#68: How I Got My Best PR (and How You Can Do the Same)

Have you ever gone to someone’s website (like Michelle’s) and wondered about those “as seen on” logos? How on earth does a health coach go about getting featured in the media anyway? In this episode, Michelle shares the behind the scenes scoop on some of her best publicity moves.

Get Michelle’s free training on how to earn a full time salary as a health coach: https://healthcoachpower.com/earn

Mentioned in this episode:
The documentary “Lemonade” – https://vimeo.com/9677439
Help a Reporter Out – http://helpareporter.com

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Well hey there health coaches. Have you ever gone to somebody’s website, Heck, even my website and you get there and you wonder about all of those little logos, the ‘as seen on’ logos, like how on earth does a health coach go about getting featured in the media anyway. Now you might think it’s just luck and yeah, luck may play a role. But it’s also about really working your network and knowing where to look for these opportunities. So today I’m going to share the behind the scenes scoop on some of my very best publicity moves and tell you exactly how I scored them.

Now if you are here, live with me as I’m recording into our Facebook group. First of all, thank you for being here. I love being able to interact with you in real time every week. So please, please, please put questions into the comments area. Anything you want to talk about today, about PR or about whatever is challenging you or really stumping you in your business this week. And as you will notice, if you are watching, I am in my uncle’s workshop right now. I am surrounded by like tools and spiders and I’m sitting on a bucket. God knows what else is in here. I’m visiting for a couple of weeks and well here we are now.

Before we get to our main topic, I want to thank Lisa for leaving this review on iTunes. She said, I am a healthcare provider with years of experience but never learned anything about running a business or promotion. Michelle has turned that around for me. I learned something every day. Her free content is so rich in information that it is uplifting to my practice. Uplifting is the key word. She is all about all of us doing well. No competition here. Thanks Michelle. Love you.

Love you too Lisa and I love that you shared that you’re a health care provider, meaning a licensed practitioner. We have lots of members in our free Facebook group who are doctors, nurses, other types of practitioners who are trying to run their practice or shift more into the role of a health coach and escape the conventional medicine model, which I think is fantastic. So thank you for your kind words and for taking time to leave a review please Lisa, email support a health coach, power.com and just reference episode number 68 because we would love to send you a little thank you gift now for everybody listening. I would so appreciate your review on iTunes as well. That’s how I reach more coaches and it’s frankly how I’m able to continue bringing you this free content every single week even when I’m sitting in a spider-filled basement. Okay, so thank you in advance for that. And now let’s get talking about publicity.

So, here is a question that came from Cynthia who kind of sparked this whole idea that we should have this conversation today. She said, Michelle, can you talk about how you got featured in the seven places noted on your website?

And I thought, yeah, I should talk about that. I don’t think I’ve ever really shared the story behind some of my best PR before. So for those of you who have never like stalked me on my website before, if you go, you’ll see that I’ve been seen on ABC News, CBS News, NPR, Integrative Nutrition or the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. For those of you who have gone to that school, you have seen me there. Um, She Knows which is a popular website. I’ve also been in the Christian Science Monitor on monster.com the New Balance website, you know, like New Balance, sneakers, all sorts of stuff.

So I’m just going to go through them and tell you like the behind the scenes of how this even happened. And in the meantime, if you see a spider crawling on me, tell me in the comments for goodness sake. My God, it’s a little cruddy down here in the basement. Okay. But quiet. It’s quiet. And that’s the key. So the best story was really when, um, I got featured on ABC and CBS and then the Christian Science Monitor. And that all happened when I had just started my business. I was very, very green, I want to say like too green, because I could have made much better use of the publicity, but I didn’t know what I was doing. But here’s what happened. I was actually featured in a documentary called Lemonade and this came out back in like 2009 and it was all about people who got laid off from advertising like me and went on to do something else that was really interesting and fabulous.

So in essence, making lemonade out of the lemon, which was our pink slip. Anyway, um, this documentary got a lot of press because it was coming out at the time when people were losing their jobs and the economy was tanking and all that stuff was going down. And so it was covered on all the major news outlets as sort of piggybacking on the larger stories of the day that had to do with the economy. And that is a really good tip in general, like if you want to be featured on the news, it helps if you have some story or some angle on a story that is piggybacking on something else that’s really big in the media right then and there, like what just popped into my head was when January Jones was in the news for consuming her placenta after childbirth. This is going back a while now.

I don’t know if you guys remember this, but I remember it cause I had just done the same thing. And that’s the kind of story that if I had had the wherewithal as a postpartum new mom to reach out to media outlets, you know, I could have shared a story of like a local mom doing what January Jones just did in the big media. Anyway, piggybacking on big stories is always a good way to get PR. But I’m not going to lie. I didn’t get a lot of press inside of because of the movie alone I really got good press because it was a documentary made by all advertising professionals. So my friend Eric was the director, you know, I used to work with him in the agency, everybody who shot the film, edit the film and produced the film and who did PR for the film were like top notch professionals.

So they did a great job of getting publicity for the film. And I benefit as one of the main, I don’t want to say character’s, what do you say? One of the main people in the documentary. Um, and that’s how I ended up being seen on those major news outlets. There were just mentions of me. I wasn’t like I sat down and did a whole interview, but there I was. So that was a very, very exciting thing to happen in that first six months of my business. So if any of you want to watch the documentary, I can put a link in the show notes, but you have to promise not to laugh because it was 10 years ago, over 10 years ago now. And I looked a heck of a lot younger. It’s kind of like shocking when I look at it now. But it is a great film and especially if you’ve ever been laid off.

So that’s how I did that. Now can you go out tomorrow and like get yourself into a documentary that gets great PR all over the place? Yeah, probably not. You know, that’s not like my advice for you, but my advice is that what you can do is really tune into your network. Because here’s how I ended up in the movie. My friend Eric and I were on Twitter and back then, not a lot of people were on Twitter. Yeah. This was like over 10 years ago. And I remember he posted something that said, I’m working on a new project highlighting people who’ve been laid off and from advertising and gone on to do something amazing. And I’ve messaged back and I said, me, me, I’m doing that. And I honestly didn’t think he was even going to reply to me. I mean, I say he was my friend.

He was really like an acquaintance that I knew, but I didn’t think what I was doing really qualified as what he was looking for necessarily. So it was just a shot in the dark, but he wrote back and was like, Michelle, I have been meaning to contact you and that’s how I landed this spot in the film. So what you can do today, you guys is interact with people. I know it sounds so dumb, right? But like if I had just gone on Twitter that day and been like check out my new recipe and then jumped off the computer, that would’ve been very self serving. Um, and what I did instead was I was reading what other people were posting, I was responding to them. And that really is like the key to success in all sorts of ways. In this case it led me to great PR, but I can’t stress enough that you need to be engaged with your network and more interested in them then you are and getting them to be interested in you and that will serve you very, very well.

Okay. Okay. So let’s on to the next one here and just let me know if you have any questions about any of this stuff. Just a lot of personal stories today, but I’m hoping that you’ll be able to glean some useful information and to-do’s for your own business. So the next big one, um, came when I was asked to be part of the curriculum at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Now that’s not exactly a media outlet. Usually when you’re talking about PR, you’re talking about like newspaper, radio, websites, television. But this is kind of like television because they filmed me for the curriculum. I am shown on video to all of their students, students where I’m teaching about marketing for all of these brand new health coaches. And that has brought me a lot of great PR because when people see you, whether they saw me in the film lemonade or they see me on their iPad when they’re watching videos from their, their school, when they’re in health coaching school, they think, wow, this person must be somebody.

Like it’s just, it could, you could be wrong. You know, if somebody could be on TV and there, there are nobody. Like I was in lemonade really, I was a nobody but people see you. And that’s the magic of PR. They suddenly start thinking very good things about you. So now how did that happen? Again, I can’t give you like a five point plan for how you can get yourself in the curriculum of some school. No Way. It’s not something I went after. It’s not something I planned to do or had a strategy around. But here’s how it worked. When I was a student, all of my fellow classmates, we were all on like a message board together, and I’m assuming it’s similar these days. Maybe it’s a Facebook group now, but back then there were no Facebook groups. Oh my God, I’m so old. So we were all on this message board and people were always asking questions like, how do I start a blog?

Or how do I use Twitter or whatever? And I was one of the few people who was already doing these things. So again, had I just gone onto these message boards to ask my own questions and then got my answers and left, I never would have had this opportunity. What I did instead was I would read other people’s questions. I would try to answer them and be helpful. And after a while there were so many people that were like, oh wait, tell me more about this. Oh wait, you know I love your blog. Tell me how you did this specific thing. And on and on and on that I was just like, Whoa, if you guys want, I will hold a class for you and I will show you everything. And they were like, yeah, that’d be great, that’d be great. And I had a sign up link and it was free and I literally just did it so that I could answer questions and like one hour instead of like getting this constant stream of questioning on the forum.

So I held two classes for my fellow classmates to kind of get them off my back. Isn’t that so funny? And Look, look at us now. Right now we’ve got this group of like 7-8,000 people and I’m kind of doing the same thing anyway, same point. You interact with your network, right? You get interested in them, you’re helpful. You become a go-to person and opportunities start to open up for you because what happen is the staff at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition noticed what I was doing. I don’t know if they participated, anybody be like participated in the classes or not. I’m assuming somebody did and said, hey, this girl really knows what she’s talking about. And like a year or two later they contacted me and said, hey, we’d really love to have you come in and record a couple of classes. Can you do that?

And that’s how that happened. Isn’t it so strange even for me to just think back to hell, all of these opportunities have come about. Okay, so I’m going to tell you about a couple more. Um, are you interested? Is this good? Is this helpful? Like I hope you’re thinking about like what networks am I already a part of? How can I use them more effectively? Even inside our very own health coach power community, Facebook group. Same thing. You could, you could not just come on and leave your question and get off and hope you get an answer, but you can be engaging a lot more. And I hope you will. And that goes for all of the places where you meet people online and in person. So another, um, opportunity came to me again through social media this time somebody was just legit asking like, hey, we need a health and wellness expert for a new, and I don’t think she said what it was, but it was like for a new website.

And so I just replied to her. It was somebody that I was following. I didn’t know who she was at all aside from what it said in her profile. And I replied and I said, I’m a health and wellness expert. Again, I was very green. And if she had started to question me about like, what are your credentials or where did you go to school, I might have shriveled and died a little bit because I knew I wasn’t a doctor or whatever. But she didn’t ask any of those questions. She just went and looked at the blog that i had at the time and she liked my writing and she invited me to join this team for monster.com you know the job search website. And at the time they had a section of the site that was dedicated just to women and they wanted a women’s health expert to write like a weekly column for their website. And that’s what I ended up doing and got so much great exposure that way.

So wow. I mean monster, that’s a big one. Think about how much traffic that website was getting versus my little website. It was probably getting like five visitors a month. Okay. And then next I wanted to tell you about some of the other PR opportunities that I’ve got like the site, sheknows.com other sites, Yahoo. I’ve been on, I’ve been on, oh gosh, I can’t even remember. So many different websites, a lot of like pregnancy and baby, things like that when I was going through pregnancy and childbirth. And this is a great tip. So please write this down. There is a website we usually call it Haro, H. A. R. O. It stands for help a reporter out. The website is not Hara though the website is helpareporter.com so if you go to your browser and you type in helpareporter.com you can see that you can sign up either as a journalist or as a source.

You would be a source. So a long time ago I signed up as a source for HARO and what they do is it’s a little bit annoying but they send you an email like a couple of times a day I think and they just have journalists that are looking for information and sources for their articles and sometimes for books and other things and if it fits the bill, if they’re saying like, hey, I need like a health expert to talk about the Keto Diet and that’s what you know about, you can write back to them and answer their questions. Sometimes they will post specific questions they want answers to. And sometimes I have been the one chosen because they post it at like Friday night at 8:00 PM and probably nobody’s checking their email, but I happened to that day and I replied. And then they will quote you in their piece and they will name you.

You know, like Michelle Pfennighaus, health coach from New York says that the best breakfast you can eat includes protein, fat, and fiber. You know, there’ll be some sort of soundbite like that. Um, and then when people search your name, you did these articles will come up and it is a fabulous way to get PR is completely free. And every single day there are different opportunities that will just arrive in your mailbox. So if you haven’t done that before, please do sign up at help a reporter out. It’s something that I did a lot back then when I was starting my business and admittedly I have fallen off as my own practice has gotten busier and busier. But lately I’ve been thinking, gosh, I should really get back into checking those HARO emails, you know? Um, and you just have to skim through them and look for a relevant topic that you can reply to.

Whew. So I hope that helps Cynthia, and thank you for asking such a great question. Jemika saying that this is all very helpful. Hi Jemika, thanks for being here and I hope all of you listening have been able to write down a few helpful tips for yourself so that you can get some PR and get those logos on your own website and build some credibility. That’s really what it’s all about. Now if you have any other questions for me, throw them in the comments. I have a couple here waiting for us that I want to address.

And this one came from Noah. Noah said, I am about to go full time and would love support and tips.

Yay. Noah! That’s my support for you. Noah you should totally go watch the movie lemonade. Have I ever mentioned the movie lemonade? I’m saying this because even if you haven’t been laid off and it’s just a movie about starting a new chapter of your life and it’s very inspiring to watch other people walk that path.

My story was, you know, just one of many told in that documentary and it really is an film. So anyway, you might want to check that out. The other tips that I would have, well you know, it really is the money situation, right? And I always say this, you want to have money saved, you want to have a part time Gig, you want it to have some source of money or savings so that you’re not super stressed and taking any and every client and opportunity that comes your way because you’ll end up working with people you hate and you’ll end up doing things that you don’t want to do and you will end up hating your business. And that’s not what we want to do. We don’t want to create a business that we hate. We want to create a business that we love. So if you can ease off the stress of like a half to make this much money today, you will be able to play the long game.

That is really my best tip for you. Now, how do you end up making money over the long-term so you can sustain a full time health coaching practice? No, I’m going to direct you and anybody else who’s interested in this to a free training that I have available. It’s available at healthcoachpower.com/earn. E. A. R. N. And that will teach you how to actually map out your year so that you can plan to make the salary that you want to make. Again, that’s healthcoachpower.com/earn.

Okay, here’s a question from Alexandra and she says she’s happy to be in this amazing support group. We’re glad to have you, Alexandra. She says, I need help to build programs like a detox, digestive sugar craving program. Any suggestions? I know some business coaches sell done for you programs for health coaches, but not sure. Thanks.

I got a lot to say about this topic. This could probably be its own episode and I probably have talked about this before. I can’t remember right now. So Alexandria, yes there are done for you programs out there. 2 that I think do a very good job. Um, are 21 day sugar detox, if you’re interested, that’s sort of a more Paleo leaning program and we do have some 21 day sugar detox coaches within our group. That’s the kind of thing you know that you pay for and then you are able to be sort of a certified 21 day sugar detox coach and the program is laid out for you. You don’t have to create it, you don’t have to create the materials, but you can follow along. You can run your own groups, you can charge for the groups and turn it into something that you do within your business.

Another one that I will promote is called detox done. It’s by Julia Sarver. Some of you know her. She’s amazing. I love her. That program is a little softer. So it’s not like strict Paleo or strict vegetarian. It’s like a little more like it can work for anybody. And again, she gives you a lot of materials that are already done for you so you don’t have to create them, but you can edit them and make it your own. It’s a little more malleable, is that the word? Malleable. Something that you can shape, um, and turn into whatever you want versus 21-day sugar detox that you pretty much are going to run as it stands. So those are two options for you that I personally would recommend because I know coaches who do them, who are very successful with them. I also know that people who create them and I respect those, those women.

So I love those two as options for you. But I also want to let you know that you don’t have to turn building a program into like a huge project like any of you listening and watching, you can build a program. It is not rocket science. You just have to think, what do I want a group of people to do for a specified period of time? Write that down. That’s it. And then you just tell them that and you support them and you give them recipes and you have a some sort of community or Facebook group and you know you, you create an experience for them. You could do it in person, you can do it online. That’s it. Maybe you give them a cookbook, maybe you don’t, but the point is you’re going to say to them, okay, we’re going to, this is a digestive program so we’re going to eliminate this, this, this and this and here are some recipes that you can try instead for your breakfast, lunch and dinner and boom, that’s your program.

You know, so I have faith that you can also just create your own. Now will it be successful? That is a marketing question, but in terms of the content, you can create your own programs or you can get a done for you program and then the success of those programs are going to depend on how well your marketing people listening to this podcast. Of course you’re going to get really good at marketing. That’s my goal for you anyway.

Jemika’s saying it’s called done for you, is that right? The second program. Oh, the second program I mentioned Jemika was called Detox Done, Detox Done. And it’s from Julia Sarver. I’d be happy to put, uh, a link or something to that in the show notes. Um, so you can check it out.

Alrighty. Let’s see. Another question here. This one came from Margie and Margie says, hello everyone. I have a client that is struggling with digesting legumes. She is following a whole food plant based diet, but every time she has legumes has a lot of discomfort. Have you had clients that experienced that and if so, what do you recommend?Thank you for your help.

Every now and then I like to throw up health question or health coaching question in here. Something that’s not quite about business because I think it makes all of our brains start turning. And it’s also really nice to see all of your answers to questions like this inside our Facebook group because we all have different experiences and some of us are following like a Paleo or Keto diet or something like that and others are Vegan. And I don’t care what you know, regimen you follow for your own health.

I know in my life I have tried all sorts of different diets that have worked for me or not worked for me. Different points of my life. So anyway, I like to jump in on these questions. So Margie, one thing that I have learned to do with beans, and I don’t know if all of you guys do this, but I always do a soak the night before I Cook my beans and not just in water, but in slightly warm water with a little bit of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. I usually use apple cider vinegar and there’s actually like formulas for this. This is like the one bit of like the Weston a price traditions that I have ever really followed. So you just have like, it’s generally like a cup of beans would be like one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and two cups of water.

You warm up the water a little bit, turn off the heat, put it in the beans, put in the apple cider and put the lid on it and just let it sit overnight. And that just starts to break down the beans a little bit so that they are easier to digest. They also cook faster, so then you can do the same exact thing with grains. So I always soak my beans and grains the night before and I’ve been doing this in my instant pot. You guys, does anybody else do that? I love it because then I just can use that same pot to cook beans, which is what I’m going to do anyway. I always pressure cook my beans in the instant pot so I just will like steam some water just until it gets warm, turn it off so the next day dump it out, put it back in with some more water and then I pressure cook them so you can try having her prepare her food differently.

If she’s opening a can of beans and dumping it onto her plate, that’s going to not be prepared as well. The other thing you can do when you cook beans is you can throw a little piece of Kombu into the pot and have all the minerals from that sea vegetable. What kind of soak into the beans and again help make that more digestible. But again, a can of beans is not going to be prepared that way. Other thoughts don’t eat beans, right? Like maybe, sure gut is not at a place that she’s going to be able to comfortably digest beans or maybe for some people it’s dairy and it’s just something that you shouldn’t eat, right? If your body is uncomfortable, it doesn’t mean that you can never eat these things, but she’d probably want to back off. And if she’s following a plant based diet, she might need to rethink that.

You know, if you’re going to exclude all legumes from a plant based diet, you know you could do it, but you might want to introduce some animal protein in the meantime and then maybe her gut needs to heal and later she would be able to eat beans again. But I think this is part of the process. Helping people rethink sort of their, their dogma and their thoughts about like what I should be eating or what I, what I heard was healthy or I watched fork over knives or whatever. And now I never want to eat chicken again or something, you know. But we can help our walk our clients through this journey and clearly her body is saying there’s something wrong and nobody should be in a lot of discomfort after they eat. And if they are, that’s a sign that something’s got to change. Am I right? All right, good stuff you guys.

Well, listen, that is all for today, everybody. I’m going to be back next week. I may be down here in the basement again next week. It’s actually worked out quite nicely today, so I’m glad we did this. Thank you for joining me in the spider filled basement. Your job is to keep asking great questions. I will keep answering them and I’ll see you next week. Take care everybody.