Local PR as a Business Growth Strategy
Mike Dolpies is an expert at using local PR to grow businesses of all kinds. And to promote his new program — The 7 Day Local Celebrity Course — he agreed to do an interview about local PR and how he’s used it to get new clients and customers. Enjoy!
1. What first made you interested in PR as a business growth strategy?
I started my first business when I was 18 years old. After a couple of years “putzing around” I got serious. I was always fascinated (and somewhat jealous) when I saw or heard another local business owner or even some virtually unknown author being interviewed on TV or the radio or written about in the newspaper. Not knowing much I chalked it up to what I thought was “luck.”
Then, I ran into a DVD that featured Paul Hartunian. He’s the guy who sold the Brooklyn Bridge in 1983. And he is sorta known as a Publicity Guru. He really opened my eyes to what publicity could do for just about any business owner. Then I found more mentors. And don’t get me wrong — all of the information I got from them was great — but for me — there was still a missing piece. For some reason I could not get it to work exactly like the courses taught.
2. Why is it so important to pursue a local PR strategy at first?
It’s funny because one of the flaws I discovered was trying to “aim for the stars” without first hitting the moon. What I mean is — if you want to get national publicity. I am not talking “flash in the pan” one-and-done type stuff — I mean sustainable — you must prove yourself locally first.
The good news is we are all “local.” Even though a lot of us can sell things and speak and do coaching all over, we all live somewhere. And where we live there is a local media market. Some markets are really huge too!
The good news is getting local PR (when you do it right) can be a heck of a lot easier. Then, that momentum can actually make getting national publicity easier. I’ll give you an example.
My core business is internet marketing for local business owners. I’ve been doing it for a while because I started as a local business owner. Anyway, I write internet marketing articles for a state business publication. Well those articles (about 2 that I’ve seen) have found their way to Entrepreneur.com. I didn’t even pitch them — it just went syndicated and now — “I’ve been seen on a major national website.”
Lastly — you can really “seal up” your local market by getting local PR first. You may not even care to do anything else because the local PR can keep you busy.
3. Can you think of any businesses where local PR would NOT be beneficial to them?
Really, NO! The truth is any business can really benefit. Again we are all local. Some more than others, but we have to live somewhere!
4. What inspired you to create the 7 Day Local Celebrity Course? And how will it help service providers like coaches, copywriters, and marketing consultants?
Actually the inspiration came from a Mastermind group I am in. I kept sending them the videos of TV appearances and article clippings. Finally they said “you should do a course on this,” so I did.
The hardest job any consultant, copywriter or coach has to do is actually make people believe they are qualified to help. A lot of prospects are skeptical of your claims about improving their life or business. There’s this “why should I listen to you?” thing.
But when you get publicity it’s a game changer — you’re not just someone marketing to them because now you’ve been “endorsed” by the TV program, Radio show or Newspaper you appeared in. It just makes selling so much easier.
5. How well have your PR strategies worked in your own business?
It has opened so many doors! As far as numbers go, I have one client who has paid me more than $20,000 over the course of 3 years and he came from a magazine article I wrote. Just last week someone contacted me after reading an article in a very small local newspaper and he became a client. There are countless examples.
One way to measure its success too is to think about how much, the air-time or space in the publication would have cost if you were advertising. For that I’m easily up 6 figures. Again, it also really takes the edge off selling.
6. Would you be willing to “give away” a helpful PR tip that my readers can use even if they don’t get your course?
I’d say to be sure you add Local PR to your list of how you want to market your business. Then learn to “Speak the Language of The Media” — which is explained in detail in my 7 Day Local Celebrity Course.
Obviously, since I don’t know the specifics of your business, this course may or may not be appropriate for you right now.
But if you’re a local service provider — for instance, a chiropractor, real estate agent, mortgage broker, web designer, marketing consultant, etc. — then Mike’s course could be a huge help to you.
Or if you serve a national client base and feel you could benefit from the increased credibility that local press could give you, then I recommend you check out The 7 Day Local Celebrity Course. (Just look at how many newspaper articles and media appearances Mike has gotten… amazing!)
And full disclosure… the links above are my affiliate links. If you try Mike’s course, I’ll get a commission. That said, the course is solid. I’ve already gotten some great ideas I plan to use myself. :-)
-Ryan M. Healy