What’s the difference between PR, Social Media, and SEO?


Kellis: Okay, everybody. So, welcome to the show. Thanks for joining us. I have my same colleagues, Kenny Bost and Kim Marshall here. Kenny Boss is the co-founder of True North Social along with myself. Kim Marshall is the founder and principal of S’Well the Agency, that does some amazing PR. Just to let you guys know we have worked together on a couple of projects now. Kim is our go-to person for anything PR related. Kenny and I are pretty good with social media, SEO, digital marketing side of stuff, but PR is a little bit different animal than what we do. And we kind of have these conversations constantly about where does what one of us do start and overlap with our fellow colleagues and then, where does it stop and just become a completely different thing.

I’m kind of asking Kim questions about PR all the time because I want to know. How do you go about doing this and how do you go about doing that? So, thanks for joining Kim.

Kenny: Are you kidding me? You guys are so hip and cool. Mostly in PR it’s girls and so it’s so nice to see some guys in this arm of marketing and its sort of a flip thing. But we can’t exist without each other so we have to help each other.

Kellis: Yeah, for sure. So, I got a couple of questions. I wanted to bounce back and forth between you guys just to kind of let our audience know let like give them a basic idea of PR and social media. So, Kim, can you tell me a little bit about like what is PR and why is it valuable?

Kenny: Well, let me first just say a little bit about my background.

Kellis: Sure.

Kenny: You know that I’m not just blowing smoke.

Kellis: Absolutely.

Kenny: I started out as a journalist and I wrote about theater and lifestyle and authors and all of it. And in college when I took communications, I thought PR would never do that. I mean, I want to be the source. But then I started working for an airline and I was being published when articles were being published and I would fly to different places to interview people. And they had an opening in their PR department, which allowed me to travel for free if I worked there. So, I went and it was just so amazing for an airline to have a department that took over when like a plane landed on the wrong airport or God forbid an accident happened. Or you were launching routes. So that started my travel and lifestyle PR expertise.

I went on to work for an agency that worked for a representative major resort around the world and that led to me working on property in Hawaii, California. You can be jealous but it was really super.

Kellis: Jealous.

Kenny: So, let me just say what the Public Relations Society of America says purest. They say, Public Relations is a strategic communications process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. So that’s my job. But literally it is third party endorsement. In other words, an ad is what you say about yourself. The PR is what you get other people to say about you. So, it’s all will and good for someone to say we’re the best or we’re the winner. But when you get the thumbs up, thumbs down or the rotten tomatoes. That’s even more important. You see movies do it all the time. They quote experts.

So, we try to get the attention of experts in the topic we’re representing and get them to review it or write about it any part of it and it just helps raise awareness. And also, I’ll finish with a company that does PR typically understands about keeping their brand healthy. It’s like exercise and taking vitamins. If you do PR, you’ll see that company is usually much better rooted in the community and in the marketplace and they’re much better understood.

Kellis: That is awesome and in fact, I think you’ve mentioned something to me once or twice about this and wait, you mentioned something about PR being about getting third-party endorsements and how much that can help a business. I think from my side of the fence with the SEO stuff, one of the things that I think I have come to realize trying to get Google to rank a site is that Google has become sort of the facto third-party endorsement of choice. Like people don’t really think of it as a trusted source, but every time you pick up, pull out your phone and start searching for something, it becomes that but Google is one, right. And then you’re figuring out how to target it way outwards towards everybody else.

Kenny: But also, if you’re a techie brain like you guys are, someone a client explained to me once. You should tell everybody this reality. When an article appears in the LA Times, travel leisure, whatever. It’s embedded deep into the web. And so, it just guarantees that the awareness goes up. I mean, she sat and showed me the metatag HTMLs. The awareness of her spa from a few articles. I understand that. Can you guys explain?

Kellis: Well, I mean, I could but not without a bunch of tools and honestly, I don’t think we need to go that deep into the weeds for everybody about what metadata is and meta tagging. That wouldn’t be super informative or enlightening. But I think what’s important about it is that every little thing counts. Google is looking at all of this little stuff. And from my side of the fence, it’s much easier to do all that under-the-hood sort of code work than to actually get an article published in the LA Times. That involves a lot of connections.

Kenny: Yeah.

Kellis: But just so I can I can rope Kenny in here a little bit. Ken, tell me about your side of the fence and social media marketing what we do and why it’s valuable to our clients.

Kim: Yeah. And I was giggling a little bit to myself there with Kim because I don’t know. I know I’ve mentioned this to you before Kim, but right out of college I did PR in college. That was my major.

Kenny: Wow.

Kenny: Out of college when I moved to Santa Monica, I got an internship at public relations place. An unpaid three-month internship. And then I they didn’t have a job ready for me so I did another three months unpaid. And then basically they were like forced to get me a job. So, I got a job there and started looking through the USA Today and like all these different newspapers and their online forms of all these magazines. I would screenshot and clip and put it into a PDF. Basically, like these projects of all the places we got everywhere and then now we get sent to the client. So, I was doing that and then they were.

Kim: Perfect. Do it all the time.

Kenny: Yeah, and they were like hey we have a social media department. It was one person that did Disney, HBO, CBS. This was like, no, I don’t even think Instagram was out yet. So, Facebook.

Kim: The really old kind.

Kenny: Yeah. I mean so that’s how I got into social media just by tips. They were like do you want to work in the social media department? It’s like her and one person reviewed everything. So, I started making calendars for like all these old tiki shows like Mash, I Love Lucy. I did like her official Facebook page. All these shows that I had heard of but never really seen. Maybe I’ve seen I love Lucy or this Three Stooges or whatever.

Kim: You saw it because my husband’s so cute

Kenny: Yeah. And so that’s kind of how I got into social media then I was like, I could just do this by myself for small to medium-sized brands and work on my own. So that’s what I did and then shortly after I met you Kel.

Kellis: Yeah.

Kenny: We worked on a project together where I did the social media side of things. Instagram was out by now. And Kellis did the website side of things.Ecommerce focused website side of things. And we like working together so well and then that’s how we started the agency at the time there were no Instagram stories, no reels, it was just square posts, basic captions. There was no link in bio. I mean the level of where it was to where it is now is so different.

Kim: Oh, definitely and remember Kenny what you and I always say is so many people have social media and it’s pretty and some of it isn’t pretty, but they have like 30 likes. It’s a big viable business. They have like 30 likes on a post. Why bother? I mean if you are a global or a major national entity and no one is engaging with you or following you. We always say if the tree falls in a forest. I mean is it even quite expensive?

Kim: I see big brands all the time that I’m thinking- who is managing this? They probably have one person in one department just like that PR agency that did.

Kenny: Yeah.

Kenny: So that’s kind of where all that started. I mean in fact then we would grow Instagram accounts by basically using robots to like mass engage with other brands or followers of other brands and things like that. Now we do most of that ads and influencers. So, the landscape has changed dramatically but I will say at the end of the day people still want sales. They want more followers and they want more engagement. So, like the objective is still the same. It’s just now you have a much bigger tool kit to get the job done.

Kim: Well, for me the thing that’s so frustrating is with PR, it’s so very hard to measure the results. Because say for instance, my partner co-founded. He specializes in wellness and hospitality service. I would say, especially one of our major clients is a hot spring in Colorado. Well, their marketing guy is really good with digital measuring and one of the things we focus on is awards. So, this place is always there with the world’s deepest geothermal spread. It’s been there forever, but a new young couple of guys bought it and really wanted take it to the top of so they hired us and to exist now on the world’s best like the best resorts in Colorado are the top hot springs in the world to be included in the discussion is really part of the goal of PR. And to manipulate that and know how to ask the finest travelers New Year’s Choice Awards you have to write to your customers so you vote. But you have to do it. The people who do it win you know to actually get included but real do you make the effort to be known because the marketplace in whatever category you are is typically super crowded whether you’re a watch company, a beverage company, whatever. So, you have to rise above the fray and it takes a whole marketing plan not just one thing.

Kenny: I feel you thought on the measuring of things. Especially with because when I think of social media, I think of it as two things. Brand awareness and sales. The two Completely different objectives and different things you need to do to go down those paths and like I would think that PR would fall more under the brand awareness side of things. I mean, it’s my favorite think side of things to do, the sales side of things. We have media buyers who spend X amount of dollars and get X amount of sales back and it’s very like calculated and yes, there is some creative involved. But on the brand awareness side, it’s like using an influencer. How many people did they reach? I would assume like for magazines or newspapers, it’s like how many readers do they have or things of that nature.

Kenny: Yeah.  It is a question. I guess.

Kim: It gets really changing and Kellis I’m sorry to rattle on.

Kellis: No.

Kim: I really want to say that True North is different. Tell me if I’m wrong but I rarely see social media approached this way. That it’s brand awareness and sales. Typical people go well I got on Instagram, I have a Facebook page. I don’t really know what good it does, but we got to have it. But you guys are right there saying, no, I’m going to trace the sales for you and I think our listeners to this YouTube video should say is that, how we’re approaching it? Can I approach it that way? Because you guys’

Kellis: Well, that was kind of why we started the I would say Kenny and I started the business because we liked working together and we understood the value. But the clients the people who signed up with us and continued to work with us. That was why they stuck around and that was why the agency grew. It’s because there’s lot to do. It’s easy to have a specialization and a service like social media or SEO or website building or PR. But understanding when you’re running a business, you need these services but you need them for, you have a need for them. There’s a reason, right. You need to create a website in order to have a home base for a business online. Like pretty much every business has to have a website.

The first people are going to do is pull out their phones if they’re interested in the brand, but people don’t just stumble into a website. There’s no foot traffic, right? It’s not like you’re in the middle of a mall and you go, oh, I’m already here and here’s this place, right. That like you might find your real estate agent because they’re the one down the street from your house but you’re not going to find a website that way, right. So, you have to find a way to create awareness of it and drive traffic into it and I think that’s why the people that we get in touch with say, where have you been? This is what I’ve been looking for.

Kim: There’s no quick traffic on a website. That is so cool.

Kellis: Yeah. Well, when you’re talking about the hot springs and later you were getting into brand awareness. My real thought was like, brand awareness creates the difference between a commodity and something specific. Because if you’re just saying like either hot springs or let’s, say like, where am I going to go on vacation? There’re so many different options and granted, you’re going to narrow this down to a list of what’s around me and what’s within my price range and all that. But even between those, it’s like, okay, let’s say you have half a dozen options. What makes this one different? What makes this one special and that’s what building brand awareness is really all about.

I would say the higher the price point is for any product or service, the more research is going to go into it, and the more touches a client or a potential customer may have to have. Because usually people aren’t going to buy the first time they see something. They’re going to look around a little bit and then come back, and then think a little bit more, and talk to their spouse about it. It may be the fourth, fifth, sixth time they had visited something or something has come in contact with them before they feel confident in it enough to go yeah, I’m going to pull the trigger with these guys instead of the other guys.

Kim: Especially if you’re going to travel. When travel airlines lose your luggage blah, blah. You got to really say okay this is worth it. Can I brag about you guys from it? Okay. So, here’s the deal. You said that you wanted to know my favorite part of PR and I was thinking I hate it all. But really my favorite.

Kim: You picked the right career Kim.

Kim: Getting your fingernails in the dirt of a brand and really understanding all the facets of it. Let me give you a couple examples. Like I did a hotel in Hawaii and it was one of the last mega resorts. It had a train that you could take to your room. A boat you could take. It was 1,200 routes rebuilding. It had a spa. It had dolphins you could swim with, which was a whole big bunch of problems on its own because Green Peace marched for the dolphins. A couple dolphins died. Then the so the I believe we had to represent engaging children for the first time at the Marine Mountains so they would fall in love and protect the ocean. And then green piece marched. So, that was something.

Then another one on Maui had a multi-million-dollar art collection. design and kids camp, a wedding chapel, a spa that covered continents and the offerings it had. And there were so many facets of it that crafting the story is the first. So, in S’Well, we did this thing called Strategic Visioning Launchpad Session and in an ideal world, you do that with your social media and you web team and come up with all the stories, all the angles, all the colors, all the emotion of the place and then the teams run with but it’s almost like a brand Bible. Right Kent? Is that how you approach?

Kenny: I mean I have seen the write ups after that after the strategic visioning session is kind of complete like what you do with it after. I’m always blown away. And I think for so many years me and my team we focus on short captions. Like a sentence. It is so nice to be able to have somewhere to pull from besides maybe just like a website with an about us page.

Kellis: Yep.

Kenny: Something a little more that you can dig your teeth into. I mean I’ve always been super impressed by those. So, and it helps my team dramatically. I’m sure it helps Kellis too if you have that before you start a project.

Kellis: Well, man if I can brag about Kim for a minute. She’s been bragging about me. What Kim does goes so much deeper than what you were talking about with short form stuff for social media. Because yeah, Instagram or Twitter they’re only going to allow you so many characters. When I’m working on a website, I have to break things down into very bite-sized chunks because people’s attention span is just so short and I can write a pretty decent sentence and try and communicate the value of something. But then, we get into the deeper part. This is where I see Kim really get in there and just craft. It’s kind of the language version of watching somebody carve wood. Where they’re just getting in there and getting all the detail and crafting this until it’s something artisanal and it’s pretty amazing to watch. But you’re right. It is a different skill set. But if I can run with something for a minute. Kim you were talking about this sort of short form of stuff and how deep Kim gets into this stuff with it.

Part of what I really like- Kim, you’re talking about what’s exciting about PR and I think like with what we’re doing right now my background is in graphic design. That is what I went to school for. I worked very hard to be very good at it and I worked with different agencies and in different companies where we were making stuff that just looked visually amazing. I think telling that story in a deeper way is a big part of what PR is and when we’re talking about the difference between what we do, I think that is definitely a part of it. But I think the other part is so much of the stuff that I produced especially working in bigger ad agencies was so short lived. It would live in a campaign which would run somewhere between a couple of days and maybe a month or two.

Kenny: Yup.

Kellis: But with PR, that message is meant to be crafted at a very high level so it can evolve and change. With social media, it’s dripped out in bits and pieces but over the course of a very long time, like to do social media effectively, it takes consistency. And it’s not about just like dumping a bunch of posts up over the course of a couple of weeks and then forgetting about it. We’ve been working on accounts for years literally. Like we started in 2015, so I don’t think we’ve been working on anybody for an actual decade but we’re coming up on that. You know what I mean? And that messaging lasts a really long time. And similarly with websites and SEO it’s like you’re going to revamp your website over the course of time. But Google places a lot of faith and trust in how long this website has been around. How long this content has been up and that you’re constantly producing new content. And educating people who are interested in your industry about whatever is the new thing that is constantly happening.

Personally, from design point of view I found SEO very challenging to wrap my brain around. Because a lot of the stuff that I was working on was this very short form content where we kind of throw an idea in your face for an ad and then that’s it. But as Kenny kind of attribute, designing our own website and getting a page to rank. It’s got to have a lot of content in there for Google to pick it up. Kim, I know we worked on a couple websites and you’re like, does it need to say all this stuff and it’s like, well, we need to design this in a way where Kim, you can get your point across and the value of these things. But in order for Google to consider this something that is it expert, authoritative, and trustworthy. It’s got to have a lot more to it than that and how do we design all of this stuff to make it look like not just trustworthy for an algorithm, right. But trustworthy for an actual human being when they make it to the other side.

And that’s when I was talking about this whole journey it’s from the first touch point of how does somebody come initially aware of this to how do they get a little bit of contact with it. Some of them may decide, hey, I want to buy right away. Some of them might take a lot more to get through that process and it’s much more holistic and that’s where I feel like PR really comes into this. Because you have to kind of think about that messaging from the beginning of the process all the way to the end.

Kim: Hey, Kel, let me just talk about Kenny, they won’t want to talk about the brand-new company that just like when you rent a car, you can check a box for $5 a day marks and more insurance, CYA, right. Well, this is for spa and skin care and like tattooing and eyelash extension laser and all that so that you have a little bit of what’s the word, comfort knowing you’re covered up to I think 125,000 should something go wrong.

Kellis: That’s what it’s really about right is if you go get cosmetic Botox or something cosmetic done and something goes wrong you’re insured to cover it. Am I correct about that?

Kenny: Yeah. And I think people should know how much thought goes in. I mean we fight over every word and every image like the founders have friends who’ve had terrible things happen. That’s why they thought of this. It’s his wife who founded it and and a plastic surgeon. He’s had to repair a lot of stuff. So, as we go through everything kind of things that go through our mind is are we allowed to use that picture? Number two. Will this be bad for the company saying, hey, you’re sure to have a problem if you use our service. So how do you position it that way? And then for me I always think what is the touchstone in the which is like common knowledge stuff you see on a magazine and newspaper. I mean in a grocery store line. That You would go oh yeah that. So, I thought the other day to have Linda Evangelista’s picture on there. Her before and after she has a watched up whatever.

So that people go, oh yeah, that things do happen even to beautiful people. So maybe I should CYA. Maybe I should have a little guarantee here. But at the same time, you’re like, well, are we allowed to use a picture or it’s public domain. It’s people magazine. Oh, and you really go round and round. People don’t realize how much thought goes into it. But it has to be great, right.

Kellis: Sure. Well, it’s funny. I just caught the word, we fight for this and like it’s funny Kim because like I’ve had difficult people to work with, you’re the easiest one of all time. But I mean we pay attention, like it matters. Like I love taking the stuff you come up with, but again it’s like in order for anybody to absorb content for a website like people don’t read, right. Like the is I think the fun thing about Instagram and Facebook is like it’s almost all pictures, right. It’s like you can just scroll through and just look at things and I think part of the power of what Kenny and I end up typically doing a lot is when a client comes to us and they want to get their brand across that same messaging that they get at the first touch point through Facebook or Instagram or Twitter wherever they’re putting their social content into. Since we’re all working on one team that messaging and the imagery looks consistent when they get over to a website.

I can tell you for a fact working in traditional agencies was really they had a really hard time with that, right. Like it’s really difficult between big teams of people to keep things consistent especially if there’s more than one agency involved. You split things up in little pieces, passing things around that’s crazy.

Kim: Kenny, I know my before and after story working with your social team. I’ll just give you a little like set up. Like remember the hotel they’re not open anymore so we can talk about it.

Kellis: Yeah.

Kenny: They had a social page that was so homemade. Profile employees would like line up at a police station. Little something about it.

Kellis: Just real quick for anybody watching we worked on the Orlando Hotel in Hollywood which was fabulous, but no long, closed after COVID.

Kim: I did so much but can you tell and then you guys made it look the same. You would always go take fresh photoshoots of the food in the restaurant, the rooms, the people and it looked the same. It looked like it was the same company. It was classy. What are some of your other success stories?

Kenny: I mean well, it’s funny the formula that we put into place for the Orlando Hotel is the same formula. That goes in to anyone that usually calls in unless they maybe are calling about something that is got a different objective than the Orlando bit. But brand awareness was basically the main objective of the Orlando Hotel. And when they came on board, I mean a lot of stuff was shot off an iPhone or maybe different people seem to maybe be posting on there, the captions were like not really well thought out what was happening, because they weren’t planning ahead just posting. And then when they felt like they needed to post again they posted and there was no really like back end going on to grow anything. So, for them I mean they needed color consistency which comes from branding, messaging from you, and then the photography like we came in and made sure everything was edited the same and like post kind of consistency but also like variety and the right about like sprinkled in like you don’t want to post 5 food shots in a row from the from the restaurant. You want to do some at the restaurant, some at the pool, some at the you want to give like different things that get like a decent interval.

And then we did some backup stuff to grow their account like through promos, things like that. But yeah, I mean I’m trying to think of other brands that we like Thrive is a big one that I really care about. Thrive Society. They are a women’s athleisure brand who we shoot very similar like we shoot every other month with a couple different models. We post the same amount that we did to the Orlando that we do to Thrive and we grow the accounting promos the same way as well. The only minor difference would be influencers and we did actually try to do some influencers with the hotel as well. But they had team that we haven’t jumped through quite a few people just to get an influencer figured out going. So, it depends on the team you’re working with.

Kim: But Kenny what are some of the numbers? Like what have you done for Thrive? How it went from like 300 followers and 30 likes to?

Kenny: I mean it went from like less than 1,000 followers to 20,000 followers in a year. And their like count was probably like I assume somewhere in the 20s and now it’s in like 500.

Kim: Yeah, and what people also should understand I don’t really understand it, but a friend of mine we’re looking at influencers account. We’re like, how is she up to a million this fast and then, we went through it and she could tell which one for Faith.

Kenny: Yeah.

Kim: She went through the and she goes, oh my gosh, they buy these for fake and I thought people don’t realize that 20,000 real followers are worth.

Kenny: Yeah, I mean, the nice thing now is you can track, let’s say you have, let’s talk about a couple different objectives from that influencer. So, for one, if you’re trying to sell a product, just like back in the day, when you see with seeing the implicit sports radio and at the end of a like, oh have you been in an accident recently call Larry. And they’re like when you call in tell that Larry sent you. They’re tracking that sale from that ad using that. But with influencers you can do a very similar thing. You can say, Sam Ted to get 10% off. They’re not really caring so much about 10% off but they are is how well did Sam work for them during that campaign.

Kim: Yep.

Kenny: And then with a hotel right you could do a very similar thing. Like track with a code. You can also do now that there’s a link in bio. You can get a trackable link to see how many times it was clicked and part of your deliverable with the influencer would be, I need you to keep this link in your bio for two weeks, that’s part of the deal. And you track how many times that link was clicked. So, I think what a lot, and it depends on the size of the influencer, but yes, there’s a huge push right now for using more micro influencers than macro, on purpose. Because you do, you look at these, I have a friend of mine, she owns another social media agency and she does giveaways. That’s her main shit basically and so she only works with influencers that have over a million followers.

I asked her, hey, if I have a client that wants to work with an influencer with over a million followers. Like I assume the niche can’t be that specific because like if they have a million followers and she was like exactly. You basically get to choose male or female. Maybe if they’re like in fitness or in health like very broad. Because once you have a million followers to get the like who’s following that person is just so spread out. So that’s why with the micro influencer that’s like specifically focusing on each thing it might be smarter to use like 20 of them instead of one person at the building.

Kim: It’s like doing a giveaway on the Price Is Right. I mean now you’re going to get housewives in I don’t know maybe Montana where how many can really afford your resort? I mean it’s a wide swath. So, this is really targeted. We also work together on a wellness account. We want name names but they’re nonprofit. They didn’t have a lot of money. Before you guys started, they would get 30 likes on a post. By the time you were done with a very minimal budget. You got 3,000 likes on the post. It really makes a difference. What are we talking about? Why are we doing it?

Kenny: I know yeah. I have so much thought is put into these calendars that we make. Most of our clients who do 20 posts a month. Some people want more or less. A post can consist of different types of creative, but so much work is going into like what the caption is, what posts are next to each other. And then at the end of the day, if you’re not doing something to also like basically boost the engagement of every post you’re doing to kind of get through the meads, then, I mean, it’s just so much wasted work to like reach nobody.

Kim: I’m just saying, it makes me cry. The other thing I wanted to ask you; I don’t understand. Help me.

Kenny: Okay.

Kim: Okay, little quantification Ken, what’s so fun right now. It’s creating your own content. If you’re a PR person. You can have the client create their own content because you’re out there then in the mix because let’s be honest. Magazines are folding. When InStyle shut down the print edition, I was like it’s enough now. Because so many have closed through these years.

Kenny: Yeah.

Kim: But now when you think about it it’s really in the newspapers. There’s only really the New York Times and Washington Post. Maybe the LA Times. USA Today. Other than that, who quotes the Seattle Post Intelligence Group? Nothing about against them, but it’s like shrinking so much and to get the poor writers attention is so hard because they are inundated. The New York Times is growing. They’re growing still but oh my God it’s the holy grail. Okay, so then you make it grown still. Like I’m so tickled. One of my biggest jazz is hosting and producing the Global Wellness Summit and Institute’s podcast. Which do it every two weeks, it’ll do big shots and whatever? Here’s what I want to know. We make such pretty social or obnoxious social media collateral. What happens if you tag someone in a social media post? How does that help?

Kenny: Well, number one, it’s letting them know, hey, someone tagged you, right. So that they can be aware that someone’s talking about them. Number two, it’s so that people that are reading that post can see who’s in the picture. I mean that’s just the gist of it. But there are like strategies for mass tagging in a photo trying to think like it’s going to increase your exposure or the reach of the post. Like for example let’s say I have a picture of a French bulldog and I’m trying to grow this cow. I can tag like 20 French bulldog accounts on the photo. Hoping that they repost the picture. That’s kind of the idea. They’re hoping that these people notice in their direct messages that they were tagged and they see the picture that they go, oh that’s a cute dog.

I’ll repost, but you could boost a post for $20 to a specific audience and reach 10 times more people in one day than tagging 20 people.

Kim: Okay, you also this thing that I was like what like you got restaurants recognized because you would tag food and wine and the tea all up, right?

Kenny: Yeah. I still think it’s like a good idea to tag people in photos or like businesses or maybe even other just big blogger like Instagram accounts but it’s not going to be nearly as like if your if your goal is reach and getting more eyeballs on the post you could do it without even doing that.

Kim: Okay, Kellis I’m just going to do a little sell.

Kellis: Sure.

Kenny: Here’s what I say to all our listeners. I’m not kidding. All the millions, I say that it’s all about getting the train on the right track. I mean say you think, oh I can’t afford professionals. I’ll do it myself. Well good luck. But even if you take year to work with professionals and listen and learn. Like we would craft the story of who you are. The team would disseminate. The website would have the right descriptions, the right SEO blah blah blah and the social media would teach you how to do it yourself. After the train’s go on the track, go for it and prosper, right.

Kim: I mean I’m down.

Kellis: Absolutely.

Kim: If someone wants to take it and run with it after? Definitely.

Kenny: Good luck.

Kenny: Think about the technical side of what we’re doing for sure. We’re always transparent. I’ve never do a something locked behind True North Social’s business manager or like ad accounts or anything. Everything is done from the client side. They can see everything that’s happening. It’s just a matter of do you have the team with the expertise in place to do it internally or do you need to outsource it? And on the social media side of things, honestly, the pricing that we have set up for most like small to medium-sized businesses would cost less to have someone on our team do it than paying someone 20 an hour full time that’s has no that’s just entry level.

Kellis: Well yeah, I mean we’ve had this discussion a lot like we are incredibly competitive with hiring somebody internally to do this because A, you would have to pay them more money but B, like you have to manage a whole other person. I don’t think a lot of people realize how time intensive it is to manage a person and deal with HR and that’s like the cost perspective that’s I have to deal with most of our HR stuff. So, I see like how much we have to pay in taxes on people and people are people so they want to go on vacation, they get sick. All sorts of things happen when you have to manage a person internally. And hiring an agency kind of removes all that. But even beyond that, having somebody on our team work on something for a client it is a very different animal, because each of our team members is working on, I want to say at least 10 accounts probably more. And between three or four people on a team anytime something goes wrong right and it does. Because Facebook changes their rules all the time Google changes their rules.

Anytime something happens if we see something happen to one account, we know it’s that account. But when we see something happen to half a dozen or a dozen accounts all at the same time. We know it’s not that account. It’s some change in the rules that Facebook has made or Google has made or something like that, and usually once we can solve it for one, we can solve it for everybody very quickly. After going through many rounds of doing that, Kenny has somebody on the Facebook side that he can get in touch with and I don’t have everybody on the Google side but I’ve sleuthed enough of those kinds of things to figure out how to make it happen. But you’re not going to get that kind of thing from hiring anybody internally.

Kenny: Hey Kim.  Here’s the thing that’s baffling about I think PR or just like you can’t even I don’t even know how you would do it if as a business owner. Like on Instagram anyone could post it and post to Instagram. Or they could watch a YouTube video. I’m trying to figure out how to do ads. Again, good luck. It’s next. It’s so difficult. But it’s approachable to at least someone. But with PR if I was starting like an athleisure wear brand or something I would have go how do you get in touch with let’s say you want an article written.

Kellis: Oh, I want to know this.

Kenny: Say you were really getting in touch with someone who’s the editor or whatever. You don’t even know what the title is the first you need to get in touch with to try to get an article written about your brand. Like I still don’t know how I would even do it. We work with you all the time. Is it really a matter of building relationships or what?

Kim: Well, it did what’s the and I share this information is I would look for a specialist. A PR specialist that was working focusing on a brand like mine if I was going to hire PR. So, we did lifestyle and travel who tells that that’s pretty broad but we love wellness. That’s another thing. Look for someone that’s passionate about the topic. So, my partner Darlene and I have well you could go check the most extensive experience in the wellness hospitality space. We really do. Oh look. But anyway.

Kenny: Sure.

Kim: Yeah. And so, we also pay a fee to an organization that keeps editors in a you know database. So, if we want somebody in Denver, somebody in Texas or they have that database. And Sarah who works with me makes a list an Excel spreadsheet and we send it out to them. We call. We meet with them in person. I mean it’s really hard. During Covid we had like Zoom calls where we have a client give anything. Or another thing, we do is have a panel that includes media so that you’re telling them this whole new thing like we had a client that wrote pathogens in the air during COVID with UV light and we have a panel of design editor and someone about viruses so they were a part of the panel but hearing the new service too.

So, you think of creative ways to get in the front of the media and when we’re in New York we meet with them. We’re in the city. We meet with them. And another secret of ours is that we often represent resorts. They’re super fun to go to. So, we do these things called press trip that we take people and they can experience them. And then they love you, because it’s free vacation a lot of food and spa treatments. So, then you have an established provision.

Kenny: I mean that’s the thing. It’s like you can’t just go to, I mean what’s this? It’s InStyle actually gone now.

Kim: Just online. It’s just click on it.

Kenny: Just go to InStyle and find a link somewhere on their site. It’s like get an article with them and fill out your stuff. It’s like you have to sell the story to these publications. It’s not just about like, hey, I want to give you X amount of dollars for you to write about it. So, you also need to have the like and they would be the writers, right. Basically, you would pitch that the idea and the overall everything or the experience, but they would write an article about it.

Kim: Well, I mean you could ask a joke but the way it’s always worked is if your press release is well done, they respect it and they can pull their idea out of it. And for a less skilled journalist or someone doesn’t have the time or the money, they could take your press which is negative story on some of the blogs they will do that.

Kenny: Yeah.

Kim: But the higher up the food chain though. More talent there is. And also, the more chance that they’re going to look at your positive. Because you’re the one that goes there’s got to be a pony in this room full of caca. You’re always looking on the bright side of everything. So as journalist is trained to like say 3 good things and say 3 bad things. Like here’s where it could go wrong.

Kenny: Yeah.

Kim: You have to be realistic that they’re never going to be as rosy as you are unless it’s somebody’s rosy blog.

Kenny: Sure, and who doesn’t want the cliff notes of something they’re going to write about. But hey from a website side of things I would think if let’s say they come to the press trip and they really like this experience they had. I would think it has more likely of a chance to be featured on a homepage of a website or higher up on like a specific page of a site versus if they were to just copy and paste a press release. Might just call it like a less traffic spot on a site, would you think that that would be accurate, Kel?

Kellis: Well, just republishing a press release is not something that a big site is going to do. This is how I think about the difference between what I do on the SEO side and what Kim does. At a certain point, there’s a difference between a website and a publication, right. Because there are websites out there that just churn out pretty crappy content all the time for the most part but that’s something very different than say like- Women’s Health Magazine as a publication. I was kind of thinking while you guys were talking, we work with a lot of skin care brands. We work with a few different industries, but there’s just seems to be a lot those. And like if we wanted to get what a skincare brand that we worked with featured on a website or in a publication like Women’s Health, that is a much different animal than a lot of other smaller websites.

So, there needs to be some trick to getting them to publish something about one of our clients. And that’s not just going to be a press release. It’s not just going to be something saying like, oh, this skincare brand has come out with new product with these new ingredients. Because those kinds of publications are getting inundated with that stuff 20 times a day. There has to be some reason for them to pick our client out of all the other people out there. I think that’s kind of where you have to have be working at a higher level with public relations and really craft that story and probably have some relationships and know how to get in with some different people in order to get that kind of thing published. But yeah, then they’re probably going to have their own writer who’s going to write very high-quality original content maybe shoot some imagery. That might be an article, but depending on where you’re where we’re getting our client that could also be on television or on radio. Like I kind of think of TV as being the realm of traditional PR, mostly because we don’t do that, right.

It’s a clear difference between sort of media and more traditional media, but like as far as just putting press releases out there it’s not, I haven’t ever seen it work for bigger stuff. Maybe Kim I don’t know like what do you think about that?

Kenny: It’s just like saying, hey, can I only work out my legs and it’s everything.

Kellis: Okay.

Kenny: If one thing works that’s all you do. But it’s a campaign for a reason. There’re many classes to the campaign. So, and also longevity helps because talk about information out there. How do you get through? Break through the clutter and then by the time you break through maybe you’re not working with a client anymore. So, 3 months, 6 months, that’s not even enough. Then we’d say Street Squad is a year even better as 12 years. To say if you can pay you negotiate a doable fee, monthly fee and just keep going, and what they say is you know for startups and things. You should budget what I’m always reading is like 20% of the budget should go to marketing social. So, make sure you know that. A monthly PR fee ranges. But do you get someone to do it for $2000 with their college grad you’re going to, it’s crowdship, right. So, from what I see it’s like $5000 to $10,000 a month. Some of the big firms charge $20,000.

Kellis: Well, let me throw this at you guys and see what you think. I feel like there’s kind of three ways to do this. One a what you’re talking about like you do it slow and steady over a long period of time and eventually you become an established brand. Especially if you’re dedicating a certain chunk of your budget on a monthly basis to do this. Like you’re not putting out all that much at once. The second way is you get investors with a lot of capital. I’m thinking like mostly of tech companies doing VC kind of stuff, where if you can get a couple million dollars in or maybe a billion dollars, right.

You can hire a giant team of PR people to get you out through every media channel and there’s certain I would say newer companies that have been around less than 5 years where you’re like how did this CEO get on this TV show or get an article and that’s how, right. The third way is just to have a really great product that catches fire for whatever reason. I’m going to call that you get lucky, right. Because having a great product is one thing. Having it catch on. That’s a whole lot because there are a lot of great products that come out every year that nobody hears about and then they just go away.

Kenny: Let me tell you.

Kellis: It’s am I onto something?

Kenny: Yeah, but here’s the deal. Like I have this favorite story of mine. I’m not involved in it except that I met one of the key players called Ritual. Heard of a boy called Ritual?

Kellis: Yeah.

Kenny: And I met him at a spa and then he was giving away samples and I tried it. It’s like practice stuff is good. And it has this clean natural way to build up the. But, I thought, hey, I want to work with them but I started to see what they did and their story and their YouTube videos and then all of a sudden, I apologize for Barnes. She’s so adorable. She starts bragging about it. She said come with me to the shower. She’s so funny. She goes I’ll try this and she goes I know I’m wearing a bathing suit but you and I don’t have that kind of Instagram. And she’s then shows the blog. And then I saw the guy at the next spa that I’m like too hard to get Jennifer. And he goes, this is so good. We gave it to hairdressers. See how smart?

Kellis: Yeah.

Kenny: And to her. And he’s like Jennifer try this. Oh, I’m not even kidding. And she looked at him after try launch. He said, you have penny just let me be one of the investors.

Kellis: There you go.

Kenny: And when it goes off, I’ll go. The thing is everywhere. So, the Today Show is my top 4, 5 favorite products. So, it was a snowball effect. But it started with great product. It was a great product. So, I’m using it. I paid full price.

Kellis: There you go.

Kenny: So, you guys should try it.

Kellis: If I can do something for this then yeah, I’ll buy a case. Yeah.

Kenny: Alright guys stop.

Kellis: Well yeah, I think that actually just about filled up our time. We’re right about an hour. So, I guess to wrap up. Kim thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciated getting to kind of learn a little bit more about things on your side of the fence. And Ken good to see you as always.

Kim: Yeah. Thank you so much.

Kenny: Thank you, guys.

Kellis: Alright.

Kenny: Don’t forget “Swelltheagency.com”. And you’re on our website. I hope we’re on yours. We’ll help anybody. We’ll give it our all because in the end it’s really about a brand catching fire, because it ignites us as marketers and storytellers. And it’s a joy when something has all those elements. We love helping people get famous.

Kellis: Yeah. Awesome. Well thanks for all our watchers and have a great day.

Kim: Yeah. Bye.

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