Interview with Christina Daves, CEO & Founder, PR for Anyone®

Despite a chilly day and the threat of yet another February snow, AMADC members gathered at Café Deluxe on M Street for a lunchtime How-To session featuring Christina Daves, entrepreneur, PR maven, and author of the bestseller, “PR for Anyone”. Christina guided the audience through strategies to getting media coverage with her “Three Pillars for Success” including: how to be newsworthy, how to create great hooks, and how to find the right journalists to pitch to. Through her examples, AMADC members were able to gain insight into developing a niche focus to break through the clutter and become industry experts in the media.

AMADC caught up with Christina following the How-To event and her book signing to find out more about what led her to success in public relations.

AMADC: You’ve had PR success in both the business and entertainment worlds. What would you say has been the key to your success? How are the two worlds different in the PR industry?

Christina Daves: Putting yourself out there. Asking. You have to be your own megaphone because no one else will. Once you start to do it and see success, your confidence will start to build. And failure is okay.

They’re all journalists, and they’re all looking for information. That’s why I use the “Three Pillars for Success” [Be Newsworthy, Create Great Hooks, Find the Right Journalist], it just makes you stand out. If you can, use those three to get your foot in the door. And it might not be that story - as you continue to do it on a regular basis, they’ll start to recognize you.

AMADC: What is one problem/challenge you continuously see clients encounter in PR/marketing communications?

CD: They make it about themselves, and not about how it can benefit the journalist’s audience. That’s the key. What’s a newsworthy story that their audience will want to hear about? You will reap all the benefits from it because it’s your business and they’re going to talk about you, but it can’t be all “Me! Me! Me!”

AMADC: What was your biggest hurdle in getting publicity for your product, the CastMedic?

CD: Products are hard – harder than a service. I think because with services you can establish yourself as an expert in a certain field and a certain niche. But when it’s a product…for example the CastMedic, the Today Show loves this product, but they’re waiting until they have talent in a boot. It’s there, it’s in the prop room, but it’s not going to be on until something happens to somebody at the Today Show.

AMADC: So we’ll have to keep our eyes open for it! How do you envision the future of PR for small business in the new media age?

CD: The sky is the limit. There is no reason people can’t become the thought leaders and the experts in their industry, especially with social media, by giving good content and connecting with the right people and the right journalists. You see people who are starting out and within a year or two are seen as thought leaders in their industry.

AMADC: When pitching something, would you say it’s more about the product/service or the person pitching? Why?

CD: It’s more about the story. It’s [the journalist’s] job to do a newsworthy story that their audience is going to find interesting. So how can you take your product or your service and make it an interesting story?

I used National Healthy Foot Month [to pitch FOX], so they could spin off on that, and I could talk about my business.

AMADC: With all of the channels available to us as marketers, what are some ways to stand out from the crowd in PR? Any good examples?

CD: How do you do something that’s different? That’s how you’re going to stand out.

[Christina used an example in her presentation during the luncheon about a client of hers in Fauquier County, Shari Goodwin, who integrates horses into her business coaching. The story was picked up for newspapers and TV because it’s a great story that no one else is doing.]

AMADC: Do you have any recommendations for those small business owners who are nervous to start their PR outreach? What are a few first steps they should take?

CD: Just do it. You just have to do it. Start local; it's the easiest way to get your feet wet. And use HARO, which is “Help A Reporter Out”.

AMADC: Do you have any other guidance/recommendations for newbies in the PR world?

CD: Be short and concise. Remember [the reporters] are getting hundreds if not thousands of emails. Don’t make it an easy email to delete [i.e., a big email].

Quote: Be persistent. You can’t get upset with a “no”. It’s probably more of a “not yet”.