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Become a PR Power House with Laura Fryer

Laura Fryer, the owner of Blue Hominy Public Relations, will be joining us on 4/11 to discuss all things PR. Laura is a PR expert who has worked with incredible food brands to boost their public profile. We’ll be discussing how to grow your brand by getting more press. This should be a fantastic talk for anyone interested in boosting their business's brand and visibility.

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[00:00:08] Will Schreiber: Well let's get rolling. We are so excited to have Laura Fryer here who. Is all things PR and runs an agency, Blue Hominy. Laura is based in Atlanta. So we like to kick these off with just what's your morning routine?

What's your coffee routine?

[00:00:24] Laura Fryer: Oh my gosh. Okay. So we have three children, seven, five, and two. So usually I'm woken up by one of them coming in our room. And then I head downstairs and I start making breakfast and my husband does it. Pour over and we get our coffee from a company here in Atlanta called East Pole.

They do subscriptions. So yeah, it's great. And if we want hot coffee, we do that. If we want cold coffee. Oh my gosh. I've got to pull up the name of this company. But we do cold brew that comes here. It is, it's called Wandering Bear and it comes in a box.

[00:01:00] Will Schreiber: Yeah,

[00:01:01] Laura Fryer: it's like a boxed wine, like it has a little spout.

So we keep that in the fridge super easy when we don't want to deal with the pour over. But there's always coffee at the ready.

[00:01:11] Will Schreiber: That's what the, it's been really impressive watching Wandering Bear. The founder of that is connected to Andy. I can't remember exactly how now, but obviously one of our co founders, I say that there's no, it's me and Andy.

And so we had heard of them when they were tiny. And it's really cool to see how big they've gotten and grown. That's really cool. You just

[00:01:33] Laura Fryer: putting the cold brew in a box that you can easily, open your fridge and press the button and it comes out like all day. I want that over coffee that you got to take out and pour.

[00:01:45] Will Schreiber: Great.

[00:01:47] Laura Fryer: It just it takes that one step when you're like, I haven't had my coffee yet, I, there's not a lot I can get done until that happens. It really it convinced me.

[00:01:57] Will Schreiber: Yeah. And I'm going to ask you about Blue Hominy in one second, but I love your background of how green it is. And I think, so I grew up in Birmingham and you're in Atlanta.

And when I tell people I'm from Alabama, they, that aren't from the South, they think it's like a desert. Or like dry. I don't know where it comes from, but I always picture was your background. This like lush green. So yeah, this is like the picturesque yeah.

[00:02:22] Laura Fryer: Especially like our house is up on a hill and there's trees all around it.

So it like feels like a tree house at times. I love it. It's good shade in the Atlanta heat.

[00:02:32] Will Schreiber: Oh, I believe it. All right. Well, we're about to dive in. So just, Thanks, everyone for joining live. Of course, we're going to record this and we'll post it online. If you have to bounce early, or if you ever want to join these and you can't make the live time.

But 1 advantage of being here is you can ask Q and a. We've got questions pulled up as we chat, feel free to toss. Questions into the Q and a, and we'll get to them as it makes sense in the conversation. But Laura, I'd love to just start with, uh. the quick setup here is Laura helped Andy with his business South Fork and got him a lot of great PR, which is how Andy and Laura initially connected.

So I'd love to hear a bit about your background, introduce what you do and then how you initially met Andy.

[00:03:16] Laura Fryer: Yeah, that would be great. I'm from Atlanta, went to school at University of Virginia moved to New York after that, and was working at a consulting firm for a few years, but I had interned in college at the New York Times and with different PR agencies and really missed that kind of, communicative nature of PR and really interacting with people and storytelling.

So I started looking for a job back in PR up in New York and I landed with a woman who had worked with Danny Meyer for many years as his PR director. And she was starting her own agency. And I was her 1st employee, so we represented restaurants, wineries, hotels, a lot of different businesses in the hospitality industry, both in New York and around the country.

And it was just an incredible experience kind of being, in New York where there's so much happening in the restaurant world and getting to interact with so many people who write about food who live in the city. So I. Absolutely loved that experience. My husband and I decided to move home to Atlanta in 2014.

And I really wanted to carry over that experience of working, with chefs and restaurant owners. So was looking around at different agencies in Atlanta and Really couldn't find 1 that was specifically focused on food and drink the way that I wanted to be. So decided to start Blue Hominy.

We still have food and drink as the main focus of our business. Every client that we work with has some element. of food or drink, most of which are restaurants. We mostly focus on media relations. We're a small firm. We have five people total. We are small by design. I love getting to be really hands on and, interacting with clients and my co workers and working with journalists to get the stories told for the businesses that we represent.

So we're in our 10th year now. I can't believe it. But we mainly spend our days in conversation, both with our clients and with people who are in the media, covering the food world thinking about different topics that they're covering currently are more evergreen stories that we can be pitching to get our clients in the news and part of the mix to drive buzz to them and their businesses.

So some of our clients are based here in Atlanta, but we also work with. Restaurants and other businesses all around the country. And we're so fortunate to get to work with such a great group of clients. So that's a little bit about us.

[00:05:45] Will Schreiber: Cool. And then do you remember how you initially got in touch with Andy and helped him with South Fork?

[00:05:52] Laura Fryer: Andy might have to chime in here because I don't remember exactly who introduced us, but I know Andy was moving from New York and we were connected. He was moving to Atlanta and he was starting up South Fork and he contacted us. We ended up handling the opening PR for South Fork. incredible experience getting to work with Andy on that because he was really starting something that Atlanta did not have.

He was doing food delivery at a time where we didn't have Uber Eats or DoorDash or any of the sort of food delivery models that you see now. Though Andy and I had both come from New York where seamless web was such a huge thing at the time. So people in Atlanta were really excited about it.

And Andy did some great interviews and we really enjoyed working with him on PR. So fast forward to now, I guess about six, seven years later just has been so cool to watch Andy's business grow and see what y'all are doing at Bottle and putting that into practice with kind of the new model of food delivery that's happening today.

[00:06:51] Will Schreiber: Yeah, it's been that's really cool. So he just texted and said that your husband and him have a bunch of mutual friends. So I'm sure someone,

[00:06:57] Laura Fryer: someone

[00:06:59] Will Schreiber: put you in touch. That's right. The seamless world for sure is probably a part of it. So I, before we dive in, I'd love to hear even how you helped him at South Fork and but starting what is PR?

I feel like this word gets thrown around a lot, but, What exactly does PR mean and what is it?

[00:07:17] Laura Fryer: A lot of public relations is so behind the scenes and different agencies who focus on PR are going to have different areas of expertise and are going to offer different services. So it's a great question.

Public relations, I would say, is any number of methods you can use to get your business's name out to the public and create buzz for what you're doing. So the most traditional form of PR is media relations, and that is probably 90 percent of what we do, and that involves communicating key messages and story ideas about your company to the press.

This is for editorial coverage, so they decide if it's a good fit for what they're covering, writing about, talking about on the radio, talking about on TV. But you want to be the connector and the storyteller and offer all the tools that you can to make it easy for them if it's a story they're interested in and to make a case for why their audience might be interested in it.

So coverage can be through. Articles and magazines, newspapers, segments on TV or radio various awards that might be happening in your industry. That's all earned media, different from advertising where you're actually paying the media to say something about you. So public relations, all of the coverage is at the editor's discretion.

And oftentimes that means people, may or may not be paying more attention to it because they know that it's something that kind of an editor is vouching for rather than the company paying for it to be said.

[00:08:43] Will Schreiber: And why would this be important as a business owner? Like, where do you view it in terms of needs from a bit?

Like what need is it solving for the business?

[00:08:52] Laura Fryer: Yeah. So it's it's one channel amongst the category of marketing. So public relations is one element of marketing and it can work hand in hand with, different sorts of tactics that you're using on the marketing side to draw attention to your business.

In an ideal world with PR, if it's successful, you're raising brand awareness, driving buzz, and ultimately sales building allegiance to your brand and communicating your mission, your products, your services to more people so that they know what you're doing and you're staying fresh In their eyes, and they're thinking about you when they're looking to utilize a product or service.

That is something that you offer

[00:09:33] Will Schreiber: Apart from just having a great PR firm or person. What are things that brands or companies do or can do that? Helps like being successful at PR easier or like another way of asking that. It's what do brands that get good PR typically have in common?

[00:09:51] Laura Fryer: So I would say that the main thing is paying attention to what's being talked about in the media. And sometimes those stories are around a specific trend, for example, in the spring a lot of people write stories about cooking with ramps because that's a very kind of timely ingredient that is growing at a certain time of year.

But then there are also stories that people are covering year round and year to year that are more evergreen. So just educating yourself about what are people writing about. Are there specific journalists who are covering topics that are really relevant to what we do at our business? And if so, thinking about how do we tie into that?

And once you're able to verbalize that and communicate it in a way that is concise and effective, making that connection. So definitely I would say being engaged. It's all about communication and PR being engaged by reading. The media watching broadcast anything that's relevant to what your business is doing and then developing those relationships.

So whether you have an agency, who is developing those relationships on your behalf, or you're doing your PR as a business owner, you want to identify. Are there specific journalists who are in the media that are covering things that are relevant to us that I should be making a connection with? Sometimes that connection is just virtual.

It could be, sending someone an email because you read a story. For example, maybe you're opening a brewery in Greenville, South Carolina, and that the Wall Street Journal, covered top 10 breweries that have opened this year in small towns throughout the country. That would be a great opportunity to look online.

Oftentimes writers have their email address posted online. So you're able to reach out to them. If not, you could always reach out on social media and say, Hey, I really enjoyed reading your article. Just wanted to reach out and let you know more about what we're doing. We'd love to host you if you're ever in town for a tour and come taste our beer.

And more background about your business and who you are just to start developing that connection. And so that, potentially next time they're covering a story that might be similar, they're thinking about you for it, for inclusion.

[00:12:08] Will Schreiber: Cool. And yeah, I think there's a ton of like cool tactics and stuff we can talk about in a second that you probably know that, Can help a bunch of people before we get to that, though, I'd love to know, like, how do you help business owners think about the or even the measurability of PR. like, how would you measure success of a P. R. effort and what sort of outcomes could you expect from. Engaging and reaching out to journalists or getting mentioned in local publications, et cetera.

[00:12:37] Laura Fryer: So I think it's important to think about, everyone gets their ideas about what products to use, what services to engage with from different sources.

Some people might be looking at social media exclusively when thinking about restaurants where they're interested in going out on a Friday night. They might be seeing where their friends are eating. They might be following influencers who love to post about food. And getting ideas about where to make a reservation from Instagram from tick tock.

There might be someone else who, has loves reading a specific column in their local newspaper about new restaurants that are opening around town. There might be someone who gets Bon Appetit in the mail, and that's where they're keeping a finger on the pulse of where they want to be eating.

So everyone has their own source of information. And I think it's important with PR to not think about, Hey, I want an article in this one media outlet. And instead to think about you want consistent coverage over time so that people feel like they keep seeing your name come up in a variety of outlets, I would say that is a successful PR campaign is to think.

About variety in terms of, size of the outlet. It's really beneficial to be in a local neighborhood email newsletter. If you have a business that isn't in a specific neighborhood, that's really reaching people who are right around you and could be part of your core audience. So that's important just as much as it's important to.

Shoot for a national magazine. That is also going to be a great accolade for your business. Variety of coverage, thinking about, geographically variety, also variety in terms of size, and then variety in terms of timeline. So you don't want to just have one big pop. You want it to be over time because.

Ideally you're building yourself up for longevity as a business. And then the way that you can measure PR, if you really wanted to get a great measurement, you would ask every single person who used your business, where they found out about you that's difficult to do, but in terms of actual metrics, small, I

[00:14:39] Will Schreiber: usually, we try to keep these, we try to keep these very come with your own software, you don't have to use Bottle, but small plug there.

If you are on Bottle, you can set up a post checkout question. That just ask people how they heard of you every time they land on the receipt. If you guys are on Bottle at what helps setting that up, just email and we'll get you going. That's a great point. And that's one of my favorite, like questions you can ask to try to figure out how people found you, but sorry, don't keep going.

This is great. So

[00:15:06] Laura Fryer: that's a great question. And it's such valuable information that you can use. And we've had clients many times before over the last decade who have said, that. Placement that mentioned that feature. We were in Oprah back when Oprah had a magazine and it was a huge pop in our business.

And it really, was something that kind of entered us into the next chapter with so many people finding out about who we were. That's, of course, a success story, but, a metric that people use in PR to quantify. Is typically viewership readership. That's a measurement of audience.

So if you're looking at a TV segment, and you want to know how many people viewed it that's 1, where should the 1 way that people measure PR and there are tools out there that PR agencies. often subscribed to we've used decision in the past. We currently use critical mention, which is a media monitoring software.

So anytime any of our clients is mentioned in the press, it quantifies the number of people who are viewing or reading that outlet. And then another measurement that people often use is advertising value equivalency is traditional measurement of PR that's been used for a long time, where you can quantify if you were to buy an advertisement in this media outlet of the same size in the same place, what would that cost?

So that's putting a dollar value on it as well.

[00:16:31] Will Schreiber: Makes sense. And, um, I can see the difficulty of measuring it, but it does feel like it's possible. And the other thing you said a second ago, I think's interesting, like the email newsletter comment of if there's a local email newsletter, how have you seen, or What are things obviously when I think PR, I think magazines, newspapers, stuff like that, but what are some kind of, I imagine things have changed a ton in the last decade.

What are some places for PR that you may not think about as opportunities, but that exists now because of how much the world has changed.

[00:17:04] Laura Fryer: I think a really good way to measure that for your company is to, ask 10 of your kind of regular customers. Where do you like getting your news, news relevant to what you do as a company, and you might be surprised you might.

hear of different kinds of media outlets that you've never even heard of before. Because, as we were talking about earlier, everyone kind of has their own sources that they go to. And also there, there are new ones popping up every day. That's why, which I'm sure we'll talk about later, but we have, media lists.

So we build lists of people who are covering specific topics and those are very, Much evolving day by day, because there are new media outlets being born. There are people who are moving from 1 to the other. So I would definitely suggest asking your kind of target audience. Where are you getting information?

And then I would say, of course, traditional media, we think of exactly you're saying like magazines your local TV news radio newspapers. But these days, I also think about social media as its own category. Of media where people are going to get information. So that's something that is very interesting in the PR world because it's still, only a decade old that's where people are going to get their information about where to go what products to use.

We are not only pitching stories to people who are in that traditional category of media, but we're also thinking about who is covering certain topics on social media. Where people are going to get their information and we are pitching them stories the same way that we would pitch someone at a newspaper.

[00:18:44] Will Schreiber: Yeah, I imagine the number of options for where people can talk about you has exploded. I think that's a great that I think that's a great segue into how if you're thinking about this for the first time and maybe you're not ready or able to hire. An agency or a PR person fully yourself.

How can you start to think about doing some of these things yourself to test, is this something worth doing? So would love to hear From your perspective, what are the basic steps for baby PR? If you were to get going, what are the basic buckets of. Major things to think about.

[00:19:19] Laura Fryer: Sure. So if you were going to do PR for your own brand the first step that we do as an agency, which I think is a great exercise for anyone who's interested in PR, whether they're doing it in house or they're hiring. Out for public relations services. I think a great 1st step is to create a backgrounder this is something that we do whenever we on board a new client.

And that's where you're getting the story about what you do as a business on paper. It really forces you to think about if it's an elevator pitch. It's if I had to talk about what makes us interesting, what makes us different, what we're offering that is unique and effective and worth talking about, what would I say?

And I would challenge you to try to keep it to one page, which is tough, but thinking about being succinct and concise while getting that message across. And that's part of a, broader PR toolkit that I would suggest putting together. So that would include a backgrounder if you have anyone in your company, it might be you.

It might be others who might be, press facing so people who might be answering questions from the media, whether in the form of interviews, or, providing quotes for articles or going on broadcast and doing a live TV segment. Also, I would suggest putting pen to paper about bios for each of those people and then, imagery graphics, of course, is also very important to PR. So I would also create a folder of any sorts of imagery. You have that also tell your story because they go along with that written element. Then you have your backgrounder, which talks about what you do in a very clear and concise way. You have your visual element with a folder of imagery and then bios for anyone who would be talking to the press.

And that's a great place to start. And so from there, the 2 main ways that people get the information that they're looking to communicate to journalists out there are individualized pitches and then press releases, which are typically more of something that you're distributing to a large group of people.

So you can use either one of these, but typically a pitch would be to someone who, maybe you follow what they cover. I used that example earlier of someone who might reach out to that journalist at the Wall Street Journal who wrote the article about breweries opening in small towns across the country.

That would be an example where you might put together a pitch that would say an email form. What your story is, why you think it might be interesting to their readership, how it aligns with coverage that they may have done in the past. And then a press release is something that you would typically use more so for an announcement that you have.

Whether it's maybe your company's launching for the first time. If you're a restaurant and you're going to be offering a brunch menu, and you never have before, that might be an example of a time you'd use a press release. If you have a really big event coming up. So press releases have been around for a long time in PR, and I still have found them to be very effective.

And Getting everything down on paper so that it's really easy for someone who might be interested in that topic to get what they need from it. And in, whether you do a pitch or a press release linking to those photos so that everything that they need is right there. There are also lots of examples of press releases online that you can look at as a frame of reference to see how people format it, what kind of information that they typically include.

But really what you're doing, if you're doing PR for your own brand is just making those connections and and then also the written storytelling element. So if you have those two, different processes going that's the bread and butter of PR. And I'm sure we'll talk more about why you might hire someone to do that for you versus doing it yourself.

[00:23:09] Will Schreiber: Yeah. Yeah. On that, it's all things an expert's going to do it better than you. And at some point you outgrow it. That's true has been true in our business so many times But before we get to that too would love to I once heard, I'm trying to remember who told me this but years ago talking about like one of the best ways you could build relationship With journalists or whatever was get on twitter follow them and actually reply to their tweets And then after a few months you could email them and they'll actually recognize your name because journalists like love Twitter, love talking about themselves and what they're writing about.

I don't know if that's still true. This was probably five, six years ago, but I thought that was really interesting. So what are ways that you can build relationships with journalists, with media people that could actually get your story out there? Because a cold email by itself is probably really hard without some sort of relationship behind the scenes.

[00:24:04] Laura Fryer: Yeah, I definitely think that what you're mentioning, whether it's Twitter or any other social media platform if someone is posting information or stories and articles that you find interesting and that you think might be interesting to others, I think that reposting them commenting is a great way to develop an initial relationship and to show that you're reading and you're interested and and you care about the coverage topics.

I think that's a great first step. And then, of course, it is something that Happens over time in terms of developing relationships. But if you have a great story, you have a great story. And I think that even if it is a cold email, if it's something that's really interesting and unique, and is something that could be a good fit for that specific journalist you might not have an existing relationship with them and they still might find what you're saying.

Really interesting. You know, I will mention some journalists receive like more than 100 pitches every single day. So it's really important to think about what you're saying, putting it into a format that is really gets your point across quickly and makes it easy for them. So having everything up front that they would maybe ask for as a next step.

That's why I mentioned photos because you might. Have a great story, but the next step might be, hey, do you have any photos? If I were to cover this of course, most articles have a photo at the top. Do you have any photos I can use? And also, even if they're not putting those photos in the article, they are part of your story and they help show visually who you are.

I think that. If you can really work on getting the, the communication down about what you do, that's to me, the most important way to develop that initial relationship. And I think a lot of journalists do get blanketed with emails from people who aren't paying attention to specifically what they cover.

And so if you are showing that You have been paying attention and you have really enjoyed what they've covered in the past and you're really reaching out because something is a fit for them specifically, and not just something that you're blasting out to thousands of people. I think that's a really great way to also develop a relationship.

[00:26:14] Will Schreiber: Yeah, I can't imagine the noise people get. I have a. Little personal blog that I rarely post to and I'll get like an email a week of someone asking for backlinks or Some that's like totally irrelevant. It's like somehow I've been scraped into so if you're a full time journalist or blogger or whatever I can't imagine the onslaught.

It's probably quite the deluge I think it's a great, I think it's a great point that your story needs to be like really sharp, really crisp to the point. Do you have any frameworks or tips for building that brand story?

[00:26:49] Laura Fryer: Yeah, so I would look at Think about is there a company who you've seen covered in the past?

You were like, wow, that's really great coverage for that company. If I could have a dream article about my brand, like that would be it. And I would look at that article and see what is it that journalist found interesting about that company? It's definitely like the who, what, when, where the basics and then are there specific quotes that they're pulling from the CEO?

Are they, talking more about what their next launch will be? Because what you're reading was the end result of what that journalist decided to cover. Is the kind of information that you want to be providing them with up front, so they don't have to go dig for it. That's another example of the more that you can be engaged and, reading what's happening in the media is important because it's going to really direct a framework for if you were to communicate on the PR side, what you would be including

[00:27:48] Will Schreiber: make sense.

And I think we've already tied my next kind of go to here was like, what other channels would you think about? I feel like we've already covered that with the new with the new all the new channels that are popping up. I'm curious, have you seen any like creative ways people have created noise in your years doing business or gotten press like a really unique creative angle or story that Has always stuck with you.

[00:28:13] Laura Fryer: Yeah, I would say that when it comes to something that is going to be an effective way to get press is definitely thinking about what is happening throughout the year. So if you can make a calendar of I know that in springtime, I see a lot of people are covering best springtime.

Places to eat outside. That is a great way to be thinking about what are some ways that I can make noise on a consistent basis. That's going to be happening throughout the year. So that's like a good way to be planning ahead for your PR timeline is to think about what kinds of stories do I see?

Which ones do we really fit into? So that then, okay, in June, people are going to be Talking about this kind of a topic. We fit into that because we're going to be offering this new product starting in June. So that's a great time for us to be fitting into that story. I think it's great when someone has 1 big pop in it and something that they're doing that's unique and different that creates a lot of noise.

And it is a great success. But beyond that, you want to be thinking about over time what you can be doing to make sure that you're just staying fresh and relevant in the minds of people who are engaging with the media.

[00:29:21] Will Schreiber: Yeah, I think I'm really hearing you say that. I think a really good 1 for a lot of people listening would be on the New Year's resolutions.

Everyone sees a pop of trying to eat healthy. And I feel like I always see articles about how quickly people fall off.

[00:29:34] Laura Fryer: Yeah.

[00:29:34] Will Schreiber: Um, it's sometimes it's three weeks, people are done, like the pop at the gym is so fast down. It's crazy. And so many businesses on Bottle try to help people eat better or food specific to their diet, latching onto that trend of like, why do people stop so early and how can you help people?

Stick around longer. What are tactics? And of course, having food made for you is probably a piece of that.

[00:30:00] Laura Fryer: Exactly. Yeah. And then another thing that we haven't talked about that I think is important to think about is beyond talking about what you do as a company, think about what areas of expertise can you offer?

Because if you can for example again, going back to the brewery concept. Of course, you can talk about what beers you offer. This is how to visit our brewery. This is where our tasting room is. That's all important. Great information. You want to get across to the public. But beyond that, if there are certain stories that you might be able to offer expert commentary on.

Then you that's a great way to build a relationship with a journalist is to say, hey, I actually have expertise in this specific kind of beer. So if you're ever covering a story in that kind of beer, and you need quotes about it, you need someone to answer questions about it. I want to be considered then that person is really going to be thinking about you over time.

And if you're, this is another important 1, if you're able to respond quickly Then you're helping build that relationship because they know that they, you're a reliable source that they can go to when, deadline and they're trying to cover this specific topic and they need someone who really knows a lot about beer.

They're going to think about going to you first. If they ask you a question back for a week, it becomes that relationship is probably going to go sideways because they're going to feel like they can't trust that you're going to get back to them in time. And a lot of these, stories have.

Really quick turnaround times now that so much is online. Someone might reach out to us and say, hey, I'm working on a story about, X, Y, Z. Do you have any clients that would be a good fit? I need a response by 5 PM today. So we kind of pivot and think about this is really worthwhile.

And maybe this specific story isn't like the best fit for what we do. But if I'm able to. Get into this story and develop this relationship, then they're going to be thinking about us for next time.

[00:31:48] Will Schreiber: Yeah. I that's really cool. I haven't thought about that. The relationship side, cause you totally see articles and quotes all the time.

This is what X, Y, Z said. I I feel like there's been software platforms too, that you can even pay money to be an expert that people will reach out to. Are any of those worth it? If you're a business owner. Are there any platforms that are legit or not in terms of being presented as a certain kind of expert?

[00:32:13] Laura Fryer: Yeah. One reason why you might want to hire a PR agency, if you're thinking about PR, is that oftentimes if they have relationships with journalists, they will come to, the journalist might come to your PR agency and say, hey, I'm working on this story do you have anything that could be a good fit?

So that's where there's a direct connection. Beyond that, there are lots of platforms out there that you can engage with you. Quoted is 1 of them. It's Q. W. O. T. E. D. Another 1 is Harrow. A lot of people have heard of that 1 helper reporter out and yeah, I've heard of that. Yeah, that one is probably the most widely known.

And on those platforms, journalists are posting, what stories they're working on. They're looking for specific sources. Hey, I'm working on a story about the best slow cookers out there. Again, maybe as a chef, you're like, that's not the most interesting story to me, but it is a way to develop a relationship to say, oh, hey, yeah, I actually can provide commentary on that.

And then you guys are making that connection for next time.

[00:33:14] Will Schreiber: Yeah, and are stuff like that, I mean I've never been on them, is there local stuff too or is that mainly like national press?

[00:33:22] Laura Fryer: That's mainly national press.

[00:33:24] Will Schreiber: Okay,

[00:33:25] Laura Fryer: and another thing that is somewhat tangential, but I think it's important to talk about is if there's anything that you can offer a firsthand experience in.

So maybe you have a product that you might be able to send to an editor. So that they can experience it firsthand, or you might have a physical space that you operate as your business. If you can invite a writer or a TV anchor, whoever it is that you are in conversation with in to come experience it, that is so much more impactful than sending an email about your story.

So do you think it's important to think about are there ways that you can give that in person experience And it is really great if you have a product you can send because of course, then it just opens up so much for you in terms of, Hey, this, this person's in California, but they can still experience what we're doing there.

And even if someone is in California and, you're operating a business in Nashville, I still think it's worth reaching out and saying, Hey, if you're ever in town, we'd love to have you in and show you a little bit about what we have going on.

[00:34:28] Will Schreiber: Yeah. I think one big takeaway of this that you keep bringing up is it's the long game a bit.

It's You can't expect to send an email and have some glowing thing written about your business. What you really want is to get to know those people so that you're top of mind.

[00:34:43] Laura Fryer: Yeah,

[00:34:44] Will Schreiber: and when there is a story, they can mention you

[00:34:47] Laura Fryer: all the time for a quota where, we might pitch a specific story idea and we don't hear back.

And then 6 months, a year later, the person comes back and says, Hey, I was thinking about this and I'm interested in it. Now let's talk and then it becomes a great story. So it's definitely a marathon, not a sprint.

[00:35:07] Will Schreiber: Yeah. What are the biggest mistakes people make in PR

[00:35:11] Laura Fryer: biggest mistakes people make? I would say are, really understanding that earned media is editorial coverage. And even if an article doesn't get in all the message points you wanted, it is. Up to the writer's discretion, what they're going to include and it's still great to have your name in there.

So I think just thinking about the bigger picture of being included in different pieces. Even if it doesn't have all of the information that you maybe would have included, if it was an advertisement, and you could put whatever you wanted in there, it's still really worthwhile to have your name included.

And people are it's for purposes to beyond just people reading it. And then I would say another big mistake is just, going back to what we were saying with a lot of these things are happening so fast. So if you do get the opportunity, and it's something you're interested in, I would say, just, making sure that you're prioritizing getting what you need over to them in time.

It's so helpful to whoever's working on the story and it's really going to help further your relationship for any sort of future back and forth with them.

[00:36:19] Will Schreiber: I feel like everyone always says all press is good press. Is that true? Is bad press?

[00:36:25] Laura Fryer: I don't think that's true, no. I don't think that's true.

I think neutral press is good press. I think it's still good for your name included, even if it's not the glowing review that you wanted. But no, I think bad press is bad press.

[00:36:38] Will Schreiber: Yeah. That's funny. Okay. Yeah, let's talk about like you've given a lot of great tips of if you were to try to do this yourself.

And I know that a lot of people starting a business you're thinking about what can I do really resource constraint to, to execute on an initial PR strategy. But at some point, I presume. It would be worth it to hire an agency. So when should that happen? Like when should a business owner think now's the right time to invest in PR and go external and hire somebody?

Is there a moment in the business that you view as the right time for that?

[00:37:14] Laura Fryer: I would say when, if you have a big announcement that you really want to be getting out to people whether it's that you're opening your business for the first time, whether it's a new product that you're launching, if it's something that you really want to make an impact with PR wise, some PR agencies will require that you sign up for a year contract.

We're a month to month and there are a lot of agencies like that as well. I want our clients to choose to work with us every single month. So if you have a really big announcement and you want to make a huge PR splash, you think that thinking about when to invest in that. Maybe you sign up for 3 months of PR around that announcement, a month before and 2 months afterwards.

But in terms of, why you might hire someone verse more of a DIY approach, I would say. It's really time and it's, relationships and, a PR agency's job is to interact with media all day long developing those relationships and knowing what information people need.

And it is a full time job. So oftentimes you're working more on running your business and just having someone that you can outsource this to could be really helpful. And also some people might feel uncomfortable talking about the merits of their own company because They might feel like they're bragging or it could be awkward.

So it's sometimes having a publicist talk about it for you can make it a little bit easier having someone else brag on you. And then I would say that just because of the relationships and the connections that a PR agency has, a lot of times they'll find out what people are working on in advance.

So that's what I was mentioning about every day people will reach out and say, Hey, I'm working on this story. And we're able to know in advance exactly what that topic is without having to retroactively say, hey, I saw you covered this. Our client could be a good fit for it. It enables you to get in during the time when journalists are working on that story.

And then I would just say, our publicist job is to read articles all day long. Having your finger on the pulse about what people are covering and doing that research can be really helpful. But all that being said, if you're at a point where you're feeling like it's something that you want to do on your own, you 100 percent can.

There are so many places you can go online to find examples of pitches and press releases and find ways to, to reach out if there's someone who's covering something that interests you. I would say, that's a great channel too. And and I hope that some of these tips have been helpful about how you can do it yourself as well.

[00:39:45] Will Schreiber: Yeah I, they absolutely have been. And I think my last question is if you were going out to hire an agency for the first time, if you've never worked with PR people, what are some questions you would encourage people to ask? As they looked for the right fit for their business.

[00:40:00] Laura Fryer: I think a really good question is.

What's your process? Like I mentioned at the beginning of the call, I think public relations can feel very behind the scenes because it's not something that you really see. It's more conversations that are happening and finding out more about, what is the onboarding process? If you hire a PR agency, what are the, what are those first steps that they're taking?

How often are they going to be reporting to you about what they're working on and what the results are and what. reporting mechanisms are they using? We use critical mention for media monitoring and that's a software platform that sends all of those stats I was mentioning earlier to our clients anytime they're mentioned.

If a story runs, that day it says XYZ is in the New York Times. Here's the number of people who read the story. Here's the advertising value. Here's where you're mentioned. So there are tools out there. That should be able to help you quantify the impact of those placements and are able to congregate everything in one place so that you can have reports of anything that has run about your company in the press since you originally hired the PR agency.

So definitely ask them about reporting. And then. In terms of making it a really successful relationship, our most successful relationships are when there's communication on both sides. So the more that you put into that relationship, the more you're going to get out of it. If you have something going on that you're not sure if it's going to be interesting to the media or not, always better to over communicate with your PR agency and say, Hey, we've got this new ingredient in that we're really excited about.

Is this something that you think people might be interested in? And. It's a way for you to brainstorm together what might be press worthy and what might not but those clients who are coming to us with their kind of day to day as well as us coming to them with ideas is definitely the most fruitful and impactful relationships.

[00:41:58] Will Schreiber: Yeah, that makes sense. I think Andy and I were talking even ahead of this week of kind of topics that would be helpful. And 1 thought we had was. Is it important to get your kind of ad tech in place before you even do marketing? Is it important to have good social, to have a newsletter, so that when you get the PR, you're actually capturing people in some way?

And then thinking through it a bit, I wonder, the flip side of that is how effective are there industries like food that are actually more effective via PR than they are via ads? At least for me, if I get an ad for food. I'm like, why am I getting an ad for food? If it were good, there'd be like, there's this weird psychology thing going on with food in particular that I don't think applies to PR.

Yeah. So I'm curious your perspective on the timing of that, of is it. It does. Should PR come after you've got kind of ads and social and email newsletter all kind of dialed up or in specific verticals? It's actually like the best channel and you should start there.

[00:42:59] Laura Fryer: Yeah. I think food is such a universal topic that everyone loves to talk about.

And that's why I love being focused on restaurants and food and reading about them and talking about them. And that's why there's so much media coverage of restaurants. Is it something that everyone can enjoy? And yeah. And relate to, even if it's a chef talking about a recipe, you can make it home.

That's fun to read. So I think that it is an interesting category in and of itself when it comes to PR, because there's a lot of opportunity to get your name out there because people love to talk about chefs, restaurants, food, in terms of having everything in place beforehand, I would say if you're starting a company for the first time, don't, if you're going to do PR around it, I would say, don't wait there.

I often hear people. Oh, I want to get 6 months under our belt and then do PR, but the media really want to be part of it. The launch from the beginning and you might have missed the boat of saying, Hey, we opened. Because they say no, you opened 6 months ago. This isn't as timely as it would have been then.

So I would say definitely do PR sooner rather than later. And because if you can, some people are planning their coverage for so far out Martha Stewart Living might be working on an article a year before they actually put it in the magazine. So more time is better, but I would have a place where you can collect email addresses, direct people if you have a social media page so that you at least are able to have that.

Kind of next step for people who are interested in learning more, even if you're not open yet and you want to have a splash page. It says sign up for our email newsletter to find out more about our opening. You're going to start getting those email addresses long so that you're going to have a successful email newsletter later.

[00:44:47] Will Schreiber: Yeah, I think there's 2 hearing that. I think there's 2 things if I could call out that feel really important to me. It's 1. we've learned a lot about in terms of marketing or what not that. An event, a precipitating event, and I forget what it's called, is just such a natural story and even buying decision for, and in this case, the buyer is the journalist, so the event being a new location opens.

Natural story, right? There's a natural reason to write the article and the journalist would want to write about that. Like it's something new in the neighborhood and nothing is bigger than launching, right? So I think that's a great point that from the beginning, PR could be an awesome strategy of just launching your business, opening a new location, really naturally precipitating event for there to be an article.

And the second thing that you said, I think is really important as most people, when they come to your website, aren't actually ready to buy. That's always been true. I think always will and making sure you have an off ramp for people who really like what you're doing, but aren't like, going to go through a checkout flow and sign up and order food on the spot.

So making sure you have a place to capture emails or phone numbers or whatever for people who arrived and are really interested in you. I think 22 really good points there.

[00:46:05] Laura Fryer: So true.

[00:46:06] Will Schreiber: How do you get, and this will be my I think my final question. If I'm just dying to get on local news, how would I do that?

I want to be interviewed, let's say, and have some clip or segment on local news about my business making meals. What would be my, what would the tactics be?

[00:46:25] Laura Fryer: Okay, so I would say first you have to find out who the producer is of that show. There's going to be the anchor, who is the person who's talking on camera, and there's going to be the people who are organizing the segment behind the scenes, the producers and you want to send them a pitch.

And I would say If it's something that you want specific coverage around, whether it's a launch or an opening you want to make that kind of the headline of your pitch is I wanted to reach out with to you because we're going to be opening in two weeks. It's really exciting time. I'd love to invite your crew to come see what we're doing and give them a kind of behind the scenes first look at what that's going to be.

But beyond that sort of email pitch. Which, may or may not be successful. And if it's not, don't get discouraged. I would say reach out back out again in a few months with a new idea. But beyond that, a lot of local TV stations. Are planning their coverage day of based on what's happening out in the community because they want to make sure that what they're covering is very timely.

And oftentimes, they might have plans to send their TV crew to 1 place. And then it turns out that something's happening across town and they have to pivot and go that direction instead. That is an example of a time when I would suggest calling the station. We do this all the time. The morning of if you have something exciting happening that day, because you will have a planner at the TV station who is going to be deciding.

Where the crew goes based on what's happening that day, and you want to make sure that you're on their radar for potential coverage and making sure that they have your phone number. They can call you. You can let them in if they want to come visit and give them the tools that they need to be successful.

So I would definitely say call the station. You can find the phone numbers of. Any local TV news station online beyond also that email outreach on the day of, it's just another great way to make sure that you're top of mind for their planning coverage that day.

[00:48:26] Will Schreiber: Very cool. I think, and even hearing that it's same day, often you can Yeah, to your point, if it's not successful, you can keep trying.

It might just be a day up thing. Cool. Any any parting words of wisdom or things we haven't covered that you think You'd love to touch on before we wrap up.

[00:48:44] Laura Fryer: This was great. I'm just so grateful to anyone who tuned in and really enjoyed the conversation. And I'm here. My email address is Laura at with a you at Blue Hominy dot com and our websites Blue Hominy dot com.

So I'm happy to answer Any questions if you're, looking to do PR in house or wanted to use any of these tactics yourself, I'm more than happy to be someone to bounce ideas off of or be a resource.

[00:49:10] Will Schreiber: Awesome. Yeah, thank you so much for joining and thanks to everyone for tuning in.

We will, this was recorded, we will post it online. We'll include Laura's details, both linked to her website. And how to get in touch when we post that and in our follow up email, but if you want to go ahead and get in touch and you didn't catch your email, email us, we'll put you in touch directly. But yeah, this was learned a lot here and thank you so much for your time.

And that this was really awesome.

[00:49:38] Laura Fryer: I hope

[00:49:38] Will Schreiber: you have a great rest of the day.

[00:49:39] Laura Fryer: Hope everyone has a great day.

[00:49:41] Will Schreiber: Absolutely. All right. See ya.