A Deep Dive into Public Relations: Part 1

Everything you have ever wanted to know about public relations is answered here by a PR professional and a local journalist in part one of this two-part series.

Joe: Good morning, good afternoon, good evening. Whatever time it is you’re tuning in, thanks for joining us today at the B2U Podcast presented by CBR Biz. Our goal is to bring you business resources directly to you. I’m your host Joseph and today I have the pleasure of having Caroline Hudson from the Charlotte Business Journal and Nepherterra Estrada Best, co-founder of Mosaic Communications and Pride PR, in the studio to talk about something that businesses sometimes don’t do or just aren’t even great at, uh public relations. So, uh this is going to be a two-part series and this is part one with Caroline and Neph. So, let’s jump right in. So, thanks for joining us today ladies.

Nepherterra: Thanks for having us.

Caroline: Thank you.

Joe: Let’s do some quick introductions so that our listeners can get to know you. So, Caroline, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Caroline: Okay. Well, thank you, again, Joe for having me. So, I am the banking reporter at the “Charlotte Business Journal”. And so, I mostly cover banking and financial services, but I also do some with technology companies and startups as well.

Joe: Since you cover banking, I’m sure that keeps you pretty busy here at Charlotte.

Caroline: Absolutely.

Joe: Cool. And Neph, you do a lot of things. So, tell us a little bit more about yourself. And also I heard you were the 40 under 40 winner for the “Charlotte Business Journal,” so congrats.

Nepherterra: I was. Well, thank you. Last year and CBJ just announced their new cohort. So, congratulations to all of the 2018 winners. As you said, Joe, I do a lot of things. I own a public relations company with an office in Milwaukee and I own one here in Charlotte called Pride PR. And I also recently started an online press release distribution service for small businesses called NewsReleaseNow.com. So, yes, I’m busy.

Joe: It sounds a lot more busier than me.

Nepherterra: I know.

Joe: So, let’s get this started by like actually defining what PR really is. So, like what exactly makes up public relations and how is it different than general marketing?

Caroline: And Neph, I’m deferring to you on this one. You’re the expert.

Nepherterra: No, well, please chime in, Caroline. So, I like to tell people that PR is storytelling, ultimately. PR shapes images and helps to generate a positive publicity for organizations and enhance their reputation. So, that’s really what public relations is. We work a little bit behind the scenes, working with media, working to build other relationships to help advance our clients’ agenda or improve their brand. And as we talked about earlier, marketing is more direct to consumer, it’s more sales, it’s more advertising. So, I would say that that’s the biggest difference between the two.

Joe: Sounds good. So, clearly, you two are PR and are journalists. So, how do you guys, kind of, work together?

Nepherterra: I stalk her. No, I’m just kidding.

Caroline: It’s true. She does.

Nephereterra: I do, I really do. I’m like, “Caroline, Caroline.”

Caroline: No, I mean, I would say, we talked about earlier, PR is more behind the scenes. A lot of times I get the ball rolling, I would say, to make sure that they put this information or the story pitches in the hands of the journalist. And then a lot of times I work with PR reps to coordinate interviews with different employees, executives, whoever it may be. So, they’re really, I would say, facilitating the process and really getting it going for us.

Nepherterra: I agree.

Joe: So, from a PR professional standpoint, what’s kind of your day-to-day, busy, behind the scenes type work that you’re doing for a small business?

Nepherterra: Well that’s a good question. I’m doing a lot of things as far as working with the different clients. So, I’m definitely pitching media, trying to work with my clients to really figure out what is their story, what’s newsworthy, and what’s not. A lot of it is educating our clients that just because you’re having a ribbon cutting, doesn’t mean it’s going to be on the front page of CBJ.

So, a lot of it is education and really helping them understand what’s newsworthy and what’s not. And then, again, working with media and other professionals to help get that story out, a lot lately with social media as well because it’s a great vehicle to help get your message out in a controlled, um controlled way. And so, also doing some event planning. We have a great creative team that does some graphic design. So, it’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It changes every day, quite honestly.

Joe: So, I’m sure big companies out there probably have a whole team of people that do PR work for them and things of that nature. So, how does a smaller business deal with like a crisis or jumping out in front of the media when something might go wrong?

Nepherterra: I think that’s good for you Caroline.

Caroline: I would say the biggest thing is just don’t be afraid to actually reach out to us. I mean, journalists, they want to hear what’s going on, they want to hear what you have to say if something newsworthy is happening. So, you don’t necessarily need to be hesitant when you do reach out. I spend a lot of my day funneling through emails, and information, and story pitches. That’s part of my job. So, I always welcome it when people, especially small businesses, want to reach out and get to know me on a more personal level. I think that’s very helpful.

Joe: Makes a lot of sense. So, well, we appreciate the crash course and all the things about PR. Is there anything else you’d like the listeners to know before we close?

Nepherterra: Sure, I would just add that, like Caroline said, don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid to reach out. Don’t be afraid to figure out who covers your industry and who locally is, would cover a story similar to yours. I think that PR is a great opportunity for small business owners. And it’s something that they can even try to do on their own if they have the time and the resources.

Caroline: I would also say, from my end, if you are a small business and you are enlisting the help of PR, I think it’s important to remember that at the end of the day we are both just one person talking to another. And so, rather than being hung up on providing me with canned responses, statements that don’t really sound personable, um I think journalists themselves we aren’t as interested in that and also our readers. You know, they just want to hear from you as if they’re talking with you. So, that’s important to remember that we’re all people here and nothing to be too nervous about.

Nepherterra: That’s a great point.

Joe: Great advice. Well, listeners, this has been the first episode in a two-part series with Caroline and Neph. Stay tuned for our next episode where Caroline and Neph give you expert tips on how to pitch and how not to pitch. This is going to be a fun one. That’s all for today and thank you for tuning in to our B2U podcast presented by CBRBiz.com. If you have any questions about today’s podcast, feel free to Tweet us @CBRBiz. And until next time, we mean business.

Do you have a topic you’d like to hear us cover on our #B2UPodcast? Tweet us @CBRBiz!

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