How To Get Free Publicity
Devin MillerThe Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
How To Get Free Publicity
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
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um you know claiming all the free uh listings online and and getting listed to google my business um depending what type of business you operate you you might want to consider uh harrow uh uh harrow is an acronym for help uh reporter out and uh you can sign up and um and choose the field or industry that uh that you're an expert in and um and you can sign up for uh one or two notifications or actually three notifications a day and uh and then you will be um the media will be contacting you they're looking for experts you know such as yourself it doesn't matter what business you're in [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host evan miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where you help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat now today on today's expert episode we have brian wind and brian we're going to be talking about a few different things including being a constant learner and improving your skills and talking a bit about the ability to get free publicity and how to how to get publicity with dollars how to get it without dollars and what you might consider there um and also maybe chat a little bit about uh customer service and how to provide some value and giving more than what you promise and making the customer feel like you know when they walk away they really got more value than what they paid for which is always a good thing so um it'll be a great conversation look forward to having it and with that welcome on the podcast brian thanks devin it's great to be back absolutely so well i just gave a a run-through of uh you know a lot of the the things we're going to be talking about but before we dive into that uh maybe you know for those that are tuning in to the inventive expert for the first time or didn't catch your inventive journey episode um you know introduce yourself take a minute or two let the audience know kind of who you are and what you do and why you have experience in this area of expertise okay well in 1981 uh when i was 21 years of age i started a simple side hustle and grew that into a full-time six-figure business that i still operate today and uh back in the day i started with very little money um i barely graduated high school and uh not many skills and through passion patience and persistence um grew it into a successful business so now you see you say okay grow it into a successful business and i think that now part of the thing we're going to talk today is you know as part of that business you know everything from how you got publicity free versus paid and how you had your created a good customer uh customer experience and provided that value so maybe with that we'll jump we'll jump right in and have a bit of a very discussion there so one of the things i know that we talked about a bit before the the podcast was you know there's a couple different ways that you can get publicity or you know marketing in general one is and this was you know back in the day before you had social media where you're posting on facebook or you're posting on instagram but even you know i think the same principles apply throughout and it's a consistent principle which is you know some you know what it was uh you know we talked a little bit about getting paid publicity versus how to get it without without any dollars and kind of what was your approach or how did you go about doing that well when i started out um you know i it was on a very tight uh budget shoestring budget if you will and so i didn't have money to to get publicity but so i just uh read all sorts of material um you know how to get publicity and the do's and don'ts and then also i learned from experience from doing and um i learned how to pitch media whether it be the local media or um or or national i do it and i was fairly successful in in getting publicity and what i learned and a lot of people whether they're in business or not um have to realize is um you can't come across a salesy i mean they're the media is not going to advertise your business so you have to find a hook or an angle that um that the media um they're always looking for stories to share that are entertaining or or educational and so if you can find that hook uh what that little thing is about your business that um um the public would like to know about or you believe uh so um then pitch the newspaper or the television stations or or you know the magazines etc and it's easy it's far easier these days to find out you know um the contacts you just go online but you know back in the day when i started before the internet you'd actually have to grab the actual physical publications go to the newsstands etc and all that information is is there um so you need to be patient you know you're not going to get be or be successful with every pitch you make but if you're persistent uh at some point it'll pay off it's like it's a game of odds um you know uh you play pay the or play the numbers and uh it's really good i i highly recommend that people do this irregardless of you know whether they think that they're deserving or a lot of people tend to think down on on their business and think well you know there's nothing really anybody uh would want to know about my business that makes it that that different or unique but really there is you can find that hook and it builds credibility and you know you can do all sorts of stuff with that you can put it on your website and and backlinks developing those backlinks are extremely important because especially with seo because you'll rank higher if you're seen as an expert in your field now one of the things i thought was interesting and this does go back to you know our previous episode so for the listeners you can go back to the inventive journey and listen to brian's episode um on what his business is on his journey but you know the business that you really did a lot of this which was clean lots which is you're basically going around to retail outlets or to other places at physical location and your business was like keep their lots cleaned right and so one of those things was you know you wanted to get make yours or come across as doing that now as far as uh free publicity how did you go about kind of integrating or embedding that with your business you know because i think that everybody always wants you know if you can get free advertising free marketing your free publicity in other words i don't have to pay someone to do all the advertising you know that's always to agree you can get it or leverage it with your business is more beneficial than having to go pay for the same thing so how did you you know because with that kind of a business where you're going around cleaning lots how did you get publicity well yeah actually i run a very very simple service based business it's it's uh it's provided on foot with a unique hand tool that allows us to clean up more litter material in less time thus saving our customers uh money and how much they pay uh you know on a on a monthly or yearly basis for their their parking lot litter cleaning so um what i did is um um you know and anybody can clean and all sorts of people are cleaning but i found a very unique tool uh early on that i still use today um and um and a lot of people you know they take for granted um you know parking lots being clean but nobody really sees it the work being done so so the angle i used was hey you know what um you know um i'll put the question out there dude does have you ever seen anybody cleaning parking lots so who who do you think works late at night you know cleaning these parking lots well you know i you know i do that and i do with a simple tool that makes it very efficient and and economical for my clients so um the the local newspaper um bit at that they they took the they took the bait and i got a really good write-up um a half-page write-up in the local newspaper and which was really good you know for um my prospects um you know some some people you know saw you know oh well you know we're gonna contact this guy you know he can he may perhaps he can help us out but more importantly um you know that like i said before it it gave us credibility uh and you know we put it on our uh we actually used it in promotional materials before the internet and then when the internet came along um we just gradually started adding that to our our pages and you know people want to check you out they want to see okay is this some guy who's a fly-by-night operation or has he got a history has he got some experience behind him no i think that definitely makes it no you know the one question i maybe i didn't catch him if you hit on it when you know as far as finding those initial kind of publicity through the newspapers and i think you know it's the same thing even today even maybe more so news outlets are looking for you know interesting article or interesting material they're always looking for a great story and you know those type of things and so like oftentimes that gets overlooked because you hear the other ways avenues of marketing but i think that's still a great way back when you had that did they did you reach out to them did you think hey this is a great avenue or is it more organic have they heard about you and reached out to you maybe i missed that but how did that initial kind of connection be made yeah fair enough um um i just contacted the the largest daily newspaper at the time and um uh and contacted the business editor and um and then he passed me on to one of the staff writers and you know we set up an appointment and met and he did an interview and we met on site he took some pictures of me actually doing you know posing with the tool doing the cleaning and and that's how it uh it went that's how it went um more recently i pitched the largest tv news station um i guess just at the outset of the the pandemic when we noticed people started uh tossing their used ppe like the masks the wipes the gloves and parking lots and um i i didn't recall seeing a reading anywhere um that our competition was taking advantage of this so um you know i i went online and found the news tip line and you know pitched the idea of the story that hey you know um we're seeing all sorts of this material on the on the parking lots and you know we we provide this cleanup service and uh would you be interested to learn more and like within a half an hour after pitching that on their news tip line again i was contacted by a reporter who was assigned the story and we met out the very next uh day early in the morning at five a.m and and he uh he did a video and an interview and i was on the the dinnertime news and uh the following day at the lunchtime news and then even on their website and that the story just went it blew up went nationwide and i got several other uh requests for interviews from media across the country no i think that's a great you know one of the things i think is interesting is just hey i'm going to reach out to them i'm going to try and put a bit of a unique spin or you know kind of an interesting uh application to the story and then you're able to get picked up which sounds simple and yet very often people kind of overlook that or don't really think about it and i think it's a great way to get uh you know that publicity in order to get the name out there and to continue to get business there so well now shifting gears just a little bit i think it goes right along there and one of the other things we talked about was how to provide a you know a high level of customer service and to you know give more than you promise make customers feel like they get getting more value than what they're paying for and so you know what what are kind of the tips or the thoughts on along those lines in other words how did you go about providing great customer service and making them feel like hey i'm getting a great deal and i'm really paying you know should be paying more for this but i'm not going to because i want to save money but you know those type of things how did you go about setting up those relationships well you know again you know there's all sorts of cleaning businesses and and based also um you know providing that value and and and uh and giving them more that where they feel that oh well you know what in addition to the cleaning service he's also offering us this as well so as an example uh when we're out cleaning the parking lots and um you know we come across um you know maybe an object someone is dumped illegally uh in front of a waste dumpster in the back um if it's if it's small enough we'll first of all we'll take a picture of it which we'll forward to our client and inform them that you know somebody uh you know drove by late at night and tossed off a mattress or or some tires or whatever um if it's large enough we'll just let them know obviously you're gonna have to get somebody to haul it away but we're letting you know about this um because we're acting as an extra set of eyes and they really appreciate that extra value that we provide for them but if it's a small enough item we can just toss those items into the waste dumpster and say look you know this is what we saw this is what we did no extra charge and um you know if they perceive that they're getting the extra value from you they're more likely to want to continue doing more business with you in fact do more business with you as opposed to maybe somebody else they're using where they don't get this similar type of customer service or or value no and i think you know one of the things i thought i liked in there was one you're doing it but two not in a bad way you know not in a self-promotional way but you're just saying hey here's something we want to let you know that happened it went on and we you know here's what we did to take the steps to remedy it and rather than it comes across saying hey we're trying to you know almost self-promote us more of hey we just want to make you sure you're in the loop but this is going on in case you want to do anything to remedy it you know by the way we're also fixing the problem even though it's not our responsibility and one of the things i you know the um things i you know heard recently that i you know quite liked was you know people don't really care who's faulted if you know people if you're there people don't care who's fault it is if you're the the one that's in charge of fixing it in other words it's you know the person that whoever did or created the problem they really don't care who created the problem if you're the one that's they perceive to be the one that should be in charge of fixing it then that's who they look to and it sounds like you know even going above and beyond that creates that good impression so other ways of or any other thoughts it's ways that you can help to because i think there are two things you caught there one is you're actually going above and beyond but two if you're going above and beyond and the client's never aware of it or they never perceive it while it's great that you're doing a good job and maybe eventually down the road it is that balance so other ways that you kind of highlight it or otherwise that you created a good culture of going above and beyond with your customer service um well it's just it's staying in touch with them um you know i mean you don't want to be a nuisance where you're reaching out to them because our customers are very busy people so unless there's something they need to know they're they're not necessarily going to appreciate somebody reaching out out all the time for small talk so it's basically just wanting to make sure they're happy with your service if you would appreciate any feedback whether it's good or bad and um you know what there's enough opportunities through throughout the week or month to you know to to to to have that opportunity to stay in touch with your clients um without you know trying to you know create something uh which you know which they can quickly see okay there this is we don't need to hear this let us know when there's something we need to know no and i think that that's a good point i mean in the one sense you don't want to under communicate right in other words if they never hear from you too if you're too far out of sight out of mind they forget about you and then they wonder why what they're paying you for or why they're paying you for it so you don't want to have them so that they never think about you on the other hand if you're consistently providing over communicating you're providing too much information or detailing and say hey i've got other things i need to worry about if things are getting taken care of that's great that's all i worry about and you know we even found that you know different or different uh application but then with the law firm is we try and provide clients with updates what's going on you know what are we doing with the patent or the trademark or other legal matters and it is that balance and you know sometimes we had to find that balance because sometimes they say hey i've got all these emails do i need to do anything with them and on the other hand if we didn't provide any updates or we just did the work and you know until it was done then they're saying hey i need to know what's going on i paid you guys money which every right to have that question and so that was a balance and even this thing that we found was as simple as you know doing that was in the tagline of the email we just said no response required or response required and let them know hey we're just providing you an update we actually need to hear something back from you or we need some feedback or some direction and i think even those things when you're looking at customer communicating or communication letting them know what's going on and how to deal with it it can have a big impact even just those little things like taking the picture or talking with the customer but not over communicating or overwhelming them yeah and you know what also i um you know how do you appreciate your customers i mean do you take the time at least once a year to send them a small token of appreciation like you know whether it be thanksgiving or at christmas time uh do you send them a christmas card or what you know if you've got a client that's responsible for thousands and thousands of dollars of your revenue um you know a box of chocolates or something like that you know to pop by the office and and drop it off and and you know nowadays um you know it's possible to do business with people without really ever meeting them or seeing them um you know everything is done you know either texting or or email and so sometimes that's an opportunity for you to to actually meet the person and uh so you know then you you actually place a face to to to the name and um you know they they really appreciate that and um you know it's just like i say it's just something to always stay in their mind and let them know that you know you're in business to serve their needs no and i think that that is that's absolutely right kind of now one other thing going along with that we talked about and maybe this kind of to wrap things up a bit is the other thing we talked about i think it transitions well is going after the low hanging fruit within a business in other words a lot of times you know the high you know pie hanging or the fruit at the top of the tree always looks the prettiest and always looks the nicest and you're saying that's where i want to go for because it will have the you know the most perceived value or the most acclaimed type of a thing and it makes you feel like you're you've got you know beat the market type of a thing but oftentimes it's that low-hanging fruit that can have a lot of impact on the business so as you're kind of going about doing that any thoughts on how you kind of identify that low-hanging fruit or how you go about getting there going after them yeah well that's a great question um because a lot of people like you say you know they're they're starting a business and you know what comes to mind right away is is a website and uh they tend to forget the the free stuff the uh for example you know it's amazing how many businesses have been in business for a while and they've got a website but they haven't claimed their google my business listing for example and you know all the search engines google's the biggest obviously so i mentioned google my business but the other ones they have a very similar product and it acts like a mini website it doesn't cost you anything and um you know you can you can pull you can create posts uh you know i'll put images videos on it and everything but before you spend money on a website when you're starting a business is uh you know you know get the google my business listing uh get get listed in all the online uh directories in your city um or even nationally and that helps your prospects find you when they're doing a search i mean you know if they're looking for your service or or a product um they're they're able to find you because you know you're you're on these directories or on you know listed with the search engines and it it's amazing to me how many people you know skip that they miss out on that and uh they go to directly to the the website and uh you know they're they're both important but you know i i'm a big advocate especially for my type of business and i'm showing other people across the country how to start uh you know a lot of these people have never been in business before and they're starting to say just as i did on a shoestring budget and i always remind them like let's do this first before and then you can always reinvest the profits into a website later as your business grows no and i think that that's that's absolutely right i mean in the sense that you know and it for those of you that may or may not be familiar with google my business is basically the back end where you set up an account that when you go search on google and you're looking for a business you know a lot of times you'll see the business pop up even the map locations or on the side and it provides you more details of a given business and it's pretty simple it doesn't take really any expertise to set up you provide the working hours are you going to be open and close you're going to provide contact information a bit about your business and it's a great way to get things started now i'm not saying that you can also go upset up a website and that may be the next step but to your point kind of that low-hanging fruit of a lot of times you jump and say hey i have to jump three or four steps down the line you know because this is what everybody tells me and yeah you're missing those earlier opportunities where go set up the google my business page as an example take 30 minutes to do that and you're having that in there and already can start cultivating business before you go for that higher hanging fruit so i think that that is absolutely a great takeaway right and you know and you're able to get reviews as well i mean you you can ask your clients you know if they're happy with your service to to give you a good review and and nowadays uh you know especially a lot of younger people every business bit different but you know some people before they go to a restaurant for example before they even go if they've never been there before they'll do a search and and they'll look uh what kind of reviews you know how is it rated on on yelp or you know or some of the other ones and then um they make the decision based on you know what kind of reviews that that business or restaurant gets before they they uh they bother going no i think that's that's absolutely right and i think you know the overarching thing a lot of it i think there's that that constant uh theme throughout what we've discussed is you know one is if you're going to go out and look for ways to get free publicity there's a lot of avenues that people don't chase down other low-hanging fruits such as google my business a lot of times even going on to social media and seeing what people are asking for are people asking for your services are they asking for recommendations and just responding to those people again and so is that low-hanging fruit and then following up with doing a great job over for over you know over delivering and providing more value than what they perceive to pay for is going to do a lot for your business and all that is free you haven't even had to pay anything yet to get that all up and going and yet that can have a bigger impact a lot of times that higher hanging fruit so i think that is absolutely great takeaways well as we wrap up the the podcast and there's always there was a great conversation hit on a lot of interesting and fun areas as we wrap up you know we hit on several different things everything from free publicity as i mentioned to the winging fruit to customer service to you know their communication with the customer you know people were you know and there's a lot of things that we could you know cut or startups and small businesses should get started on but you only have so many hours a day and you only have so many things that you can get started on at once so they could have just kind of one takeaway one thing that they really should get started on they should consider getting they're getting to work on what would that one thing be oh well i i guess it would be um you know claiming all the free uh listings online and getting listed uh google my business um depending what type of business you operate you you might want to consider uh harrow uh harrow is an acronym for help uh reporter out and uh you can sign up and um and choose the field or industry that that you're an expert in and um and you can sign up for one or two notifications or actually three notifications a day and uh and then you will be um the media will be contacting you they're looking for experts you know such as yourself it doesn't matter what business you're in and um there's there's right way and a wrong way about going about it and you can be far more successful if you basically give them what they're asking for you know some people make the mistake and they again they come across as two salesy and said i do this it's about me it's all about me and but you know just answer the questions uh that they put forward and then it's what's really important i found is you have to offer the credentials when you sign off you you've got to include some of your urls like for your linkedin profile etc and you know if you've written a book then you know right that you're the author of you know whatever the title book is and it gives you credibility and that report is more likely going to use your quote or or the information you've sent them than somebody who just basically uh you know looks looks like they don't have any credibility because they haven't properly uh you know spent some time on their signature no i think that that that's a that's a great takeaway definitely a great place to get started well as we wrap up if people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you find out more well if people are interested in learning more about my business and you know the opportunity that i offer um they can check out clean lots america's simplest business it's on my website at cleanlots.com awesome i definitely encourage people to check out cleanlots.com first of all i think it's an awesome business very interesting and uh it sounds like a lot of great advice as to how to get a business up and going so with that thank you again brian for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own expertise to share your own journey or to share we'd love to have you reach out to the podcast and let us know and we'd love to share uh that with all the the entrepreneurship and startup community also as a listener make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because we want to make sure that everybody finds out about all of our awesome episodes and last but not least if you ever have any need with patents trademarks or anything else in your business just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us a chat we're always here to help thank you again brian and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks [Music] you