Episode 85 – Using Interviews To Grow Your Business with Esther Kiss

Ester dropped additional nuggets of sales and marketing goodness in the EXTENDED Interview. Be sure to click here to access all of our great extended interviews, transcripts and more within our Insider's Club.

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Esther Kiss headshot modeEsther Kiss is the producer and host of the popular podcast Born To Influence: The Marketing Show where she interviews highly successful entrepreneurs and NY Times bestselling authors about their marketing and PR strategies.

She has interviewed guests such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Perry Marshall, Joe Pulizzi, Jay Baer and more.

When working with clients through her one-of-a-kind publicity agency, Esther helps experts (coaches / consultants / authors / speakers / marketers) get exposure for an extended period of time by placing them on the right online media outlets.

These include interviews on podcasts, online radio shows, webinars & other presentations for telesummits and private, paid mastermind groups.

To help her clients get more leads and sales for their product, service or book launch, she introduces them to A-players such as the guests of Born To Influence for cross-promotion and long term collaboration.

Podcast Transcription

Brian Basilico: Welcome, everybody and I've got an incredible guest today. Her name is Esther Kiss and she is a PR person and we're going to talk about what PR is because it's not what it used to be. This is not your mom or your dad's PR. Things have changed because the internet has really kind of taken over in certain ways. Esther, how are you doing today?

Esther Kiss: Doing well. Thank you so much for having me on, Brian. I appreciate it.

Brian: Oh, it's my pleasure. I'd really like my audience to get to know you because you've got a great back story. How did you end up going from Hungary to living in Palm Springs and getting into PR? How did that journey happen?

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Esther: Well, it was kind of like a treasure hunt because I was going from one clue to the next to really figure out what I want to do. I grew up in Hungary and Romania as a child and I moved around quite a bit in Europe for the first 27 years of my life. So it was always for a big reason – not because I have a very nomadic nature, but I ended up living after Hungary and Romania, in Malta, in Belgium, in France, in Holland, and now I'm here in California.

What happened was I have a [inaudible] marketing. For the first, since I was on my 20-years-old, I started working with a company that was very entrepreneurial, family-owned, very small in terms of the ownership – just a few people, basically, but very large in terms of assets and operations. So it was an interesting experience I'm learning and working my way up, and starting with marketing, and hotel and restaurants, and then real estate, and investments, and all types of other businesses and really looking at it from an entrepreneurial perspective.

In 2007, I decided that, “Okay, this is the time now because if I don't do it now, then when?” To go after a childhood dream which was to become an actor. All my life I've been performing ever since I was a child, but I always felt like, well, I don't have enough good English skills to really be able to do it. In 2007, I cut everything that I've been doing up to that point and then moved over to Los Angeles and went to an acting conservatory. You know how they say always that work actors are always waiters? It's very true because they have to somehow support themselves to have a flexible hours and things like that. I didn't want to do that. Because I had a background in business development, marketing and finance, I figured I could do day trading so that's what I did.

Because LA is three hours behind New York, I would get up really early in the morning, read the news, do some analysis and then do my trading and then by 9 or 10 o'clock I would be available for the rest of the day to go to auditions that did a couple of films [inaudible]. It was a fun experience all the way until the recession hit. Then I took a really big loss. What I decided to do, “Okay, what can I do now to support myself?” I went back to my routine marketing and I started coaching and helping small businesses with their marketing.

Then in 2013 I teamed up with a friend of mine, Mette Muller and we launched a podcast called “Born to Influence.” Part of the reason was because I wanted to get to know bigger players in the marketplace, particularly experts, coaches, consultants, authors, speakers, marketers, internet marketers, people who really have a successful seven or eight-figure business. Those are the type of people that we started to interview on our show, New York Times Bestselling Authors, filling out their marketing strategies and how they're using it to grow their business.

My initial plan was then, well, if I get to build these relationships with these fantastic high-level players, I'll be able to put together a JV deals for them, but I wanted to do it in a friendly way. I can say that they are friends of mine rather than just [inaudible] somebody because that just doesn't work. We started doing the show in 2013 and every single time after I would stop the recording button after an episode, I would always ask the person, “Hey, I know you have this book coming out or this program. How would you like to be on other shows as well?” They will always say yes so I would introduce them to other podcasters and really with a spirit of giving and trying to help them with their promotions. And at some point it dawned on me that this is something that I actually could charge money for. So that's how it shifted from marketing to PR and helping people with their publicity online.

Brian: That's fabulous.

Let's describe to people what is PR and when we say PR, we mean public relations. What is It today and how has it changed? How has things evolved over time that you've seen?

Esther: Yes. If you look at the definition from something like Wikipedia, they are just basically talking about the organization's relation with the public. If you look at something like entrepreneur, they will say that it's the opposite of paid media because you don't have to pay for it and you're getting no word out there. But really, what I like to look at is let's focus on what is media and what is it that we want with all this exposure. So in the old days, you would look at newspapers, print magazines, TV, and radio and when you thought of PR, it was like, “How do I get my business or myself into those publications so that other people can find out about me?”

Nowadays especially when you're looking at people who are doing educational marketing like for example podcast interviews where they are telling their story, it's a very, very different definition of media. Particularly in online media, there is of course all the digital versions of the magazines and the TV, let's say that you could equate it to YouTube shows, things like that, but then there's also telesummits, there is a JV webinars, there is private Facebook groups where you can create presentations and connect with the right target audience – there is podcast, there are so many other ways of actually getting your message out there.

So what I'm looking at is how can I create the relationship and the report with the right target audience for an extended period of time? Because if you're going after traditional media – which is fantastic for logos, and credibility, and brand-building and those type of things, they are serving a mass market audience so what that means for you is that you have to dumb down your message. You have to be very brief and say that, “These are the top three mistakes or the five things that you didn't know about such and such.” And it's much, much more competitive to be featured in those outlets and also you don't get to really talk about your stuff for an extended period of time whereas for example in a podcast interview, you can do that.

Another thing that is a key differentiator between traditional media and online media is that in traditional media, you don't get to pitch anything. They will mention your website for you, but you can't say that, “Hey, here is my video series or my free giveaway” or something like that. You just can't do it. But if you are interviewed for example for a private mastermind, or a Facebook group, or for a podcast, they actually encourage you to give away something to their audience specifically. In that way you get to build your list as well.

Brian: So you talk about people getting out there and trying to find these things. What are some of the most common mistakes you see people making that are using somebody like your service? Where are people failing at this?

Esther: I think one of the biggest mistakes is the expectations and if you're working with a professional, it's really their job to set the expectations because there's a lot of misinformation about what the role of a publicist is and so, most people when they come in, they are thinking, “Well, I'm going to get all this traffic if I do that big PR push. For example I have a book coming out in a couple of months and I want to be on as many media outlet as possible and that's going to make me a New York Times bestseller.” That's just not the reality. What you want to do is first of all if you have a lowend offer, for example a book, you have to have a backend on top of it – a coaching program, a mastermind, some kind of an offer that you can funnel people into so that you actually make money because the book in it of itself is unlikely that will make you money if you're really pushing it on a big national or global scale.

That's one, and the other thing about the traffic piece is that most people think that, “Well, if I go on all these outlets, then I'm just going to get all these sales automatically.” The truth is that even if you were to go let's say on Oprah, you would see a spike of traffic to your website, but that doesn't translate immediately into sales. What you what you want to do is look at all your interviews, podcast interviews, blog mentions, articles that are written about you, whatever you have and then take the best performing pieces from that and plug it into the rest of your marketing.

For example if you're marketing through webinars, there is that time lag between when a person signs up for a webinar and when they are actually going to attend. So in between that, you can send them content and one of the things that you can send them is a recent interview that ties into the topic that you're going to talk about. This is the third biggest mistake that I see people make, as well as that they're not prepared. So what you want to do when you're going to be interviewed on any type of outlet is be very, very specific about the content that you want to share and you can create an actual resource guide for yourself, specific examples, specific stories, phrases that you want to use so that it sounds like you're speaking off the cuff, but really you are very well-prepared because you know that this is what serves that audience the best and this is what they need to hear and believe in order to want to inquire more.

Brian: Fabulous stuff.

So what are some of the opportunities that people are missing? Because I think that whether you have a book or whether you're doing webinars and stuff like that, you feel like you're already doing all the right step. But what kind of nichy things do you think that people are missing as far as getting the word out about themselves and their brand?

Esther: One thing is the connections. When you're interviewed on a podcast for example, there is an opportunity to connect with that host. Most of the time, the shows are fairly small and very flexible because they're looking to build their platform as well. Of course there's exceptions like there is the big well and you want to be on those shows as well. But if you have an offer that is already proven and well-converting, you can actually reach out to this person after they say yes to being interviewed on their show and you can say that, “Hey, how would you like to become an affiliate? By the way I'm promoting this thing. Would you like to receive a share of the revenues?” Because they already said yes to interviewing you, they're on-board with your message, they're already promoting you through the interview so it makes perfect sense for them after that to send an offer to their email list and most of the time if it's a good fit, they will actually say yes.

This is something where you immediately can turn it into money because they will be promoting for you. You're already the ground work by educating that audience, by talking to them, establishing that rapport and now when you're being endorsed by the host, it's such a credibility builder because that audience has a relationship with the host, not with you as the guest. They trust the host and when that host does that, “Yes, I endorse this and this is something that you should take a look at.” Few research, I think it was like 70% or 80% more likely that they will do it as opposed to if they saw an ad for example in their news feed.

Brian: Great stuff. Fabulous.

Okay Esther, what is the reason that somebody would want to work with a PR rep like yourself? What kind of things do you bring to the table that they can't do themselves?

Esther: The first thing is the connections. If you are pitching yourself, of course there is no problem with that. You can try, but your positioning is so much better when somebody else is recommending you to be featured in [inaudible]. The second is because a publicist would already presumably have their relationship with those specific media host, with those journalist, with those editors. They are much more likely to be able to get you in quickly.

We haven't talked about it previously, but there is a lead time. For example if you were to get on Entrepreneur on Fire, literally from the day that the pitch is accepted until the interview is recorded is three months. So if you have a book coming out for example and it launches four months from now, you're in good time, but you still have to build up different relationship with the host, in this case with John Lee Dumas and try to see whether or not you can actually get in, whereas if you have some publicist like John, he's a friend of mine, if I email him, he will ask me to introduce you and that way – I'm not saying that it's guaranteed, but it's much, much more likely to be on that show because it's very competitive and you want to take advantage of the ground work, and the years of giving and relationship that your publicist has put in to build out those connections so that you can benefit from that.

Brian: Great. Can you give me examples of outcomes? What have people been able to do with working through a service like yours?

Esther: One of my friend and client, Ryan Levesque, he is the author of the new book ASK and his book actually became a number one national bestseller. It was number one in the LA Times list, on USA Today, number one in all books on Amazon. Not just on the sub-category, but literally all books sold out actually on launch day. And because we were using the book as a lead into his funnel, he actually ended up doubling his mastermind. So he has a $97 a month online mastermind program and instead of 500 people that he got started with, he has now over 1,000 people in a group. We were talking about it recently and he literally said that the two biggest surprises regarding the book launch were as far as what work best with promotions was the podcast interviews and the Facebook ads. When you combine the two together, like how we were talking about it earlier, that you want to use this content and really leverage that, that's when it's the most powerful.

Another client of mine Kavit Haria ended up getting several clients just after a handful of his podcast interviews were published. He has a five-figure program. It's a substantial investment for somebody just starting out and he got clients out of it immediately because he already had a system that is working and so we were directing the traffic from the podcast interviews and then also running ads to these interviews to warm up that audience and then they went through his funnel and became clients.

Brian: Awesome stuff. Those are some big numbers. Thousand people in a mastermind? That's a good chunk of masterminding.

Esther: Yes.

Brian: The last question I have for you is when you're doing this stuff, what are the benchmarks that people need to be aware of to measure success of using PR? Because obviously just like coaching, this is an investment, it's not an expense. So what are some of the benchmarks that you try to put in front of your people?

Esther: One of the things I want to be clear with upfront is what their goals are. So when somebody comes to work with me, we ask, “Okay, what are some of the things that you've done so far in terms of media, in terms of sales? Where are you looking to go?” And then how can we make the PR campaign be a part of it so that it emphasizes, and it helps, and enhances your already-existing marketing. That way, then we can look at, okay, this is for example your system. You have webinar, so you have direct mail, whatever you may have already going, these are the conversions. Let's add these pieces on to it and now we know and we can measure how much money you actually made directly from being on the shows. Because most people who are in [inaudible] direct response marketing, they want to know about the click-through rates and very specific metrics of how they can measure success and that's great. But with something like PR, it's a little bit harder to be that specific about it initially. So what you want to do, you combine it for the rest of your marketing that is the direct response. In that way you can measure it.

For example one of my friends, John Dennis who has a full service marketing agency, that's one of the things that he does. He builds these funnels for clients and he is someone I refer my clients to as well when they needed as he specifically builds these funnels where you are being interviewed on podcast and on other type of media outlets and then get people eventually into your offer and he build several multiple six, seven-figure funnels specifically from interviews. The way to go about it is build up the right system, the backend system and they'll funnel people through it and use your content, your interviews as content to get people interested and then they are often ready to go with you.

Brian: That makes total sense. You have to have the system in place in order to reap the benefit because otherwise you're just out there talking and there is no place for people to go and no way for you to make money. Right?

Esther: That sounds like, “Well, maybe it was a waste of time or energy.” But it's also a waste of opportunity. It's a really good point that you brought up here, Brian, because if you look at most of the podcast shows, they have once-a-week type of applications schedule. What that means for you as the expert is that you have to be one of the top 52 contenders in any given year. If we are talking about the three months campaign when you're preparing to launch your book, or whatever you have, you have to be that much more on top of it and competitive in comparison to everybody else that they're considering. That's where also working with a publicist comes in really handy because they can actually help you, so to say, cut the line and be priority consideration because they have that relationship.

Brian: Excellent points.

So Esther you have something to offer my audience that's going to help them get their arms around doing all of this stuff. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Esther: Yes,if you go to my website, there is a quiz. I call it an assessment where you can figure out how and what to do to get actually PR and publicity to work for you. If you go to Borntoinfluence.com/ assessment. There is a really fun quiz, it's 12 yes or no questions. You can just say yes or no for all the answers and then you will get very specific advice on what you need to do in order to take it to the next level and get publicity to feed your business so that you get more leads and make more sales.

Brian: Yes. It's very easy. I took it, I got 11 out of 12. I'm pretty happy with that. That's really awesome.

Hey Esther, this has been fabulous and you brought some really good advice. I think that the most important thing is that people can benefit from PR, but it's more about having that system in place to benefit from the PR. So I think that's some awesome advice that I think everybody should take.

So if people wanted to get a hold of you, what's the best way for them to contact you?

Esther: You can connect with me via email at Esther@Borntoinfluence.com or just head on over to our website Borntoinfluence.com and there you can see what we have to offer as well as the show and that's something where you can listen and download through iTunes through a lot of interviews with very, very successful entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk and [inaudible] people like that who share their best strategies in terms of marketing and publicity, what they are doing to grow their business as well.

Brian: Esther this has been fabulous. I really appreciate you. I know my audience is and thanks so much for joining us today.

Esther: Thank you Brian.

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