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Entrepreneur Mag Editor on Getting Press as a Freelancer

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Growing a freelance business takes work across many fronts – honing your skills, finding great clients, delivering excellent work. But equally important is getting the word out about what you do. This is where press and media coverage can be invaluable.

On this episode of Freelance to Founder, we sat down with Jason Feifer, Editor-in-Chief of Entrepreneur Magazine and he shared fantastic insights on how freelancers can leverage media and press to grow their businesses.

Key Takeaways:

  • Focus on providing value to publications through compelling stories and angles vs self-promotion. Pitch ideas tailored to their audience.
  • Start local and niche. Easier to get coverage from smaller, targeted outlets when starting out. Can establish expertise.
  • View press as a supplemental marketing tool. Track results, promote coverage, but combine with other lead gen strategies. Don’t rely on press alone.

It’s Not About You, It’s About Them

The biggest mindset shift Jason recommends is realizing media coverage is not about promoting you or your business directly. As he put it, “You can’t ask for an opportunity. You have to be the opportunity.”

Approach press and media from the standpoint of how you can help them better serve their audience. Come with story ideas or angles tailored to what they cover. Provide value to the publication first and foremost.

Start Local and Niche

For many freelancers just starting out with media relations, Jason suggests beginning with local press and industry trades rather than big national outlets. Local reporters get far less pitching, so it’s easier to grab their attention.

Niche industry publications also present great opportunities to establish yourself as an expert. And as Jason notes, you may be able to write articles for them directly as a contributor.

It’s a Long Game

A single media mention, even in a major outlet, rarely moves the needle for long. Jason stresses that you can’t build a business solely on press coverage. Maintain reasonable expectations.

Instead, view press as an additional marketing tool for things like social proof. Include media logos on your website, promote the articles on social media, etc. But combine it with other lead generation and marketing efforts for a multi-pronged approach.

Tracking Performance Is Crucial

To maximize value from press coverage, track downstream metrics like site traffic and leads generated. See which media placements bring the most results, and double down on those types of outlets.

Pitch With a Story, Not Yourself

Rather than asking to be featured or pitching yourself directly, think about trends, data or insights that would interest the publication’s audience.

Come to them with story ideas and angles, ideally with you or your work featured as part of the narrative. This makes your pitch infinitely more appealing than a self-promotional spiel.

The full conversation with Jason is well worth a listen for any freelancer looking to utilize media and press. He provides tactical tips on crafting pitches, choosing outlets, tracking effectiveness, and more.

Media relations can be tremendously helpful for freelance businesses, but it does require a unique mindset and approach. By focusing on delivering value and compelling stories vs direct promotion, you’re far more likely to grab journalists’ attention.

What opportunities do you see to get press coverage for your freelance business?

We hope these tips from Jason help you start putting together a media relations strategy as part of your overall marketing plan. Just remember – it’s not about you, it’s about crafting stories and value for the publications you pitch. With that framing, you can secure great media coverage that grows your business.

Episode Transcript

This transcript was auto-generated and may have grammatical errors.

Hello and welcome back to another episode of Freelance to founder.
I’m really excited for today’s episode.
I’m joined, of course, by my friend Clay Mosley from
Hey, Clay, welcome.
I’m always happy to be here.
Yeah, man.
And excited today, especially because we got a special guest, Jason Fyfer, who’s the editor
and chief of Entrepreneur Magazine.
So welcome, Jason.
Thanks so much for being here, man.
Thank you for having me.
I appreciate it.
Yeah, we’re excited to have you.
Let’s kick off the show.
You can tell maybe people a little bit about who you are and if the tagline editor and
chief of Entrepreneur Magazine isn’t enough for people to stick around, which to me would
be crazy.
But if that’s not enough, maybe tell us more about who you are and why people should stick
around for the next 30 or 40 minutes while we chat.
Oh, sure.
Sounds good.
I feel like I have to really make it a break.
That’s right.
It has to be good.
This is your moment.
Well, a brief bit about me.
I started in community news.
I very much believe when we get into this, that freelancing helped advance my career
far more than just working a regular job.
I have always done two things at once.
I’ve always worked a regular job and freelance.
There have been a couple of times where I’ve quit jobs just to freelance, but then went
back into it.
And that’s because of a philosophy I have called work your next job, which we can get
into later.
Maybe that’s the hook for people to have to stay.
Otherwise, what I do now is I run this magazine and brand.
I make podcasts, I speak, and I am absolutely obsessed with understanding how change happens,
how people find opportunity and change, why people are afraid of change.
I do a lot of research into history, the history of innovation and how big moments of change
have come.
People have not recognized the value in them.
And then the winners were the ones that were the most adaptable.
It’s just subject.
I thought absolutely fascinating because it’s the thing that’s most relevant to us right
Yeah, that’s good.
Yeah, 100%.
In fact, I should have mentioned Jason is also the host of the build for tomorrow podcast
as well as a couple other podcasts from what I saw.
And so definitely we’ll put a link to that in our show notes.
You can head over there and take a listen to that podcast as well.
But I don’t mean to catch you off guard here, Jason, but later in the episode, we’re going
to talk about using press and media to build your freelance career and your freelance business.
But I have to ask you because you said you’re looking at innovation and change.
The freelancing industry right now is just it’s changing faster than it ever has.
And it’s a quick-changing industry.
But with COVID and remote work and people losing their jobs or quitting and choosing to work
freelance, I guess if you had a thought of what you think the next two, three, five years
looks like for freelancers or the freelance industry, is there anything you’ve dug up or
seen or that you might predict unofficially that you think freelancers ought to know about
for the next few years in this particular industry?
That’s a really interesting question.
I am very hesitant to ever make predictions because the thing that I’ve learned the most
from studying the history of innovation is that people are extremely terrible at telling
you what’s going to happen next.
And a big part of that and maybe this somewhat goes to your question is that people, I have
a whole bunch of theories about why people are so bad at predicting what’s going to happen
in the future.
But a big one of them is that people see loss a lot faster than they see gain.
And so when something comes along that introduces something new, that replaces something that
feels like some kind of change, the first thing that you can see is how it is going
to possibly remove something that you’re comfortable with or replace it with something uncomfortable
And that is very scary to people.
And then people extrapolate out the loss and assume that because this thing has changed,
that thing will change and that thing will change instead of what they really should
be doing, which is trying to identify the gain and then get there as fast as possible,
because every change does come with gain.
And I think that the winners are often the ones who are at least open to that or able
to identify it as best they can.
So what’s going to happen in the freelance industry?
I mean, look, I would imagine that you guys can tell me better than I can say that it’s
in a way more hyper specific than that, right?
That not every freelancer is dealing with the same exact kinds of changes and opportunities.
But that by and large, what I’m seeing is a world that really rewards nimbleness and
rewards people who are looking one or two steps ahead of the changing needs of their
clients and their customers.
And that the people who are most able to quickly adapt to that are the ones that are
going to succeed the most.
And the people who feel most entrenched in the kinds of offerings that they’ve made before
or the kinds of client relationships that they’ve had before, they’re going to see their
work dwindle.
And that doesn’t mean that you should despair.
I think that these are awesome opportunities here.
And I mean, look, if I can go on a weird historical tangent for a second, just tell you
a short course.
One story.
So, okay, rewind back early 1900s introduction of the phonograph, which is a early record
And this is consider it a mind bending revolution.
This is the when when recorded music technology was introduced.
It was the first time in the history of humanity that you could hear music without a human
being playing an instrument in front of you.
That’s shocking.
It’s shocking to think about.
Yeah, isn’t it?
It’s crazy.
Like this wasn’t just like, oh, what a cool thing.
It’s like when Spotify gets introduced and we were all playing with Pandora and we’re
like, oh, that’s kind of better.
Like, no, no, this is like never.
So, so this thing comes along and musicians hate this, right?
Hate this.
And you can say a lot of these freelancers, I mean, a lot of these musicians were freelancers
that they would bounce from job job, they had regular clients and they despised this
technology because the way they saw it, it was going to replace them all.
It was going to make their jobs and in fact, even their skill sets completely irrelevant
because why if you had a machine that could play music, would you ever want to hear a
musician play an instrument live?
That was the thinking.
And so John Philip Suso really led the charge here.
He was a very, very famous composer of the time who are familiar with his work.
Every march you’ve ever heard, that, that, that, that, that, right?
John Philip Suso.
And so he’s, he railed against recorded music.
And my favorite argument is just to zoom in real quick and then I’ll explain why the
hell I’ve gone on this tangent was that he argued, if you bring recorded music technology
into your home.
Well, then all forms of live music in your home will cease.
There’s no reason for anybody to perform anything live.
And this means that mothers will no longer sing to their children because why would they
do that when there’s a record player that could do it for them?
And because children grow up to imitate their mothers, the children will grow up to imitate
the machine instead.
And therefore we will raise a generation of machine babies.
And this was just genuine argument, right?
A genuine fear.
And of course we laugh at this now.
This is completely ridiculous.
But you can see where he was going with it.
He was extrapolating loss.
He thought that when something comes along, it wholesale replaces whatever came before
And then we have to extrapolate out that loss and see all the other ways in which it can
create impact.
But that’s not what happens.
What happens is that there is gain and that gain in fact creates more opportunities than
you could possibly ever have imagined.
I mean, the people, you and I right now, we’re talking through a platform called Zencaster.
And Zencaster is in many ways the product of this original innovation, the idea that
you could record things and play them back later and that could be valuable, created
not just new opportunities for musicians, but all sorts of new opportunities for people
to become studio engineers, freelance studio engineers.
Whatever the case is, there’s a million new jobs in an ever changing industry thanks to
this innovation that John Phillips who’s only saw as loss.
So to your question of what is going to come in the future, I don’t have any damn idea
because that’s not the way that we can think.
But what I can tell you is that whatever you see that’s coming that you experience as a
loss, I encourage you to see it as a potential gain instead.
I love that.
In fact, we’ve seen in our community the freelancers who have thrived through the pandemic are
the ones that are saying, okay, what’s changing in my client’s business that yes, this service
that I used to offer may not be relevant anymore.
I may not be able to do event planning right now.
That may not be a thing.
But what surely to salvage the revenue, the client is doing something else besides these
live in person events.
So how can I add value to whatever they’re doing?
Like you said, that’s the gain.
What is replacing in a positive way, the loss?
That’s right.
And consider that your client, if your client no longer has the ability to create whatever
it is that you were working with them for, you better believe they’re looking for other
solutions, but these are people in need right now.
So if you have solutions for them, then you’ve got a gig.
And some of these clients, they need help from someone else to point these things out.
That’s right.
They don’t even know how to solve the problem or what they’re looking for.
They don’t know what they don’t know.
That’s right.
They may have absolutely no idea where to go.
And here you come along and you’ve got fresh ideas and fresh opportunities.
And you’re in.
I mean, this is really a moment.
This has been a moment since March 2020 for people to step up with solutions.
Never before in our lifetimes has there been more desperation for solutions.
So be a person with solutions.
Yeah, I love that.
I mean, you’ve nailed it on the head.
And like I said, we’ve seen this in action already.
The people who are being problem solvers.
And you know what, the ultimate example of what you’re saying is the very job market,
All of this job loss you could see as millions of people losing their jobs.
What we’ve seen is what it means is millions of people turning to freelancing or turning
to entrepreneurship or turning to alternative job opportunities instead of just saying like,
because we’re a resilient species, right?
We don’t, we might throw arms up in the air and or be depressed for a couple of weeks
if we get laid off.
But in the end, we go back at it and we figure out how to solve the problem.
And a lot of people are turning to freelancing or entrepreneurship as a way to solve the job
loss problem.
And it’s just leading to all sorts of innovation and growth in the freelance industry and millions
of other industries as well.
That’s right.
I mean, there’s a reason why there is there we are currently at a 10 year high in new business
And you know, some of those are going to be, I mean, whatever, it’s going to be a large,
very large variance of what those things are.
And a lot of them, I’m sure are just people who are going to start up either they just
open an LLC for themselves to be a freelancer or whatever the case is.
And these are people who are realizing that there is an opportunity now to build something
for themselves and to control their own destiny and that there are endless opportunities out
there to do it.
You know what this reminds me of.
It reminds me of like prisoners inside of a prison.
I think like, I don’t know if you guys have ever watched like documentaries of this, like
prisoners, I swear, I swear they’re the most creative people out there because they are
forced to be creative.
Like the things that they come up with to survive inside prison is like, it’s just, it’s,
I would never think of the things if I was not inside of a prison.
And so I, it’s kind of funny to think about, but that’s kind of the way I feel like, especially
with, with since March 2020 with COVID is like these people are now being forced to
think of how to do things in a more creative way or how to do things differently.
And so it’s so funny because that’s just kind of how I think it’s very similar to that.
Not saying that we live in a prison, but I guess some people would argue that we are
now, but.
Well, I mean, I think that what you’re speaking to there is the power of restrictions, right?
The less you have the more creative you’re forced to be.
And this can lead to fantastic things.
In fact, when you have the opposite problem, when you have an abundance of resources available,
sometimes you get less creative because you don’t need to.
This came up, I mean, this is a realized a little bit different, but I just had Ryan Reynolds
on the cover of entrepreneur.
And I spoke to him for the magazine.
And he really went into this for a while.
I mean, he’s, I just, as you were talking, I was like, oh, the Ryan Reynolds, the point
he made.
So I just grabbed the magazine.
So I’m just going to like do some of what he said.
So he said, you’ve got to give yourself some guardrails and we love guardrails.
Problems are a friend.
Problems are our best friends because they really inspire ideas and ways to create.
Even if it’s just our budget has to be X, we can still get the job done and we have to
think outside the box in order to deliver something that is of great quality.
I mean, showbiz will teach you that.
If you keep throwing money at a problem, the problem is only going to be exacerbated.
I love that spot on.
Well, I mean, this has been super enlightening for me.
And man, it just gets the wheels turning about like future of freelancing and just the future
of work, which I’m sure we could go on and on for hours about with you, Jason, particularly.
But let’s, let’s take a quick break here.
When we get back from the break, we’re going to talk with Jason about using the press and
the media, something he knows a ton about to grow your freelance business or your agency
or whatever state you’re at.
We’re going to talk about growing your business using press and media, which I think is kind
of an undervalued resource for a lot of freelancers.
You hear and read a ton about using social media, about using job sites and things like
But I haven’t, I’ve been in the space a long time and I haven’t heard a ton about using
the media and press PR to get more freelance business.
So we’re going to take a quick break from, for a message from our sponsors.
When we get back, we will talk with Jason about using the press to grow your business
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All right.
Welcome back to freelance to founder.
You’re listening to freelance to founder podcast.
I’m here obviously with my co-host Clay Mosley from and we’re joined today
by Jason Fyfer who is the editor in chief of entrepreneur magazine and also the host
of the build for tomorrow podcast.
We had a great conversation the first half of the episode here about the future of freelancing
and how to pivot and change and adjust to change how to focus on the gains instead of the losses.
And really appreciate that conversation, Jason.
I’d like to pivot now and talk a little bit about what we were originally planning to
talk about on the show, which is using the media to grow your freelance business.
Where do you want to start with this conversation?
What makes sense?
For me, well, I think the way that I think the thing that people need to understand the
most if they’re going to reach out to media is that they need to understand who they’re
reaching out to because people tend to misunderstand this.
And I understand that because the media can be mysterious.
It’s not really clear why decisions are made the way that they are or what exactly is happening
And I see that every day, every frankly minute of every day, because my inbox is full of
people who are trying to get my attention for one thing or another.
And so many of them treat me like I am a service provider, right?
Which is to say that they reach out and they say, how can I get a feature in entrepreneur
And as if it’s just something that you hand out for the right price or whatever.
As if it’s a hamburger, right?
As if it’s a hamburger stand and the feature is a hamburger, right?
And that’s not I don’t sell hamburgers.
I’m not a service provider for you.
There are service providers out there.
There are publicists who you could hire to do this.
I mean, hell, you could also be a freelance publicist.
But if you are going to reach out to media, you really need to understand what that person
is looking for because their job is not to help you.
The outcome of their job may be of help to you, but their job is not to help you.
And so you have to know who you’re talking to.
Yeah, I love that.
So how would you, what kind of, how would you like someone who’s brand new to trying
to get featured in media, how would one go about figuring that out?
And let’s just, Jason, while you’re thinking about your answer to that question, because
I think it’s a great one, is how, how would, you know, a newbie or a beginner even go about
getting started.
Let’s just really quick give some context to the conversation.
And that is, if you’re freelancing or if you’re running a business, the press, the media can
be a great way to get your name out there.
And there’s lots of ways to do this, which we’re going to talk about here.
But the real value is like, in a lot of ways, you know, this is some people call this earned
media where you don’t necessarily pay for impressions, although sometimes you can, but
you network with people, you create really interesting stories, you add a value to people
like Jason and other, you know, editors and people running media companies so that they
can share interesting stories with their readers.
And if you happen to be a part of that, even better because then, you know, your business
gets exposure.
So I guess the context is like media or press as we talk about it today is just going to
be yet another marketing channel to get your name or your brand or your business out in
front of even more people.
And hopefully, you know, we bring in new clients or new business through that.
So yeah, Jason, let’s answer Clay’s question.
What’s, what’s a good way for a newbie to get started in, I guess PR, public relations
and press and media for their business?
So that was really good context and I just want to expand upon one thing, which is you
mentioned, you’d mentioned paid, right?
And if you can, if you can, if you could pay for something, then everything else that
we’re talking about is pointless.
Why would you go through all this work if you could pay for it?
So I just, I want to be really clear that whenever, if you’re looking through the website
or a print magazine of a, what we would call a traditional media property, a entrepreneur
or Forbes Fortune Business Week, Fast Company, Inc, whatever, all these things, you know,
I think of these as traditional media properties.
They employ professional career journalists.
You just, you can’t pay for anything.
You can pay for an ad, but you can’t pay for editorial.
It’s just not that.
So I bring that up only because, and I’ve worked in, you know, I worked at a magazine
for a while, mostly the online stuff.
And I guess I just bring that up because the lines are definitely getting blurry between,
you know, there’s tons of paid, you know, paid editorial or advertorial or things like that.
They’ve been getting, the lines have been getting blurry for a long time.
But again, like you said, Jason, it’s not the same thing, but it’s certainly in, on some
publications, usually maybe less respected ones.
It can look quite similar.
It can, it can.
And on less respected publications, they are, they’re absolutely, they’re selling it.
And on more respected publications, they, there are sometimes native programs that can look
a little like edit.
They should be distinguished and they should really only be available to major brands, right?
So that like any random person can’t just come along and buy an article about themselves.
But I want to make that distinction because there are so many people, I get, I get DMs
like every single day from somebody who’s like, are you selling edit?
Because I got this, I got this person who just reached out and said that for eight, you
know, for the $1500, they can get an article on
And that is, that is a unscrupulous actor, right?
Like that, that is somebody who is either trying to scam you outright or they’re trying
to scam us somehow.
And, and, and of course, if people, the more people believe that that’s how it operates,
the less there’s any reason for me to show up at work every day.
Because the why on earth would you trust anything that I produce if you think that it’s all
paid for.
So I just wanted to make that, but.
Yeah, I think that’s perfect.
Yeah, that’s good.
So, so how do you, how do you go about it?
Well, okay, look, I mean, again, if you hire a publicist, some of these steps are skipped,
although you have to hire a really good publicist because most publicists are bad at their jobs.
Most publicists are, most publicists just, just send out email blasts and that’s not useful
for anything.
So I’ll tell you, I get email blasts every day and I hit the lead every single time.
So you really need to find somebody if you’re going to hire a publicist who is relationship-driven
and who understands exactly how to frame your story in a way that a publication will find
But let’s say you’re doing it by yourself, which is fine.
You can.
Then what you, what you need to do is you need to, I would, I would encourage you to do this.
The first thing you have to do is you have to ask yourself an important question, which
is why do I need press?
And you should have, you should have like a really specific answer to that in the same
way that if you were running a startup and you were going out to raise money from an
investor, you’d need to know why you’re raising money.
But you wouldn’t, you, bad, bad answers for why are you raising money is because it feels
good because I deserve it because I’ve reached the stage in my journey, right?
But, but people say that kind of stuff about, about press all the time.
I get, you know, I get these emails.
And people, people are just, they were just weirdly upfront, right?
Or where it’s just like, you know, I, I feel like I’ve reached the point of my journey
where I’m, I’m ready to tell my story.
I want people to know my story.
That’s not a good reason to spend time trying to get press.
That doesn’t get you anything, right?
We’re all busy people.
You should be working on ROI here.
Like, like your time is an investment.
So have a good answer.
And let’s just say here’s, here’s a good answer for, for, for a, for a freelancer, I suppose,
is I am either looking to drive new business, trying to find new clients, or I’m looking
to establish myself as an authority in, in, in my space so that I can, you know, ultimately
get more clients.
And so, okay.
So great.
Now you know that now what publications are going to be the ones that will get you that
because not every publication will have the same kind of value for you.
If what you want to do is drive, drive business and you’re reaching a publication that doesn’t
reach the audience that would convert into business for you, well, then you just wasted
your time.
It’s not, there’s a point to it.
So let’s say for argument’s sake that you’ve gone through this thought process and where
you’ve landed is that entrepreneur magazine is the place for you.
And now take a good look at what is being published and try to understand what is happening.
What are you seeing?
Because you’re seeing something specific.
You are.
It might look like chaos, but it’s not.
It’s actually a pattern in the same way that if you turn on the television, you saw like
an ad for Ford, you could make some pretty quick assumptions about what was happening
behind the scenes in that ad.
Well, that I see these kinds of people and that kind of music and that kind of setting
and that tells me like who Ford’s marketing team is trying to reach today.
You can do that for media too.
If you read a bunch of articles and you think critically about why was this produced the
way it was, what is this trying to accomplish?
What would the person who wrote or edited this, edited this have been intending here?
You start to develop some patterns.
I’ll give you the patterns for entrepreneur in the print magazine, what you’re primarily
seeing or problem solving stories.
You’re seeing a story.
It doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t ask me what are the qualifications for being covered as if there’s some like
Oh, well, you have to have this much revenue in this, but it doesn’t work like that.
That would make any sense.
That wouldn’t have any value to the reader.
So we are a magazine about thinking and about problem solving and everything in that magazine
is in some way or another about trying to understand how somebody thought through a problem such
that it’s relatable to tons of other people in different industries.
That’s the magazine.
And then online, we’re doing a number of different things, but primarily what you’re seeing online
is a contributor network, which is a wide ranging network of entrepreneurs who applied
and were accepted to write for us.
And now they’re not getting coverage.
They are writing and therefore positioning themselves as authorities in their field.
And so that is a place where let’s say that you’re a freelance marketer that you might
want to start writing stories about marketing for different websites.
That’s a great option because not everyone is going to cover you.
It’s hard to be newsworthy.
And so you might not get somebody who’s going to write about you, but you might be able
to write for them.
Another option is that you might not be the story, but you can be part of the story.
So for example, let’s say that you’re a freelance marketer and if you reached out to Entrepreneur
magazine and you were like, right about me, I’m a freelance marketer and I’m really, really
smart at marketing.
Like that’s not a story.
But what about that you noticed something really interesting happening in the world of
Something that’s new and different and worth exploring and meaty and has characters and
just the whole thing is just fun and interesting and you feel like Entrepreneur would really
like to tell that story.
Well, you, if you bring that story to you, tell us that that’s happening and you have
some kind of involvement in it in some way.
Well, then there’s a better likelihood that a reporter or editor would say, oh, this does
sound like a good story for the magazine.
And this is the person in front of me.
I guess I should start by talking to this person and we’ll learn a little bit more.
We’ve run those kinds of stories all the time where instead of coming and pitching themselves,
they pitch something that they’re seeing because you ultimately, and I know I’ve thrown 14
things at you right now, but I’ll sort of end on this one.
This is all good.
You, you, I address you, the listener right now, you are far more of an expert in your
field than the journalist you’re reaching out to, right?
You’re just infinitely more knowledgeable about the subject because the way the journalists
are trained and the way that they think is that their knowledge is, is like a mile wide
and in steep.
They just don’t know that much about everything.
And so you know more than they do.
And so you’re seeing things that they’re not seeing.
And if you can kind of pick up the sensibility of what it is that they share with their audience,
and then you can bring that to the journalist and say, look, this is a really interesting
thing that’s happening.
I’d be happy to explain more of it.
You know, if it, if it, if it doesn’t look like you’re just pitching yourself and you’re
not using it, it looks like you’re in fact delivering something of great value, you’ll
be in that story.
You just will.
And then you can, you know, you can tout that you were covered in whatever and you can
use it to your advantage and maybe it’ll drive all the benefits that you were looking for.
You know, you mentioned you, you’ve thrown out a bunch of ideas, which you have and it’s
been fantastic.
No complaints from me at all.
I, I think though, to wrap up all of it in a, in a bow, you come back to what you said
at the very beginning, which is it’s not about you, right?
It’s not about you, the, the freelancer.
It’s about the publication that you’re reaching out to.
And when we say publication, yes, obviously we’re talking in print magazine because, you
know, that’s, that’s where Jason focuses his time, but this is, this is if you want to
be a guest on a podcast, this is if you want to be a guest blogger on someone’s blog.
This is if you want to be featured in someone’s Instagram account.
This is like, there’s a, there’s a million different places where you can get kind of
this earned media placement, but you have to focus on what value you’re bringing to the
media company or the publisher or whatever, whatever situation you’re the blogger, the
youtuber, the Instagrammer, they don’t actually care about you if you’re a stranger, right?
They don’t.
They care about how can this help move our goals forward?
And if, if it helps you at the same time, then that’s the perfect scenario.
I’ll win, win.
I’ll scratch your back.
You scratch mine kind of scenario, right?
I mean, I think you said it really nicely there.
Look, you can’t ask for an opportunity.
You have to be the opportunity.
I love it.
It’s an important distinction and I realize that it’s often lost on people as they are
seeking something for themselves and they’re, they’re blinded enough by it that they lead
with what they want.
You can’t leave with what you want because that’s not relevant.
So when you reach out, the value that you have to offer is that you have something that is
worth the audience knowing about because it’s going to be valuable to that audience, not
because it’s going to be valuable to you, right?
I mean, the number of people, you know, if you, if you, I would love a story, an entrepreneur,
because we would really help people, it would really help my company grow.
I don’t care about that.
I mean, you know, like I, I do in that I, like I support entrepreneurs and all that, right?
But like, but if we’re talking about an individual story and the resources that I have to put
behind it, my job isn’t to grow your company.
My job is to serve my audience.
And so the better that you can help me serve my audience, the more you get what you want.
You have to think of it that way.
It’s an important distinction because earlier we did say like you have to have a reason
why that you’re reaching out and trying to get earned media, you know, and that why a
lot of times should come back to the ROI or the revenue of your company.
But that’s not the answer you give them.
That’s why it’s like your, that’s your side of the table.
Why am I making the effort?
And then you switch gears and you say, okay, now that I’ve decided that this is my reason
for making the effort to reach out to people.
Now how can I add value to their life, to their publications, to their whatever, to their
But yeah, you can’t use that as your reasoning as you start to pitch.
I love that.
Yeah, next slide.
Yeah, I think this is spot on because I think this is the toughest thing for business owners
to get their mentality in this way.
Because I think by default that they automatically think what’s in it for me?
Super tough.
They do.
I understand that what’s in it for you.
Of course what’s in it for you?
Especially now.
That’s why I was you.
Yeah, why else are you doing it?
That makes total sense to me.
But you have to understand that everyone else thinks exactly the same way.
So you increase your odds exponentially if you flip the equation and if you arrive with
value, if you basically do someone else’s work for them instead of coming along and
like asking somebody to work for you.
Because that’s just not what the deal is.
Can we get?
I was just curious, Jason.
I just want to put this like into quantifiable numbers just so people have a have an idea
of how many bad pitches there are in your inbox.
How many bad ones are there versus a good one?
If you can make that for me.
I mean, I literally do.
I was I was scanning through it as we were talking to see if I could like find something
that’s worth reading aloud as we’re chatting here.
I literally have a folder in my email system where I don’t know the language anyway, it’s
called bad PR pitches.
I just everything when I get one I just I just toss it in there.
What do you publish your book?
That’s what I want to know.
I know.
Well, you know, I do I do if somebody wants if somebody wants to see some of this stuff,
I actually do share it.
I share it on Instagram every night.
I call it I call it inbox Monday.
So on my inbox or my Instagram is at hayfiper.
And so the I mean, there’s there are three there are what I would call I guess three
categories here, right?
There’s there’s good pitch.
Well, there’s like good pitches.
I guess there are four like expanding all the categories.
There’s good pitches that actually hit and those are those are so few and far between.
I mean, those are I get one of those every two weeks.
I don’t know.
It’s not often.
Then there are perfectly good pitches that just don’t hit, right?
Like it was a good pitch, but it’s not right for one reason or another.
And then there are dull pitches, pitches that just they’re lazy.
They’re not informed.
That’s the majority of pitches.
And then there are excruciatingly bad pitches that go into my bad PR pitches folder.
And you know, those I don’t get those every day either, right?
Like most people aren’t like insane, right?
The most recent one that I threw into my into my that PR pitches folder was it started.
The pitch that came was like, eh, it was fine.
I wasn’t very good.
It came from a publicist, but what was what was like really weird about it was that if
it sort of it took a tone of a infomercial.
So there were a bunch of bullet after she introduced herself.
And then she just gave me all these bullet points that were about the client that she
was pitching, but they were all in the language of what would you say about a company who
exploded by this amazing, I don’t know what you’re talking about, right?
The next the next bullet point is like, wait, there’s more.
Yeah, what if I told you this is actually reading straight from it.
What if I told you that the co-founder left a cushy job at the blah, blah, blah, you know,
would it be literally next bullet point?
Would it be icing on the cake?
If I noted that, you should post that today.
I know this is quite bad.
And so I don’t know why I replied.
I mean, I honestly I delete most pitches that are just not really good, but I responded
to this one and I just said what I always say, which is like congrats to the client on their
success, but I don’t see a story here.
And most people either don’t respond or they just thank me for the time.
But this person wrote, and here it is, ready?
Full thing.
Well, it seems it’s time for me to turn in my publicist badge.
Either that or you guys are focusing on affiliate companies, question mark.
And then, and then I know, and then, and then space sent by Gmail mobile.
So like she like dashed that off.
And so in anger, right?
And it’s like, wow, that was, that was aggressive.
Either that or you guys are focusing on affiliate companies, which is basically like my pitch
was so good that the only reason that this could have been rejected is because you guys
only write about people who pay, right?
Like that, that is so offensive.
Any shot of ever having any kind of relationship with you.
That’s exactly right.
And that’s the big takeaway.
That’s the big takeaway for that one because a no doesn’t have to be a no forever unless
you make it, unless we make it that way.
And you can, you can turn a no into a no forever as this person just did.
But otherwise, you know, a no can just be the start of a conversation.
Yeah, because again, bringing a full circle, you’re not saying no to the person.
You’re saying no to the story.
It’s, it’s all about the value that they either are bringing or aren’t bringing to what you’re
trying to accomplish.
That’s exactly right.
And, and it’s like, it’s fine.
I get it.
I get that you don’t like nail it the first time.
Nobody nails it the first time, but see, I mean, she nailed something else the first
time and that’s the end of that.
Well, yeah.
Like what an opportunity you actually responded to her.
And what an opportunity to start a conversation and say like, Oh, I guess I missed the mark
on that one.
Maybe you can help me see, you know, whatever, like follow up and try to build some sort
of relationship out of it.
But she just, yeah, she completely blew it.
So I guess maybe that maybe the big takeaway is you either have to send a really great pitch
to Jason or a really bad one.
Either way, you get a little bit of publicity.
I’m just kidding.
It goes on his Instagram account.
So you still get the publicity either way.
It’s funny.
You said that is exactly.
I’m hearing that a lot now.
I guess a lot of publicists who are like, please don’t put me on blast.
That’s great.
That’s one of the chances you take.
Like look, we’re not, we’re not playing low stakes games here.
So come big.
That’s funny.
Well, good.
I think we maybe have, you know, five or seven minutes here on our call left, Jason.
What if we left out for freelancers who want to really drive some business?
Let’s like, let’s get down to the brass tacks here.
You know, people who want to get new clients from the press and from media, they don’t
just want to, you know, build some authority or look good in a story or say, I’ve been
featured on XYZ.
Like, people who want to actually get clients through press and media and maybe Clay, you
have thoughts on it as well.
What advice would we give those listeners?
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Well, I mean, Clay jumping anytime here.
I would say that, look, when you engage with press, you are not in control.
Because somebody, either somebody else is writing about you and therefore they’re going
to write whatever they’re going to write.
I mean, it’s probably not going to be something bad, but it’s not going to be as promotional
as you would like it to be.
Or you’re going to write for a publication, but there are going to be limitations.
So for example, we don’t allow our contributors online to write about themselves in any kind
of promotional way.
You might be able to use an anecdote of something, but you can’t like, it can’t be like five
reasons to hire me.
That’s not a good article.
And so because of that, you have a limited ability to get exactly what you’re looking
for from press.
And so I would think about it slightly different.
Like one, don’t think about it as the greatest tool in the toolbox because it’s not.
I’ve met a lot of people who have made the mistake of thinking that because they got
a little press coverage, they can radically shift their business or people who have left
their full-time job to pursue their side hustle because they got an article about them somewhere.
Because it doesn’t last, right?
I mean, it doesn’t matter what it is.
You can get a gigantic piece in the New York Times.
And it’ll drive sales and engagement for a week.
And then it’s gone, right?
Everyone’s moved on to reading something else in the New York Times.
And so you can’t rest upon that.
And therefore instead, I think what you need to do is think about press as an additional
tool, great to have and great for social proof.
I think that’s what it is primarily.
That’s good.
It’s a great social proof.
So how do you leverage the press that you get in social proof so that it goes on your
website, you use it prominently?
There are a lot of people who will get coverage or will be included in something or they’ll
write a story somewhere.
And then they’ll basically do pay media behind it.
They’ll just start promoting it on Facebook or LinkedIn or something.
This article because it’s going to get more eyeballs.
And then they’re able to say, hey, look, I got covered in this thing and now you should
pay attention to me.
And then the more that you think of it that way as a really nice addition but not a central
element, the better you’re going to be.
Because you have to focus mostly on the things that you can control.
And this is one of those things that you can increase your odds with, but it’s never in
your full control.
Yeah, that’s really good.
I’m curious your take on because a lot of our listeners are like a lot of them do business
nationally and internationally.
But is it a different approach or is it the same approach?
Like what kind of approach would it be if someone is like a local service provider
or does business locally?
Like how would that person get media attention or get featured in media?
So I’m really glad that you asked that because people often overlook the value of local press.
And that’s not it.
Local press and also trade press, B2B press.
These are the two things that might actually be your best friends when you’re thinking
about getting coverage and you may not be thinking about them.
And classic example of this for me at least was when I went to this conference, I was
like, I met this guy who owned like a hot dog truck or something in DC and he followed
up with me afterwards and he wanted to figure out how to get coverage for his hot dog truck
in entrepreneur.
And frankly, I think that that is no driven play right there, right?
Like he’s like, oh, I’m an entrepreneur and I want to be in the entrepreneur.
But if you step back and you ask the questions that I suggested asking a little while ago
in our conversations, like what do I want to get out of this?
There’s only one answer if you’re a hot dog truck in DC, which is like sell more hot dogs,
I mean, eventually he might want to grow and all that, but he’s not there yet.
So sell more hot dogs.
And if you get a story in entrepreneur, or entrepreneur magazine, it’s going to
reach people around the country and around the world and a very, very, very small percentage
of them are in DC looking for a hot dog.
And so that doesn’t, that’s not useful to you.
So why not instead spend your energy trying to get local coverage, get into like whatever
the Washington DC version of eater is, or if the Washington Post has a food section or
any of that kind of stuff, that’s going to be so much more valuable to you because it’s
reaching a larger percentage of potential customers for you.
If you think about the ROI of why you’re doing this, sometimes it really does drive you towards
local press.
If you’re a local business, then you want to reach your local consumers and there’s almost
no better way to do that than to engage in your local community.
And similarly, if you service other businesses in a particular industry, then maybe being
in whatever the trade publication is that everyone’s reading is the way to go.
So I would really strongly suggest, oh, and one more thing about both of these, which
is, and I started in local media, so I can, I can speak to this personally, people at
these publications, at local publications or at trade publications, get such a smaller
volume of email than people like me, right?
Sending an email to me is fighting the odds.
I got in the, in the hour that we have spoken here, I’m sure I have like 50 new emails.
It’s too many, it’s too much to go against.
But pitch a local reporter and they, nobody pitched them today.
And they’re looking for stories because they have their working in an, or they’re working
in an underfunded newsroom and they got to file two or three stories a day.
And boy, they’ll be very happy to hear from you.
So these are really assets that you don’t want to overlook.
Your effectiveness really compounds.
I mean, you think about, or even, even going outside of the idea of local, like even just
like more niche publications, like, yes, you know, I run, I run our blog, obviously,
and we get way, way fewer inquiries than you do, Jason, but, but maybe in the time we’ve
been talking, I’ve had three or five or six, I don’t know, but like, it might be more effective.
If you’re trying to reach just freelancers, it might actually be more effective to reach
out to me that it would be reached out to Jason and get featured in entrepreneur because
you, yeah, there’s such a small contingency of the readership or of the audience that
will actually drive the ROI you’re looking for that it’s not worth your time.
And then like you said, you’re fighting me out.
So I agree 100%.
That’s amazing advice.
Excellent advice.
Come on, Jason.
You know that hot dogs are going to taste 10 times better with the entrepreneur.
Feature, feature in entrepreneur.
I don’t know what dogs stand.
That’s the other thing, 90% of the people who, and no offense to you, Jason, 90% of the
people who buy a hot dog there aren’t going to care about entrepreneur, right?
So it’s like, I don’t buy a hot dog because of entrepreneurs.
Yeah, that’s nothing to do with the other.
No, absolutely.
I take no offense at all about that.
I thought it was a stupid, I think most people who pitch me are doing it incorrectly.
I mean, like, well, they do it incorrectly, but there was no point to pitch me in the first
Or the wrong motivation, like it’s for the vanity or for like personal, just personal
pride or whatever.
I mean, yeah, I mean, I’m looking at, I’m looking at my inbox right now.
It’s just like curious about how many things.
So I got all sorts of random stuff here.
Somebody pitching a podcast guest, something introducing random company.
We create error free mobile apps, okay, whatever that is.
And then, you know, and then the here’s one.
Here’s a subject line.
This rolled in three minutes ago.
The subject line is wedding planner creates software platform to digitize events industry
during the, I guess it says pandemic, but I don’t know, it’s cut off.
And anyway, okay.
All right, maybe.
But possibly a better move here is to reach out to the trade publication for the events
You know, that might be better.
Or reach out to local press in whatever your market is, where you’re, where, where, you
know, where there are events or whatever.
I don’t know.
Like reaching out to me may not get you what you want, even if I were to pay attention
to you, which I probably frankly won’t, because I just get too much email.
And the smaller, let’s also can be stepping stones to the bigger stuff too.
It can, it can give you good practice in pitching.
It can help you see what people want.
It can, it can give you like some, well, we’ve been featured here and here and here that
you can then send on to other publications as well.
So I think, yeah, there’s a lot of good reason to start a little bit smaller, especially
if you’re new, especially if you’re new at it.
Start smaller.
Does that give a little, a little bit of a power, a little off behind it, Jason, if
somebody’s been featured or not with other things that you recognize.
Probably not at your level.
No, not a, it doesn’t matter to be at my level.
Although sometimes I will, if they’ve gotten a bunch of coverage, I’ll, and I’ve like never
heard of them and it seems kind of random.
Sometimes it’ll at least make me pause and be like, oh, well, other people took them
seriously, I guess, I guess maybe they’re worth a second, but, but it doesn’t, it doesn’t,
it doesn’t shift the needle that much.
I’ve seen locally that it can.
Like if it’s like, oh, you know, the local Fox station covered this.
Yeah, definitely.
And then the local, whatever else other syndicate will, will take you.
Oh yeah.
It’s not, it’s not for nothing.
I mean, it’s just, it’s just in my particular situation.
It doesn’t generally register, but, but yeah, no, I mean, these things can snowball.
All right, man.
Well, I know we’re, we’re out of time.
Thank you so much.
And it’s super enlightening for me.
I know it will be for the listeners as well.
It’s, it’s been just a blast also just picking your brain and getting to know you a little
bit better and know more about the kind of work that you do.
So thanks so much for taking time.
Anything you want to share pitch, you know, shameless plug here at the show for our listeners.
No, well, first I just want to thank people for sticking around after what was probably
a fairly poor pitch on my end on why you should stick around and listen to this episode at
the very beginning.
I like the history.
I like the history.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Well, there you’ve, you’ve done a nice job of segaring into what my pitch would be, which
is, which is that if you’re interested in that kind of stuff, build for tomorrow is a show
full of it.
I dig into all sorts of crazy things throughout history.
My idea is to understand what from history shaped us and how we can shape the future.
So my teaser for you now that you know, John Phillips is already is that I, the show can
also tell you why America had an absolute national moral crisis over the teddy bear in
Like teddy bears were banned preachers were preaching against it.
It was like a really scary thing in 1907.
And but it can teach us actually a surprising amount about today.
So check out Bill for tomorrow.
And thanks for listening.
Thanks so much.
We’re going to link up that episode as well as just a link to the podcast in general so
you can have a listen, but find it in your favorite podcast player.
Again, Jason Fiverr.
Thank you so much for joining us today.
We really appreciate it.
Hey, thank you guys.
Take care.
Ro Monson,
Joachim Karud. You can catch past episodes at or by searching
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Freelance to Founder is a unique call-in show helping real-life freelancers grow their businesses and escape the feast-famine lifestyle. The podcast is co-hosted by Clay and Preston, two former freelancers who have started, built, and even sold six- and seven-figure businesses of their own. Catch the Tuesday Q&A episodes, dive deeper with Thursday's call-in episodes, or join us on the air and take the next step on your journey from ... freelance to founder.

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