel even better about having that up on your wall.
Jordan Ostroff 32:06
Well, I always love, it’s like, okay, we gave you this great award, it’s so wonderful, you want it, you don’t have to pay for it but, if you want to use the little image in your, you know, in your e-signature, that’s 100 bucks. If you want to post this on your website, that’s 150 bucks. If you want the plaque, that’s $200. I’m like, you know, everybody, I guess everybody wants to make money.
Michelle Griffith 32:24
That’s the new thing, where you don’t know who nominated you, they don’t even really tell you why you were selected. They just say, you’re selected. And it, you don’t have to pay necessarily, as you’re saying to say that you were selected. But if you ever want to tell anyone or put it out there, then they have a, many different ad packages that you can consider. So, I always see a lot of those from overseas, too. Clients will get emails from the UK, you are selected to the international list of top professionals in your field.
Jordan Ostroff 33:01
Maybe I’m not international enough.
Michelle Griffith 33:03
Yeah, it’s just they’re, they’re coming from everywhere. And, and that’s kind of the first thing we look at is well, did someone nominate you for this? What was the criteria? Were trying to decipher, is this a legitimate award? Is this something that we want to be putting out there or associating ourselves with?
Jordan Ostroff 33:21
So you mean that Nigerian prince that needs me to forward him a cashier’s check to win my award as the, the greatest Business Law Attorney in the history of you know, Sub Saharan Africa, that’s not going to be good enough?
Michelle Griffith 33:33
You know, it’s funny that you mentioned that because I was reading a blog as I was researching an award, that someone was doing a study where they found that people who didn’t even exist, were getting emails that they won these awards. Just fake people that I don’t know, how, if they nominated them just to see what would happen? But they, I mean, they’re, they’re just looking for people who will buy the plaque and send the money. So yes, no, if you don’t know what that is, and you’ve never heard of it and no one nominated you, and there’s no reason why you were selected, I would say, let’s use those marketing dollars on something else.
Jordan Ostroff 34:16
Alright, so making your own videos, release, making videos you can control, trying to find awards that are legitimate for your industry or subsection of industry, etc. What else can a business, what else can a, can a newer business owner or business do to take the next step, do to kind of put themselves in that position to be a thought leader, to be an expert? What other advice do you have?
Michelle Griffith 34:39
Definitely make sure your website is as best as it can be because a lot of times before anyone ever speaks to the business directly, they’re looking you up online. That, that includes, as we mentioned, the firm’s social media pages, any blog sites that you have, but really that website, it can almost hurt you if it’s not as professional looking as something else. And you only have a few seconds of someone’s time when they click on, if they can’t easily find what they’re looking for or they don’t feel that it looks like you’re a professional company, they’ll just click away and find something else.
Jordan Ostroff 35:19
And that is so true. Actually, a friend of mine left a very nice firm and opened up his own firm recently. And we refered him a case that we had a conflict on and so I had to tell the person, I was like, look, his websites under construction but he was my supervisor at this date, he’s been doing this for almost a decade, he knows what he’s doing. You know, just give him a couple more months to finish the website, but he can handle your case properly.
Michelle Griffith 35:42
I feel for some of my clients, because they’ve gotten in situations where they, I mean, websites are expensive, let’s just be honest. And some of them have maybe gone with the lesser expensive option. And then they end up with a website that no one likes, and they end up spending even more money then to go back to one of the more seasoned website developers to have the site redone. So I would say, I know it hurts your wallet, but just go ahead and use a professional that can show you examples of their work so that you just get it right the first time. And always make sure you have a content management system. Or you can go in, it’s very easy these days on WordPress sites and these different CMS platforms that the business owner themselves can go in and make changes without having to know anything about HTML coding. Then you’re not paying someone every time you want to add something new to the website.
Jordan Ostroff 36:41
Alright, so keep, keep the website updated. Keep info on the website. Anything else? I mean, I’m sure there’s a million other things but.
Michelle Griffith 36:47
Networking, I mean, joining groups. I would say don’t overextend yourself, we’re all very busy and it can actually hurt you more than it helps you if you just join ten different groups, but never have the time to show up, then you’re known as oh, yeah, I remember that guy, he only came to one thing and we never saw him again, versus finding maybe just that one or two, to start, different groups that you can get really invested in and move up into join. Really becoming known and then letting those people become your publicist to as they know what you do, and they’re telling their friends or contacts, oh, you gotta meet Jordan, he’s an awesome attorney, I’m on such and such board with him, let me introduce you.
Jordan Ostroff 37:45
Yeah, that’s, I wholeheartedly agree with you on that we have all of our attorneys trying to focus on like two to three different ones. We actually recently just joined the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce.
Michelle Griffith 37:54
Jordan Ostroff 37:54
And so since we joined them, maybe they’ve had four events and Blair’s gone to three of them and every time he shows up there was like, oh, great to see you again, like you guys really are, you know, hitting the ground running, as opposed to, I think most people do exactly what you said not to do. You know, sign up for everything, and then never show up but at the end of the day, you know, as a service provider, you really only have your word and your reputation. So why have your reputation be, you know, we’ll give you money and never show up?
Michelle Griffith 38:17
Exactly. And because of what you just said, unfortunately, that happens a lot where these groups have had people that show up, but then don’t show up again, they are all that more appreciative when someone is really committed, and they want to move you up in the organization, and they want to help you however they can, because they’re happy that you’re there. So it’s really mutually beneficial and it can also be personally rewarding if you’re a part of an organization that you’re truly passionate about whether it’s in your industry, or if it’s a nonprofit, or community organization or a chamber. There’s, there’s so many different ways to go. But definitely be someone that everyone there, as you said with Blair, can say, wow, that person’s great, they always show up, they’re so helpful, and I definitely recommend working with them.
Jordan Ostroff 39:14
Which Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce, I’m sorry, you have an event tonight, no one will be there Blair’s in Canada so, if you’re listening to this. Anyway, so alright, I mean, I, obviously, I’m sure there’s a million other things we can talk about from this perspective but I think we’ve got a nice base for there so I’ve got my business owner, I put myself in a position to be the expert, to be a thought leader. So now I’m out. I’m trying to reach out to those different areas, I’m trying to reach out to different media places. What, you know, kind of walk me through how that process goes?
Michelle Griffith 39:42
Well, again, your best bet is to work with a professional. The benefits of that are, they have the contacts, they know which reporters are interested in what, how they like to be pitched, what are the best times of day to reach out. For example, you probably don’t want to pay pitch a television producer right as the evening news is starting or right as the new news is starting, or you don’t want to reach out to a reporter on their deadline day, if it’s a weekly publication, like the Business Journal, let’s say, you don’t want to reach out to them when you know they’re rushing to get those final touches on their week stories in. So that’s why working with a PR firm or marketing, advertising agency can really help you. And also, it gives you the benefit of, the reporters and editors coming to the firm looking for sources. Frequently people will come to Boardroom who know that we have a vast client base and different specialties saying, I need a source to comment on this issue in the news, who do you have? And then we can offer that to our clients. So it works both ways.
Jordan Ostroff 40:59
Yeah, I mean, I never thought about it, but it does make a lot of sense because it saves them a lot of time to just go to you and be hey, you know,
Michelle Griffith 41:05
Jordan Ostroff 41:06
I need a couple people who know a lot about this topic.
Michelle Griffith 41:08
Yes, because many times there, the reporter is assigned a story or there’s something going on in the news, and they’re looking for local professionals to help them figure it out. Because I mean, again, these reporters can’t be experts in everything that they’re writing about. They’re relying on these sources to help them break down some of these complex issues or new laws or just things going on in the community. So whenever they know, and that’s part of our job too is letting them know, hey, when you need someone to talk about this come to us, we have the perfect person or firm for that.
Jordan Ostroff 41:46
And so do you, do you recommend the same approach targeting, you know, media agencies that you do with a networking, you know, target two, or three and try and focus on them or from that standpoint, do you recommend, you know, scattershot to everybody news station, every publication, you can see who jumps on the opportunity?
Michelle Griffith 42:04
It really depends on what you’re pitching. If you are offering something as an exclusive, let’s say where, say a law firm is about to file a pretty big lawsuit. And they go to a media outlet and say, Look, I’m going to be filing this tomorrow, and I want to give you the story first, then you can build a relationship that way. Or if you think it’s something that’s really going to have a broad appeal, you can even do a press conference where you’re inviting all local media, print, radio, television, at your office at a certain time to announce what you’re going to be doing. So it just depends on what the news is that you’re announcing. But general news such as a business is opening, or we’re expanding, or we hired five new people, that kind of information can be blasted out to several sources.
Jordan Ostroff 43:06
Okay, so I guess another thing that’s going to be a case by case basis, but what are some of your, you know, the five best tips on keeping in touch with these media agencies or these media agencies afterwards, for them to come back for you for source again?
Michelle Griffith 43:22
Well, read the publications, nothing bothers the reporters or editors more than when it’s clear that you aren’t familiar with their coverage. Let’s say it’s a business publication that only covers news in Orange County, and you’re pitching them something that’s happening in Daytona, that is just right off the bat, they know you’ve never looked at our publication, you’re not sure what we do. And then that person’s not likely to respond to your pitches in the future. So follow reporters on social media, look at the most recent stories they’ve written. A lot of times, if you go to the website and click on the reporter’s name, they’ll list their most recent stories so that’s an easy way. But being knowledgeable and telling them, you know, this is how I can help you, this is what I think you’d be interested in. Again, just trying to be that helpful resource. And ask them what are you working on? Maybe you reach out to a reporter, and they’re not immediately interested in the story you pitched, but they might be working on something else that you’re an expert in. So don’t be afraid to ask, what are you working on right now? And see how you may be able to help?
Jordan Ostroff 44:46
So something that I did and let me know if I was wrong, so I’m on ESPN, I’m reading through, something where the article is about Robert Kraft with the situation where he got the, allegedly, I don’t know, whatever, the situation with him in the massage parlor. And so the reporter writes this whole thing about it, writes about what’s going on in the criminal case, writes about how, you know, if it gets dropped, then they’ll be able to seal it, this whole thing. And so I found them, I think on Twitter, and I sent him a quick message, I was like hey, you know, this is the URL for the article, you’re talking about this being dropped to be sealed, just to give you a heads up in the state of Florida, something’s dropped, you can expunge it, if you don’t get adjudicated, then it’s sealed, you know, happy to talk about the differences, here’s my phone number, here’s my email has everything. Is that something you recommend? Or is that something that’s, don’t step on the reporter’s toes or what?
Michelle Griffith 45:33
No, we do that frequently. If something comes out, and one of our clients says, you know, I, I would have loved to comment on this, I have a lot to say on this, we’ll reach out and say if you’re doing follow up stories, I mean, especially with an issue like that, where you know, it’s going to be in the news for a while and there are going to be follow up stories. They might appreciate knowing that there’s another source that they can go to or or it might be an instance where you can submit a quote via email, and they can add it to the online version of the story. So absolutely, be interacting, and then it shows to that, that you were reading their stuff.
Jordan Ostroff 46:14
So in this case, they did not get back to me, posted a follow up article, made the same mistake. I’m sure they get a million messages about people that want to be quotes on an ESPN article, so.
Michelle Griffith 46:25
That is frustrating. But still, I think, I don’t think there was anything wrong about what you did and there, there’s no draw back to, I mean, it would have been wonderful if, if he had contacted you back, but still reaching out, I think, why not?
Jordan Ostroff 46:44
Okay. So anything, anything else that we need to cover when it comes to this, you know, business owner trying to set themselves up as a thought leader, trying to get in touch with the different media agencies or have we covered, you know, enough of it to give everybody a solid foundation?
Michelle Griffith 47:02
I would say again, whenever possible, consult with a professional. Even if you have an internal marketing department, a lot of our clients we work with have internal marketing departments that still hire an external PR firm, because, really, we’re paid to have those relationships with the media. And it’s hard for someone who’s not regularly interacting with them to know all the intricacies or be able to put together a media list fairly quickly when breaking news happens, or there’s a crisis situation so, even if you don’t have a regular firm on retainer, it might be good just to know of one that you can contact if you need some consultation, or just help with a project.
Jordan Ostroff 47:53
Well, so that dovetails nicely now that we’ve gone through, I don’t know, 45 minutes or so, now you, now that you’ve convinced somebody they need professional help. Maybe that doesn’t sound right. They need a professional company to take over some of this stuff. Can you give us your contact info again?
Michelle Griffith 48:07
Absolutely. Again, my name is Michelle Griffith, and I’m a VP with Boardroom PR in Orlando. We also have offices in South Florida, Tampa, New York and Aspen. Yeah, we just opened our New York office so we’re really excited.
Jordan Ostroff 48:24
And Aspen, you said?
Michelle Griffith 48:25
Jordan Ostroff 48:26
Michelle Griffith 48:27
Yeah, we’re expanding so it’s really exciting. You can find us online at BoardroomPR.com or feel free to call me, I’m at 407-973-8555.
Jordan Ostroff 48:42
Alright, so before we finish this podcast, the way we finish all the other ones, I just want to make a quick pitch for our own podcast, you know, still relatively new podcast, I think this is going to being about Episode 15 or 16. So you can follow us on Stitcher, iTunes, 27 other different things. But if you listened to the podcast, enjoyed it, really appreciate an honest review. Hopefully, it’s five stars. But you know, an honest review will do regardless of what it is. So, this gets us to the end, where we end every podcast with the same question. And I’ll give you the same tagline – Mark can edit this, we can kill any dead time we need. But what is the one piece of advice, if somebody takes nothing else from this podcast, what is that one piece of advice that you hope every business owner knows?
Michelle Griffith 49:27
Think about the one thing, what is that one thing that’s either going to take you to the next level or help you achieve a goal this year? And once you figure out what that is, then it will be easier to determine where you need to be and who you need to be talking to.
Jordan Ostroff 49:46
I like how your one thing is them to find their one thing. It makes a lot of sense.
Michelle Griffith 49:52
It makes my job easier, so.
Jordan Ostroff 49:54
Well, thank you so much for joining us today.
Michelle Griffith 49:56
Thank you for having me. This was fun.
You’ve been listening to “Let’s Get Up to Business” from Jordan Law. We hope you’ve enjoyed the podcast and would consider sharing the show. We would also love an honest, five star review through iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or whatever podcatcher you use. If you are interested in being a guest on the podcast, please contact producer Mark through email at Mark@JordanLawFL.com. Use the subject line “Podcast Guest” in your email. Thank you. We look forward to speaking to you again soon.
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