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How a Fitness Entrepreneur Leveraged PR to Build His Business

When I counsel an entrepreneur or wellness professional to go after their own PR, I encounter a lot of resistance.

A lot of people would rather save up to have me do their PR (and wait) then get started with their own program.

This is a real shame, because it often makes more sense to keep PR in-house than to outsource it, and you can also grow faster if you’re making media part of your promo plan from the start.

There is absolutely no reason to hold yourself back or to wait until you’re already well-known to get PR.

So that’s why I’m beyond thrilled to share DaKari (Doc) Williams’ story with you.

Doc  first approached me last year to let me know my CreativeLive class completely changed his business (his words, not mine). He went on to tell me a remarkable story of how he turned his business around using PR as a catalyst that created one success after another.

Today, Doc is a paid contributor to ESPN.com, writes for Breaking Muscle and has leveraged his heightened name recognition into a branding agency for athletes.

Doc Williams interviews for Sweat RX

Doc Williams on location for Sweat RX magazine

And this is just the tip of the iceberg — click here to get the full story.

I’m not gonna lie. I teared up a little when Doc first shared his story. In no way am I trying to take credit for his success — it was all his work, his effort — but it feels amazing to know my teaching gave him tools he could use to such effect.

I’m sharing this with you today, because I want you to know:
If you’ve put off PR for “some day”…
If you’re feeling stuck…
If you don’t feel like the status quo is working…

Let Doc’s story inspire you to try another way.

My Big Why

“Go out into the world and do well. But more importantly, go out into the world and do good.”

— Minor Myers

Minor Myers was president of Illinois Wesleyan University when I was a student there, majoring in creative writing and dabbling in political science, philosophy and working on my Spanish language skills.

As I look ahead to a new year, I wanted to share this quote with you, as it sums up perfectly the balance I’ve always tried to achieve in my work. For me, professional success is not only a measure of how much money you make or the respect you earn (although those do matter to me), but also of how much good you’re able to do in the world.

Through my first PR agency job, I chanced into public affairs, and I credit much of my path with that lucky accident.

Public affairs is a specialization focused on government relations. Either you work on behalf of the government to help them educate the public around a certain program or policy, or your client is a corporation hoping to influence public opinion and legislators in favor of their preferred policies.

I loved working at this firm, where I got to work on campaigns for the AFL-CIO and Planned Parenthood. But, alas, I was one of 9 interns, and only one was to be hired.

My next job was in the public affairs division of one of the largest PR agencies in the world, where I worked on government, corporate and nonprofit clients. At this firm, I had so many amazing opportunities. Speech writing for CEOs, working closely with major news outlets in Chicago, and learning from some of the best talent in the industry.

But there was also a shadow side to working for a big agency — I didn’t get to choose my assignments. And, inevitably, I spent quite a bit of time on what I felt to be the wrong side of a controversial public issue.

It was still early in my career, but I saw that if I wanted to pick the issues I represented, I would need to strike out on my own.

But I knew I wasn’t ready to go alone. I needed to gain more experience first. I worked at another, smaller agency, where I gained experience in corporate PR and then, finally, worked at a nonprofit trade organization as their marketing director.

Four years went by before I felt prepared to strike out alone. My consulting business has taken many twists and turns for the past 5 and a half years, but one thing has remained constant.

I’ve stayed true to my commitment to only work with clients whose ideas and projects I believe in.

I’ve turned away more business than I’ve accepted, and the projects I do take on are incredibly fulfilling. Even though the sectors I work in vary dramatically, I get a lot of personal joy from being a part of my clients’ successes.

In other words…

Never believe anyone who tells you that you can’t pick your clients!

I’ve recently started to see how forging my own path allows me the freedom to take on meaningful personal projects as well. A good example of this is when I took 2 weeks off to volunteer on a presidential campaign in 2016.

I wanted to share my story with you today, because I know how important it is to work with people who are aligned with your values.

I have a lot of new projects that I’m eager to share with you, but first, I wanted to take this moment to help you understand why I do this work and what drives me.

I’ll be back very soon with an update on what’s on deck for 2017.

Happy New Year!

Is the bundle right for me?

As you consider the special year-end bundle that includes the Blog Boost and Press Push, I wanted to give some more context as to who we’ve created these programs for.

Both are created with a similar goal in mind: to remove the barriers that are stopping you from sharing your work on the regular.

There are a million reasons why you don’t blog more frequently or do PR. Some of these reasons are related to process, especially in PR, but most of them are psychological blocks that are holding you back.

You’re scared of alienating people, whether it’s the audience you already have or your favorite blogger. You don’t want to say the wrong thing, break any hidden etiquette rules you don’t know about, and you certainly don’t want to bother people.

What I learned in my PR agency days is that the only way to get past this discomfort is to do the work.

Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action.
You don’t have to wait to be confident.
Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.
 * * * Carrie Fisher * * *

Because what you will find is that your world will not come crashing down if an editor doesn’t reply to your email, and that any reluctance you feel to put yourself out there is far outshone by the feeling you get when your favorite magazine decides to pull your product or interview you for an article they’re writing.

The reason it feels so impossible to promote your work now, whether it’s on your blog or through media outreach, is that you haven’t been doing it with any regularity. When sharing your work and ideas becomes a habit, it doesn’t matter that one particular post didn’t take off with your audience, because you know that next week is another opportunity to connect with them. It’s okay if that website didn’t accept your contribution, because you haven’t put all your eggs in one basket.

The more you share, the lower the stakes for each individual post or pitch become.

This is the mindset Megan and I want to instill in you through the Blog Boost and the Press Push. That sharing your work and ideas regularly are an essential part of running your business, and they’re not a big deal. There’s nothing to dread or worry about, because promoting your work is as natural as breathing.

Now, we might not quite get you there in a 6-week course, but we hope to instill in you the habits and a safe environment for asking questions and trying new things so that you can get much closer to this ideal.

So back to the question — are these programs for you?

If you’re already confident in sharing your ideas on your blog at least once a week and have had success in pitching bloggers and magazine editors, you probably don’t need to take advantage of this bundle. The only reason you might is if you’ve let your good habits slide and want the extra accountability of getting topics (Blog Boost) and pitch angles (Press Push) from Megan and me within a structured program.

The accountability and emphasis on action over planning is the #1 benefit of our Blog Boost and Press Push programs. If you need a little extra nudge to follow through on your marketing commitments, these programs are an outstanding opportunity to get support.

If you feel doubts about the value of your content (does anyone care?), or have a hard time following through on your plans, then this bundle is a wonderful option for you. Megan and I are committed, caring teachers, and we are very invested in getting you to take action each week.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s what Jill Maldonado had to say after going through the Press Push this summer:

“Worth the price of the course alone, was the ability to participate in the Facebook group. I watched your feedback on other people’s assignments and learned a TON from that. Much gratitude for your generosity of spirit!”

  

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