“20 Years to Build a Reputation, 5 Minutes to Ruin It”.

As Warren Buffett says, if you think of PR in those terms, you may start to do things a little differently than you are right now. My guest today is my good friend and inspiration, Vito Glazers. Vito is a PR News/Media and Newsjacking expert. He’s the guy people turn toward to help them keep their reputations in great shape and in this episode, he shares many valuable secrets for managing your own reputation both on and offline.

Craft Your Own Narrative or Someone Else Will

It is said there is no such thing as bad publicity. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Vito explains a key part of the PR presentation is sharing your journey. After all, everyone loves a good backstory full of trials, tribulations, and victories. Humility is a virtue. However, not being the first one to tell your story leaves open the door for your competitors or haters to craft and tell that story for you.

And, that is exactly the lesson Vito learned when he first started out and found himself the object of his adversary’s contempt. Getting into PR was out of necessity after soured business deals led his haters to craft false narratives, effectively ruining his reputation to save a little face for themselves.

The stories they told online didn’t stay online. They followed him everywhere he went, even though the people who knew him best knew they were false. But, it took nearly a hundred thousand dollars and months of chasing wild geese at PR & law firms to help him regain his good name. He found that what he got for that money was no guarantee his reputation could be repaired. And, the services they provided were too little, too late.

Once he finally found himself back on solid ground, where he was crafting his own narrative, people around him began to take notice. They knew all too well how difficult it can be to recover from the malevolent actions of competitors. And, it was that story of his experience that people found they related to and launched his career in Public Relations.

How Ironic: PR Has Gotten a Bad Rap

Some people think PR is only for managing the reputations of the narcissistic or for celebrities and politicians. At the same time, some of the companies promising the moon and failing to deliver results give the entire industry a bad rap as being the worst AdSpend. But, bad actors in the industry doesn’t mean that PR is something a brand should ignore. It is sometimes easy to forget that PR isn’t simply about one person’s or one brand’s reputation. It has the power to influence habits and actually change the lives of the people who come into contact with that influence.

In order to use any tool effectively, a company must know how that tool is supposed to be used. If you hear others say that a tool like Facebook ads has worked for them, you try it and it fails for you, it’s likely because you don’t have the understanding of how to make them work for you. Education is key. And, there are four key categories for understanding how to make it work for you:

  1. Reputation Management – Like mentioned above, be the first to tell your story. Your legacy needs to be of your own crafting.
  2. Leave Nothing to Chance – Use PR as a tool to document ideas, titles, and quotes about your brand. Especially from others.
  3. Technical Benefits – People want things they can share, something tangible. This can boost your SEO, social media assets and engagement, and more.
  4. Perceived Authority – Having other companies and news outlets talking about your brand gives your company a boost in your credibility.

Attention Matters, But Your Budget is Small

For many businesses, the killer problem of a lack of funding is a vicious cycle. You need money to get your name out there, but getting your name out there costs money. You can’t just expect customers to stumble upon your brand and magically want to do business with you. So, how can you get your name out without it breaking the bank? Vito points out four possible ways to do just that.

  1. Traditional Pitching – Write your pitch and send it to as many people as you possibly can. Strength can be found in numbers. This method is going to take you some time and a great deal of effort, but it’s a tried and true method for success.
  2. Newsjacking – Find ways to capitalize on a recent and popular news story to get your brand out there. You’re essentially riding the coattails of popular news coverage to emphasize the importance of your products.
  3. Cause-Based Marketing – Align your brand with a cause that reflects your business’ core values. Promote that cause. It is a safe way to capitalize on the media outreach associated with that cause.
  4. Celebrity by Association – With the rise of influencers, the definition of “celebrity” is changing and focusing more into niche subjects. It is easy to find people who are popular celebrity-types in any niche and associate your brand with them, as opposed to those who are traditional celebrities, like movie stars. For instance, if you’re a realtor, pitch an article that focuses on three well-known real estate personalities, with your name thrown in the mix.