Have you committed to getting your story out to your stakeholders?
In today’s episode of Relish This, we talk to Rhiannon Hendrickson, Founder and CEO of Orapin Marketing, a fantastic PR firm that does a LOT of work in the nonprofit sector.
Her firm focuses on helping nonprofits get their stories out to their stakeholders. Orapin’s approach focuses on first getting you to commit to your story and then helping identify why people should care about what you are up to.
Our conversation reminded me that nonprofit leaders are experts in their fields. They understand the issues and intuitively know what solutions are needed to solve problems. But they’re not always great at communicating this expertise.
Nonprofit leaders should feel empowered to use their voices and speak up. Not only will you be sharing your passion, but you’ll also be building trust with your donors—who will feel more willing to give when they feel their money will be used competently.
This episode is great for any nonprofit leader seeking to expand their mission and amplify their story.
Action Ask: Focus on clarifying your story, What you do, why it matters, Why should they care. Answer the “So What” question.
Listen to the podcast here:
Commit To Sharing Your Story And Why It Matters With Rhiannon Hendrickson From Orapin Marketing
My guest is Rhiannon Hendrickson, the Founder and CEO of Orapin Marketing. They are a great PR firm that does a lot of work in the nonprofit space. They have this cool approach to how they help nonprofits get their story out there. It’s a matter of commitment and committing to the process and getting your story out there, and then understanding your story. It’s less about what you do and why you do it, and more about why people should care about what you are up to and why it matters. Our discussion is great for any nonprofit seeking to expand its mission and amplify its story. We had a fun time talking with Rhiannon. I hope you enjoy the show.
Rhiannon, how are you?
I’m good. Thanks for having me on. I’m excited to chat.
It is entirely my pleasure. I’m excited to continue our conversation. I looked at my calendar and we chatted years ago. I don’t know how we got connected way back then, but we reconnected in February 2021 and had a nice little talk. I’m excited to hear about everything that is going on with PR and how that affects the nonprofit space.
I was doing the same thing as to when we first connected and how. I think it’s pre-pandemic. It could have been February of 2021 or in 2014.
It’s amazing how that time has both been compressed and extended. It’s a weird phenomenon that we are all going through. What are the main things that you are providing for nonprofits these days?
The main thing is helping them to expand their audience by telling their story. One of the things that we find with organizations is they typically tend to be better at engaging their audience and staying in touch with donors and clients, but maybe not as good about getting the story out there in a broader sense and bringing more people into their family.
Those are the pre-engagement phases of the audience life cycle. We like to call those the attract and connect phases that blend into the bond. A lot of nonprofits do a decent job with the inspire phase, which is you have someone who has either taken an action and is a repeat donor or a volunteer. Reengaging with those people feels a lot more comfortable for a lot of nonprofits.
These are folks who already agree with them, support and love them. Naturally, you are inclined to want to stay connected and engage with them, but we need to also be telling other people about what we do, why does it matter, and why should they care and support us.
With PR, we have worked with a number of PR firms over the years and have some familiarity with all the magic that you perform behind the scenes. What are some of the things that you recommend for nonprofits who are trying to expand their mission and amplify their message? What are some PR-related activities that you see working well?
First and foremost, it’s making the commitment to tell the story and engage a broader audience. Often with non-profit, we are busy and a lot is going on. PR tends to be last on the list. I would argue that it should be closer to the top that the services that you are providing are critical and paramount. In order to provide those services to people, you need to have the support of donors and funders, etc. Once you make the commitment to do it regularly and figure out what the story is, why people should care about it, and why it does matter to them, it’s just starting to make introductions and reach out to folks. Often people are scared to take that first step. It’s engaging your local newspaper and sharing stories of local clients in your area that have benefited from your work and services. Tell those human-interest stories.
We talk about that as our value proposition in terms of letting people have a good understanding of not only why they should give to your organization and not another organization but also overcome that friction of not giving it all. The nonprofit space has this additional challenge that is not quite as prevalent in the for-profit world where you’re parting with money to support the nonprofit. There’s a lot of friction there.
I love that you are talking about storytelling because that’s something that nonprofits have the benefit of. It’s that they have something compelling to talk about. I know at Relish Studio, we embarked on a PR campaign many years ago. One of the things we pretty quickly realized is we had not figured out our story yet. There was not anything for the press to bite on. How do you help nonprofits craft that story or tease that idea out to get the press interested?
One of the things especially with organizations that are new to PR is they have this idea that we exist and therefore people should care. I would challenge that the fact that you exist is not that interesting. It’s why you exist. It’s the “so what” factor. The fact that you exist and do this great work is awesome and admirable, but you have to answer the “so what“ question, so that people care. They are not going to open up their checkbooks unless you can get them to care. They are not going to care unless they understand why does what you are doing matters to your constituents, community, folks you are reaching or the potential donors themselves.
We need to be telling other people about what we do, why it matters, and why they should care about and support us.
We have started to try to help our clients figure out how to hit people in the fields. You can tell the story but you can get to this idea of how it’s going to make the donor feel to support this cause. It’s not only how far the money is going to go and how it’s directed toward helping the recipients of the benefit, but how is the giving of that investment going to make the person feel when they pull out their checkbook.
It’s having the commitment to get your story out there, but also figuring out what the story is, and then finding the right channels or opportunities to tell that story. Maybe it’s through the media, speaking at local events, contributing articles, writing op-eds or letters to the editor. There are a lot of ways in which you can tell that story and demonstrate your expertise. Oftentimes, leaders of nonprofits forget that they are experts in this area, especially those who have worked in the field for a specific cause for a long time. They know a lot about the issue at hand, the opportunities, and the various solutions to solve that problem. They should be using their voice and sharing that information with folks to help them better understand the problem that they are working to solve.
It seems like particularly in the nonprofit space, there’s a lot of humility. People are very humble and don’t think of themselves as necessary experts, but they bring a lot of expertise to the table in terms of all sorts of different things that are tangential to maybe the main mission that their non-profit is embarked upon. Getting out there and being that thought leader can bring people into the fold.
It helps to establish their credibility. I don’t know what the number is these days but the number of nonprofits out there is astonishing. Many of them serve to solve the same problem maybe in different ways. If you are targeting donors, they want to feel confident in the money that they are giving and it’s going to be used wisely and have an actual impact. If you can demonstrate that you are the credible opportunity for them to spend their money and to help support a cause they care about, that’s going to help to increase donations.
It’s funny that you mentioned that. My guest and I have the same conversation about building trust. That’s the key component to getting people to engage in the first place, but getting them to continue to support you as a non-profit is hammering on that trust. It comes about from a variety of different activities. It does not have to be necessarily the result of what you are doing although we are always looking for results. If you can be a regular speaker at events, on TV or wherever one might go to speak, that leads to that credibility and trust. You are filling up that bank.
That’s the old adage that people work with, buy from, donate to, or support those that they know, like and trust. When you are looking at how do you tell your story and what story you are going to tell, put it through that filter and perspective. Is this story going to help people to like us, get to know us better, better understand who we are, what we do and what we stand for? Does this story and is what I’m saying help people to build credibility, enhance our reputation, and get people to trust us? Those are important things to remember.
That’s something that people maybe don’t think about when they think of PR. When most people think of public relations, they think about earned or paid media. There’s always this media tie-in. It’s nice to hear that there are other opportunities that people can consider when they are looking to perhaps engage a PR firm.
If you talk about the like part of the know, like and trust, folks within the nonprofit world tend to be very humble. I can understand that but also think about how are you humanizing the organization? How do you bring that personality to the organization? A lot of nonprofits are tackling difficult issues. You don’t want it to be all doom and gloom, but you also don’t want it to be all rainbows and sunshine either. There needs to be a balance between the two of like, “Here’s the great work that we are doing and the amazing impact that we are having,” but we also need to look at like, “Here are the problems that were faced with and here’s the reality of the situation.” Give people something to relate to and connect with.
It’s that you mentioned that too. When you think of a Hollywood film, for example, if a film came to the audience with everything is great or terrible, you would either get bored or there’s no arc, tension, and drive to continue to pay attention to this. With that storytelling piece, don’t be afraid to embrace some of the downs because that’s part of a story. Your hero goes through a journey and faces some challenges. Their friend is lost in some catastrophic event. They come to climb back out and get to a new high and then some other thing happens. It’s a bunch of ups and downs. That’s what makes a compelling story.
If all you are saying is look at the amazing impact we are having and how great we are solving this problem, people are like, “You are doing fine. You don’t need my support. I’m going to support somebody else.” The other thing is you don’t have enough money, “There are so many people that need our services that we can’t help.” It’s like the door is halfway shut and there’s no reason to support you either.
“Maybe you’re not good at this.” It’s fun to break these things down and see how people are tackling these challenges. What are some of the bigger challenges that you do see with nonprofits in deciding to engage with PR? What are some of the things that they should think about before reaching out to someone like you?
One of the most common things we see with nonprofits is this idea around we are doing great work, but nobody knows about us. It’s almost this victim mentality like, “Why are other people or other organizations getting so much attention?” The answer is it’s not because they are necessarily doing better work, having better outcomes or making a bigger impact. It’s because they have made the commitment to tell the story and to put themselves out there.
The media world especially is incredibly saturated. From a traditional media standpoint, it’s increasingly shrinking. There are fewer and fewer reporters and outlets out there. They will not find you. That’s a simple truth. They are not going to find you because you exist. You have to be proactive and committed to telling your story and getting people to care about it. If you are watching the nightly news and you are like, “That organization is great but we are doing something better and more interesting” or what have you, the reason they are on the news is they chose to put themselves out there to create that opportunity for themselves.
People think of PR as getting media attention, but we lose sight of the fact that you can create your own attention too. There are tons of opportunities out there besides having a reporter write a story about you to expand that audience, and bring more awareness to what you are doing. Don’t forget about these other channels. Whether it’s through social media, events and speaking opportunities, writing your own articles about yourself and the work that you are doing. Don’t rely on and wait for a reporter to come to you to say they want to do a story about your organization.
The fact that you exist is not that interesting. It’s why you exist. It’s the “So What” factor.
Is it a consistency of activities that helps nonprofits to get the traction that they might be looking for? Is it knocking on the right doors at the right time which comes back down to consistency? What do you see working for people when they are trying to get that message out there?
The answer is yes to both questions. It’s commitment and consistency. It’s dedicating resources whether that’s an actual person, internal resource, budget, time or whatever it is to say, “This is important to us and we are going to consistently make an effort to do something.” In terms of your question of what do they need to think about when they want to engage a PR firm or get some PR support, whether that’s having somebody do it for them, guide them and help them stay accountable to doing it themselves.
First and foremost, it’s understanding what the actual story is. The fact that you exist is not the story. Let’s dig a bit deeper and then there are the offshoot storylines. What else can you be talking about as it relates to your impact, the problem you are working to solve or whatever it might be? What are the various ways we can tell that story and point back to this central message?
It’s figuring out what the story is and what resources you are going to put towards it and get started. It starts to build momentum. PR stands for Public Relations. I view that as building relationships with your public or your various stakeholder audiences. You don’t build a relationship with somebody overnight. It takes time, effort and engagement. Thinking through this long-term approach will help with donor cultivation. It’s the same thing.
I love that you bring up that it’s all about relationships. That is certainly how we think of marketing. You are trying to establish that you have something of value, whether that’s expertise or a widget that you are selling, that somebody is going to want to trade their time, money or energy for it. It’s sometimes easier to do that than others. In the nonprofit space, it can be a real challenge. The thing that people are going to get from their investment, whether that be time or money, is a lot less tactile or tangible than when you are buying a doohickey from the local store.
When nonprofits are starting to embark on this journey to expand their reach and start to spread the word about what they do well, my guess is that a lot of times they try to DIY it before they come to someone like you who’s an expert in this. Are there any tricks that you can share that they can either get people to understand that they need to hire a pro or things that they can do to maybe tee that initial DIY experience up a little bit more effectively?
Where I see organizations get hung up when they DIY is that they just start doing stuff. While my advice is to get started, I also want to caution organizations about, “Let’s send a pitch to a reporter.” Maybe that will land. Maybe you’ll hit the reporter at the right time at the right moment and the story lands. It’s great. If all you are doing is throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks, you are not going to truly understand what works and why it’s working.
We always start with let’s put together an actual plan. Let’s define our goals, objectives and understand what we want to ultimately achieve and how we are going to measure that. From there, let’s test things. Let’s see what sticks, do a bunch of different things, see what works, and whether or not it is helping to move the needle. Can we say that article did in fact increase donations or bring more people? Whatever it might be that an organization wants to do, if you don’t have clear goals and objectives, you can’t understand what the ROI is. If you can’t understand what the ROI is, it’s going to be hard to stick with it when you are not seeing results right away.
Even if you have your goals set and you know where you want to go, are you creating an opportunity to measure the activities that you are doing to see if they are producing the results that you were hoping to achieve? That’s something that gets missed in digital campaigns as well where there’s no real way to understand if it worked or did not work.
I think if you are not asking the question of why do we want to reach out to this reporter, and how can we point back to a specific objective to see if they do write a story, how we are going to determine if it met that objective? You lose the opportunity to understand what the call to action would be. People say, “We want a story in the newspaper.” I’m like, “Great, but what do you want the story to be about?” “We want it to be about this campaign we did.” I’m like, “What is it that you want that to do?” If you keep digging, you can better understand like, “We want people to go to the website.”
How are we going to measure that? I guess we can look at referral traffic from that news outlet and see what that looks like. We connect the dots. Even if it feels intuitive, answer those questions to be clear about what it is you want to try. Maybe it won’t work, but you are not going to truly understand if it work or did not if you are not asking those questions and be clear about that stuff upfront.
It’s interesting how many times we will go back through a client’s traffic and see some crazy spike that happened someday in the past. Maybe this is before our engagement but we say, “That’s interesting. What did you guys do on the 13th of July to get that huge spike?” They are like, “I don’t know.” They have to think back about it. Documenting activities seem mundane. If you can figure out what’s leading to those donor donations or even traffic spikes, it’s way easier to repeat that if you have an understanding of what you were up to versus guessing. Do you tend to see nonprofits start to want PR assistance or benefit more from PR assistance when they have reached a certain maturity level or size? What’s the sweet spot where you have seen people start to engage effectively with PR? Is it across the board?
Once they had enough opportunities to make an impact, the fact that they exist to solve a specific problem is not interesting. The fact that they exist to solve a specific problem, and here are the outcomes that they are having to impact a specific problem that becomes more interesting. Startup nonprofits are difficult. There could be opportunities to tell a founder’s story of what happened in a founder’s life that led them to start this organization. That story can be interesting possibly, but that can be short-lived too. You can benefit from a real PR effort. You are going to want to have enough time, outcomes, successes and failures under your belt to make it a more interesting story.
It all comes back down to that storytelling and what are people going to find compelling that is going to make them want to engage with your organization? How did you start working with nonprofits? What’s your story in that space?
If all you’re doing is throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks, you’re not going to truly understand what works and why it’s working
I have worked with, for or in non-profit my entire career. I started my career in-house in a local nonprofit organization, doing both fundraising and communications. As I have evolved throughout my career, I have volunteered for various nonprofits, served on the board of various nonprofits, and had many different nonprofit clients. I am drawn to people and organizations that are doing something for the greater good. That’s the non-profit realm. I love that storytelling. I love the stories of how we are helping people and how people’s lives are being made better through the work that we are doing, whether that is nonprofit or for-profit organizations.
It’s fun to see the for-profit space start to embrace this idea of corporate social responsibility. You talk a lot about B Corps. Even some of the organizations out there like 1% For The Planet that Relish is a partner. It feels like there’s a movement and a real trend toward businesses of all types, trying to figure out how to navigate this space of commerce in a positive way and bring a lot more benefits to everybody as opposed to trying to fuel revenue and profits. It’s cool to see that change. Do you feel that shift has taken some of the opportunities away from nonprofits that historically have been the owners of that area or does it augment it?
It’s probably both. The for-profit mindset is more inclined to put resources and budget toward marketing and PR, whereas nonprofits may be less inclined to do so. Therefore, they are creating their own opportunities. Nonprofits still have an interesting role to play and especially, there’s a great opportunity for nonprofits to look at how we could collaborate on these stories together.
If you have a nonprofit and a for-profit organization both working to solve the same problem or in some way impact the problem, how do we tell that story in a joint way? It’s a bigger picture story. Here’s this problem and here’s a nonprofit that’s been working to solve it for X number of years. This is the success and the failures that they have had. Here’s a for-profit that’s just entering into the space. As a nonprofit with expertise, here’s what we recommend or what we think these for-profit organizations should know or should be thinking about. We are excited for them to be a part of this solution.
I took a little class. It’s been a few months since I took it, but it was talking a lot about corporate social responsibility. From the nonprofit standpoint, there are not only some opportunities that are probably get left on the table, but also some pitfalls to look out for. As more and more for-profit businesses go out to try and find nonprofit partners to be the beneficiary of the for-profit CSR efforts, there can be a challenge in that if there’s not good alignment with either mission or values or something, you lose that opportunity to tell a story.
For example, if you have some big company wanting to come in and throw a bunch of volunteers at your nonprofit, but the big company does not have anything to do with what your mission is as a nonprofit, there’s no way to take advantage of that other than the benefit of getting some volunteer help. If you can get alignment like if you can find a for-profit business that’s in the outdoor space and your nonprofit is a trail-building organization, there’s synergy there and an ability for both parties to effectively tell that story. Make sure that those things are aligned.
The other piece is we have done some work with a company called TapKat. They run sweepstakes for nonprofits. One of the things that we have seen with some of the more successful sweepstakes that get run is for nonprofits who do have some corporate sponsorship opportunity where they can leverage the reach of that for-profit business, social media or audience to get more people engaged in this sweepstakes. Make sure that people know that there there’s a two-way street opportunity there. It’s cool to see how both sides can get some real benefit from those engagements and bring a lot of juice to the conversation in terms of that storytelling piece.
If you look at the numerous different problems out there, social, environmental, economic and what have you, there’s likely not a problem out there that there’s not a nonprofit working to solve or work towards. You are getting the for-profits engaged in solving those problems. To your point, there are opportunities for both to benefit. For-profits that want to get involved in this space and work to solve these problems and to be a part of making an impact can lean on the nonprofits to learn what they have been doing, what has worked and what has not worked, where the gaps are, and how they can start to fill those gaps. I have not worked with any nonprofit that has not said, “If we only had X, we could do Y.” Oftentimes, for-profits have that X. They have the budget, resources, talent, staffing, and more ability to make time. Nonprofits can lean on their for-profit partners to enhance what they are doing.
These nonprofits, if you have a corporate partnership, sponsorship or connection, you can leverage the power of their marketing team, their PR team, or some of these things that they have on retainer. They can toss some bodies at the problem and put people power to work. Can you get investments? It’s not just about getting cash, but what other opportunities are there that you could leverage to get your story out there in a more effective way? Have you seen any trends in the PR space for nonprofits that you find interesting? Are there changes that have been happening that you can shed some light on? I know that 2021 has been very chaotic in terms of people having to try new things. What are some of the things that nonprofits might want to keep on their radar?
I’m sure there are many. As I talked about before, taking ownership of the story and getting it out there, and not relying so heavily on having somebody else tell the story for you. I’m looking at how do we create these opportunities to share our message and expertise. The expertise part, the “thought leadership” is all the rage now. It’s something that’s starting to take hold. For-profit organizations, companies and leaders are starting to jump on this bandwagon. I would love to see more nonprofit leaders step into this space, use their voice, and build their reputations as experts on the problems that they are working on. They have that expertise and I feel like they have a responsibility in some ways to be sharing them, educating and teaching people about what they know and what they are trying to do.
It’s starting that process by doing searches to find out what speaking opportunities might be available for somebody in the area of influence that you and your nonprofit serve. Would that be the first step there, and then starting to build a relationship with that entity and see if you can be included as a speaker?
From speaking opportunities to writing articles and submitting articles, there are so many online outlets out there that offer contributor opportunities. You write the article and it may be edited a little bit, but then post it. Take the time to write and find opportunities to do like what we are doing now, be a guest on a podcast. Podcasts are a medium that’s blowing up now. There are so many niche podcasts and focused targeted podcasts.
I read that there are something like two million podcasts out there right now that are maybe not all active. The stat that I read was only 35% make it past their first three episodes or something like that. There’s another third drop-off to the tenth episode. The fact that there is that much activity and an opportunity, it’s certainly worth exploring for people to get out there and try and find these places where they can get their message out there. Is that something that your PR firm helps with if somebody in the nonprofit space is looking for either podcasts or guest posting type opportunities?
We are focused on this thought leadership expert positioning space, and helping organizations that may not have as much “news.” They are launching new products and great partnerships. We help them identify what is the story that they have to tell. Most often, it comes from this place of teaching, education, and this message that they want to share this story that’s worth telling. We find those opportunities or let them tell us through writing and contributing articles, securing speaking engagements, interviews, etc.
PR is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re going to engage a PR firm, you need to be in it with the mindset that this is a long-term relationship.
In that podcasting space, do you recommend people approach podcasters with a topic idea? What’s the best way for them to start that conversation?
The best way to pitch any reporter or a podcast host is to listen to the show a handful of times. Understand the format and what they are talking about. What do they care about? Are there certain questions that they typically ask? Reach out to them and offer up based on the theme of the podcast, “I think that I would be a great guest because of X, Y and Z. Here are my credentials. Here’s a handful of things that I could talk about that your listeners might be interested in.” This is a great way to start that conversation.
I’m taking notes right now because I would want to include in my show synopsis some tips like this. Having that step-by-step like, “Here’s how to get this done,” is super helpful. This seems like it’s been the way to pitch to reporters for years in terms of saying, “Here are several topics that I could discuss or even write about.” Thinking of it, this is hard for people to embrace, but you don’t have to write it before somebody agrees that it’s the thing that they want to be written. If you could come up with 5 or 10 topic ideas, and then when somebody bites, you can do the hard work of figuring out what you are going to say.
If we are pitching bylined articles or a client to write an article for a publication, we’ll say, “Here are 3 to 5 ideas.” We would pick the ones that we think would be most fitting for that specific publication. Explain why you think it’s fitting. Prove that you understand the publication and the audience. It’s not just for the sake of benefiting. No reporter or editor is going to care that it benefits you. They want to know how it benefits their audience. Why would their audience care to read an article from you on this thing? Why does it matter? Why are you the best person to write this article? Include a headline and maybe 3 to 5 bullet points as to what would be included in the article.
Rather than just pitching them, “I already wrote this article,” even if you have already written the article, I would not share it with them right away. I would pitch them the idea first because every publication has its own writer’s guidelines like a certain number of words or style. If you send them the article, it does not give them the chance to make it their own. They can edit it or whatnot but it’s less assertive and less demanding to say, “What do you think of this idea? Let me write it specifically for you.”
It’s the sell it before you build it mentality. It’s a little scary. I certainly have struggled with it over the years in terms of, “How can I sell something that I don’t have?” The fact of the matter is you can go out and sell it or pitch it. If there’s no interest, then you have not spent a bunch of time building something that no one wants. You can go back out and pitch to the next thing, and see if they want that. As opposed to putting in all of the time, effort, energy, headache, heartache and everything else to build something that no one has a strong interest in, go ahead and gauge interest before you invest all that time and energy.
If you do, write it first. If it’s something that you love and think like, “This would be a great fit for X, Y and Z publication,” don’t include that in the pitch. Save that behind the scenes and pull out the main points of the article and use that, and tweak it as need be.
You can always use that on your own site. If no one bites and you still feel like there’s value, you can use it elsewhere. I would also recommend don’t publish it before the person that you are pitching has the opportunity to do so because they are not going to probably want something that’s been published before.
Another recommendation or approach that some people take is shopping it or pitching a lot of people all at once and seeing who bites. There’s risk in that because if you have two publications that decided they want it, how are you going to decide who gets it? It is definitely not the spray and pray approach. It should be very targeted, “Here is a very specific article for this specific publication because of these reasons.” If you are parenting or whatever, who knows how many numbers of parenting outlets are out there, but each one has its own niche, philosophy or what have you. Make it targeted and that’s how you are going to build a relationship with that publication and that editor.
I can see how it would cause some real problems if you had several people interested in your article all at once. You could end up torpedoing the whole thing because of the competing desires and also people like to feel they are special. It goes back to your throwing spaghetti at the wall idea. If you are out throwing everything out there, it’s so untargeted that you don’t know how to measure and you can get yourself into trouble. Are there any other things about engaging a PR firm or taking the leap into PR aside from all the great stuff that we have chatted about that you would want nonprofit leaders to know about before they started thinking about that as maybe one of their next steps in starting to build those relationships?
It’s this idea that PR is a marathon, not a sprint. If you are going to engage a PR firm, you need to be in it with the mindset that this is a long-term relationship. I’m not saying years and years, but to launch a true strategic PR program that will hopefully bring about a meaningful return on investment, it’s going to take time to understand the opportunities, to start trying and testing things, and to start to build that momentum. If you get a reporter interested in your story, it does not mean that story is going to publish tomorrow. It could take 3, 4, 5 or 6 months to see it in print. It takes time to build that momentum but once you get it going, you will start to see that consistency of results.
My guess is once you get traction on a couple of things, you start to see that it gets easier and easier to get traction on other ideas and pitches that you are doing out there.
One thing leads to another. I was talking with a potential client about the idea that they want to be in these national publications. While I think the story is certainly worthy of that, I caution them not to overlook the power of the local press as well. The Today show is not going to have you on if you can’t prove that you could be a good guest or have the ability to do a good interview. Use the local opportunities to build that credibility and your PR resume.
It’s tough to get out on the big stage the first time that you do something. Enable yourself to get a little bit of practice under your belt before you jumped to the nationwide or worldwide audience. Sometimes that can be helpful.
Focus on clarifying your story. And then make the commitment to start putting yourself out there and telling that story.
Whether it be a newspaper, broadcast TV, big conference or event, they all work hard to build their audience and to maintain their audience. They are not going to just give you airtime or space if they don’t think you are going to be valuable to their audience. They don’t want to risk losing their audience. You have to be able to prove that you are worthy of that opportunity.
We need to take small steps to get where we are going and I could see why a large conference would not necessarily want to put somebody up on stage who had never done that before or was not proven. They have a lot at stake there.
We have probably all been to an event where the speaker was men. We did not necessarily leave the talk thinking about the speaker. The negativity was more on the conference. Why would they put that person up there?
“I’ve spent a lot of money on this thing and I had to sit through that?” It’s not only the speaker themselves that typically takes the brunt of that disengagement or dissatisfaction. This has been such a fun conversation. I appreciate you being on the show. I would love for you to let the audience know where they can find out more about you and all the great work that you are doing.
I appreciate that. Thank you for the opportunity. It’s been a great conversation. I am the Founder and CEO of Orapin Marketing + Public Relations. Our mission is to bring attention to those who are doing good things out in the world. You can check us out at OrapinMarketing.com. We also have an interview series called Inspired Impact where we share the stories of purpose-driven leaders who are making a difference in the world and give them an opportunity to talk about who they are, what they do, the impact that they are making, and how others can support them. I encourage you to check that out too.
Do you typically talk mostly with nonprofit leaders on Inspired Impact?
It’s both non-profit and for-profit. It’s been exciting shifts to be able to include more for-profit leaders who are focused on this business as a force for good mentality.
This has been such a great conversation. I love having these kinds of conversations of being able to talk about marketing, the nonprofit space, and how more people can do more good in that space. I also like to inspire actual action. At the end of every show, I asked my guests, if there’s one thing that you would have the people who are reading this do, what would you have them do now?
Focus on clarifying that story. What do we do? What does it matter? Who should care? It’s diving deeper and as we write this out and get this on paper, answering that “so what” question.” What does this mean? Why should people care? What do we want them to do specifically? Get clear on that. Make the commitment to start putting yourself out there and telling that story.
That’s a good thing for everyone to do. Figure out that process and that story, whether it’s personal or for one’s organization. That’s a good exercise to embark upon. Thank you so much for being on the show. I had such a great time. I will hopefully hear some great stories coming out of Orapin.
Thanks again for having me. I appreciate it.
It’s been my pleasure. Talk to you soon.
About Rhiannon Hendrickson
I believe if you have a story worth telling and a message that matters, you should be doing PR. However, I don’t think you need a big budget to do so.
I often hear some variation of, “Yeah, PR is on my radar but we just don’t have the budget.” There’s a perception that PR is expensive and only the companies that can afford high-priced monthly retainers can do PR. Not true.
You need a story – not a big budget – to do PR.
You need a strategy – not a big budget – to do PR.
You need a commitment – not a big budget – to do PR.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to share your story and bring more attention to your work and your cause because you think you have to spend a lot of money to do PR.
I founded Orapin because I believe those who are working for the greater good should be known, supported, and celebrated.
We work with purpose-driven businesses and experts who want to increase awareness about who they are, what they do, and the impact they’re making. We give them the resources and support they need to do PR in a manageable and cost-effective way.
> Generate awareness of who you are, what you do, and the impact you make
> Expand the reach of your message and grow your audience
> Get recognized for your work and expertise
> Become sought-after as an industry leader and authority
Want to learn more?
Let’s connect and set up a time for a “get to know you” call. I’d love to learn more about what you’re doing and see if I can help you become sought-after for your work and a recognized champion for your cause.
Reach me at (303) 630-9527 or message me here on LinkedIn!