Podcast: Amy Rosenberg: PR Talk Host

Podcast: Amy Rosenberg: PR Talk Host

Episode 50: Meet PR Talk Podcast Host, Amy Rosenberg

As we prepare to share new episodes of the PR Talk Podcast on a weekly basis (we have been bi-weekly previously), we thought you may want to get to know the hosts. Last week Amy interviewed me on my background, now it is my turn. Have a listen or read the transcript below.

What you’ll learn in this episode

In Episode 50, an interview with PR Talk’s host Amy Rosenberg, you will learn how Amy went from an intern at a PR agency to founding her own firm. Plus some insight into how she uses her psychology degree in the marketing world and what she likes to do outside of the office.

Episode Transcript

Amy:                     Hello.

Mike:                    Hi Amy.

Amy:                     How are you?

Mike:                    I’m good. On the last episode, we got to hear about me. In this episode, we get to hear about you.

Amy:                     Oh, joy.

Mike:                    Yeah.

Amy:                     I’m sure you’re all thrilled.

Mike:                    This time, it’s the actual Amy Show. Hey, well they’ve been listening, hopefully, to you for awhile, Right? I know whenever I listen to podcasts, I enjoy hearing about the host, and kind of how they got where they are. So, maybe we should start at Oregon?

Amy:                     Oh, you mean college?

Mike:                    Yes.

Amy:                     I guess. I normally hate hearing about where people went to college, and talking about it. I kind of think it’s boring, but I asked you, so yes, I went to U of O.

Mike:                    What was your degree there?

Amy:                     It was actually Psychology.

Mike:                    Did you go into Psychology?

Amy:                     No, I didn’t.

Mike:                    Do you use your degree?

Amy:                     I think so. I could lie, and say I use my degree, because it sounds really good. This podcast, I could literally talk an hour about just this.

Mike:                    How about two minutes?

Amy:                     The Psychology degree from U of O, is very specific. It’s very Science, and Statistics based. I use that degree when I do science PR, and I actually do do science PR, and nobody else touches this PR in the firm.

Mike:                    That is true.

Amy:                     Because I know the account so well, and I review the Science, and I can create a press release off of it, and I do feel that it’s from my degree, that I’m able to do that. So, my scientists do not need to explain the press to me, not that often. They don’t need to explain the study to me.

Mike:                    Right.

Amy:                     Well, I don’t get it perfect. They fix it, but they don’t have to guide me through it.

Mike:                    It kind of gave you the skills to be able to work your way through that.

Amy:                     That’s the hard skills, but then I think, I do feel that I have a lot of soft skills, that I use within my job every day, which is one main soft skill is mediation. I feel like I’m a mediator. All I do, is listen to people complain about this, that, and the other, and I can take it, and distill it, and put it into a solution from listening to them. It’s almost like bargaining or negotiating, and that is a skill of like a counselor, like family counseling, but I never learned that in school.

Mike:                    That’s interesting, isn’t it? I think it’s always amazing, that the skills that we’ve acquired, that we use in our day-to-day job, that one might not expect, right? Like mediation as a PR person?

Amy:                     When you’re in a client based situation, you’re more service-oriented. Let’s say you have one client, you don’t really have one client, you have five, ’cause you’ve got five people involved in the account on the client side. So, then you have to listen to all their needs, and then distill them down to to a common solution.

Mike:                    Right. Yeah. It reminds me also too of, when you say that you own a company, or you work for yourself. They’re like, oh, so you’re the boss. You’re like, no, no, no. I have clients. I have tons of bosses.

Amy:                     I’ve got like a hundred, and then on top of it, I have media asking me for things on a deadline.

Mike:                    Right, right, but you then have to ask your clients for it, and all that sort of stuff. So, let’s go back to you. So you went to Uof O, Psychology. I know there’s some business in there as well, which has led you in to this founding business owner person, but how did you start? Did you start in the PR world?

Amy:                     I got an internship.

Mike:                    So, classic.

Amy:                     Yeah.

Mike:                    You got an internship.

Amy:                     It ties in to what our friend with PR Talent was saying, at the last PRSA Recruiting Panel … Wait, am I in PR or not? I don’t know.

Mike:                    It already happened.

Amy:                     It ties in to what he was saying. There’s a lot of internships that turn in to jobs. Right after school, I’m enrolled to go to Lewis and Clark, to be in Counseling Psychology for a Masters Program. I got an internship at a PR firm for free … free internship. What do you think I …

Mike:                    What do you mean? You didn’t have to pay for the internship? Is that what you mean by for free? What do you mean, free?

Amy:                     Sure. Meaning, they weren’t going to pay me.

Mike:                    I don’t think that happens anymore.

Amy:                     What do you mean?

Mike:                    Free interns.

Amy:                     That normally we pay interns.

Mike:                    No, we pay them. Yeah.

Amy:                     Really? I don’t know.

Amy:                     Okay, so, instead of going to school, I chose this free internship, which is kind of funny, but it was pretty much the best thing I ever did, because I got my first job after a month.

Mike:                    You answered my question before I was going to ask it.

Amy:                     I have my talking points at the ready.

Mike:                    A month in to it, you were then hired and paid. Were you a paid intern at that point, or were you like an account coordinator, or something like that?

Amy:                     No, I was hired. I was half receptionist.

Mike:                    Okay.

Amy:                     Half time Account Coordinator, I guess, but then I stopped doing the receptionist job because I was too busy, and then they recognized, that and then they moved me over to it. They hired a receptionist. That was when we still wrote down messages.

Mike:                    Right, and had fax machines?

Amy:                     That’s when we were faxing out press releases.

Mike:                    Right. Yeah, I remember. I’ve heard stories about that.

Amy:                     Do you remember the story about the guy at this job, that hid the press releases under his desk, so he didn’t have to fax them out?

Mike:                    That was it, because he didn’t know how to use a fax machine? Was that it? No?

Amy:                     No, it was overwhelming to fax.

Mike:                    just to fax out?

Amy:                     Sometimes in PR … the most overwhelming part is the delivery part. So, now it’s email, but that’s still overwhelming, because you have to do your list.

Mike:                    Right, right.

Amy:                     But then, it was the faxing, and then I kind of get it, but I never would have lied about it, but that was pretty crazy.

Mike:                    Yeah. Yeah, I remember faxing things at some extent, so then they’re waiting for like the confirmation thing to come back, and all that sort of stuff. I guess it’s similar to email. It’s just a little bit different than … you know.

Amy:                     Yeah, we used to do our jobs by fax, but that was a cool first job.

Mike:                    Yeah, so how long about, were you there?

Amy:                     I was there for two years, but it was a really, really fun, busy, fast paced two years. We had event clients, and with events, you are really like on the ground, learning and working with the press.

Mike:                    What was your favorite event, that you’ve worked on?

Amy:                     Probably anything at the Rose Garden, or the Moda Center now, because it felt big. It felt like, Oh, I’m really doing this.

Mike:                    Like monster trucks?

Amy:                     No.

Mike:                    No?

Amy:                     Like Disney on Ice, and the circus.

Mike:                    Oh, yes.

Amy:                     Not that I would be a fan of the circus, but we actually have to lead the press through, for our preventative crisis management. To lead them through to see how the animals are taken care of. That was interesting.

Mike:                    Yeah. It’s lots of fun stuff, right?

Mike:                    Okay, so then, you were there for a couple of years, and you moved on to, still in PR, right? But for another agency?

Amy:                     Yeah, so I went over to, at the time it was called Gard and Gerber. Today, it’s just called Gard, and that just kind of moved me up a level, because the clients were just bigger. They were more well known, and more of what you would call serious clients, which now I think it’s just kinda funny to be cataloging clients like that. If you take a step back and look at the name of the clientele, you’ll understand what I’m saying. I moved from working on the circus, and the rodeo, and the this, and the that, to working on AAA of Oregon, OHSU, Standard Insurance, really serious.

Mike:                    Were you the voiceover person for these clients? Because I remember that Gard and Gerber was also advertising too, so you went from a straight PR firm.

Amy:                     Hopefully I wasn’t.

Mike:                    Not with that voice, right?

Amy:                     Yeah.

Mike:                    Well, you are now the host of a podcast, so maybe that’s in your future. Actually, I know we’re totally not on script here, but that’s not that we had one. Were you ever a spokesperson for any of these clients?

Amy:                     If I was, it was at OBPR, and it was totally unplanned.

Mike:                    Yeah, you just kind of stepped in.

Amy:                     OBPR was the name of the first firm, and that was fun. It was super fun. It was a good firm. Gard was a good firm too, and I learned to button down my business there, which was great. It’s just, I do think it’s funny that they’re different. In the PR world, different accounts are viewed differently, with more steam than others, and I just kind of sometimes think, all of that is bullshit.

Mike:                    Yeah, so then you left the PR world, sort of, for a little while. Tell me about that.

Amy:                     Everything was going great at Gard, but then my friend’s Mom, was selling a big condominium unit, or development, in Northwest Portland, and she wanted me to run the marketing for that. That was about 50 units, off of Northwest 23rd. It was called the Cambridge Condominiums, and I ran all of the marketing, but in doing so, I had to get my real estate license. As most construction is, it was a year late. So what happens when it’s a year late? Well, you don’t have as much to do. You already have your marketing set up. So, you have your real estate license, you might as well sell, right? So, I went in and sold some real estate … for Windermere, of course.

Mike:                    Right.

Amy:                     Their development was underneath Windermere anyways, so I already had my license there, so I was an an agent out of that Windermere office. It’s just interesting how life works, that Windermere is now a client of ours.

Mike:                    Right. Yeah, I’m sure that’s a coincidence.

Amy:                     But I’m skipping ahead. I did learn a lot being a realtor, that I use today.

Mike:                    Like what?

Amy:                     I’ve been working for myself for about 15 years, so I haven’t had to rely on any employer’s paycheck, for about 15 years.

Mike:                    Because when you’re a realtor, you basically work for yourself, right? Because you’re responsible for …

Amy:                     You don’t have any salary. You do essentially, have your own business, but having a business that’s just one thing. That’s not really what the point is of me saying this. The point is that, you have to learn how to make shit happen, to provide for yourself, and like you’re not sitting around waiting on a paycheck. You need to learn how to hustle, and I think I already had that, ’cause there’s quite a bit of hustle in PR anyways, so I had that hustle, but just needing to support myself, I learned how to do that really well as a realtor.

Amy:                     So, working at Windermere, I had the best of both worlds. I wasn’t working there. It was like I was a contractor, I guess, working for myself, using their logo, essentially. That’s how real estate works. You get to use their name. I had the best of both worlds, because I was basically selling real estate for myself, but then I also had this big condominium development, that I was working on that, that felt very strategic, and interesting. We would go in and meet with bankers, and ask for 50 million bucks. You know what I’m saying? I’m not holding an open house here.

Mike:                    Right, although you did that too.

Amy:                     Well, yeah, but like I had this, where we were like, no, we are preparing. We’re going to go in and get our developer a 50 million dollar loan. We’re going to prepare, for like a month for this. We’re going to take these bankers out. We’re going to drive them around the city, and show them our town. It’s serious real business stuff, that I was doing, at like 25. So, that was pretty cool. Again, that was from a connection. That was my best friend’s Mom, that worked there.

Mike:                    Right.

Amy:                     Anyway, and then that puppy sold, thank God. I mean, it took a while to sell that dang thing. That’s 50 units. So there was a team of us, and I sold those, meaning I helped my team. I’m never going to desert my team, but I had a baby. So, that was really hard, because it was a year late.

Mike:                    Well, it’s supposed to end, right. The whole thing was, it would end, and then baby would come, and the timing was supposed to work out perfect, but since you were relatively new to real estate, you didn’t quite yet know, that it’s always delayed.

Amy:                     It’s always delayed at least a year, and that didn’t work for our baby planning, which is great. I mean that’s a good problem to have, that we were able to have a baby, but I guess it threw me for a loop, because I had this baby, and then I was selling, or I was closing the unit. So, it’s a different type of sale. It’s already in escrow, but you’ve got to close it.

Amy:                     I stuck around, worked kind of part-time, to close those puppies, and then basically, was just so glad to get out of real estate, when those dang things were closed, because it was just off of schedule for me. I did stick around, and try and sell on my own as well. I thought, well, let’s see if I can make this work. When I say on my own, I mean not part of the development. Like, Hey, let’s pick up this little house here, let’s sell it, that kind of thing. Sure, maybe I sold a couple of things, but it just didn’t fit my lifestyle anymore, just selling one or two homes a month, you know?

Mike:                    Right.

Amy:                     Not having that big development to work on, and so, I quit. I just turned in my license and was like, well, it’s just going to be slow market anyway, so why pay these fees? So, I quit, and then I kind of went crazy not working. Remember?

Mike:                    So, then you got back into PR?

Amy:                     Well, yeah.

Mike:                    You were kind of still in PR, ’cause you were running the marketing, right? That was still a part of what you were doing, but just pushed the real estate stuff to the side, at least for a little while until getting your real estate license again.

Amy:                     After I stopped selling those puppies, I thought, I want to see if I still have it, and I’ve talked about it, and you all know what it is, when I’m talking about PR. I don’t know if you either have it, or you don’t, and I was worried that I might have lost it. So, I got back in the game, and I realized I still had it.

Mike:                    More than most.

Amy:                     Well, maybe. I was very happy to have still had it, and what do I mean by having it? I mean, landing stories.

Mike:                    Right.

Amy:                     I landed a few little stories for my clients. They were elated, and from there, I kept getting more clients.

Mike:                    If I remember, I don’t know if it was your first client, which I’m going to take credit for, or one of your first clients, but the reason you got this client, was that they were working with a big firm, that couldn’t get anything done.

Amy:                     Yeah. Which just makes me laugh. You either have it, or you don’t.

Mike:                    One of the things that I get asked … in my episode we talk about, what do you do today? And part of my job is business development and sales, and one of the things they ask, when you’re talking with somebody is, what makes your firm different than the others? And half the time, and I say it occasionally, but half the time, 90% of the time, I want to be like, well, we give a shit. We try. We care. I think part of that is, all of our clients have at least, if not have at least some access to us, the two owners of the company. We care. I think that has a lot to do with what it is. Even when you weren’t the owner of the company, when you were your first two PR jobs, your personality is you care. You have it. You care. You make sales. You make the calls. You make things happen.

Amy:                     Thank you. Well, I guess this is another topic that’s off, what we’re talking about. I just think it’s kind of interesting. I noticed when you talk about when you care about a client. So for me, when I run down my to-do list, it’s not the client name that I’m writing down, it’s the person’s name. I need to get this for Tim. I need to send this to Rob. I need to send this to duh, duh, duh. It’s person related, and I’m envisioning the person in my head, versus just the client.

Mike:                    Right.

Amy:                     Anyway, so that’s random. So, I was just kind of like …

Mike:                    So, you were consulting. You were freelancing.

Amy:                     … Doing a little bit of projects here and there, and then I got too much work at … remember that?

Mike:                    I do.

Amy:                     I got so much work, that I was going to fire half of my clients.

Mike:                    Right, and not take any new ones that were coming down.

Amy:                     Well, no, and then you looked at everything. You looked at the numbers as you do, and I do not do, and you said, “Well, wait a minute. I’ll just quit my job.”

Mike:                    Right.

Amy:                     That is how our company started, and then I was like, okay, and then that worked, and I was nervous at first, but it worked, ’cause that was maybe like six or seven years ago …

Mike:                    Yeah, yeah, seven years, eight years ago.

Amy:                     … that you quit your job.

Mike:                    Yeah.

Amy:                     I think that’s a big … quitting a job is a big step in a company formation. Tim Ferris with The 7-hour Workweek, or whatever it is. I love that book. He says, a good way to start a company, is to already have a job like a side … you start it as a side hustle.

Mike:                    You start it as a side hustle, right? Yeah.

Amy:                     I was in a privileged position, that I could be working from home as a freelancer.

Mike:                    Yeah, working part time.

Amy:                     You had your job, but we also had some of the real estate financial stuff that closed, coming in to help. That’s a position of privilege. But now, when you quit your job, that’s totally, oh wow, okay, we’re in this now.

Mike:                    Right.

Amy:                     We’re doing this.

Mike:                    This is 100%. Exactly.

Amy:                     It worked out, which every day, and this is how I feel like. I don’t know if this is just how to be humble or what, but I’m every day I think, well, I guess it’s working. I’m bewildered that it’s working. Do you know what I mean?

Mike:                    Well, yeah, and that keeps the hustle, right? I mean, that’s, that’s one of the reasons …

Amy:                     Exactly.

Mike:                    … A big reason that it is working, because you don’t sit back on your laurels, and Oh, we’ve got these great clients and they’re on retainer. It’ll just keep happening. No, you gotta prove it every single day.

Amy:                     Well, not only that, and then when you think about the person behind the client, that’s who I don’t want to let down.

Mike:                    Exactly.

Amy:                     So that’s who’s on our to-do list every day, is the person.

Mike:                    Yeah. So, you started the company, I joined the company. It’s grown. In addition to being the host of PR Talk, what else do you do?

Amy:                     Oh, God. Are you talking about little things, that I’m on a Board of, or something like that?

Mike:                    No, no, no, I’m talking about for Veracity

Amy:                     Oh, for Veracity.

Mike:                    Yeah.

Amy:                     Oh, my God. Oh, I don’t know. Well, I lead the client strategy, and what that means is, I basically help our freelancers come up with ways to do their job better. If they’re having problems getting something landed, we just work those problems out, and then I converse with the clients every day.

Mike:                    Yeah.

Amy:                     So, so that’s what I do for Veracity, but then you might consider, I guess I’m kind of doing some thought leadership, because I’m presenting here and there, and then I’m doing this podcast, and then doing blogging,

Mike:                    Right, and then doing blogging, and then there might be some upcoming episodes, that we may mention, that maybe you’re writing a book.

Amy:                     Right.

Mike:                    Yeah. Why are you writing a book?

Amy:                     I don’t know. It’s weird. Well, we’ll talk about that.

Mike:                    ‘Cause you want to share the love, right? It’s thought leadership, and education.

Amy:                     Yeah.

Mike:                    What about outside of work?

Amy:                     Well, we do have two kids.

Mike:                    Yeah.

Amy:                     Just to remind you, and a cat. The cat’s really important. I don’t know. I just like to micromanage my kids. I’m just kidding. I help my kids out. I go to their things, and I’m just involved with the school, and try not to volunteer so much at the school, because our kids are old enough now, that I want to let new parents take that over, but in the past, I was really active in the schools.

Mike:                    What do you do to relax? Do you watch movies? Do you read books? Do you listen to podcasts?

Amy:                     Well, I read every night, so I can’t sleep if I don’t read, and I feel that I have a very, very strong life in literature, or in books. I feel like books, are adding a lot of value to my life, just in general. I have a very active literature life, even though I read crap. By the way, don’t ask me what I read. I don’t even know. Seriously, I read so much, that I don’t remember what I read, ’cause I read off of the Libby App.

Mike:                    I was looking at … what is it? iTunes purchases. iBook purchases. Wow. I know you read every night, but you read a lot.

Amy:                     Well, hopefully I haven’t purchased that much on that, because I would rather not pay for that. My trick is to download it for free on that. If I like it, then I’ll go to Libby.

Mike:                    Oh, maybe those are previews.

Amy:                     Yeah, and then I’ll go to Libby, and then I’ll put a hold on it.

Mike:                    That’s a good trick, for anybody who wants to … ‘Cause yeah, you’re right. If you read a lot, it can get expensive, right?

Amy:                     Oh, yeah.

Mike:                    The library is free, but getting to the library, and all that, isn’t that easy. So, Libby is the app. It’s the library app.

Amy:                     Yeah, it’s connected to the Multnomah County Library. So, there’s reading, and then Friday night movies we do with our family, we love, and then I don’t know, I guess I work out, but not as much as you do. I mean, I used to love working out, but I hurt my back, but I’m trying to get back in to it.

Mike:                    Yeah, well that is certainly fun. So, we teased it in my episode a little bit. I don’t know if it was a teaser or not, but we talked about your famous maiden name. I’m going to leave it, and you can make a comment if you want, but I thought it was really funny. Her maiden name is Weinhouse. Everybody’s heard of Amy Winehouse. This was actually after she was married, is when the Amy Winehouse got popular, but I remember a friend … it coming on the radio when I was driving with a friend, and him telling me that that was her name, and then shortly after that, riding with Amy and it coming on to me saying, Oh, do you know who this is? This is Amy Winehouse, and what was your reaction to that?

Amy:                     She spells her name wrong.

Mike:                    And you did not like her music.

Amy:                     Oh, I didn’t?

Mike:                    No.

Amy:                     Oh, ’cause I like it now.

Mike:                    Well, yeah. I think you thought that she stole your name.

Amy:                     I was a little irritated, but I’m over it now.

Mike:                    You’re over it now. All right. Until next time.

Amy:                     Take good care.


This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

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Podcast: Mike Rosenberg: Pseudo Host

Podcast: Mike Rosenberg: Pseudo Host

A Little Background on Mike Rosenberg,
PR Talk Podcast Occasional Host


In this episode, I sit down to talk with our occasional host Mike Rosenberg about his background, role at Veracity and what he does for fun. Soon, Mike will reverse our roles and interview me because you will be hearing a lot more from us in future episodes. We thought maybe a little background would be good.

Episode Transcript

We are trying something new for this write-up by posting the episode transcript. 

Amy:                                     Hello, Mike Rosenberg.

Mike:                                    Hi, Amy.

Amy:                                     Hi, podcast listeners. We kind of figured that since we are going to be podcasting every week, you might kind of want to know who we are. Maybe you don’t want to know. Maybe if you knew who-

Mike:                                    Just keep it a secret?

Amy:                                     Well, maybe if you knew who we really were, you wouldn’t want to listen.

Mike:                                    Don’t Google Amy Rosenberg. Actually, don’t Google Amy Winehouse.

Amy:                                     Ooh, yeah, don’t Google Amy Winehouse and wonder why not to Google Amy Weinhouse. I’ll just say Amy Winehouse spells her name incorrectly.

Mike:                                    There you go. We’ll discover that one maybe on your episode.

Amy:                                     I’m the real Amy Weinhouse.

Mike:                                    There you go.

Amy:                                     Okay, yeah, so again, it’s not the Amy show. You might think it is.

Mike:                                    It is sometimes.

Amy:                                    Well, most of the time. But today, we’re going to learn about Mike.

Mike:                                    Why?

Amy:                                     Well, I don’t know why, but we just want … Maybe once we hear from Mike, we will understand why we want to know who he is.

Mike:                                    Well, I’ve done a couple of episodes. It’s been a while, though, for sure.

Amy:                                     Well, and you’re going to be doing episodes with me-

Mike:                                    Moving forward, right? So we’re going to go every week now, instead of every other week, and we’re doing this because we’re adding a new kind of content. Or doing our content more that’s just kind of us educational, right? In addition to interviewing others in the media world or in the marketing world.

Amy:                                     Yeah, so we just thought this would be a fun chance for you to get to know Mike. So what did you do … I don’t know, do we want to talk about what you do now first, and then talk about where you came from?

Mike:                                    Let’s do it the other way around. We’ll evolve into what I am now.

Amy:                                     Okay, so where did you go to college?

Mike:                                    Went to the University of Oregon. Go Ducks. After graduating … I actually was the in the first class … It actually wasn’t a major yet, but my claim to fame is one of the first folks to go through sports marketing. It was long enough ago that sports marketing, which U of O is well known for their sports marketing program and their sports marketing degree.

Mike:                                    I have a business management degree with an emphasis in sports marketing because when I was a junior, there was this new program called sports marketing, and they said you learn business administration with kind of a sports twist to it. So in your law class, it has to do with sponsorship contracts and law for sports and that sort of thing. And I thought, well, that sounds pretty cool. I like sports. I’m going to follow that. So I got that emphasis, which … And then after college, I actually did what my degree says and went into sports marketing.

Amy:                                     Wow, that’s amazing.

Mike:                                    Right? One of the few.

Amy:                                     Right. And I remember we always … Because I have known you for quite a while. We actually met at U of O.

Mike:                                    Right.

Amy:                                     And I’m not going to tell you how, but we did meet. Maybe we could create a poll to see how do you think Amy and Mike met at U of O. Pretty typical, I’ll just say that. But I remember when you got your first job out of college, it was pretty hilarious because you used to use the excuse that you were watching sports for work.

Mike:                                    Oh, it wasn’t an excuse. It was reality. I had to watch the game.

Amy:                                     That’s too bad, right?

Mike:                                    And I had to read the sports section. Now, did I have to only read the sports section? Probably not, but it was a good excuse.

Amy:                                     Yeah, so what was your job?

Mike:                                    I was with the Oregon Sports Authority. It was actually the Portland Oregon Sports Authority at the time, and we were … It is a sports commission, which means our overall job and mission was to bring events and franchises to Oregon for quality of life, economic impact, that sort of stuff. It was a private nonprofit, but oftentimes it’s a public entity that’s supported by state, federal, or county government.

Amy:                                     Okay, and so how long were you there?

Mike:                                    I would have to look at my LinkedIn to know for sure, but I know I was … Well, it was probably about four years, with a quick thought.

Amy:                                     Oh, that’s a while.

Mike:                                    Maybe three or four years, yeah. So I was there for a while. I ended up being the marketing director, and as I mentioned, one of the things that we did was we tried to bring in events. We brought in events for economic impact and quality of life. One of the big events, the biggest event at the time and maybe still is, that we brought in was the US Figure Skating Championships. So part of my job was to go out and pitch and create bids for these major events that move across from city to city, and the Figure Skating Championships was one of those that we got during my tenure at the Oregon Sports Authority.

Amy:                                     Right, and then you went on to manage that event.

Mike:                                    Exactly. That’s why I bring it up. I then transitioned … They were looking for someone to run it locally. I raised my hand, they selected me, and then so I did that for … I think the total job was about three or four years, so a couple of years to get ready for it, and then the event, which was in 2005, and then a couple of months afterward to wrap everything up.

Amy:                                     Yeah, that was kind of a big deal for Oregon because that’s what people competed in before they went to the Olympics, right?

Mike:                                    Exactly, yeah. In Olympic years, it was the Olympic qualifier. Like I said, it was and maybe still is the biggest one-time sports event that Portland has hosted. We had the Moda Center, which then was the Rose Garden, and the Coliseum, and a couple of other ice rinks around town full for basically a week. It was live on TV. In fact, my biggest memory from that is … which is interesting we’re talking about this today, because there’s a snowstorm, “snowstorm” in Portland today.

Amy:                                     As I roll my eyes.

Mike:                                    Yeah, it’s not much of a storm, but school is closed and all that stuff. Well, there was a real snowstorm during the US Figure Skating Championships, and I remember contemplating whether we were going to postpone or call the event, because there was ice, and would people be able to get there?

Mike:                                    And I remember talking with the folks on … with the TV station, which I believe was ABC, and basically they said, “If the skaters can get here, we have to go live, because yes, there’s thousands of people who are coming to watch it live in Portland, but there’s millions of people who are watching it on TV, and this is scheduled out. We’ve sold millions of dollars’ worth of commercials,” and all that sort of stuff. So yeah, it was a big deal. It was a fun event, and I learned a ton doing it.

Amy:                                     Well, it’s kind of nice to have the news tell you how to make a decision for once.

Mike:                                    Well, yeah, it wasn’t really the news. It was the production folks. It was the sports production side of it, but yeah, it’s the media.

Amy:                                     And then from there, you worked on your own for a couple of years, kind of trying to sell sponsorships for events like that, right? Is that what you would say that was?

Mike:                                    Exactly. Yeah, I was consulting for anything in sports that was revenue generation, so a lot of that’s sponsorship, also consulting on ticket sales and those sort of things, merchandise, that kind of stuff. But it was in the sports world, basically things that drove revenue, were my clients, so mostly events.

Amy:                                     Okay, and then you moved on to EngineWorks, which was a digital marketing agency, and why did you do that?

Mike:                                    Well, really, the gist of it was that I got frustrated in sports. So for someone who took sports marketing and worked in the sports world to have an excuse to watch sports and be involved in it, and I’ve always played sports and been a big fan, I got frustrated on the marketing side, and it was mostly because it seemed like I was banging my head against a wall every time we tried to do something new.

Mike:                                    For example, on the sponsorship side, we’d try to come up with maybe a different thing to sell or a different way of measuring it. One of the things that got me was in car-racing stuff, and how we measured the value of a sponsorship, even locally, had to do oftentimes with how many milliseconds … This is car-racing, so things are moving fast. Someone’s banner, if it got a tiny, little millisecond on TV, how many of those was a big thing that went into determining the value of a sponsorship. And I just kept running into asking, “Why are we doing it like this?” And the answer was always, “We’ve always done it this way.” It was like, “Well, why don’t we do something different? Why don’t we try something different?” “No, no, no, we’ve always done it this way.”

Mike:                                    So I actually was having lunch with a friend of mine, Kent Schnepp. He was talking about EngineWorks, this startup, basically a digital marketing agency that he was starting or had actually just started, and wondering if it was something that I would get involved with. And for me, it made a lot of sense because we couldn’t really ask how to do something, because we were basically in a new industry at the time, right? So it was like, “Well, how do we do this? I don’t know, we’re going to have to figure it out.” So that was really cool.

Amy:                                     Oh, cool, so it totally flipped that old idea on its head.

Mike:                                    Exactly, exactly. And I think that, in regards to sports … I don’t want to bash the sports marketing world, because I think they’ve caught up a lot, and there are lots of organizations … In fact, in our hometown, Portland Trail Blazers are one of the leaders in digital marketing and social media and have really taken a step to embrace it, but it did take a while.

Amy:                                     Okay, so tell me what it was like working at EngineWorks/Ethology, because it then turned into Ethology, so we’ll just call that the same job.

Mike:                                    Right, so that was where I learned digital marketing. We were, first and foremost, a search marketing agency, so what that means is SEO and paid search, so AdWords. We were specialists in those two areas in the beginning. We added social media as kind of part of our search offering a couple years in as that grew as an industry. But for me, it was great because I learned that industry, right?

Mike:                                    I joined SEMpdx, I then got on the board, became president, and would go to all of their educational events. I was in charge of client acquisition, so my job was to help the company grow its client base, so the actual doing of SEO, of paid search, I didn’t actually ever do, right? Although, as I was selling things … and this is I think 100% true, especially back then … I knew SEO better than 90% of the people that we competed against, the people who were actually doing it, because there was a lot of-

Amy:                                     You mean the other salespeople?

Mike:                                    No, the other actual doers, because that industry-

Amy:                                     How do you know that?

Mike:                                    Just from talking with other folks in the industry and reading things at the time. There was a lot of folks that were just kind of selling absolutely nothing. But anyway, that was in the past. I’m sure there’s still a bunch of folks who are out there doing that now, but I don’t think they last very long.

Amy:                                     But not necessarily. So this is going to be more about your resume and your background, but just in general, digital marketing does have a bad reputation.

Mike:                                    It does, and it earned it in the beginning, and I’m sure there’s still a ton of folks … I mean, I get calls from “Google” still, and it’s obviously not Google calling me. Well, it’s obvious to me, but the reason … but it’s not obvious to a lot of the people answering the phone, which is why they’re doing it.

Amy:                                     So it’s deceitful.

Mike:                                    So it’s deceitful, yeah.

Amy:                                     And then you’re saying a lot of these people don’t know what they’re doing.

Mike:                                    Correct, they definitely didn’t in the past. I think that’s … I mean, it’s caught up a little bit.

Amy:                                     Why do you think you kind of knew what you were doing? Was it your involvement with SEMpdx, or was it the group you were working with?

Mike:                                    It was both. We were selling a real service, and I always think to be able to sell something, you have to understand it. You’re not just selling … I was going to say “air,” but in real estate, air is an actual thing that you do sell.

Amy:                                     I have sold air, but we’ll talk about that next week.

Mike:                                    Exactly, exactly. So that’s where I learned the industry. I learned the industry at EngineWorks. Our goal that was stated to … that everybody knew, from owners to management to new employees that our goal with that was for some sort of event, whether that’s to be acquired or go public or something like that, so that was a stated goal, and we did that. We were acquired, so that’s why EngineWorks became Ethology.

Amy:                                     Oh, okay. So then now, kind of switching gears into what you’re doing today, which is kind of more about our company, I want to ask in the sense of, like … Well, I don’t … Because I don’t want to get too into the background of why … of our company, I guess. I’m curious, though, why you did switch to work for our company, to work … Or not for our company, but with me. But I don’t know if we want to get into the whole story of that. And if not, we could just talk about, what do you see as the similarities and differences from working at Ethology versus Veracity?

Mike:                                    Sure. Well, at Ethology … Well, at EngineWorks, before we were acquired, I was a part of the leadership team, and now I continue to be part of the leadership team at Veracity, so those things are the same. We go after different types of clients. I would say that, similarity-wise, we would be more similar to, again, Ethology because it was kind of more full-service than EngineWorks was, being specifically a search firm, that Veracity is, although we certainly have very specific things that we do, right? So that’s similar, as well.

Mike:                                    Differences? Size. That organization was a lot bigger, employee-wise. We had some very specific industries that we went after. We were big in the hotel and hospitality space, which we continue to do some work in that space at Veracity, as well, but we’re not quite as direct on who we work with. So those are kind of some of the similarities and differences.

Amy:                                     Okay. I’m giving you a fun-

Mike:                                    I didn’t work with my wife.

Amy:                                     Who, your wife would say, “Please, no hotels.” No, just kidding.

Mike:                                    Yeah, right?

Amy:                                     Do we want a hotel? Sure. I don’t know if we’re running after them. But okay, so what do you do today at Veracity?

Mike:                                    Sort of the transition story into Veracity was you, Amy, was doing PR, kind of started Veracity or … It’s actually kind of … I don’t know if this interests anybody else, but I find it interesting that, as we talked about, my consulting company, it was called Rosenberg Marketing, right? And then when you kind of … Rosenberg went to bed, took a nap when I joined EngineWorks, and then you kind of woke it up and changed it into PR consulting.

Amy:                                     Yeah. Well, I mean, you already had the LLC and all that paperwork figured out, so I just-

Mike:                                    Yeah, exactly. The technicality stuff was done.

Amy:                                     So you did all the work I didn’t want to do.

Mike:                                    Right, exactly.

Amy:                                     Thank you.

Mike:                                    Yeah, no problem. So you were kind of running what eventually became Veracity, which turned into Veracity as a PR firm, right? So what I did was I brought in the digital side of that, so from my experience at EngineWorks and Ethology, I brought that to the table for us so that we were more well-rounded and bringing us into modern-day marketing a little bit more.

Amy:                                     Well, yeah, but you did … You’re not really giving yourself much credit, because … I don’t want to get too into the company history, but when I was doing PR, I really was just a freelancer.

Mike:                                    Right.

Amy:                                     So then you were able to come and help bring it up to the next level of not being a freelancer, being an actual company. And then we changed the name.

Mike:                                    Changed the name. We got an office, changed the name, hired people, all that sort of stuff.

Amy:                                     So then what do you do now? Did you already say that? Since we are married, you might notice a theme: I don’t listen to him. It is what it is. Just get used to it.

Mike:                                    So now I continue to be basically in charge of the digital side of our business, as well as I do operations. Just as you mentioned that I created the-

Amy:                                     All the boring things.

Mike:                                    Yes, all the boring things.

Amy:                                     Thank you.

Mike:                                    Payroll, taxes, setting up systems, a little bit of sales when we actually ever do any.

Amy:                                     Meaning we don’t reach out, but people reach us.

Mike:                                    Yeah.

Amy:                                     Sorry if that was you that we hung up on the other day. So if you want us to work on your account, we might hang up on you, not knowing that it was a new business call.

Mike:                                    Not on purpose. Yeah.

Amy:                                     Anyway, somebody called when we were in the office on a conference call with a client, but of course we’re basically millennials, even though we’re not. Pretend that we’re millennials. We’re on our cellphones all the time, so if someone calls our landline-

Mike:                                    Right, or on speaker.

Amy:                                     … I’m just going to hang up on them. I’m going to pick it up and hang it up. I’m a millennial, but I’m 41. Anyway, so what … You have a lot of extracurricular activities. Are you trying to get credit-

Mike:                                    I’m trying to get into college.

Amy:                                     No, yeah, exactly. Are you trying to get into some grad school? What the heck?

Mike:                                    I’m not doing that much anymore. I just have filled out my LinkedIn profile, which you’re looking at.

Amy:                                     Okay, but are you supposed to have all this on here as a LinkedIn expert?

Mike:                                    What do you mean?

Amy:                                     Well, I don’t know, I mean, this gala marketing committee co-chair for OMSI.

Mike:                                    What, back in 2011? Yeah, sure. Why not? I don’t know, LinkedIn keeps telling me that my profile is good.

Amy:                                     Okay, so you’re still involved with SEMpdx.

Mike:                                    I am. Right, yeah, so I was … I think I was on the board for either eight to ten years, because we had two-year stints, and mine ended being past president, so two years of that, two years of president, and some years before that. And as I mentioned before, that was one of the big education pieces for me.

Amy:                                     And then what do you do … It says you’re a board member for B’nai B’rith Camp. What is B’nai B’rith Camp?

Mike:                                    So BB Camp is a Jewish summer overnight camp at the coast, and I’m on the board.

Amy:                                     And why are you on the board?

Mike:                                    Well, long story short, my kids love it, my father was involved and has been involved for a long time, there’s … I end up at that camp once a week for a weekend at the end of the summer-

Amy:                                     Thank God.

Mike:                                    … as kind of a go do sports and eat too much and hang out.

Amy:                                     You mean you go as a camper?

Mike:                                    Yeah.

Amy:                                     Like, with other kids or …?

Mike:                                    No, with other adults.

Amy:                                     I’m just kidding. And is it called Men’s Camp?

Mike:                                    It is, yeah.

Amy:                                     Is it just for Jewish guys?

Mike:                                    It’s mostly, but not exclusively, no. And the whole purpose of it, and the whole purpose of me being on the board, is to raise money for kids who can’t afford to go to camp, right? I’ve heard so many stories from people whose lives have been positively impacted because they were able to go. Some of them, they could go because their families could afford to send them, and some of them wouldn’t have been able to go.

Amy:                                     And they would have been sitting at home, all alone by themselves for the summer.

Mike:                                    Exactly.

Amy:                                     Because their parents were working.

Mike:                                    Yeah, exactly.

Amy:                                     So this got them out into nature and with a community and-

Mike:                                    Yeah, a lot of them, it gave them a place where they could be themselves more so than anywhere else that they felt comfortable. And like I said, I’ve heard quite a few different stories of people like that.

Amy:                                     Yeah. So then you’re still involved with that today.

Mike:                                    I’m still involved with that. I’m on the board there. I’m also a member of the Rotary Club of Portland, and my-

Amy:                                     And that keeps you really busy.

Mike:                                    Well, we have a meeting or a lunch once a week.

Amy:                                     Which I love.

Mike:                                    Right, you love that. And I guess … and I think I’ve said this, whether it’s on LinkedIn or maybe it was another … oh, it was another podcast that I was a guest on. If anyone in the Portland area, or if you happen to be in Portland on Tuesday and want to come to lunch with me, I kind of put out there an open invitation, I’ll take you to lunch on Tuesday at the Sentinel downtown, as a guest of mine for Rotary.

Amy:                                     Well, actually, if anyone wants to go, next week it’s the Oregonian talking-

Mike:                                    Right, yeah, the history of the Oregonian.

Amy:                                     … about the past, present, and the future. And it’s Therese Bottomly, who is the-

Mike:                                    Editor?

Amy:                                     Editor or something like that.

Mike:                                    Yeah.

Amy:                                     And I cannot go, unfortunately. I have a client meeting that came up last minute, but I was definitely planning on going, so if one of you guys want to go, let Mike know.

Mike:                                    Right. Yeah, and if you follow anything that we do, if you follow it closely, you’ll also see that I’m the chair of the Oregon Ethics in Business Awards, which is an event hosted by … which means we do all of the work … the Rotary Club of Portland, and presented by KGW, where we honor businesses and nonprofits every year for ethical business practices. So we have a nomination process, which we’re in the middle of. Or the nomination process is over, but a selection process, and then we’ll have a big gala dinner to announce the recipients and celebrate what they’re doing in their organizations and businesses.

Amy:                                     So then, now that we’re done-

Mike:                                    And that’s the part that keeps me kind of busy.

Amy:                                     Yeah. Well, right now, but once that’s over, it won’t be as bad.

Mike:                                    Right, right.

Amy:                                     But now that we’re done with your LinkedIn profile, is there anything you can tell us in a couple of minutes about what you like to do in your free time?

Mike:                                    Ooh. Well, my favorite thing right now is skiing, so I was a-

Amy:                                     I knew you were going to say that.

Mike:                                    Yeah, I was a big skier when I was a kid and through high school and that sort of stuff. And pre-kids, went a fair amount, but once kids came into the equation, for the most part, it ended. And then this year, both of my kids got into snowboarding, and so once I had that commitment from them, I scheduled them up for lessons and to go up to the mountain, and that’s what I really like.

Amy:                                     Yeah, but you exercise like every day, which actually makes me annoyed because I don’t.

Mike:                                    Well …

Amy:                                     But it’s a good … you’re a good role model.

Mike:                                    Yeah.

Amy:                                     So what all do you do for your other exercise, besides skiing?

Mike:                                    I play basketball a couple times a week. I also love coaching … Assistant coach … I don’t want the responsibility of a head coach, but assistant coach for both my kids’ teams, which is fun.

Amy:                                     Well, you’re doing both kids’, so you can’t do head coach.

Mike:                                    Right, and I don’t have time. Even if it was one kid, I don’t think I’d have time for that, because evening meetings during practice, when you’re an assistant coach, you can say, “Hey, sorry, Coach. I can’t make it.” When you’re the head coach, you can’t really do that. And then I just started running because I joined a neighborhood team for Hood to Coast, so if any of you listeners know what Hood to Coast is, you probably think I’m crazy.

Amy:                                     Well, we already knew that. So yeah, a lot of exercise and family stuff, it sounds like.

Mike:                                    The free time that I have, that’s where it goes, for sure.

Amy:                                     And then podcasting on the side.

Mike:                                    Podcasting on the side. I like that. With a dish of podcast on the side


This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

PR Talk is sponsored by monday

In such a fast-paced, multi-faceted work environment, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. monday is the collaboration tool trusted by businesses of all kinds to help cut down the clutter and streamline productivity. Learn more at monday.com and signup for a free trial. You’ll see in no time why so many teams around the world are choosing monday for their project management needs.

PR Talk listeners can use the coupon code BetterExecute for a 15% discount.

Podcast: Allan Brettman: The Columbian

Podcast: Allan Brettman: The Columbian

Covering Business in The Couve with Allan Brettman

Allan Brettman has been working at newspapers in Portland and SW Washington for more than 30 years. Hailing originally from the Chicago area, he was drawn to the Northwest by its abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities, or as Allan says, “for the same reasons you’d choose a summer camp.”

He began his local newspaper career with the Longview Daily News and then in 2000, joined The Oregonian as the business news reporter in the paper’s Clark County bureau. During his 17-year career with The O, Allan also covered the region’s sports business, digital media and PR industries. Last September, Allan returned to covering SW Washington news as business editor for The Columbian.

During this episode of the PR Talk podcast, Allan and host Amy Rosenberg talk about his time at The O, Vancouver’s status as an up-and-coming area, and a few tips for getting coverage in Vancouver’s hometown paper.

Creating a Digital First News Organization

Amy begins her interview by quoting Therese Bottomly — editor at The Oregonian/OregonLive — who credits Allan with helping The O pivot to become a digital-first news organization. Allan politely deferred, saying it was a team effort that included other O influencers like Steve Woodward, Mike Rogoway, and breaking news editor Karly Imus.

The structural challenges facing the newspaper industry are great, and a shift of that magnitude required lots of experimentation with all the available tools in the digital toolbox, while at the same time, remaining true to traditional news values. Allan said it helped that he was covering the digital landscape at the time and had developed some familiarity with the topic.


Vancouver Rising

Things are a bit different at his new home at The Columbian. The print product is still healthy and the paper is working on growing its digital footprint.

Allan was hired as business editor in September 2018 and manages one other dedicated business reporter. Together they cover a growing region that has changed immeasurably since Allan last had the Clark County business beat back in 2000.

The waterfront is currently being redeveloped to include public spaces, restaurants, luxury hotels and condominiums, and other mixed-used offerings. When it’s completed, the area will rival any of Portland’s new neighborhoods. Vancouver also features a growing tech center and a thriving real estate market.


Searching for Good, Local Stories

All that growth means there are lots of potential stories to tell, and Allan, and business reporter Anthony Macuk, are always looking for pitches. As Allan tells Amy, if a story has a Clark County or Vancouver angle, and has some news value, the pitch will definitely be considered.

One story Allan thinks is going untold is about the 60,000 people who go from Clark County to Portland every day for work. He thinks there are more stories to be written about Portland companies through the eyes of their Clark County employees.

PR pros with local business-centered pitches can reach out to Allan by email at [email protected]. Anthony Macuk covers everything, but specializes in hi-tech and real estate development. He can be reached at [email protected].

General story ideas can be directed to metro editor Mark Bowder at [email protected]. He’ll know how to divvy out stories to the right Columbian reporters. Sports pitches can go to sports editor, Micah Rice at [email protected]. Amy Libby is digital editor and can be reached at [email protected].


Tips for a Good Pitch

Now before you go lighting up all those email addresses, Allan shared a few of tips he’d like PR pros to consider before contacting a Columbian reporter.

  • Ideally, PR pros will have a relationship with a reporter, know the kinds of stories they’re looking for and reach out directly with a pitch. If that’s not the case, try contacting an editor first. Do not shop a story around to multiple reporters.
  • People can feel free to email or phone Allan with story ideas but he wants them to put some thought into their pitches first. So write it all down before you pick up the phone.
  • If you email your pitch first, Allan would appreciate a courtesy phone call with a heads-up. One of his biggest news stories of the year came through this way.  
  • It’s also important that your news releases are 100% accurate, especially with name spellings.
  • And of course, Alan recommends getting a Columbian subscription so you can get familiar with the publication to know exactly what stories they cover.


Subscribe to PR Talk Podcast

Allan and Amy talked about much more during their conversation, including his favorite stories during his time at the Oregonian, the biggest business news to hit Vancouver in years, and his PR pro pet peeves.

Click through to hear the whole interview, or subscribe to PR Talk podcast on Stitcher, iTunes, or the Google Play store.

About the guest: Allan Brettman

Allan Brettman is a detail-focused journalist with creative edge recognized for developing, honing and delivering inventive, quality content, strengthening brand and engaging diverse audiences. He is currently the Business Editor at The Columbian and spent 17 years at The Oregonian after 12 years at The Daily News in Longview, Washington.


Connect and follow Allan on social media:

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

PR Talk is sponsored by monday

In such a fast-paced, multi-faceted work environment, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. monday is the collaboration tool trusted by businesses of all kinds to help cut down the clutter and streamline productivity. Learn more at monday.com and signup for a free trial. You’ll see in no time why so many teams around the world are choosing monday for their project management needs.

PR Talk listeners can use the coupon code BetterExecute for a 15% discount.

SEMpdx Event: What’s New for 2019 in Digital Marketing

SEMpdx Event: What’s New for 2019 in Digital Marketing

I recently attended SEMpdx’s monthly educational event featuring a panel of digital marketing experts. They were tasked with providing insight into what is new (or will be new) in digital marketing for 2019.

As we have done previously when we think a topic may fit our PR Talk audience, we record it.

If you can’t tell, we are focusing PR Talk on digital marketing with the Engage Conference coming up on March 7th & 8th, where Amy will be speaking about Digital PR.

This PR Talk Podcast was recorded live at SEMpdx’s:

What’s New for 2019 in Digital Marketing Panel


Expert SEMpdx panel featuring a Q&A discussion on What’s New for 2019 in Digital Marketing.


Anna Hutson

Anna Hutson

Founder & CEO, Avenue

Kevin Getch

Kevin Getch

Founder & Lead SEO, Webfor

Scott Hendison

Scott Hendison

Founder, Search Commander, Inc.

Ryan Campbell

Ryan Campbell

Assoc Director Demand Gen, Obility

Caleb Donegan

Caleb Donegan

VP of Digital, Vacasa


Matthew Brown
Consultant, SEMpdx Advisory Board Member


Questions discussed during the event include:

What changed in 2018? What did 2018 teach you for 2019?

How did Google’s changes in 2018 effect SEO and Paid Search for B2B industries?

Managing a big enterprise client, did you have an advantage in 2018?

Do you need more content to perform well in specific industries (recipes given as an example)?

As agency owners, how would you change the mix of what you offer your clients in 2019?

What is quality content?

How will the technical elements of SEO matter in 2019?

In regards to schema mark-up, should you mark-up all that you can or just specific things?

Should you delete old content (blog posts) on your site?

What Google My Business (GMB) and local SEO stuff should we know about?

What is your prediction for voice search and the written word in regards to voice search?

How will website privacy impact 2019?

What will Bing do in 2019?

Share something new and improved for 2019 that you are excited about (tools, blogs, etc.)?

Do you have insights on email marketing and SEO podcasts to listen to?


This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

PR Talk is sponsored by monday

In such a fast-paced, multi-faceted work environment, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. monday is the collaboration tool trusted by businesses of all kinds to help cut down the clutter and streamline productivity. Learn more at monday.com and signup for a free trial. You’ll see in no time why so many teams around the world are choosing monday for their project management needs. PR Talk listeners can use the coupon code BetterExecute for a 15% discount.
Minicast: A weird & kinda random conversation about SEMpdx’s Engage Conference

Minicast: A weird & kinda random conversation about SEMpdx’s Engage Conference

What Should I Talk About?!!

What can I tell you about digital PR that you didn’t already know?

What do you think about 3 Hacks to Win the Digital PR Game?

How about What is Digital PR?

Your Top 10 Questions Answered?

Or maybe 6 Ways Digital PR Can Save Your Business in 2019?

I am speaking again at this year’s Engage Conference and if it seems like I am hunting for a presentation topic, I am. This year my general topic is Digital PR and I want to get started on putting my deck together.

And who loves you? Since I’m speaking, you can also use my speaker discount “ROSENBERG” to get another $100 off your ticket.

Last year’s presentation was How to PR Your Way to the Top of Google. You can check out the video below or see more particular on our Engage page from 2018 (there is a discount code).

What’s My Topic?

So, back to my original question. What Digital PR questions do you want to see covered? Maybe you’re a local business owner that has a question. Or your fellow PR pro and wanting to know the latest trends. Maybe you’re someone working in marketing and want some advice on PR tactics that can be applied online?

Reach out and contact us in an email, phone call, LinkedIn post, or in a Tweet.

What is the Engage Conference?

Oh, you may be wondering what is the Engage Conference?

Thankfully, I am married to someone who has been affiliated with the event for more than a decade. Mike is currently on the advisory board for the Search Engine Marketers of Portland (SEMpdx), which is the nonprofit that hosts the event.

The Engage Conference was formerly known as Searchfest, and this will be its 13th year. They switched its name from Searchfest to Engage a few years ago, because the one-day conference was so much more than just about search.

And now the conference has even outgrown its one-day. Beginning this year, it will be a two-day conference packed with some of the biggest names in digital marketing but at about ⅓ the cost of similar conferences.

“It was an amazing one-day conference but because it was so amazing, we’ve added a second day this year,” Mike said. “More opportunities for great content, opportunities for more keynotes, more parties. Oh, and more networking opportunities and all that stuff. So, more of everything and not much more of a ticket price.”

Why should you attend the Engage Conference?

Well, I did mention that I was speaking, right?

Seriously, it is two days and four concurrent tracks. There are session topics for wherever you work in the marketing/sales funnel. There are sessions about social and building a brand. There are sessions on content marketing. There are technical SEO sessions. There are sessions on conversion rate optimization, and making a sale. There are sessions oriented toward enterprise businesses, and sessions for small, local businesses.

The Engage Conference is like Oprah. There are sessions for everyone. You get a session. And you get a session.

Why you should buy your ticket now?

Exciting stuff, right? And we haven’t even talked about the keynote speakers, the free session videos after the event, the after party, the pub crawl, meeting awesome folks who will become friends for a lifetime and so much more.

But you shouldn’t wait too long. Ticket prices increase on Friday, Feb. 1. And it’s hefty increase so you should buy your tickets now. The event is March 7th and 8th at Portland’s Sentinel Hotel.

Seriously, what should I talk about?


This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

PR Talk is sponsored by monday

In such a fast-paced, multi-faceted work environment, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. monday is the collaboration tool trusted by businesses of all kinds to help cut down the clutter and streamline productivity. Learn more at monday.com and signup for a free trial. You’ll see in no time why so many teams around the world are choosing monday for their project management needs.

PR Talk listeners can use the coupon code BetterExecute for a 15% discount.

Podcast: Mac Prichard: Prichard Communications

Podcast: Mac Prichard: Prichard Communications

Prichard Communications: Using superpowers for good

You wouldn’t intuitively think starting an agency during a recession is a good idea, but that’s just what Mac Prichard did in the spring of 2007.

On the brink of celebrating its 12th anniversary, Prichard Communications now has a team of five and may hire another this year. But Mac’s obligations don’t stop there. He founded and currently runs another company called Mac’s List and continues making connections with his Portland 10, a powerful networking event for social changemakers in Portland.

“I would say, in hindsight, a recession is a good time to start a firm if you’ve got the resources to do it and the flexibility,” Mac told me in our recent podcast interview recorded just before the holidays. “Because it’s a tough time to look for a job and it’s a good time to take risks.”

A young Mac’s 3 things

Even though he didn’t know it at the time, Mac was gearing up to run a mission-driven agency all along. He graduated college the University of Iowa with three goals.  

“I wanted to get paid to write. I wanted to work on election campaigns and I wanted to do human rights advocacy and I’ve done all three in my career,” Mac said. “I’ve worked for a human rights group in Washington, D.C. I was a spokesperson for the largest public works project in America at Boston’s Big Dig. I ran communications for a refugee resettlement agency in Massachusetts. I’ve worked for elected officials in Oregon, for both Earl Blumenauer and John Kitzhaber, and served as a spokesperson for four different state agencies.

“But the constant that runs through all these different jobs is they’ve given me a chance to work on issues I care about or make a difference in the community where I live and work.”

Political campaigns are the ultimate startup

He said his work in campaigns was great training for starting a business.

“It starts usually with a conversation around a kitchen table. And the money comes from friends and family. And there’s a product, it’s the candidate,” Mac said. “And on election night you know whether you had a sale or not and then you shut it down.

“After having created all these systems, hired people, presented a product, and sold it, you start all over again. I’ve been through that process about a dozen times. My win-loss record was about 50/50. So, I had my share of failures. But like a good startup culture, like the one in the Bay Area, there’s no stigma with failing. If you ran a good campaign, it’s just seen as part of the learning process.”


Finding your niche

Prichard Communications is a social change communications firm that works locally, as well as nationally. Their clients include the Meyer Memorial Trust, the Ford Family Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation among others. They also work with purpose-driven brands, local governments and public agencies, including the City of Hillsboro, Clackamas County and the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District.

The agency is a Certified B Corp., meaning it’s thinking about the triple bottom line. “So, we not only think about the profit, but we also think about the community benefit, and environmental consequences of our work,” Mac said.

That is one of the many things I admire about Mac and his agency. I think with any successful firm, you need to get clear about the clients you want to serve. And the more focused you are, the better you’ll understand their needs and the better you’ll be able to serve them. It seems that the best firms always have a niche.


Beginning with the end in mind

Mac said they begin each client engagement by identifying the desired business outcomes their clients want and then work backward in developing a communications plan or project.

“And usually, they fall into one or all of three buckets,” Mac said. “Usually the organizations that hire us want to attract funding of some kind. Maybe it’s a grant. Maybe it’s increasing membership dues, bringing in some sort of revenue. The second bucket is usually audience growth. Maybe they want to bring more people to their website. They want a bigger audience. And the third is usually a policy change. So maybe they need help working with elected officials. There’s an idea they want to get in front of policymakers out there at the local or national level. So, whatever those results are. That’s where we start with our clients and we work back from those outcomes to build communications programs.”


The work is still about telling stories

If you’ve worked in PR and communications over the last 10 years, you’ve seen how much the work has changed. But some things have remained consistent.

“When I started my career, it was all about media relations and it was about getting past the gatekeepers to help the organizations and the people I work for tell their stories,” Mac said. “We’re still telling stories and helping our clients tell them. But now we’re making our own media or we’re helping our clients do that.”

Mac said a lot of what he and his team do is teach their clients how to do communications themselves. For example, they are helping the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation create a Grantee University, which will be an online learning platform that teaches the organizations receiving grants from the foundation how to tell stories.

“In the end, it’s going to increase the capacity of their grantees. And so that when a grant ends, they’re going to have the skills and the knowledge that they need to successfully tell their stories and get their communications results,” Mac said.


Running an agency

While Mac had a diverse career prior to starting Prichard Communications, it didn’t include the traditional stint in a PR agency. So, he faced a steep learning curve when he started his agency.

His advice? He’s a multiple year alumni of the PRSA’s Counselors Academy, which is a professional interest section within PRSA and, according to its website, “is dedicated to helping members succeed through access to collaborative peer relationships, meaningful professional development and education programs, and information on best practices in public relations counseling.”

“And that’s where I learned the nuts and bolts of how to run an agency,” Mac said. “It was transformational. I’ve gone five years in a row to that conference. It gives me a chance to work with other agency owners and leaders from all over the country and most of them are in very different niches. But the principles of how to run a successful agency are the same whatever your client base or the services you offer.”


Mac’s PR advice

I asked Mac if he had any advice for someone new to the PR industry. He said to connect with people in the companies where you’d want to work or who are doing the work you’d like to do. Go learn how the staff and the founders got where they are, what they are doing day-to-day and learn from those experiences.

“Think about what you’re passionate about. The issues that you care about. And where you want to make a difference,” Mac said. “And go to work for organizations, perhaps in the nonprofit world as a communications professional, that are doing the work you care about.”

About the guest: Mac Prichard

Mac Prichard is the founder and president of Prichard Communications, which was founded in 2007. He has a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Iowa. His career experience includes working for both Earl Blumenauer and John Kitzhaber and founding a second company called Mac’s List.

Connect and follow Mac on social media:

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

PR Talk is sponsored by monday

In such a fast-paced, multi-faceted work environment, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. monday is the collaboration tool trusted by businesses of all kinds to help cut down the clutter and streamline productivity. Learn more at monday.com and signup for a free trial. You’ll see in no time why so many teams around the world are choosing monday for their project management needs.

PR Talk listeners can use the coupon code BetterExecute for a 15% discount.