PR Trends We’ll be Tracking in 2023

PR Trends We’ll be Tracking in 2023

If you’ve worked in PR for any length of time, you know how stormy the last few years have been. However, a growing number of signals — like persistent inflation, increased layoffs and recession threats — suggest that COVID-19 could have merely been the calm before the real storm. 

As we enter 2023, many businesses that weren’t affected by the pandemic (like real estate and tech) are beginning to show signs of stress. If the economy continues to deteriorate, that stress will likely spread more widely.

The PR industry won’t be immune from these shockwaves. The best we can do is make intelligent plans based on the best information available. With that in mind, here are a few top issues we’re tracking in the New Year.


PR Planning Has Changed

Once upon a time, PRs could make an annual plan and mostly stick to it throughout the year. But these days, events move at a much quicker pace thanks to the internet and social media. That doesn’t mean that PRs should stop planning altogether. Instead, they need to be willing and able to shift away from their macro planning to capitalize on the fast-moving micro trends that drive so much media coverage. 

Track Macro Trends for PR Planning

We know several large-scale events will impact us in 2023. They include a looming recession, the rising cost of living, climate change and the countdown to the general election. Depending on the industry, PRs can reliably plan their outreach campaigns based on these overarching issues. For example, summer has become a wildfire season in much of the west thanks to climate change. PRs can use this unfortunate fact to plan relevant campaigns. While these macro trends can serve as the backbone of our planning, PRs must also be ready to change course quickly.  

Pivot in Response to Micro Trends

Last year we watched several unexpected news stories dominate the media landscape. These included a monkeypox outbreak, the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter and dozens more. We also watched cultural topics consume American discourse. For example, the media discussed The Great Resignation for months before eventually moving on to Quiet Quitting.

News trends like these are impossible to predict. But as the media universe continues shrinking, fast-moving micro-trends will continue to be all-encompassing until they suddenly aren’t. That’s why PRs must be able to track these topics, key into them to break through and then move on to whatever comes next. 

PR Must Deliver More for Clients

Selling traditional media relations as a standalone offering is becoming less and less relevant. It’s clear PRs will face a more challenging economic environment in 2023 than they have in quite some time, particularly when it comes to delivering value. To respond, PRs need to get more creative with their deliverables and connect with marketing to maximize ROI. Here are a few ways PRs can do this in 2023.  

Explore Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has become something of a dirty word in our industry, especially with more buttoned-down PR people. However, influencer marketing is on the rise, particularly with consumers, because it’s viewed as more authentic. So it’s time for PR professionals to embrace the megaphone influencer marketing provides.

Part of this process comes by expanding the definition of who an influencer is. An influencer in the B2B space could be someone speaking at a trade show or publishing an article in an industry publication. This is just one example of the creativity PRs will need to bring to their work in 2023.   

Use Data to Demonstrate Value 

PRs have always struggled to prove our worth because so much of our work wasn’t tied to a measurable return. However, this all changes in a digital world. Data can help us prove our value while also enabling us to produce better content. Demonstrating the work’s value will become even more critical in 2023 because companies will be less likely to invest in PR in a lousy economy if they can’t prove its worth. 

Part of this process involves educating clients about what’s happening on the technical side of the work. Veracity demonstrated to one of our clients how readers stayed on the page longer after we took over writing their sponsored content. This insight is critical when a client’s conversion process isn’t straightforward. In those instances, PR work becomes part of the broader customer journey.

PRs need better media databases that include better data to accomplish this push toward improved data integration. It also helps if these databases can automate some work in case firms need to work more leanly in response to changing business conditions.  

Other Business Trends to Watch

Here are a few other key issues for PRs to watch as they navigate an uncertain year.

A Shift to an Employers’ Market

Last year’s big business story was the ongoing worker shortage and the challenges many employers faced finding the employees they needed. This imbalance led to rising wages, staff shortages and increased employee turnover. However, there’s evidence that this dynamic is already beginning to change, and we’ll soon see a complete shift back into an employer’s market.

Making Good on DEI Promises

Many brands made lofty diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) promises during the protest periods of 2020. It’s time for those brands to make good on their word. PRs should look closely to see if their companies have fulfilled their promises. Anyone can tip off the press or the public if a brand isn’t living up to what they said they’d do. PRs can use this opportunity to do what’s right and work positively and proactively.

Choose New Clients Carefully

Some PRs might be willing to take on potentially problematic clients during uncertain economic times. But the problems these clients bring are rarely worth the billable hours. If a new client doesn’t buy into a process, provide needed feedback or resist the discovery process, they might not be long-term partners. PRs don’t have time to ramp up a new client, only to lose them a few months later. 


Be Prepared for Volatility

If I could distill my advice down to a single recommendation, it would be to prepare for volatility in 2023. That process involves careful planning, responsiveness, flexibility and discernment. Fortunately, those are all qualities PRs already possess. We’re accustomed to change and uncertainty, and we’ve learned how to thrive under those conditions. The upcoming year will likely be challenging, but if we can endure this storm, we’ll be even more effective, and that’s all that really matters.

2023 Marketing Predictions from Recent PR Talk Guests [Podcast]

2023 Marketing Predictions from Recent PR Talk Guests [Podcast]

In this episode of the PR Talk podcast, we asked several past guests for their 2023 marketing and industry predictions. Participants include Katharina Hicker, Christopher Penn, Vanessa Neurohr, Adam Ritchie, Emmy Thomas, Jason Falls, Anna Dearmon Kornick and Laura Norup Boyer. Look out for host Amy Rosenberg’s release of her public relations predictions blog post next week.

Emmy Thomas 2023 Predictions

Emmy Thomas

VP of Brand and Marketing at Logical Position

We will see an increase in user-generated video content in advertising, especially on paid social advertising platforms. As we’ve seen with Instagram reels and TikTok over the past few years, video has become the most engaging form of media. For the right type of retailers with the right product, I can see them shifting to a video advertising strategy that feels more in line with organic, real-time content rather than precisely-edited and polished videos. 

The use of videos also falls in line with paid influencer marketing, which promotes or showcases a product through video by turning that into paid advertising. This type of video content allows advertisers to show rather than tell and is really great for developing trust with buyers before making a complete purchase.

For more from Emmy, listen to her full 2022 PR Talk interview on Where’s the Culture – Marketing Connection?

Jason Falls 2023 Predictions

Jason Falls

Digital marketing thought leader, author of Winfluence, and host of two podcasts: Winfluence and Digging Deeper

We are in an economically disadvantageous situation globally. I predict that brands are going to start spending less on marketing and paid content. Many will start looking for ways to route their budget to more earned and owned efforts to make more efficient use of their dollars. It’s a good opportunity for us in the PR and influence marketing field, but brands are going to be smart with their dollars. 

I suggest looking at micro and nano influencers. More importantly, businesses should plug into their own communities by looking at their employees, customer base and vendor partners to see where there are influential voices. It is a much more efficient way to drive influence, and I believe it will happen a lot more in 2023 due to the economic situation we have found ourselves in.

For more from Jason, listen to his full 2022 PR Talk interview on Influence Marketing.

Laura Norup Boyer 2023 Predictions

Laura Norup Boyer

Founder of Black Bean Industrial Marketing

I have four digital B2B marketing predictions for 2023. To dive deeper into each, please read my full blog write-up.

  1. A Massive change in social media marketing. Twitter is free falling, and frankly, so is Facebook, so expect newer platforms like TikTok to fill the social media power vacuum.
  2. Video video and more video! Editing and publishing have finally become easy and affordable enough for small and medium businesses to do well, expect a lot more of that.
  3. Google Analytics 4 is coming on July 1, and many businesses won’t be ready in time. Make sure you adopt their new system to be positioned for success.
  4. The biggest marketing trend will be AI. The AI tools available are going to change everything for search advertising, content marketing and website development. One way or another, digital marketing is going to get weirder in 2023, so businesses and marketers must be agile in the face of it. 

Our advice at Black bean is to keep your head up and your eyes open, embrace change but never forget your fundamentals: customer experience, brand visibility, and ROI. The way we deliver on those fundamentals may change, but the goal remains the same.

For more from Laura, listen to her full 2022 PR Talk interview on Industrial B2B Marketing.

Katharina Hicker 2023 Predictions

Katharina (Kat) Hicker

Founder of Castleforbes Communications and Co-Founder of The Speakeasy Club

My three PR predictions for 2023 are:

  1. We will see more press conferences taking place in the metaverse.
  2. The social media channels of news outlets will be playing an even bigger role in 2023. PR pros need to rethink what platform they are pitching for. Is it a win if you place a story in print, even a story about a digital business? Is it a win if the story is living on a platform that you actively have to promote? Or is it a win if an outlet dedicates a post about your story on their social channels, the same place you use to promote yourself?
  3. PR will become more global. When we pitch to the media, it doesn’t matter which country or market. We follow what I call the relevancy triangle: your story is either based on the location, the people involved are from the location, or your story is somehow contributing to this location. But businesses are becoming less attached to locations, founders are digital nomads with diverse backgrounds and the contributions that businesses establish are borderless. As businesses continue to have a global mindset, the media has followed and so will PR.

For more from Kat, listen to her full 2022 PR Talk interview on PR Globe Trotting From Germany to Dubai.

Christopher Penn 2023 Predictions

Christopher Penn

Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist for Trust Insights, author, keynote speaker and podcast co-host of Marketing Over Coffee

Our prediction is that there will be a flood of new content thanks to the prevalence and ease of tools like GPT-3 from OpenAI and their ChatGPT tool. You can expect that the amount of content marketers will be creating in the next few years will dwarf anything that has come before. That means that as marketers and communicators, we have to work much harder to be heard amongst all the noise. 

Building a loyal and private community where you can curate people and help focus their attention is going to be absolutely essential if you want to succeed in getting people to pay attention to you. So get ready for not just the content flood but a literal tsunami of new content that will overwhelm anyone who is not producing at volume and curating a community.

For more from Christopher, listen to his full 2022 PR Talk interview on Why You Need Data in Your PR Strategy.

Anna Dearmon Kornick 2023 Predictions

Anna Dearmon Kornick

Time management coach and host of It’s About Time Podcast

Just as the PR industry is seeing an increase in AI-powered copywriting tools, in 2023, I predict your time management will also become AI-powered. There are already some amazing tools on the market, like Clockwise, Motion, Sunsama, Time Hero and others, that can help you take back your time by learning your preferences and managing your calendar. 

I predict that we will see more widespread usage of these tools. Right now, it takes an average of 30 minutes to manage the back-and-forth logistics of meetings manually. You weren’t hired to manage a calendar, you were hired to manage reputations and build relationships. To stay ahead of the game in 2023 and win back your time, test drive an AI time management tool and spend more time on what matters most.

For more from Anna, listen to her full 2022 PR Talk interview on Managing Time Within the Chaos of PR.

Vanessa Neurohr 2023 Predictions

Vanessa Neurohr

VP of Customer Success at Muck Rack

My 2023 PR prediction is that brands and agencies will benchmark legacy metrics with new and or different metrics to continue proving the impact of their work. As we enter uncertain economic times, it’s even more important for PR professionals to leverage data in order to communicate their contributions back to their clients or internally within their organizations.

For more from Vanessa, listen to her full 2022 PR Talk interview on Developing Long-Term Relationships Through Customer Success.

Adam Ritchie 2023 Predictions

Adam Ritchie

Owner of Adam Ritchie Brand Direction and author of “Invention in PR

The best PR campaigns will involve product creation, and then promotion — rather than promotion only. Start paying attention and you’ll see the signs everywhere. Two of the shortlisted entries in the “Best in Creative Excellence” category of next year’s PRWeek Awards are invention-first PR campaigns: Applebee’s “Saucy Gloss” and MillerCoors High Life’s “Gingerbread Dive Bar.” 

Just this past month, we saw two competing bourbon brands announcing PR campaigns one day apart: Diageo’s “Bulleit Pioneer Project” — which was a content contest — and Jim Beam’s “Kentucky Hug Holiday Pajamas” — which was a set of PJs weighted to give a hug to a loved one from afar. Weeks later, Bulleit’s campaign still hasn’t left the starting line of its press release, while Jim Beam’s invention has earned unique coverage on CNN, Entrepreneur, Men’s Journal and Forbes. 

These are examples of where the bar was set versus where the bar is set. Some PR-minded marketing pros are clearly pushing themselves to come up with killer product/service concepts that drive a campaign. The brands using this approach are making competitors eat their dust.

For more from Adam, listen to his full 2022 PR Talk interview on Invention in PR: Pushing the Limits of Product Promotion to Product Creation.

Watch the full podcast


Don’t Miss an Episode

You can access more great episodes by subscribing to the PR Talk podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio and Spotify.

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 for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

PR Talk is part of the Marketing Podcast Network

The Marketing Podcast Network gives brands that sell to marketers direct access to reach thousands of buyers via their trusted media source: Marketing podcasts. Browse our library of shows and see where your message can be placed to reach prospective customers ripe for your message.


Influence Marketing with Jason Falls [Podcast]

Influence Marketing with Jason Falls [Podcast]

During this week’s episode of the PR Talk Podcast, Amy is joined with Jason Falls, a digital marketing thought leader, author of Winfluence, and host of two podcasts: Winfluence and Digging Deeper. Following are highlights of their chat about the many aspects of influence marketing and how a PR professional can leverage influencer media relations.

How to Measure Influence

Amy began the podcast by asking Jason the difference between using an influencer and actually influencing. He explained that influencers are used to make the audience take action. However, he cautioned, influencers with a lot of followers don’t necessarily influence. Rather, he added, the engagement rate is more important than the number of followers. You should look at how the influencer engages with their audience, that is are they responsive to followers that are commenting and liking. When you see that, it is a good sign they have built trust.

Jason responded to Amy’s question about how to use offline influencers by saying, “You should marry online and offline influencing strategies.” He clarified noting classic online influencers are great, but if you can get into the community you are influencing and find people like elected officials, doctors, teachers and others well known to act as influencers, you can gain more thoughtful engagement.


Associating a Brand with an Influencer

As they talked about Jason’s book, Winfluence, Amy asked what he meant by the term “influencer association.” Jason responded, “Association is what I use as the correlation for aligning the brand directly with the influencer so that you are a relevant voice.” He continued saying, “Instead of telling an influencer to persuade people to buy the product, you should find an influencer that can be associated with your brand and create a more trusted relationship.” Amy pointed out that influencers associated with the brand could also work when thinking in terms of owning the conversation. She referred to a past podcast where she and Robert Johnson talked about encouraging clients to become their own publisher/newsroom. (To learn more about that, listen to Brand Journalism with Robert Johnson.) 

Next, Amy asked Jason if he believes B2B influencing is harder. He said since thought leaders, conferences, white papers, etc., are all influencing factors in B2B, together they make influencing much easier because they have typically been doing it longer than those working in B2C categories.


A Tip for Those looking to Spice Up Their Traditional PR with Influencer Marketing

Jason offered a tip to PR practitioners looking to get into influencer marketing. “Look at influencers online and offline as media channels.” He added that right now a lot of people are losing trust in the media, so having influencers that are trustworthy can be very beneficial. He said just connecting with these influencers and opening the conversation is a great first step.

Amy asked about the cost to work with an influencer. Jason responded there has to be an exchange of value, whether it is with money or an equal incentive. He added, there are three things that are happening during an influencer’s service and that need to be considered when reaching out to collaborate:

  1. They are using their own time.
  2. They are curating content specifically for you.
  3. And they are giving you access to their audience.

Jason and Amy talked more about different examples of using influencers in the day-to-day business and how they can truly impact a brand. Listen now to hear more about Jason’s personal experiences with influencing to gain insights for your own work.

Don’t Miss an Episode

You can access more great episodes by subscribing to the PR Talk podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio and Spotify.

About the guest: Jason Falls

Jason Falls is an award-winning strategist, author, speaker, and thinker in the digital and social media marketing industry. As a widely read industry pundit, Falls has been noted as a top influencer in the social technology and marketing space by Forbes, Entrepreneur, Advertising Age, and others

In 2021, he founded and continues to serve as executive producer of the Marketing Podcast Network. He is the author of three books: Winfluence – Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand (Entrepreneur Press, 2021); No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing (Que, 2011 – co-authored with Erik Deckers); and The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing (Que, 2012 – co-authored with DJ Waldow).

Connect and follow Jason on social media:

Jason Falls

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 for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

PR Talk is part of the Marketing Podcast Network

The Marketing Podcast Network gives brands that sell to marketers direct access to reach thousands of buyers via their trusted media source: Marketing podcasts. Browse our library of shows and see where your message can be placed to reach prospective customers ripe for your message.


What To Do After You Get Press

What To Do After You Get Press


I wrote this post originally back in 2016 and (not) surprisingly it hasn’t had many views since 2017 so I thought I would update it for 2021. But you know what? I really don’t need to do too much to bring it up to date. A lot of the points made still hold, but here we go!

Four Things to Do After You Get Press

We (still) do a lot of pitching…I mean a lot! But our job and our clients’ job is not done when a story lands or we get a guest post/article placed. Now we need to promote that story, segment, or article. Not only internally, but let’s leverage our professional and personal networks, coworkers, employees, influencers and other partners. Media placements and thought leadership pieces provide 3rd party credibility and it is powerful. Spread the love.

I’ll break it down into four promotional categories: external, internal, partner and paid. The tactics cross over and can be redundant, but use your best judgment and create a documented, repeatable process.


External Promotion

Third party endorsements (the media) can be a great sales tool. Use media coverage in your sales promotions and advertising campaigns. Add a section to your email newsletters if you get consistent media exposure or add stories on a one-off basis.

Let other media outlets know about the coverage. For example, Logical Position landed on Inc. Magazine’s list of Fastest Private Companies. Making sure the local media knows can garner additional exposure, like this inclusion in the Portland Business Journal post.

Add to your website “as featured in” or “as seen on” verbiage. P3 Cost Analysts does this well, it doesn’t work for everyone. I can’t picture an “as seen on” section for brands like Lego or the Trail Blazers.

P3 Cost Analysts

Social Media

Share with your social networks, link to the article, tweet from the post…you can do this more than once (assuming you are at least relatively active).

Example social sharing timeline from Kissmetrics

Example social sharing schedule from Kissmetrics

When you’re sharing the link, be sure to mention and tag the publication and journalist as appropriate. Also, look for other social mentions to share. Did the publisher share on their various social networks? What about the author? Find these mentions and make sure to “like,” “share” and comment as appropriate (if you are the author of the article, be sure to answer any questions asked in the comments). Comment directly on the post, encourage your employees and/or fans to comment and share.

Veracity on Convince & Convert

Tag and mention the writer, publisher and contributors when sharing.

Not only will this further the exposure of the article you are sharing, but you can also use the engagement metrics to give credibility for the next pitch.

Internal Promotion

Have a plan for each of your internal channels to promote media successes including:

Email (or Slack, Facebook/LinkedIn groups, whatever you use to communicate internally)

Do you have a company-wide email list or specific members of your team that should know? They might be aware of the mention and would love to easily share. Make sharing it super easy for them, whether it’s a simple forward of the email or providing sample posts/tweets or social share options.


Mention the coverage at department meetings! Heck, frame the coverage and display it in your office (or Zoom background)! If you put coverage in your public reception area, it gives your visitors a chance to see how amazing you are without you actually having to tell them.

Blog Post

You may even want to write a blog post about the hit. Your marketing team did a lot of work — whether that involved a press release, email pitch, research, visual creation, etc. — to land the story. Use that content to write a blog post that goes more in-depth or features your point of view.

You can also include a mention and link within a post about another topic like I’ve done with an article on Convince & Convert in this very post.

News/Media Section

If you have a media or news section on your website (you should!), add the new hit to it (don’t forget the link). Spend a little time making it look really good, as it can be used as a nice sales piece.

Partner Promotion

Are other businesses mentioned in the story? Make sure they know about it and ask them to share via their marketing channels. Be sure to include a link to the story, along with any images and social profile links you’d like to have included. A simple email will typically do the trick. Even if you don’t already have a contact at the “partner” company, you can reach out. They very well may not even know about their inclusion in the piece and will be more than happy to give it a little boost. For example, here’s a quick email we used that resulted in a Tweet, Facebook post and LinkedIn share:

Hi, just wanted to let you know about the following post that features (and links to) Moxi Works.


Feel free to share as you see fit :), if you do share via social media, please feel free to tag Windermere Stellar on Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn.

Share with trade, community or other business associations you are involved with. Many industry trade groups have email newsletters and social channels that are continuously looking for content and ways to appease their members.

The Convince & Convert hit mentioned above was written on behalf of SEMpdx and included case study examples from Webfor and Webranking. A post like that has at least four organizations and three people interested in seeing additional exposure.

SEMpdx Convince & Convert Post

Your extra effort will have a cumulative effect driving more exposure to the coverage.

The media also uses a variation of the formulas above for promoting their content, so sharing — and making sure your partners share too — will get you more exposure. Using the post example above from Convince & Convert, you can start to pile on the exposure by getting in their email newsletters, recap posts and more.

Paid Promotion

Specific sales goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) should be attached to your PR efforts. That doesn’t stop once the story lands. PR is effective because it isn’t paid advertising (remember that 3rd party accreditation). But we can invest some budget in making sure that an article gets to a broader market.

Dennis Yu spoke at an SEMpdx event sharing his “dollar a day” approach to leverage your exposure with a limited budget and additional effort. His method is to spend a little bit every day to reach a broad audience and “influence the influencers.”

To review, spending some time, and potentially budget, to get the story you worked so hard to land in front of more people will bring additional success to your marketing campaigns. It will also provide some great talking points in that next media pitch where you can point out all the places that your article was shared, liked and promoted. Create a documented, repeatable process for what to do once you get that hit.

header image via Unsplash
Influencer Marketing with Neal Schaffer [Podcast]

Influencer Marketing with Neal Schaffer [Podcast]

Influencer Marketing with Neal Schaffer


PR People Are Already Marketing to Influencers


On the latest episode of the PR Talk Podcast host Amy Rosenberg interviews digital and social media marketing expert Neal Schaffer. Neal has written four books on social media including his most recent, The Age of Influence. Neal and Amy discussed Influencer Marketing during the interview, including the fascinating origins of the discipline which go all the way back to Charlie Chaplin and Babe Ruth.  

“Influencer” isn’t a dirty word

If you cringe when you hear the term: “influencer,” it might be due to its reputation based on vanity metrics (followers) and overpriced endorsements. The digital equivalent of a celebrity endorsement, influencer marketing got its start by focusing on celebrities with millions of followers charging huge sums for social posts or endorsements. But the success of these campaigns was measured with vanity metrics like follower counts, leading to inflated costs that were more than the actual return. Moreover, the followers were purchased, further driving their value down. 

Influencer marketing grew because people started throwing money at, resulting in corruption due to vanity and falsified metrics. There is no real ROI for a like or a follow. However, influencers don’t have to be celebrities. The savvy marketer will focus on the digital or social media influencer. 

Focusing on micro-influencers (10,000-50,000 followers) and nano-influencers (1,000-10,000 followers) provide better options in extending branding efforts. In fact, a great place to find your influencers is to examine your employees and comb your customers. You may find you already have micro or nano-influencers and you can work on converting them into brand ambassadors.


The definition of a digital influencer and how to find them

If influencer marketing isn’t all about celebrities, then who are the influencers to partner with? Are top executives influencers? Neal says that they are (or at least should be) influencers, but not necessarily digital influencers. If a CEO doesn’t participate on social media they can’t be a digital influencer. 

All of this sounds a lot like thought leadership, doesn’t it?

That’s where PR comes in to find — or help create — these micro and nano influencers. Employees tend to like, know and trust their brands the most. So first look at employees, for example sales people are influencers that are monetizing their influence with sales. In many organizations the CEO should be a primary influencer (aka thought leader). 

After starting with employees, look to partners (distributors, resellers) then to customers. 

Tools like Voila Norbert can be used to mine email addresses with social media data to connect with customers that may be potential influencers. From this you can develop a brand ambassador program.

While not discussed on the podcast, I have recently discovered SparkToro as a great tool to find potential influencers, websites, podcasts and YouTube channels based on keyword association.


Similarities between PR and Influencer Marketing

Influencers are the media in digital media. So the two marketing categories are essentially performing the same duties. If you consider bloggers and podcasters as a part of the media, like we do at Veracity, you are doing influencer marketing already. Amy says to think about it like this:

“If you do it right, influencer marketing is thought leadership, thought leadership is influencer marketing.” — Amy Rosenberg


Ready to become a B2B digital influencer?

Once you (or your executive) are ready to become a digital influencer, Neal provides some advice on how to start and pick which networks to participate in (I know you are all thinking LinkedIn for B2B). However, it is really hard (and/or expensive) to go from zero to @garyvee so begin by representing your company and then move to representing your industry.

Starting with the content type (text, image, video, audio) will help guide you to which social networks to focus on (of course you can do it the opposite way, meaning if you know you want to be an Instagram influencer, you better use images). In B2B marketing most content creation is going to be textual, video or audio (podcasts). There aren’t a lot of CEOs that are true visual content creators. This naturally leads to LinkedIn typically being the top social channel, but can also help decide which other networks to focus on. Neal also notes that if you don’t enjoy doing it, it won’t last.

“If you hate Tik Tok, stay off it. If you love to speak, do a podcast. Consistency is key as it is a competition for attention.” — Neal Schaffer

Here is a summary of the content medium, types and the social networks best suited:


Textual | Blogs, Articles | LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter

Video | YouTube | LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram

Audio | Podcast | Linkedin, Facebook

Visual | Imagery, Photos | Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest

What should the PR maximizer do?

Amy and Neal also talk about what PR maximizers can do, how brands typically suck at content (hint people are much better at it than brands), and even a little about their similar experiences living in Japan.

Click through to listen or watch the entire episode or even review the transcript below. As always, you can access more great episodes by subscribing to the PR Talk podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio and Spotify.

Influencer Marketing with Neal Schaffer Transcription

Amy Rosenberg: [00:00:00] I have Neal Schaffer here today. Hi, Neal.

Neal Schaffer: [00:00:03] Hey, how’s it going?

Amy Rosenberg: [00:00:04] Good. So Neal is an influencer first and foremost, and an author, a speaker. And he is going to be speaking with us today about influencer marketing and LinkedIn marketing. And he’s written two books. His most recent book is The Age of Influence. And then before that, it is maximizing LinkedIn for business, as was, I think, your first book. Right?

Neal Schaffer: [00:00:30] So I’ve actually written four books. Ok, and my first two books were on LinkedIn and they were published back in 2009. And in 2011, I wrote a book called Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing. In 2013, I published a book called Maximize Your Social. And then The Age of Influence came out in 2020.

Amy Rosenberg: [00:00:49] Well, so can you just talk to us about all of this? Because in marketing, there’s a lot of buzzwords. So we’ve got influencer, you’ve got LinkedIn, we’ve got social like what is it all? And what is actually what is an influencer, first and foremost.

Neal Schaffer: [00:01:05] Yeah. So I guess just to take a step back, I’ve always been in the you know, I work I live to serve my own and ever since I left corporate and I’ve been on my own. And I’m sure that there are solo partners out there, maybe people that have their own PR agency, maybe journalists that want to go and do more freelance work. When you are by yourself starting a company, you need to serve the audience that you have, serve your current clients, serve those people that are listening to you. So I began my journey. I left corporate life back in 2008 and I began as a blog about LinkedIn because this was the only social network for professionals back then. And that led to me ending up because this was 2008, 2009, very similar to the economic situation where we are today, big transformation for many reasons in our economy and what have you. So that’s when I wrote my first book in 2009 on LinkedIn. And that ended up me launching what I call a social media marketing strategy consultancy in 2010. Now my background is actually B2B sales. I did do some business, have to do some marketing, but I lived and worked in Asia for 15 years and I often was what you would call the country manager, regional VP for Asia. So I had to wear a lot of hats. So yes, I had to drive revenue, but I had to hire people. I had to rent office space. I had to go and register to the Chinese state authorities, our domain name. So lots of other things. This experience in Asia gave me this really holistic business experience that even though my background was sales when all of this started taking off, where I don’t even think we call it social media marketing back in 2009, really, social media first lived with PR and probably some of you that have been around the block are nodding at the beginning.

Neal Schaffer: [00:02:49] I think a lot of budgets for social media began with PR, especially with reputation management. And we need to get Radian6 and everybody was Snout’s, you know, snapping up Radian6 and PRR was was very much in charge of that reputation management. So what happened after that? And really, as I wrote my next two books, the market has shifted away from just LinkedIn to we have Facebook now. We have Twitter now. We had the emergence of Instagram, Pinterest, and therefore my second book was more business book. And then my third book really reflected the work I was doing, which was helping companies create a social media marketing strategy and develop a way to measure the why of that. So I don’t have a PR background. And in 2010, companies weren’t looking to me for my PR expertise. They were looking for help with social media and it was often VP of marketing GMOs and therefore I gravitated towards that marketing side. Today I still do social selling trainings where I get back to my roots in B2B sales. But the influencer marketing, I mean, if we look at the landscape today with coronaviruses especially, we’ve had the entire digital transformation that’s affected every industry. Right. And with coronavirus, you know, we’ve always been digital first in the way we consume content and coronaviruses just even further accelerated that.

Neal Schaffer: [00:04:03] But more importantly, it’s made businesses realize, well, we have to digitally engage people. If we’re not doing that, we’re just we’re invisible.

Amy Rosenberg: [00:04:10] So let’s go back because this is a lot

Neal Schaffer: [00:04:13] And then we’ll get to influencer marketing. But, yeah, that’s sort of the background. And I want to mention sales and I want to mention influencer marketing and I want to mention public relations, because the three things that these that are in common here is it’s a one to one relationship. Right? Marketing is inevitably one to many, and it’s often driven by immediately measurable ROI. PR there’s ROI well. I mean, Goodwills is a intangible asset, right.

Neal Schaffer: [00:04:41] But when you have relationships with them, they are relationships, I think of regardless of the political spectrum. I think of the vice presidential debate last night and Kamala Harris saying, you know, Joe Biden told me that foreign relations is all about relationships, it’s all about making friends, sticking true to your word, helping people and. Lonesome marketing is all about relationships as well, so I’m now telling marketers, you know, if you don’t have the time to create individual relationships one on one, maybe should involve your PR team. And I actually think the same with how journalists found new a new beginning with content marketing. I believe the influencer marketing gives the potential for PR professionals to have a similar new area in which I. I honestly think they could significantly contribute to the success of whatever company they’re working for in that area. So I’ll take a step back now.

Amy Rosenberg: [00:05:30] Ok, so there’s a lot here. So PR and influencer marketing has a lot of similarities and I do want to talk about that. I just I want to go back to your earlier experience in Asia. Sounds like you’re running companies or groups. Right. So how does how did social media and LinkedIn say whatever was around then? How did that come into play for you there?

Neal Schaffer: [00:05:54] It didn’t. This was entirely before social media. I was one of the first million members of LinkedIn because I was involved in a a Silicon Valley, you know, company. So it was high tech. And I think a lot of the LinkedIn early adopters were high tech. There was some business development guy. I don’t even know where he got my, you know, my email. But anyway, I got an invite. I joined really didn’t do anything with it. It was when I was in transition for the first time in 2008 when I was back in Southern California. No local network, no industry network. It’s like I got to do something networking wise. And that’s where I really helped them LinkedIn. But what was interesting is that later on in January 2010, I was negotiating my first business contract. I had formed an LLC. At the same time, I had a job offer for Director of Business Development APAC for a high tech company, and they were twenty something co-founders who were married. And they said, Neal, if you’re going to be if you want to work here, you got to unplug from social media. It’s not going to help you do your job. And it’s like, OK, this is the fork in the road. Right? And that’s how I decided that. I just thought there was way too much upside with social media. So, yes, that is, you know, my professional career really is before social media because it’s just not the mass scale it is today. Just so few people were on it that there was little you could do.

Neal Schaffer: [00:07:09] So when you’re talking about director of marketing and sales and they’re saying no social media or no LinkedIn, what does that so like, can we kind of unpack that we get like how incorrect that possibly was? Because marketing and sales. So how do we use LinkedIn for both disciplines?

Neal Schaffer: [00:07:31] Yeah, so you mean in two thousand twenty, two thousand twenty one, correct?

Amy Rosenberg: [00:07:34] Well, possibly. I mean well, I would just say now I think. Yeah, how? I think that there two majorly different topics. But I think at that point you are probably looking at using LinkedIn possibly as more of a sales tool for certain companies or certain jobs. And then you evolved to be looking at it as more of a marketing tool.

Neal Schaffer: [00:07:54] Yeah, I’d say at the beginning it was LinkedIn for networking back in 2008. It was my first book was influenced by my own job search and my own personal branding. So that definitely played a role in that as well. But really, back in 2010, 2011, we saw more and more companies trying to tap into LinkedIn companies that were trying to create LinkedIn groups, for example, as a marketing, you know, marketing effort, trying to we didn’t have the term employee advocacy back then, but definitely trying to tap into getting their employees on LinkedIn. And obviously, there’s you know, if you’re in B2B sales, LinkedIn is a no brainer. But today, if you’re in real estate, it’s a no brainer. If you’re in insurance sales, it’s a no brainer. So even be to see if you’re targeting a wealthy consumer demographic, then from a sales and marketing perspective, LinkedIn is a no brainer as well. So it becomes one of those networks. But it really started out, you know, LinkedIn for sales and marketing is still very limited because everybody was talking about Facebook back then and even more so Twitter. And therefore, after I wrote my first book in 2009 and when I started the consultancy in 2010, I realized that marketing social media market was not going to be just about LinkedIn. I didn’t want to be the one-trick pony. And therefore I started doing my own Facebook, my own Twitter. I think I joined both back and I think I joined Twitter two thousand eight as well, Facebook two thousand nine.

Neal Schaffer: [00:09:27] And then as I picked up clients, I had to do a lot of learning. Right. And I had to become experienced in all these platforms. So it’s not me telling the customer they need to use these platforms. It is their needs and where their audiences dictates what platforms need to be included in the strategy. So it was really doing a lot of that social media strategy consulting work where I became fluent in really every platform I could. So, you know, fast forward, you know, a lot of people from ten years ago know me as LinkedIn expert you were talking about. I’ve written a book on LinkedIn for people that remember me. They still see me that way. I see myself as not being the ultimate expert in anything, but really well versed in everything and being able to tap into that and really provide a very holistic, you know, strategy and solutions for my clients because everybody has different needs when it comes to all of this. Right. So that’s where LinkedIn came in. And then obviously Facebook, Twitter were heavily marketing focus, not sales focus at all. Today there’s a little bit of Facebook for sales, but still primarily marketing. And then obviously we have the emergence of Instagram, which has taken over Facebook for a lot of companies. We have Tik Toc emerging. We’ve had Snapchat. Pinterest is sort of out there for e-commerce, for female demographic. So there’s it’s all we’ve had blogging, we’ve had YouTube, we’ve had content marketing and we’ve had influencer marketing and influencer marketing.

Neal Schaffer: [00:10:49] So influencer marketing has been around for a long time. Influencer marketing really has emerged. It’s the digital equivalent to a celebrity endorsement right into my book, I think The Age of Influence. I think the first chapter or the first two chapters, I go into the history of this, right. That it’s actually that concept of tapping into someone that’s famous and then promoting your brand. It’s  Charlie Chaplin. It’s, you know, it’s Babe Ruth and silent films and radio commercials. And then obviously the TV commercial. And even today we still have that.

Amy Rosenberg: [00:11:20] So I just want to be clear. Yeah. People there’s kind of a rumor going around that we’re not interested in influencer marketing. So I just want to preface that it has changed.

Neal Schaffer: [00:11:32] So it’s changed because the consumer, how we consume content change. So if we can ignore the fact that we have an Internet, then, yeah, we can go back and do business as usual. But it has changed. And the analogy I like to give, you know, when I was growing up, when I was in high school to age myself here, Top Gun came out and the next week one of my good friends showed up at school and high school, riding a motorcycle with a leather jacket and a Tom Cruise haircut. That when I was growing up, the people that influenced my generation were celebrities, right? They were movie stars. They were sports stars. They were musicians. Ask your kids who influences them. They are tick talkers. Their Instagram was their YouTube. That is a fundamental shift. I mean, you know, unprecedented shift. When the Internet emerged, the celebrity endorsement was still strong. And in fact, we can say some of it converted over. But when we get to social media, especially the last. Five years, right, you know, Instagram and YouTube and Twitter and Snapchat as well, I guess you could say the visual has really changed. What’s happened is that brands can still create a Facebook page. They can use ads, they still have mass brands can still show up in search results. They have the resources they can create the content they can invest in. SEO, how many brands are doing podcasts? How many brands are doing YouTube channels? How many brands are doing Instagram channels correctly? Right. The reason why people rule these channels is because they’re better content creators than brands. Brands suck creating content? I will say that again, brands suck at creating content. Any brand could have invested money to become an influencer.

Amy Rosenberg: [00:13:12] And they did when you say that. So let’s not talk about it. So who are you’re saying that people are influencing these channels? Those people are influencers. So let’s talk about who those people are now. There might not be celebrities now. They could be anybody. And I read in your book that you even say that the CEO might not even be an influencer in your company. So then who are they?

Neal Schaffer: [00:13:39] Ok, so there’s there are influencers and there are digital influencers, right. There might be a CEO who’s extremely influential, who just is not on social media. So and that is a valid influencer. So what I’m talking about here are we spend more time online. I mean, that’s the number one sort of activity we do as people these days. And when we’re online, the number one thing we do is social media. Right. So when I’m talking about as people that are influential in social media, so what does that look like now? You know, the history of influencer marketing started with the celebrity endorsement, but we didn’t really hear about influence marketing as a buzzword until, I don’t know, three or four years ago. So you have things like the frye festival, right? You have things like who are these people that have 10 million followers and charge twenty thousand dollars per post on Instagram? So you have an industry that’s been developed and you had a lot of consumer-facing brands that threw a lot of money at vanity metrics, for lack of a better word. You know, PR professionals probably, you know, some PR professionals. Look at those likes on Instagram as vanity. Some may not similar to how some PR officials look at clips as vanity metrics.

eal Schaffer: [00:14:48] And others say, well, that is a valid metric to see the exposure that you’re that your press release got. Right. Similar similar fact. But what happens, the influencer marketing industry grew because brands were spending a lot of money. So it’s almost like a conflict of interest, influencer marketing industry and all the talent agencies and marketing agencies and tools, they’re all pushing people with more and more influencers because they can charge more and therefore they get a bigger commission. Right. So what happens is, well, you know, if just having more followers is worth more money, I’m going to use bots. I’m going to do anything I can just to get more and more followers and I’m going to buy fake followers. And that is what’s happened over time. So in parallel, these people have priced themselves out of the market. There’s no ROI for the like. Companies are looking for more ROI in terms of deeper engagement. Right. And all the way back to the website, the shopping cart, what have you. So what happens now is that back in 2015 and 16 and I’m not from the influencer marketing industry, I’m an outsider here. Right. So don’t don’t don’t get mad at me.

Neal Schaffer: [00:15:48] But they started to say, you know what? Even micro influencers have influence. These are people that have between ten and fifty thousand followers. So they’ve widened the pyramids, that there’s more and more influencers in the pool that brands can choose from and they can find people at a more reasonable rate. Then interrupt. Before I started writing The Age of Influence, they started talking about nano influencers. And these are people that have between one and ten thousand followers. So that’s the definition that I stick to. But I say, look, if someone with a thousand followers, they talk about Instagram. I say any social networking site, anyone that has a thousand followers has some influence, because if they have a thousand followers, number one, they probably have somewhat of a personal brand. They filled out their personal profile. Number two, they’re publishing content. I don’t know if it’s their own content. Right. They might just be curating content. They might be just sharing company content, like if you’re a salesperson, but they have enough reach. That’s, you know, your brands Facebook business page. So that’s ten thousand fans might get five, ten engagements for post. These people with a thousand followers are going to get 10, 20, 50, maybe 100 engagements purpose.

Amy Rosenberg: [00:16:57] So how do you find these people that might be your influencer?

Neal Schaffer: [00:17:03] This is where the PR professional comes in, like Robin Hood on the horse, because when you continue to read The Age of Influence, so you know, all these brands were chasing all these people with lots of followers because they were influential about certain subjects. Right. But when it gets to the nano influencer level, I said, let’s take a step back. OK, how many people that already know, like and trust our brand, are in our sphere of influence. So where do we start? Who likes, knows and trust us the most, our employees. OK, 98 percent of American employees are active on at least one social media profile, right? This is 10 years ago. I couldn’t say that today we can say millennials are the majority of our workforce. So more and more I and even my 15 year old daughter is like five, six hundred followers on Instagram. Right. So more and more, there’s a lot of people around us that have more and more influence. So we first look at our employees. If we’re a B2B organization, our salespeople are influencers because guess what? They can monetize their influence. They don’t monetize their influence through twenty-five dollars Amazon gift cards for an Instagram post. They monetize it through sales and the bonuses they get.

Neal Schaffer: [00:18:17] Ideally, the executive, the CEO should be the ultimate influencer of your organization. And if I was a PR professional, I mean, I’m working with the CEO of a large company right now, and he understands he wants to be the role model if he expects his employees to be advocates for the brand in social media. Right. He has to be the role model. So you have sometimes PR professionals that are managing the social media accounts and the content of the executive team and helping them, which is valid. You have the internal communications that sometimes is trying to be the cheerleaders to get the employees on board. But you start with that, right? And then you start to branch out who are our partners? Right. If we have resellers, we have distributors, partners. Right. That’s another layer of people that like know they make money every time they get business with our product and service. And then what’s exciting for me is we take it out one step further. We look at who are our customers. We literally go into our customer database, there are free I know as a PR professional, you’re thinking, is this really legit? But there are tons of free tools. They’re not free tools. They’re inexpensive tools at Fortune 500 brands use to take an email address. From a customer database and a pendant with social media information, append it with an Instagram profile or LinkedIn profile, whatever you want, write one service that I use, I recommend it’s called Voila Norbert. Funky name, but great service, very inexpensive. So now we can see who of our customers are nano influencers. I did this with a hair color company that’s a client of mine, and they were taking the opposite approach to reaching out to people and hoping that they would work together as a PR professional. If you’re doing a cold pitch, they don’t convert very well, just like a cold call for sales doesn’t convert real well, but they found that there are people like 150,000 followers and Instagram profiles are already customers. Now a marketer. So a marketer. Let me just finish with this. The marketers are now saying, how do I reach out? What do I say? The PR professionals say they’re already a customer. I can craft a personalized message and say, hey, we’re starting a brand ambassador program. We noticed you’re one of your one of our customers and you’re pretty active and social. How might we be able to collaborate? You have 15 minutes for quick call to chat, right? That’s where the PR professional comes in and I think can really drive this forward.

Amy Rosenberg: [00:20:31] Oh, OK. So now what about consumer versus B2B? Because I’m curious, like the CEO who wants to lead and do a lot of social is the CEO and a consumer brand or B2B just for an example. And then, of course, let’s just talk about how you can possibly leverage this for B2B.

Neal Schaffer: [00:20:52] I think that it’s more I mean, it could be both, right? If you want your employees to get involved, then it really starts at the top. Now, when it comes to B2C, I don’t know how many CEOs are true visual content creators because consumer you know, in social media, it’s visual content, primarily in B2B, it’s more textural content, more podcasts, more videos of people talking. So that’s where the B2B should be a natural. And one thing that I’ve found is that with coronavirus and with digital marketing, I think that more and more executive team, they want to have more direct contact with the end customer and you sort of lose a lot of that digitally and you sort of want to get it back. You want to be able to communicate directly with the consumer or with the B2B buy or whatever it is. And that’s where the executive team has the ability to do that. By just directly, I mean, the CEO that I work with when he talks, people subscribe. His employees subscribe to his podcast. Right. And for him, it’s like I know that every day there’s all sorts of noise out there within the company and different company news and blog posts. But I can be direct and I want everybody in our company to hear this. And when you begin not only to represent your company but to represent the industry, you now have content that is suitable, both internal and external. Right?

Amy Rosenberg: [00:22:12] I love that. Mm hmm.

Neal Schaffer: [00:22:14] So that’s where I believe that the CEO, especially of B2B, can be more impactful. But even B2C, we’ve seen Richard Branson, Elon Musk, we can go on and on. But I mean, you have to have something to say. You have to feel comfortable on a public stage. It’s not for everybody. And I get that. So I wouldn’t force it on an executive, but there’s huge potential if they join along.

Amy Rosenberg: [00:22:35] So speaking of B2b, it sounds like for me possibly uneducated about this, my brain just goes to LinkedIn. So what do you say about that?

Neal Schaffer: [00:23:07] Yeah, in terms of social media, B2B, LinkedIn, without a doubt, every company that’s B2B that I work with, that is the first platform of choice is number two. Twitter is number two, Facebook. Is number two Instagram, it’s usually either Twitter and or Facebook, but, yes, you’re absolutely right. But there’s two different ways of looking at this is where we take a step out of social media and the digital media. Right. You have social networks, but you also have content mediums. And the notion of yielding more influence is you’re probably going to yield more influence in one of the four major types of content mediums, either text, which is a blog, visual imagery, which primarily is Instagram, not limited to then your video, which I consider YouTube, and then you have audio, which is podcast. So whether you want your team to have your employees to have more or you want to tap into other people’s influence, that’s really where you need to begin. What content medium will it be? Because that often will decide what social networks you should be more active on than others. So, yes, you could be a LinkedIn, but wouldn’t be great if you also had a podcast. So in addition to sharing information on LinkedIn, you could also link back to your podcasts. You could also link back to your YouTube video, or you could link back to your company’s podcast, your company’s YouTube video, in addition to the blog post.

Amy Rosenberg: [00:24:33] So and there’s so much that you can do. So a maximizer like me. I want to do everything for you. So what do you do? How do you narrow it down or do you narrow down? Should you just do it all?

Neal Schaffer: [00:24:45] Well, if we’re talking about individual people, the golden rule here is if you don’t enjoy doing it, it’s not going to last. OK, you got to be passionate about it, OK? Yeah, if you know, if if you hate tik tok, then stay the heck off it. Right. There’s plenty of other social networks. If you don’t like video, don’t do video. If you love to speak to a podcast, right. Do whatever is going to be easiest and whatever is going to last longer because you don’t want to become one of the 50 percent of podcasts that only go 10 episodes. Right. Or the people that go I’m starting a video channel this year and then two YouTube videos later. You never hear from them. As you know, consistency is key not just because of the way the algorithms work, but it’s a competition for attention. And the minute your podcast, your, you know, your YouTube channel, the minute you drop off, people find other content in their feed and they engage with that and you lose that engagement. Right. So that’s why consistency is important if you want to be successful.

Amy Rosenberg: [00:25:43] Ok, so let’s kind of pivot over to the differences or the some. Actually, I think there are more similarities between PR and influencer marketing because a lot of people say PR is about relationships, even though in my intro to this podcast, I say it’s not about relationships. Oh, doing it right, OK, because I think it’s beyond relationships. I don’t think you can do a lot of national PR with just relationships. Right. Like, I can’t necessarily have that relationship, you know, with thousands of reporters, but I can still get the coverage. But for LinkedIn or LinkedIn, I mean, influencer marketing, possibly, it’s easier because it’s online and you can have these relationships. And it also sounds very curated. So when I was reading the intro to your book, it sounds like for influencer marketing, we do want to be thoughtful. We want to curate, you know, what we’re doing. And the same with PR. We don’t blast out emails. It would just go into junk. So we’re very thoughtful about what we do as well.

Neal Schaffer: [00:26:52] Yeah, I just want to throw this out there that, you know, when we think of, media outreach, which is one of the common tasks that we associate with PR who are the media today, who are I believe that the influencers are the media and digital media. And I’ll just give you one talking point, which is, I work with one of the largest book publishers in the world. And in March of 2020, well is actually maybe January, February before this whole pandemic, you know, and I had the conversation. Do you recommend I do traditional media outreach? Should I hire a publicist on and on and on. And their answer was, you know what? We don’t think the ROI in traditional media outreach is there. It’s going to cost you a lot. You might get something, might not. We don’t know how effective it’s going to be. We recommend you reach out to podcasters and bloggers. Right. I get pitched all the time. We want you to know we’d love our client to be on your podcast. We’d love our client to be featured on your blog. That is because influencers are there are only so many people that talk about a certain subject. I was on a podcast interview yesterday and this guy goes, man, I was an influencer in heli-skiing. You know, you’re dropped from a helicopter without realizing it because how many people, how many nano influencers and above are out there that are posting consistently about heli-skiing? And if you have a product, I mean, if you provide tours just for heli-skiing, there’s only so many people out there that you can tap into. Now, big consumer brands have a bigger pool, but you get in the niche B2B, you know, if you want to be found, do Google searches, do social media searches. It’s a finite number of people. And generally, it’s more people you find than organizations that might be from some organizations, some competitors. So that’s what it comes down. That’s really what it comes down to.

Amy Rosenberg: [00:28:39] So what’s really interesting is my firm, we consider podcasters and bloggers, media. So it’s just an interesting way, you know, they’re all on our media list. So it’s a different way to look at it. It’s a little harder because the release of podcasters are not in the traditional media software that we use. We have to go get that ourselves. So and then when I was saying earlier about PR, some PR people not really liking influencer marketing, they’re not valuing it. It’s because of that misconception that everybody must be a celebrity and it might be expensive or that they’re priced out of it.

Amy Rosenberg: [00:29:18] And so that’s just not the case.

About the guest: Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular social media speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 4 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and The Age of Influence – The Power of Influencers to Elevate Your Brand (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

Connect and follow Neal on social media:

Neal Schaffer on PR Talk

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High Profile Health Writer Sunny Sea Gold [Podcast]

High Profile Health Writer Sunny Sea Gold [Podcast]

Glamour, Seventeen and Redbook—Oh my!
Sunny Sea Gold Spreads a Message of
Body Positivity Among Them All.

On this week’s episode of the PR Talk podcast, Amy Rosenberg sits down for a revealing conversation with author and content creator Sunny Sea Gold about her time working in the world of New York fashion magazines, how her personal struggle with binge-eating and body dysmorphia led her to advocate for change within the industry, and tips PR pros can use when pitching to these often-intimidating organizations.

Change Comes from Within

People like Sunny Sea Gold are the reason we’re seeing a more body-positive attitude in the media. During her years working as an editor at well-known publications like Glamour, Seventeen, and Redbook, Sunny pushed behind-the-scenes for better representation for people of all body shapes, and that led to real change. Today, women like Jess Baker, Tess Holliday, and Jessamyn Stanley are appearing in the most famous fashion magazines in the world and helping redefine what the words health and beauty really mean.

But it didn’t come easy for Sunny. When she landed her first big job out of college in the early 2000’s editing the health and wellness coverage for Glamour magazine, the industry had only just begun to reckon with the negative impact they were having on the culture. Sunny has been open with her struggles with binge-eating and body-dysmorphia — which was the subject of her 2011 book, Food: The Good Girl’s Drug — and at times struggled working in such an image and diet-obsessed environment.

Ultimately her experiences led her to begin advocating for change and speaking up about what she saw in magazine culture. She didn’t always get her way, but she was always listened to, which helped advance her larger cause. For Sunny, these efforts are about reflecting real people, because “every single person — no matter what kind of body they’re in — deserves our respect and deserves to be seen.”


A Difficult World to Break Into

This is a PR podcast, of course, so Amy was very interested in hearing Sunny’s tips for how PR pros can get the attention of editors in a very competitive New York magazine market. Sunny began by reminding listeners that the publishing world has changed pretty dramatically over the last few years. There have been lots of layoffs and lots of magazine closures which means compressed staffs are being asked to do more than ever before. As a result, it could take months before some staff members can even respond to an email. So if you don’t get a response, don’t take it personally. They’re just that busy.

When you do pitch, Sunny recommends putting a lot of thought into what you’re sending to make sure it really fits what the publication produces. Sunny cited Reader’s Digest as an example. Since they publish a lot of listicles, pitches that take this into account stand a much better chance of being accepted than those that don’t.

Beyond that, Sunny believes it comes down to connections. She recommends that PR pros do whatever they can to land “desk-side” meetings with lower-level editorial employees: titled editorial assistant, assistant editor, or associate editor. As Sunny puts it, these people typically “are open-minded, hungry for relationships, and hungry for ideas.” Desk-side meetings also provide PR pros with the opportunity to put a face with a name, and they can often get better responses from someone they know in person. And if you do land a desk-side, make sure to diligently maintain your contacts because you’ll never know who that young staffer will end up becoming.


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Though she’s no longer directly employed by the magazine world, Sunny continues her advocacy and education work by writing about parenting and body image for publications like Reader’s Digest,, Elle, Parent’s Magazine, and Refinery 29. She also works with clients on branded content and helps clients make connections with people she still knows in the publishing industry.

To hear the entire interview, including more about Sunny’s struggle with binge eating and her life in the New York magazine world, click through or subscribe to PR talk on Stitcher, iTunes, or the Google Play store.

About the guest: Sunny Sea Gold

Sunny Sea Gold is a sought-after journalist and book author with expertise in women’s issues, health, psychology, obesity, body image, and parenting. She has more than a decade of experience telling stories and leading editorial strategy for some of the country’s largest and most well-known print and digital publications including Glamour, Fast Company, Reader’s Digest, Parents, WebMD, and O, the Oprah Magazine. As a consultant, she leverages her journalistic sensibility and deep understanding of the social, digital, and print-media landscapes to craft strategic communications plans for select corporate clients and thought leaders.

Connect and follow Sunny Sea Gold on social media:

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