Authority Magazine - How To Leverage Media To Grow Your Business

July 2, 2023

ROAM Founder and Principal Kat Eller Murray recently discussed the importance of media relations for business growth with Kage Spatz of Authority Magazine. Full text of the article is below.


As part of my PR Strategy Series, I’m talking with PR pros at the top of their game to give you an inside look at proven strategies you might also be able to leverage to grow your business. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Kat Eller Murray.

Kat founded ROAM Communications in 2013 and has supported over 50 companies since. Prior to ROAM, Kat worked as a manager of global communications and public affairs at Google, and senior account executive at Fleishman-Hillard International Communications in San Francisco.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Funny enough, it started with a lemonade stand. When my siblings and I were young (I was 10), we did what most kids do on a hot summer day and set up a lemonade stand. We made $26.27 and ended up donating it to the local homeless shelter.

One thing led to another, and The Lemon-Aid Project — a citywide lemonade stand benefiting charity — was born. In order to promote the initiative, I wrote my first press release (at 10 years old) and was interviewed quite a bit by the press. Then, when I was in high school, I wrote for the local paper.

By experiencing both sides of the media — being the interviewer and the interviewee — I became even more intrigued by the ecosystem and how news stories came to be. A mentor of mine that I met through Lemon-Aid suggested that I go into PR. I didn’t really know what that meant at the time but I secured an internship, and the rest is history!

In your opinion, what separates your agency from others in the space?

We design each PR team specifically to fit our clients’ needs and budget.

We are unique in the fact that we leverage the experience and expertise of not only our small but mighty internal team but also our amazing network of boutique PR and marketing agency affiliates and senior independent professionals to ensure our clients get the results and services they deserve and expect.

The team that pitches the business is the team that works on the business. Because we are lean, we are able to get up and running quickly and plug into the team seamlessly.

Many times internal team members forget or never realize that we aren’t part of the internal team, but we can still maintain the external objectivity and advisory position.

As a successful business leader, which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?

Wow. “Successful business leader” is a phrase I’ve never really put together or would have associated with myself. Despite running ROAM for the last 10 years (just celebrated a decade in mid-July!), I feel like I am still learning new things about leading and managing a business every day.

There are a plethora of traits that come into play, but the three that stand out the most to me are:

  • Courage — If you don’t take that first step, how do you know if you’ll fall, walk, run, or fly? I am grateful for an incredibly supportive partner who made the suggestion (and the nudge) to start ROAM in the first place. That first step is key but then you need to keep making additional steps, putting one foot in front of the other each day, knowing that if you don’t, no one else will. As an introvert (funny, given my profession) it can be difficult but it is important to have the courage every day to believe in myself and believe in what we are doing at ROAM and with our clients to keep things going.
  • Reliability/Dependability — I make to-do lists for my to-do lists because I never want the ball to drop when it’s in my court. I want clients to know when I say I’ll do something, it will get done and it will get done well. When I promise something to my colleagues, they know it will happen. As a mom to 3 young children, my punctuality isn’t always as great which is difficult for me to deal with, but with the increased amount of flakiness, disingenuous “I’ll call yous” and overcommitment in the world today, I want to make sure the people around me, know they can count on me.
  • Honesty — This one can be tough for some as many people say that they want feedback and honest conversations but when given the truth, they can’t swallow it. As a PR professional that people pay for advice on communications strategy, it is my job to be honest and set expectations accordingly.

Wonderful. Let’s now jump into the main part of our interview. If you had a local business, what 3 media strategies would you use to grow your customer base and why?

Understand your target demographic — You can have the best communications and marketing strategy in the world but if you don’t fully understand who your customers are, it will all go into a black hole.

Set a strategy and a cadenced approach — Once you know your customer and understand what they read, what social media platforms they use, and what local events they participate in, you can build a strategy.

Comms isn’t just about a press release or an earned piece of coverage. It is comprehensive — earned media, social, thought leadership, speaking, awards — and is complementary and supplementary to the overall marketing strategy.

Create a roadmap of different platforms/formats to communicate/get in front of customers and make sure each moment leads to another.

Build strong local media relationships — Local media is still incredibly important, especially if you are a business in one or two locations.

Get to know the business editor and the reporter that covers your particular industry. Take them out for lunch or coffee. Get to know what they are interested in and provide them with unique insights. Demonstrate that you can help them out, serve as an industry expert, and connect them with people. If they feel like it is just a sales pitch, there won’t be a true relationship to build.

How about a national brand? What 3 media strategies are typically most effective in generating more business for a national brand?

Honestly, I believe that national and local strategies are pretty much the same (you just replace local beat reporters with national beat reporters).

Regardless of your reach, you still need to know your customer, connect with the reporters that cover your space, and have a well throughout drumbeat approach to keeping the momentum and visibility of your company going.

The only more challenging aspect of national brands is that they are fighting with both local and other national brands for the same airwaves and mindshare.

Would your PR strategy change much if a client is selling a physical product or has a service-based solution? B2C versus B2B? If so, please share an example or two that might demonstrate any differences.

Yes and no. The broad strokes of a PR strategy remain the same regardless of what the company sells and in what industry it operates. The big areas of differentiation are the platforms being used.

For example, most B2Cs will get more bang by engaging on Facebook, Snap, TikTok, and Instagram, while B2B should be heavy on LinkedIn.

If a business is already investing monthly in PR, what other marketing strategies would you recommend they invest in that best compliments that work to bring in the most amount of business?

PR, marketing, and social media need to work together to determine campaigns, narratives, and priorities. They can enhance efforts when working together, or they can detract from one another and confuse customers if not in sync.

Now to the main question of our interview: If someone has already been covered in the media, what are the best next steps after that? What are your “5 Ways To Leverage that Media Coverage To Dramatically Grow Your Business”?

  • Distribute across all platforms. Share on social media (tag and thank the reporter/outlet too), add to your “In The News” section of the company website, add to your internal Slack channel, include in your company newsletter, send an email out to investors and share with your sales team to send along to prospects.
  • Monitor and respond to feedback/comments. Engage with customers, partners and investors and continue the conversation based on their reactions to the coverage.
  • Leverage the topic for other opportunities. Depending on the reason for the coverage in the first place, are there ways to take that topic further. Is this a topic that is being heavily covered and you can serve as an ongoing subject matter expert? Could it be repurposed into a thought leadership piece or a speaking abstract?
  • Continue to build the relationship with the reporter(s). Thank them for the article, continue to engage with them on related coverage or industry news that you might be able to serve as a source on. Remind them that you aren’t just in it for the coverage of your company but to help the larger industry when possible.
  • Keep it going! The process doesn’t stop after one piece of coverage or one announcement. It’s just the beginning! It can take time to get coverage, so it is important to keep things going. Is there another announcement coming up? Is your executive speaking at an upcoming conference? Are there thought leadership opportunities?

As a person of influence, if you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I’m grateful to already be on this journey, and I’m hoping it becomes a movement. As I mentioned earlier in the conversation, I started a non-profit The Lemon-Aid Project when I was 10 and re-launched it in 2019 as a formal 501c3.

It has always held a special spot in my heart, and now with 3 young children of my own, I see the impact that an organization like this has on our youth. They are told YES, they CAN do something, and that they can make a difference. They are given confidence and the tools they need to be entrepreneurs and good, active citizens in their communities.

Thank you for sharing so many valuable insights with all of us today!

Kage Spatz is a Forbes-ft Entrepreneur, leading F500-level Marketers to surpass your revenue goals faster in a challenging economy. Learn top-performing strategies in 30min (free for readers) — get clarity to grow your sales today.

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