September 7, 2020

The Virtual CMO Podcast
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Contact Us About The Podcast

Building a PR Strategy for Your Business with Skye Ferguson

The Virtual CMO Podcast:

Season 2, Episode 10

Host:

Eric Dickmann - Founder/CMO of the Five Echelon Group, Twitter or his personal website.

Guest:

Skye Ferguson can be found online on her website, on Twitter @SkyeFerg and on Facebook @PRMadeEasy


Summary:

This week, host Eric Dickmann interviews Skye Ferguson. Skye has 10 years' experience in PR & communications, working internationally with big brands like banks, airlines and consultancies and also in-house for a national UK charity.  

In this episode, Skye shares strategies for getting PR coverage from mainstream journalists and news outlets. By building relationships, knowing the audience, and creating newsworthy content, she shares how businesses can benefit from the exposure and reach of publications and their audiences.


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Transcript: Season 2, Episode 10


**Please note, this transcript was generated by an artificial intelligence engine. It is intended only as a rough transcript and there may be some grammatical, spelling or transcription errors.

Eric Dickmann: [00:00:00]  Welcome to season two of The Virtual CMO podcast. I'm your host, Eric Dickmann, founder of The Five Echelon Group. 

Our goal is to share strategies, tools, and tactics with fellow marketing professionals that you can use to impact the trajectory of your company's marketing programs. We have candid conversations about what works, and what doesn't, with marketing tactics, customer experience, design and automation tools. Our goal is to provide value each week with a roster of thoughtful and informative guests engaged in a lively conversation. 

So with that, let's introduce this week's guest and dive into another conversation with The Virtual CMO. 

This week I welcome Skye Ferguson to the podcast. Skye has 10 years of experience in PR and communications working internationally with big brands like banks, airlines, and consultancies, and also in-house for a national UK charity. 

Eric Dickmann: [00:01:17] When Skye took the leap to leave the nine to five and started freelancing. She saw so many small businesses missing out on great media coverage because they didn't think PR was an option yet for them. She created her own method to break things down into simple, easy to follow steps to help entrepreneurs secure their own media coverage.

Eric Dickmann: [00:01:37] Skye works with small businesses to upskill their marketing teams so they can handle PR and media relations internally. 

Skye welcome to the virtual CFO podcast. I'm so glad you could join us today. 

Skye Ferguson: [00:01:50] Thank you so much for having me. It's a pleasure to be here. 

Eric Dickmann: [00:01:53] So, you know, we're in this crazy time of COVID, I've talked with a lot of other guests about this and you're a freelancer and now you've become sort of a digital nomad working remotely. How has it been? How was the timing of this for you? 

Skye Ferguson: [00:02:09] Yeah. So it's so interesting. Isn't it? And how it's just like, I don't know about, where you are, but we're over here. The new normal is like everyone's favorite phrase, but it really is true. And actually it's interesting because I just came back. So that last year I was traveling, in Bali and Australia and working remotely and I came back in January. So really I just got back in time.

Eric Dickmann: [00:02:32] Oh, my gosh, what timing? Yeah, and it's, it's really different, right? When you're working from home and you're having to deal with clients and find clients remotely, it's challenging. 

Skye Ferguson: [00:02:44] Yeah, definitely. That was my first experience of it last year. It's so interesting. I think what's interesting is like, obviously everyone that's around you is kind of traveling and they're all working and you get, I was quite new and I like when I went traveling, I just left my job. I was the only person in my family that had a nine to five. 

However many years I was like, right. Okay. It's time to do this. I've got to see what, you know, what's this freelance life like, so obviously I kicked it off, big style and just went off and did the digital nomad thing. but you get very, very good or your elevator pitch because everybody wants to know what you do. And at the beginning it's like, Oh, well, I'm just sort of trying this thing a blow. And then eventually you get like, no. You've got to fake it to make it. You get so good at telling people what you do. 

Eric Dickmann: [00:03:27] That's really interesting. I'm glad you mentioned this idea of an elevator pitch because that really is key for so many businesses, right? To be able to communicate clearly and succinctly what it is that they do and why you should be interested in that. When you're talking with clients, how do you help them in that idea of building that elevator pitch? 

Skye Ferguson: [00:03:48] Totally. So what I think's really interesting is that I think sometimes, you know, obviously as well, we talk about it is this elevator pitch as if it's this really official thing. And actually when you were developing, it does need work and it kind of is. but you know, it's something that you bring your personality too, and you kind of get used to it and you get your own language around it. But I think what we often do is we get really focused on how we do what we do. We get stuck in how it is that we work and you know, all those words that we use that just people don't know about. But actually what I've learned is like,  It's you need to speak to their problem. You need them to understand exactly what they need them to understand that you know exactly what they're struggling with. And you know exactly what the outcome is that they want. They don't really care how you do it. They just want to know. You know, that you understand the problem and that you can provide a solution. So I think, yeah, when we talk about that elevator pitch, I think that's the most important thing to remember. it doesn't matter how we do something. They don't care about that. That's the bit that we're taking care of. They want to know what you can do for them and that you help people. 

Just like them. I think.

Eric Dickmann: [00:04:54] Well, that's a tip that I've heard often from people who give advice on networking. When you go into a room and you're networking with other people and they say, you know, hi, I'm Bob and I'm Jane. You know, what do you do? It's always, what do you do? I'm a doctor. I'm a lawyer. I'm a freelancer. That's not really that interesting. They want to know something personally about you. They want to know maybe what you're passionate about , or how you apply that passion to what you do, not just your vocation. 

Skye Ferguson: [00:05:24] Totally. And it is that thing as well of like we do just as humans, we love to put people in boxes and like, we make all of these judgments, even if we don't know that we're doing it. And so it is that thing of also, you know, like why do we ask people that actually, you know, okay. Networking Ben, I get it. It's different. but there is something that we ask people a lot on your, so, right. Like what does that tell you? Or if somebody says to you, you know, sorry to use as an example, but I'm an accountant, you're going to start thinking all of these things are medially. The actually is nothing to do with what that person's like. 

Eric Dickmann: [00:05:55] I love the way you say it puts people in boxes, right? It's stereotypical. And so whenever you say, okay, I'm an accountant, I'm a doctor, I'm a firefighter. What it just brings together. All of these preconceived notions of what that person is. But you may be nothing like that. It doesn't tell you really anything about who you are as an individual. And so interesting. And so I think a lot of what you're talking about when you say developing an elevator pitch is really coming up with more of the heart and soul of what a company is, what they stand for, what their brand means, and communicating that to the marketplace, right. 

Skye Ferguson: [00:06:31] Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, there's that thing as well, that can come with that sort of imposter syndrome stuff or feeling like, Oh, there's not enough room. There's already loads of marketing people or PR people or whatever. But at the end of the day, like we buy people, we don't buy, you know, just what they're doing. We buy that person to work with, especially if it's a consultant or a freelancer or something like that. so yeah, I completely agree. It's it's so, so important to bring that personality as well.

Eric Dickmann: [00:06:57] I think what might be helpful for the audience since you're in public relations and communications is to really define what that means. What does that encompass?

Skye Ferguson: [00:07:07] Definitely. So, yeah, I guess PR is like one of those kinds of buzz words that everyone's kind of hurdle, but maybe they don't really know what it means. Or even when you're running a business, you know, you might be like, we need to do some PR. But at the same time, I was like, what is PR? So PR is part of your marketing strategy. So you, like you said, public relations and it's basically everything to do with your reputation . And I think a really good way to define it from perhaps marketing or advertising is PR is what other people are saying about us, it's not what we're saying about ourselves. It's what other people are saying about us. So, you know, a huge part of PR is obviously media coverage and media relations. And that is basically the skill in that is, you know, finding a good story. Finding a good angle and basically persuading a journalist to write about you. So not the advertising, not for paid features, but real media coverage. You'll never going to pay for that coverage, which is amazing, but it means you do have to have a really good story and you do have to have a really good hook that makes someone else want to write about you. But then that's why it's so valuable because someone has chosen to write that about you. Someone has chosen to say that about you and that's I think what differentiates it from maybe other marketing tools. 

Eric Dickmann: [00:08:20] So when we hear this term earned media, that's kind of what you're talking about. Right? You've earned it. You've you've gone out, you put forth an effort and now somebody is writing about you. 

Skye Ferguson: [00:08:31] Exactly. Totally. And I guess like, you know, like everything PR is kind of developing with the times with technology and, you know, traditionally we probably think of newspapers and a print articles and things like that. And you know, it's interesting because traditionally, you know, print coverage is what would be really valuable. So even like 10 years ago, working with clients, like what they want is to be in print. But actually, I mean, let's not even get into where we are now in the world. It's not that easy to get hold of a print copy of something, but you know, actually that's not what people are reading. Like people are going online. There's logs with, you know, just as many readers as there are some sort of magazines and news outlets. So yes, exactly. It's some it's earned media. It's stuff that you don't pay for, but it can take so many different forms.

Eric Dickmann: [00:09:19] So I think a lot of businesses, if you ask them, they would say, well, I've got a Twitter and I post on Instagram and Facebook. I'm doing PR, but that's not really what you're talking about. 

Skye Ferguson: [00:09:30] No. So I would say what fits into PR is obviously your traditional kind of like media sort of TD radio, online newspapers, that kind of thing. also it can be things like podcasts. It can be, you know, an award that you nominate yourself or, or, you know, you put your submission in awards are usually classed as PR. And then obviously on a slightly different level, it's all the other communication stuff that comes with making sure that you really. 

I guess around the branding that for us, it's about as PRS and communications people. It's about your message. What are your key messages that you're trying to get across? What is, you know, that reputation that you're trying to build. and then also preparing for things like, you know, a crisis and being, you know, prepared with your response. So crisis communications that fits into it as well. 

Eric Dickmann: [00:10:16] My business is consulting with small and midsize businesses and really helping them develop a comprehensive marketing plan. And one of the things that I'm always surprised at is how many businesses do not really have any kind of a formal PR or communications plan. You know, as I mentioned, they will often say, well, we do social media and we put something on our company blog, a news release or something like that, but they don't really have a formal plan. As you work with businesses do you find the same thing that many really don't have a formalized PR communications strategy?

Skye Ferguson: [00:10:51] Yeah, absolutely. And I think that this is the thing with PR is that it's often because the media is, we kind of, we do put it on this kind of pedestal and it does feel a bit out of reach for some of us. So I think it's something that people probably don't invest in, until much later in their business, unless it's something that particularly interests them or unless it's something that they. 

Happen to have been asked to comment on an article and they've seen how that's worked for them. I think it's just something that people think that they have to, you know, be so their business has to be a certain size. They have to have a certain number of followers. They have to have a certain number of clients before  journalist, it is interested in them and that's just not the case. All you need is a strong opinion, a good story, a good kind of hook into the news agenda. That's what you need. It's none of those other things that, people that journalists are kind of worried about in terms of writing about. 

You, but yeah, I think that, that it sometimes just is something that maybe people don't consider and  it is part of your marketing strategy is one bucket. If you'd like, you don't have to do PR you can certainly build like a big business. Without it. but it is. The easiest. 

It is the only way that you will reach an audience of that size for free. There is no other way to do it unless you're paying, On ads and things like that. And again, these are all buckets that put into it. They all have their place. but yeah, I think it's just, yeah, maybe something that people don't consider or don't think is right for them until later, but I don't think that's true. 

 Eric Dickmann (2): [00:12:21] We'll be right back after this quick message!

 Eric Dickmann: [00:12:25] Marketing is the engine that drives demand, but too often it takes a back seat to other priorities. Awareness, fails to materialize demand drops in sales falter. Don't wait until it's too late to build your brand awareness and demand generation programs. If your company is struggling with their marketing strategy, we want to help let's schedule a call to talk about your unique situation and what options might be available to get your marketing program back on track.

To learn more text C M O to (407) 374-3670 that's C M O two four zero seven. Three seven four three six seven zero. And we'll reply with further details. We hope to hear from you soon. 

In a previous life, I worked for a software company and the boss always wanted to do a press release whenever we had a new release of the software. We've got these great new features. Everybody's gonna be excited to hear about it, but it was a small company that didn't have a lot of brand awareness, which I think is true of many small and midsize businesses. They don't have the awareness. 

So he would ask us to put out a press release, talking about some great new features of this product, and then almost sit back at his desk and wait for the phone to ring. As he expected the world to be very excited with this announcement and it never rang. So what's the difference between a good press release and a bad press release? How do you craft a story that someone's going to care about? 

Skye Ferguson: [00:13:56] Such a good question. And like, as you were even saying that example, it makes me like, Oh, cause I'm like, Oh my God, that's a nightmare client. You're like, how do I tell you that this is an interesting, but I guess what you've got to remember is, you know, coming back to it again, you're not paying for that coverage a case. So you've got a lot of competition for those spaces, for that space in the paper for that radio slot, whatever it is. And it is whether something is newsworthy or not. And I think that what's hard is, you know, we think everything we do, isn't it in our businesses that are interesting. 

But is it going to make it interesting to other people? So what I would always say is like, kind of start with your audience. So press releases are basically when you put one story out to loads and loads of outlets, and hope that it will get picked up. Okay. It works for big organizations. It can work for. 

Kind of trade press. If you do have a very, you know, it might be a niche story, but within your industry, it's really interesting. But actually a much better way to pitch stories, is actually, you know, to go to one outlet, to go to one magazine or newspaper, maybe you're pitching yourself for a certain feature, a certain slot. So, what I'm basically trying to get at is you've got to think about your audience because that's what the journalist is going to be interested in when they receive this. The first thing that they are going to want to know is why is this relevant to my audience? Why should we write about this? Why are people going to click? This why people are gonna pick up the magazine to read that. So you've got to think about it from your audience's perspective. What's going to make it interesting to them. And depending on who you're pitching it to, obviously that will change. But I would say if we're talking about basics, like what makes something interesting, I would say it's having a strong opinion on something. It's having a new take on a popular opinion. So something that we haven't heard before, it might be a topic that everyone's talking about, but what have you got to offer that slightly different? Like are you reading news stories, industry news stories and just thinking, you know, absolutely not, I completely disagree. That's your story. If you are, that's your story. So, you know, it's sort of like innovations, are you. What are you doing? That's different? What makes you different? Is this, is this a first, like, is it a first within your industry? Are you solving a problem that we all have? Those are the kinds of ways that you can suss out a story. and I would also say, 

You know, in terms of smaller businesses, it's about positioning those founders and the people behind it. And it's, I suppose, looking at that personal brand, you know, journalists love a human story. They love a personal angle to something. So there are lots of different ways that we can approach it. but you've got to think, you know, who is this for? And what do I want to achieve? Like, what is my objective? And I think that that's also goes back to what you're saying about people not having a plan. 

People don't often think about what their objective they know they want to get in the paper. They know they want to be on TV. 

But is that just because they've seen other people do it, is that because they have a perception of how the media works and what that's going to do for them? What do you actually want to achieve? 

Eric Dickmann: [00:17:02] You've covered a lot there and I want to deconstruct some of it, but I think the message that I heard very clearly, there is very much the way we sell to our customers. You need to think of what their needs are as opposed to what your needs are. If you're releasing a press release that said we just made product X and its got feature, you know, one, two and three that's self-serving, that's what we want to communicate to the audience. But the audience might not care. Maybe if you're Apple and you're releasing a new version of the iOS operating system, people do care about that stuff, but for many businesses they won't. So what you're really saying is you've got to get in the head of that author, understand what their audience is and say, how can I add some value, take a point of view with that author, with that audience. And then in the midst of that conversation, you can weave in some of the things that you want to talk about as well, but you're looking at it from their perspective as opposed to your own. 

Skye Ferguson: [00:17:59] Absolutely. And it's what you're saying there as well, you know, say you've got something with new features. Okay. The fact that this new piece of software has new features. But that's not interesting to me, but what is interesting to me? What does that mean for me? So it's about taking it one step further. Like what's the solution of what's the bigger impact on your, consumer on your client? That's the story and that, because that's how you make it relatable to people as well. You know, some people will sell things that are. 

you know, really like B to C and it's quite obvious how it impacts them, but if you are a more of a B2B or, you know, we're talking about like software, for example, you know, there are so many ways that softwares. You know, make my life easier and benefit me. I have no idea. Works cause I'm the end user. So it's like, how can we talk exactly? How can we talk in their language? and give examples. And just bring it to life a little bit. 

Eric Dickmann: [00:18:52] Another thing that you mentioned was that you need to humanize it. So should every company have a dedicated spokesperson? Does it need to be the CEO or the founder? How do you position somebody as the face of the company? 

Skye Ferguson: [00:19:08] Yeah. So I guess it kinda depends on the size. So if it's a small company, then I would say always the founder is the person is probably going to be the most obvious person, but it's also probably going to be the best person. for that, because I think also, you know, there's always going to be a place for big, big brands, but I think we're becoming way more conscious as consumers and clients about kind of, you know, working with smaller businesses and having more of a connection to people. So I think for that reason, people do want to see the face behind the brand, because it kind of brings that to life a little bit. but it should also be consistent. So when I've worked in bigger organizations, you know, what PR and communications is about is really saying the same thing. Over and over again in different ways, making it interesting to different audiences, but you will always have, if you've got a strategy and if you've got a plan, you will always have three key messages and you will make sure that there we've been to everything. So that idea of repetition kind of plays into the spokesperson. 

That obviously the more that one person is featured, the more that people will start to recognize them. So, that's also something I would say, even sort of with bigger brands in terms of picking a spokesperson. Pick someone and stick with them because that's what people need is that repetition. And that's what people started. Oh, I've seen that person. Oh, I read that thing. Oh, this person's everywhere. And it's that this person's everywhere that, I guess that is your like ultimate kind of goal with your PR and it just works for us. I don't know why we do just think like, wow, they must be doing so well. It doesn't really not do what the reality is. 

Eric Dickmann: [00:20:42] You also mentioned reaching out to a specific publication or maybe a journalist who writes for that publication. How do you begin to build a relationship with a specific journalist or journalists in a sector if you really want them to pay attention to you? 

Skye Ferguson: [00:20:59] So I think it's interesting because when I ask people that I work with at the beginning, you know, where do you want to get featured off the top of their heads? And I, I, you know, they're going to be saying things probably that they read or, you know, for us, it would be like national newspapers, like the guardian or the times. 

That? Yes, that's great. Yes. It's going to give you so much credibility. All you really reaching your ideal client and your target audience through that? Not necessarily because it's a wide platform. Okay. So it's about kind of coming back to yeah. Our objectives and what do we actually want to achieve out of it? So, 

If we look at our objectives and get really clear on that, if we really nailed down our audience, our ideal client, and there might be sections, you know, there might be different, audiences that we're going after. But if we really get clear on who they are, we're not going to be coming up with hundreds and hundreds of publications we're actually going to have and how I would always do it as we call it like T a teared media there. So your tier one, a robust, you know, your top, top targets. So if you're kind of just getting started, if you're looking at how you can do this yourself, just pick five, just pick five to start with based on you know, who you want to reach in the message that you want to get across. 

And then if you think about it that way, it's actually not loads of people you're trying to build a relationship with. It doesn't feel so daunting. and I think what's so great about, you know, I guess, you know, there's two sides to it, but. We live in such an age of transparency. Like I know exactly what, Leonardo DiCaprio had for breakfast. Cause I can go on his Instagram or, you know, I mean, you know, we can find out everything that we want about people. and we're all quite a bit more transparent I guess, in our lives. So I guess traditionally PR and the media was a bit out of reach because you know, you did need that little black book of contacts. You did need those insiders who knew people. Whereas today the great news is. 

Journalists all hangout on Twitter. So if you want to start building relationships, you need to get onto Twitter. and what's also great is that they, you know, you can connect with people on Twitter anyway, but a lot of journalists will put their emails in their bio. Like they want people to find them. They need us as well. Okay. They need ideas for stories. We're the experts. We're the ones that are going to come bring them ideas that they wouldn't possibly think of because it's just not what they do. 

so if you want to start building your own relationships, I would say Twitter is absolutely the best place to start. So that can be you finding people. It can be, you know, Quite often when I follow a journalists, they'll follow me back. That's you know, that's just one little, like start to your kind of relationship building. a lot of them will post  requests when they're looking for experts and things like that, they'll post them on Twitter. So if you're following, you'll see that you'll be able to respond. but what you also know from working with journalists is that they use Twitter to find experts. So, it's a little bit about, you know, the following and that sort of making that initial contact, but it's also. 

Positioning yourself as an expert and making sure that your kind of position on things, your key messages, if you like a really coming through in your feed. So. I think a lot of people when I mentioned Twitter, especially small businesses are like, Oh no, not another platform. You know, it's not something that we would traditionally use for marketing. And so I'm not saying you have to go out and create a whole new kind of load of content or something else, but just use it and read, like read articles by the journalist that you want to feature you.

 And just retweet them. And if you read something, you know, a piece of industry news and you, or you don't agree, will you treat it with a comment and, you know, put your opinion on it and just having a little bit of a trail of your ideas. you're angling your Mark within the industry helps journalist to find you as well. 

Eric Dickmann: [00:24:36] So just to be clear on what you're suggesting here. If I am a small midsize business, I want to position my CEO, my founder, as a thought leader, an expert, somebody who could be called upon. Do I want to be establishing these relationships on Twitter under the founder's name. So there's the founders Twitter account, and then the company Twitter account. 

Do I want to do both? Do you recommend that that founders, Twitter account may be managed by the marketing department so that they can constantly be pushing things out and following people on their behalf? How do you recommend that for clients? 

Skye Ferguson: [00:25:11] Yeah, absolutely. So I would say it is really, really helpful to have a face to your company. Cause that's your expert, like you said, that's the spokesperson it's going to be speaking. So absolutely get that founder, that CEO, whoever it is that you want to be the face of it. Get them on Twitter. and yeah, you do have to be a bit strategic about it. I mean, for some people, it is actually much better not. 

Go wild on Twitter anyway. But you can do it in a slightly controlled way and it absolutely can be part of that marketing person's job. And, you know, you can reach out to people. I think what, you know, it's interesting, somebody said to me the other day, but you know, I'm, I'm scared to kind of contact her and less, cause I think they only want to hear from PR agencies and they only want to open those emails, from, you know, big brands and big agencies. And I was like, 

That's so interesting. Cause I know from the other side that the opposite is true. A journalist, probably sick to death of hearing from agencies and the per se you know, the same people, Oh God, his sky, what the she wanted to get her, she pushing now and it's quite refreshing for them to be able to connect with people, directly, and build up, you know, their own book of contacts. So yeah, definitely putting a face to it. and it's great as we've talked about a little bit, you know, to have that strategy in place to think about, you know, the opportunities you really want to go after the people you really want to connect with. it is strategic. Yes. It's about building relationships, but yes, there has to be a certain amount of strategy behind it. so I think it's a great idea, to yeah. To have your marketing person in charge and also what I've always found as well. 

Is that, you know, The founders and the people running the company is, you know, depending on the size, but they're really, really busy and it is not necessarily going to be a priority for them. so it is a little bit easier. if you can kind of hand that over to the marketing person, just because they can then put the time into it, it doesn't mean you can't consult over it or anything. But it means it's going to get the attention that it needs, to kind of, yeah. To build that profile up. 

Eric Dickmann: [00:27:08] One of the things we've talked about on this podcast before is a service like HARO Help a Reporter Out where you get daily emails from journalists. Sometimes they're, anonymous. You don't know exactly who the publication is, but it's reporters reaching out and saying, I'm writing a story on this topic. Would you be interested in, um, submitting something? 

what do you think about those? Is it worth the time? 

Skye Ferguson: [00:27:31] Yeah. So I always see HARO, and obviously in the UK, Would he use. So we use a hashtag here called journal request, which is really useful, but I'm pretty sure it's kind of the same thing. And we have things like press plugs that you can sign up to. So you're getting them directly in your feed. You can get some amazing coverage from that. But it can also be time consuming. So I would say again, be really clear on the outlets you want to be featured in the people that you're trying to reach and what your message is, the conversations that you want to be involved in. So that, because otherwise there's the temptation of getting drawn into things that I like. 

You know, a little bit relevant or just like you start chasing that coverage. So you're like, Oh wait, this could be for us kind of thing. And that's where it can, could to end up taking a lot of your time. But I would say that is so worth monitoring them. And you know, if you've got someone that can just, I always, in terms of looking for clients, so I'll use the journal request hashtag cause you know, my clients are  UK based, but I'll just check that I would say at like 10 in the morning and two in the afternoon. You know, they've moved far. Sometimes you'll miss something, but it's always worth it. And I've picked up some amazing pieces of coverage. I've got a client that, you know, as many of us had to during COVID has completely pivoted her business and taken it online, for the first time. And she just from following journey requests and those sorts of Haro call-outs that you're talking about, she got both the guardian evening standard, which are two big papers here, you know, other women's magazine. She did so well. And that was purely of that she was. 

The right time, the right place. It was when journalists would just, we were all just going into lockdown and things were just, you know, the zoom quiz. I don't know if that was big for you guys. It's just this, you know, just started out very exciting. And yeah, she just got in there at the right time, but she got amazing coverage from it. So yeah. Keep your strategy in mind. Don't get tempted to get drawn into things that aren't really relevant for you because that's where it becomes time consuming. But definitely make sure you're checking out. 

Eric Dickmann: [00:29:31] There was one more topic that I wanted to ask you about before we sort of wrap up here today. And you had mentioned a little bit earlier, the topic of crisis management, and this certainly doesn't fall under that, but what do you do in circumstances like here in the States, we've had, the whole black lives matter movement and there has been. 

A focus on companies responding to that in some way. And whether it's something like that, or maybe it's a environmental issue or a political stand, or maybe something in local politics where it almost feels like there's an expectation that a company. Make some sort of a public statement, in those kinds of situations, how do you recommend clients do that? Is it a press release? Is it a posting on their company blog? Just to say where they stand on this issue? Because it seems like many businesses have been asked where do you stand on this? And, I've seen a lot of social media posts on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and whatnot. But what do you recommend to clients? 

Skye Ferguson: [00:30:33] So I would say that, you know, we've talked about this age of transparency and we can find out everything about everyone. And I think that because of that, we really expect authenticity from brands. It doesn't matter how big or how small they are. Like what what's really important when it comes to those kinds of messages. And, you know, especially something like black lives matter is that we can see straight through a brand. You know, there was so many. 

Stories that came out of, you know, certain brands putting posting black squares, and then, you know, all of these kind of racist things that they'd done, it comes out in the media five minutes later. So I would say that, you know, if you're going to respond to something, it has to be genuine and it has to be authentic. 

But it's also about what you actually doing. So, you know, there is absolutely no point in putting a message out there. A it doesn't mean something to you because your consumers and your clients will see straight through that. But B if you're not doing the work and you're not taking that further, because it's not just about, you know, 

Hello? Yes. Look at us. We're doing this or we've recognized this, like, people want to know what you're doing and they will be able to find out. So I would say that. It always comes back to, for me, is authenticity. in terms of where do you post it again? It depends who you're trying to reach with that message. Like, if it is a movement, like, you know, 

What happened on Instagram that was with the blackout Tuesday, with the black squares being posted, you know, if you're on Instagram and that sort of, you want to be part of that, then just think about your audience and who you're trying to reach in terms of where you post it. but don't never ever respond for the sake of responding, you know, don't, you can't pay lip service to things anymore. It doesn't work people. 

People can find out everything about us, everything about what we're doing. You know, the media is accessible if I'm thinking probably a lot more bigger brands now, but you know, if, if a big organization goes out and post as big statement, you know, there's nothing to stop their workers going to the media. They can contact to journalists. They can go on Twitter. Like, you know, we can find people's contact details. So I would say, yeah, you know, your messages and that's again, where your strategy comes into place. Like your messages, aren't just about paying lip service. And they're not just about how do we want to be viewed by people. It's about like your tone and your values and why you started this and what you hope to achieve through your business. You know, that's what your messages should be informed by an absolutely they should be, they should be genuine and they should be authentic.

Eric Dickmann: [00:33:06] So Skye, there has been so much good information that you've shared as part of this podcast, and obviously your business is helping businesses with PR and communication strategies. So tell our audience a little bit about where they can find you on the web and what kind of specific services you can offer. 

Skye Ferguson: [00:33:22] Absolutely. So, yeah, so I work with, you know, it very small service based businesses through to SMEs. And basically I'm all about teaching people, everything they need to know to get themselves featured in the press. so you can find me, my website is skyferguson.co.uk. Representing the UK.

I've got a Facebook group for female entrepreneurs called PR made easy. So you can find me on there. and on LinkedIn and everywhere else in between, I guess. 

Eric Dickmann: [00:33:53] That's terrific. And I will have all of those links in the show notes so that people can find you. This has really been a fascinating interview. As I mentioned before we started, this is really the first interview that we've done that's been specific to PR and comm strategy. And I think you shared so many tidbits that are a value to the audience because earned media, being able to be written about by trusted sources can do so much for your brand and drive so much traffic to your website. If you have an intentional strategy about that.  I hope that our audience puts some of these things into play and contacts you for help as well. 

Skye Ferguson: [00:34:29] Brilliant. Thank you so much for having me

 Eric Dickmann: [00:34:34] that wraps up another episode of The Virtual CMO podcast. As a reminder, if you'd like to learn more about Virtual CMO, strategic marketing consulting services, or anything else discussed here today, please visit us at fiveechelon.com. There's a link in the show notes. If you'd like to send us comments, feedback, guest inquiries, and your five-star reviews on Apple Podcasts are always appreciated.

If you'd like to reach me. I'm @ EDickmann. That's E D I C K M A N N on Twitter. If you'd like to connect on LinkedIn, please let me know. You heard about me through The Virtual CMO podcast. I look forward to talking with you again next week and sharing some new marketing insights on The Virtual CMO.

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