Transcript: Hi, this is David Brower. Thanks Alan. Our special guest today is Steve Turner. Steve’s from Solomon Turner PR, the traditional and social media specialists. They’ve been ranked as one of the top firms of their type in St. Louis for the last nine years, and if you’re like me, if you’re a business owner, writer, author, speaker, marketing executives, and you’d like to learn how to do more with media, getting on TV, radio, print coverage, social media. Steve’s the guy, right?
Steve Turner: Well, that’s what I’m told. We’ve been doing it for a long time.
David Brower: Good for you. Good for you. How long have you been there, Steve?
Steve Turner: Well, we’ve been in business for 27 years, and I founded the company with my partner. I had a small PR firm before, and she had an ad agency. We were funneling business back and forth and then we merged and have been moving forward as Solomon Turner ever since.
David Brower: Your bio that I was reading, 30 years of experience in marketing and public relations. Most people, let me rephrase that. Most people seem to talk or wonder about how can I use social media to help increase my business, is radio, TV, print, is that old school, do I need to avoid that? What kinds of things do you talk about people, or talk to with people when you’re first trying to figure out what they’re needs might be.
Steve Turner: The first thing is to find out who their audience is, who their customers are, and then try to micro niche that audience as to who really does the buying of their products and services. The 80/20 rule. That 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. Companies’ basic profits come from a small group of buyers in most cases, unless you’re a big department store or something. If you’re a business to business or something similar to that, you’re going to know your customers pretty well and it may be a small group. The goal is to figure out what do they read, what do they watch, what do they look at on social media, are they on Twitter, are they on Facebook, are they on Linkedin. If you’re in business to business obviously Linkedin is probably going to be the key social outlet for you. Facebook may have some play, but probably not as much.
If you’re business to consumer, Facebook is more important that some of the other things. The other thing we try to talk to them about is to build credibility for your business, so people do a lot of searching on Google, and you can be losing business and not even knowing about it. For example, let’s say you have an accounting firm in St. Louis, and you get the directive from the CEO, “Well, we need a new accounting firm. I’m not happy with who we’re using now. Go ahead, find three good ones, invite them in for an interview.” What are they going to do? They’re going to talk to some people, they’re going to go on Google, they’re going do a search, and if you’re accounting firm doesn’t show up in the first page or two, three maybe on Google, you’re not going to get a call. Even though there’s a great opening, a great opportunity, you don’t even know about it.
David Brower: You might just be a perfect fit and you would never know.
Steve Turner: That’s it. These things are happening, and if you’re not out there, if you don’t have the credibility, if you can’t be found on social media, then you are losing business and a lot of people don’t even realize it. That is important and we work through that, through the media in a lot of cases, with great articles. If you can get an article in a major daily newspaper, a wire service, something with some credibility, even a website, a social site that has a lot of readership, that’ll rank very high on Google and give you a lot of credibility. Things like that, a TV interview, a radio interview, all that stuff is great and that’ll show up on Google and raise your image, raise your brand, raise your search on Google and some of these other search engines.
David Brower: So do all those things, radio, TV, newspapers, social, do all those things work together somehow magically to help your search engine optimization and make it more visible out there? How do they play together?
Steve Turner: Yeah, exactly. That happens and they do play together, so one of the beauties of your traditional media coverage, which is print, newspaper, magazine articles, is to link those to your social sites. How do I get the biggest bang of the buck for my newspaper article that I just got. Everybody’s going to see it that day, and then what? It’ll be on Google, which is great, but then what you want to do is leverage it. So you go to your Linkedin site, and you say, “Hey, we just got a great article about this. Did you see it? Here it is.” You show the link, and then people can link to it and look at it. Some’ll like it, favorite, retweet it, whatever and so you have a article that has a life of its own. You can do that on Linkedin, you can do it on Facebook, whatever social site you have. Twitter, and so it keeps going and going, and suddenly, instead of having 1,000 views, you’re up to 2,000, 5,000, maybe 10,000.
David Brower: If you’re a small business, you’re business to consumer. Do I need to hire somebody that’s going to do all this, manage all this publicity, PR, social media? Are you the guy, are you the person that does all this for me or do I need to bring somebody internally to do that, how do I make that happen if I’m a business to consumer type?
Steve Turner: If you’re a small business targeting consumers, you need to have obviously some kind of branding marketing campaign going, whether you use coupons, direct mail, all kinds of different social media [inaudible 00:06:19] Facebook is really important in that case. Twitter, those kinds of social sites. YouTube perhaps, so you need somebody to manage it, you need a blog probably to add value to whatever it is that you’re selling. You need somebody with some expertise to keep this organized. If you’re the business owner and maybe have a big enough staff, maybe the business owner can focus on this and spend some time doing it. If not, it’s wise to bring somebody in that can do it or hire somebody full time.
David Brower: Bring a millennial in right?
Steve Turner: Yeah, well, if they have some marketing know-how.
David Brower: Exactly. Exactly. That makes sense to me. If you’re a small company, mom and pop to medium size, you need to have somebody on board that understands how all this works, get the information from you and then take it from there and market it, or if you’re the owner and you have that kind of desire and expertise, you can do it yourself, but you’ve got to have somebody that’s just really focused and spending consistent time with all this, don’t you?
Steve Turner: Yeah, absolutely. Things like just compiling emails is very important. Email lists are terrific if you can get the person’s email, which is why a lot these businesses have contests and different things where you have to use your email to get this or to get that. Those are very important, and if you can a big list of emails, you could start sending people email blasts on sales, specials, coupons, different things going on. This would be huge in retail, and most retailers probably already do this, but if they don’t, they should pay attention to it and do contests, or have a fishbowl where people can register to win something free. That kind of stuff so they do get the big email lists together and they can market to their customers.
David Brower: Yeah, you’ve got to have some way to interact with them on an ongoing basis and continue to build your credibility at the same time, so they not only want to interact with you, but hopefully provide you some referrals to help grow that business too, huh?
Steve Turner: Absolutely. You want to have a brand that is well thought of in the community you serve. You need to add value. A lot of people are interested in social marketing, social causes, so if you’re involved with charities in the area, you’re donating money, you’re donating time. All that is really important and people like to do business with companies like that. Companies that are basically giving back to the community.
David Brower: Cause marketing is really taken off the last few years, hasn’t it?
Steve Turner: Yeah, it has, and companies are always looking for ways to give back, to get involved, to raise their profile that way. They’re looking for different causes, you see companies, policemen, they may have been injured on the job, that is no longer able to function at home. There are people that build specialty houses for these people at no charge. They raise funds through different organizations and will build a house and it’s perfect for somebody with a disability to get around. There’s all kinds of things like this happening and it is making a big difference and it is leaving a large positive mark for these fellows.
David Brower: Absolutely. It creates a wonderful image and gives back, as you say. Business to business. That’s a whole different animal, isn’t it?
Steve Turner: Yeah, business to business marketing is different. You may have 10 customers, where you’re getting 90% of your business from, and that’s your market. Or there may be 100 or 200 depending on if you have a local approach, a national approach, even and international approach. It’s a whole different mindset. For business to business companies, you want to come across as a block leader in your industry so that you show that you are a brand with a leading edge image to what you’re doing so people respect you as a leader and want to do business with your company. That you’re not just one of the pack, but somebody that really knows what they’re talking about and somebody that can help somebody else, not only with the sale of a product, but help them learn how to use it, implement it and help them grow their business through it.
David Brower: Linkedin, YouTube, those kinds of things in particular would be good for business to business I would think.
Steve Turner: Oh absolutely. You can get involved with Linkedin and use it in a lot of different ways. You can obviously do a lot of connections, and just say, “Hi, I’m Steve, looks like we have a lot in common. Do you have time for a phone call? Let’s chat.” That’s one way to use it. You can get into Linkedin groups or create your own groups of like-minded individuals. If you’re selling tractors for instance, maybe there’s a group of people that are interested in tractors on Linkedin and suddenly you’re commenting to 10,000 different people that are interested in tractors. Maybe out of those groups you’ll find some people that are interested in what you’re doing, and what to chat or connect, make new connections that way. There’s a lot of ways to do that and make it work for you from a business to business standpoint.
David Brower: So do you guys do mostly business to business? Do you do a little bit of everything? How do you do your thing?
Steve Turner: Over the years we’ve worked with all kinds of folks from retail to shopping centers, but mostly business to business because they have more of a need for PR and marketing, other than just the usual stuff that you see in the newspaper. Big sale, buy us kind of thing that retail would do.
David Brower: So if you’re business to business, what kind of marketing trends should they be thinking about, looking towards, wondering about, curious about, as we start off this new year?
Steve Turner: I think one of the key things is web expansions and people say, “What does that mean exactly?” Well, we’re not just talking about creating another URL to help you get more referrals back to your other URL site or your main web page. But how can you add value to what you’re already doing? We created something called the PRChannel.com, and it’s a totally separate website from the Solomon Turner website, but we use it as an educational tool for people to learn a little bit about public relations. It’s a site just for videos, and video interviews that we’ve done, so if somebody goes there, we direct them there, they will learn a little bit about public relations every time they watch one of those videos. In essence, it helps refer them back to Solomon Turner to discuss maybe a potential campaign with us. What can you do from a web extension standpoint is very important. Having a newsroom on your website and keep it updated I think is very good. A trend is to keep that going and to keep adding to it and adding to it and adding to it. A lot of times you’ll see companies host things for a year and then they forget about it and then the last thing will be a post from 2014 or 2015. You mean nothing’s happened to the company for the past three years?
David Brower: By newsroom, do you mean, is that like a blog, or what’s a newsroom exactly?
Steve Turner: A newsroom is part of the articles that you get. You post them on your newsroom in your website. And also it can be blogs or just news releases, maybe something happens so you write a little news release and you post that.
David Brower: When you’re putting stuff in your newsroom, you want to cross promote that, don’t you? You want to post those things on Linkedin, you want to put them in different venues? What’s the best way to take advantage of the public relations part of what you’re talking about?
Steve Turner: Yeah, absolutely. Let’s say you do a video or your CEO was recorded for a news story that was on a local TV station. You should put that in your newsroom, but also let’s link it on Linkedin, let’s put it on your Facebook page, let’s put it on different social sites. Let’s have people Tweet it out and so it gets a life of its own. Again, instead of having 1,000 people see it, maybe you’ll end up with 5,000 or 10,000 people actually seeing it. That needs to go in your newsroom and then you need to leverage it with all your social sites as well. That’s why it’s important to get these articles in the first place is you may not think much of it. Here’s a new hire, we put it out in the local newspaper. So what. Well, let’s take that article and let’s leverage it for social media and let’s leverage it for a website and so forth. Really get the biggest bang for the buck.
David Brower: So if somebody is interested, their life’s blood is business to business. Do they reach out to you and you work with them to make the magic happen, or how does that work?
Steve Turner: We want to be glad to have any kind of conversation with anybody that wants to talk. We’ll sit down and we’ll hear what their goal is, what their objectives are, do a deep dive into their customers and where they feel the room for growth is and how they position themselves in the marketplace, and then take all that together and then put a strategy of how PR fits into that mix. What can you leverage to help you get to that next goal? If our goal is to go for $2 million in sales to $3 million, how does PR fit into that, how does marketing fit into that? What do we need to do differently to get that big jump? We’ll talk to them, and work through those programs.
David Brower: Potential clients are different places around the country, you’re in Missouri. Do you do conference calls, do you do video calls, what’s the best way that you’ve found to communicate to get this kind of information from people?
Steve Turner: Ideally you’d like to get face to face, eyeball to eyeball so you can really see what’s going on, maybe take a tour of their business and their plant and meet executives and things like that. That’s ideal. If that doesn’t work out, we do a lot of zoom calls and video calls to talk to people that way with no charge, or Skype. Then of course, there’s always the good old telephone. Oh my no. The telephone, what’s that?
David Brower: Do I have to dial that? I don’t remember.
Steve Turner: Can’t we just text? No, I don’t think so.
David Brower: Well certainly, I agree with you 100%. Face to face is the deal, and …
Steve Turner: Yeah, and I like that idea. There’s so much noise in the marketplace right now that it’s really hard to break through the clutter and there’s so many social sites and things happening in the media that you have to do something a little different, maybe sometimes a little crazy to get somebody’s attention. I really like the idea of doing something. Edward Jones for years, has put their people on the street to build their business, which you think, oh no, who wants to go door to door through a neighborhood, but that’s how they do it. Obviously it’s been successful.
David Brower: Absolutely right. You’ve certainly worked with some big companies. Anthony Robins seminars, Brian Tracy, I’ve been to a couple of Brian Tracy’s. Coldwell Banker, Northwestern Mutual, just to mention a few. So if people want to reach out to you, learn more, possibly become partners with you. What’s the best way to do that?
Steve Turner: Sure, they can go to our website, solomonturner.com S-O-L-O-M-O-N-T-U-R-N-E-R.com. They can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or pick up the telephone. 314-205-0800. 205-0800, area 314 if they’re so inclined. Yeah, the PRChannel.com, yeah they can go there if they just want a little basic understanding of our approach.
David Brower: Thanks so much Steve, really been informative and I’m looking at my clock going, “What? It’s been 20 minutes? Seriously?” Went by quick. Very informative, good information, good advice, good counsel, and folks, reach out to Steve Turner again at Solomon Turner PR at solomonturner.com and PRChannel.com so you can check out some of those videos and if you still have a phone, you can call him at 314-205-0800. Steve, thanks so much.
Steve Turner: Thank you.
Alan: Your 20 minute podcast with David Brower has been brought to you by Audible. You can listen to any of David’s podcasts anywhere podcasts can be found, including iHeartRadio, the Spotify mobile app, and at Davidbrowervo.com/your20minutepodcast. Until next time, thanks for listening.