How to Make Your Company Famous with Jon Card | Business Survival Livestream 010

Simon is joined by Jon Card, journalist, and writer for The Guardian, The Times and Daily Telegraph to chat market your business, being an effective storyteller to attract press and how to make your company famous. RECORDED LIVE: 16th April 2020


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How to Make Your Company Famous by Jon Card

Note: This transcription has been generated with AI and there may be errors present. 


Question is, John, have I got my best side? If you got your best side?

I don’t have a best side. You look good from wide angle, but you kind of pixelate from another

eye, maybe I shouldn’t move too much. Maybe that’s what needs to happen here. Yeah, look, I’m just going to chat for a few seconds, John, whilst the Facebook Live, gets a few folks jumping on to come and play, which is brilliant. Hopefully, the technology is going to work tonight, we’ve had a few bits of fun with the tech if you tried any of these live streams at all.

I’ve done it straight to Facebook. And that worse, UK? I’ve never integrated zoom and Facebook. So I was gonna ask for your advice. I won’t know. But, uh, so yeah, I don’t know how to talk together.

I don’t either John, you know that you know how this works? If you want to get any answers about technology? For me, you have to go through somebody who knows the answer. I mean, I can pretend to know the answer. And I will muddle my way through it. And then I’ll secretly text Jack and go Jack, can you make me look intelligent technology,

you know, we should do we should not be alive. And we should get Jack Henry and Corinne, get them to do a talk. They probably know exactly what was going on.

They know exactly what’s going on, John. So look, we’ve got a bunch of people that joined us. good evening to everybody watching the live stream. So I just want to say hello to the mighty Teresa Allen, who is the queen of copywriting from a previous life at Teresa has been responsible for about three hours of Jack’s time today. Whilst he’s been going through some of these spelling and grammar issues that may or may not have been on our step by step guide. And Joseph says Hi, good evening, Joseph. Liam and Amy from the team are here. Fantastic carries here. And amazingly, John komati from vintage Namibia has joined us as well, John. So not only do we have people from Wales watching with we’re chatting to John, in Namibia as well as the obvious place to have viewers from John, do you have any other fans in Nantucket? There we go. Yeah. Okay. Yes, Linda’s joined us from Kent as well. So this is great. So look, everybody. The topic this evening is a fascinating one. How do you get your business in the media? Because we all know that there are gains to be had by having your your company, you know, featured in newspapers, on the TV, on the radio, in blogs and online magazines. But how do you actually go about it and what’s the process? And my guest this evening, I would like to welcome the mighty John card. Good evening, John. Great to see you. Now we know John really well. We’ve been working with John. I think it’s about a year now. John, isn’t it

coming up to about a year? Yeah.

So So James from the pop up business school team who some of you have met. I’ll Josephson Walsall and Oliver after that. Hello, Trevor. Great to see you. We’ve been chatting on LinkedIn. Kim from Bolton is here. Yeah, well, so as in the Midlands, not more so as in Poland, but not yet. We do have a few friends in Poland. I

used to live in Warsaw. That’s where I grew up. So yes,

I always say, Okay, I think you might be gay. So give us one of your favourite haunts from Walsall. Joseph, for Joseph, before we start, can you how long ago was that John?

Oh, is going back a few years. You know, if it’s a Joseph, there’s a good chance that I know which one you’re talking about. Not. I’ve got a fair idea that it could have been one of my friends. Okay. You probably know the lazy Hill pub. If you notice the lazy Hill Pub is the one I’m thinking of.

Everybody knows the lazy Hill pub, John. Even I know the lazy Hill pub. And I’ve not been to Warsaw. So there we go. So look, we’re dealing with this issue tonight of how to make your company famous. And the reason we’re calling it that is that’s the title of John’s book. And what happened we sent out we sent out we got the book here. Here we go. Shameless plug already. We’ve not we’ve not even said anything yet. And he’s got his book out. Brilliant. You can tell this guy is in PR. Yeah. We’re going to learn from John tonight. And the reason that we got involved with John and his wife, Karen, they run a business called full story media. And they’re based down in Brighton. James from the pop up business school team went on one of John’s media training courses. And at that point, we’d probably spoken to about five different agencies over the course of a couple of years, including a couple of freelancers, as well as slightly bigger PR agencies and so on. And, you know, we sort of hit a few dead ends and James came back from meeting you, John. And he said, Yeah, I think I think it’d be worth it. having a conversation and exploring this further, I’ve learned a whole bunch from this course. It’s really, really practical in classic Jimbo style, he’d already started applying some of the stuff that he learned. And, you know, we started a conversation with with John and Corrine. Now, since we’ve been working with John. And the reason this is the main reason why I really wanted to get you on this live stream and share some of your knowledge with, with all of our friends from the pop up business school crew and the other folks that are joining in and watching our content is that you’ve got some amazing results. And that’s what talks isn’t it? You get the results, John, that’s why I think, I think a little bit of what you do is a bit of a dark art. And I want to explode some of the myths tonight. So if you’re somebody that’s running a business right now, or you’re about to start a business, or you’ve been in business, and you’re trying to pivot and you know, take advantage of the situation at the moment to reinvent your business and so on. John can give us some tips on how to do it. And just to give you a quick flavour before we dive in. I would love Oh, yes, there’s a few book plugs. Kerry said yes. Definitely Google John fullstory I know Jack will put in the, in the comments. To give you a flavour. The sorts of things that have happened since we’ve been working with John Curran. You may have seen a clip of me on BBC World News, which happened just before Christmas, John and I had a fun morning out of an early start up at the BBC in London, back in the day when we were allowed to move around on trains and things. Remember those times those heady times of about seven months ago? And yeah, BBC World News that’s beamed in over 20 countries, 60 million viewers plus, and so on, that was as a result of the work that John Cornyn do, we were in the Telegraph, featured in The Telegraph as one of the COVID-19 business heroes of a couple of weeks ago, and a whole bunch of other publications online and in mainstream media that have happened as a result of their work. So what I would like you to do is, if you’ve got any questions about how you can get your business in the media, please stick them in the comments. And I’ll do my best to put John on the spot and ask him very difficult things without any notice whatsoever. And I’ve got about a list of about 25 difficult questions that I know you’re going to love to jam that, let’s dive into it. So I guess it’s important to note that just share with everybody a little bit of your experience, John, and what prompted you to set up your own PR business and help small businesses, what was the journey you’ve been on?

What the truth is, I never ever wanted to run a PR company, because I didn’t really like the way that they were run, I didn’t really have a great deal of admiration for love. And so as a journalist, since since more or less the turn of the century, I was a journalist. And since the credit crunch helped me into self employment. I’ve been a freelance journalist. And what happened was basically one day I sat at home, and current came in and she said, Andy, her boss wanted him to get some press because she’d been a journalist, and she was the content person there. And she said, Well, you know, what do you suggest. And I already had a kind of a mental list of all the things I didn’t like about PR companies, and all the things I thought, as a journalist would work better. And we put them together. And you know, I didn’t exactly know how successful he was going to be because I’ve never really put it to the test. But Karen’s when I went back to work and executed these things. And lo and behold, it all works. I mean, really well. Her boss, Andy was in the Financial Times BBC, you know, all over the place. So much so that, that their clients were saying, Wow, how are you getting this press, you know, who’s your PR agency. And they didn’t have one, they had current, and me sort of in the background. And so and so it was working nicely. And, and so then she entered in via press and publicity for their clients to as part of the package because it was an agency as a digital agency must be marketing. And, and so I was really, I was really excited. But then we were like, well, you know, what do you want to do with this because I didn’t want to set up a PR agency. I didn’t fancy that model at all. And so just we didn’t do that much for quite some time. But this just carried on. And then one time, I was actually on a trade mission. I was working on this as a journalist, and I was with about 20 entrepreneurs. And these were, you know, real, really clever people. I mean, you know, these people had like PhDs, they, you know, there was a reinventing science of all kinds of renewable energy entrepreneurs. They’re profoundly bright people. And we’re doing this q&a And it’s helping them To tell stories because that’s something I learned that people who are very good at science and technology aren’t much good at telling stories. And that’s really, really key. And they were so I was helping them and they were like, Oh, that’s great. That’s great. And they’re writing stuff down.

I think John has resonance. He first noticed me as John frozen and Novi frozen

Oh, this is exciting. And all seeing going out and pitching as an events would how to make your company famous.

We’re back. Are you still there? John, you froze? We lost you. You’ve come back. This is exciting. Oh, dear. Okay. So we got to the we got to the bit about, you had some very clever entrepreneurs. Unlike working with me, of course, you had some very clever entrepreneurs that you were helping them tell stories. And then and then you kind of froze a little bit, and we’ve got you back, I think.

Okay. So you froze to me as well. So I was just looking at a blur. So yeah, so I was working with these entrepreneurs helping them pitch and they’re asking me questions. And you know, I thought, Well, come on this, let’s, let’s do something here. So we set up the company, and we launched this events called How to make your company famous. We just hired a room and tried to sell tickets on Eventbrite. And we did I mean, we did that for about a year and they’re just selling tickets, was incredibly hard work is getting people to pay and going to an event is tough, but we did loads and we met some really good people, we didn’t really make a lot of money, we always broke even or made a little bit. And then, you know, we’ve been running a business for about a year. And we were looking to bounce we will get a bit worried we’d run out of money. The business had no money, we had no money. We had to we were looking to remortgage the house soon. And I was terrified about sending out my bank statements to the bank, because we had, it was just everything was red. And thankfully, one of the people who have been on one of my courses is Greg, Casper Craven, he said to me, basically, he invited me to come to his house where he was running a workshop about business. And I’d help him I’ve got him on CNN, so he kind of felt like he owed me. And, and he took me over there. And just basically, it taught me a bunch of things about business, which I just hadn’t really thought of, like, you know, the point of making a sale is to create a customer. And once you create a customer, you can sell them other things. And so I realised that I’d been going around getting all these entrepreneurs to come to my events, and then they’ve just been disappearing, you know, I had nothing else to sell them at all. Yeah, but I still didn’t want to sell a PR package. So we created the chief storytellers programme, which was really meant to be about training and helping entrepreneurs understand the power of storytelling. And as we’ve been developing it over the last year or two with you, and with some other people, you know, we become quite dictatorial about what needs to be done and what isn’t, shouldn’t be done. We don’t sort of let clients say, We want you to do this. We want you to do that. That’s not how we work. Because I’ve noticed that it’s more the other way around, isn’t it? It’s more the other way around? Do we sort of say, Look, don’t ever do that. Don’t ever do this? These are the things you must do. And we have

everybody watching. So yes, if I said that cast was a great person, and a sailor is obviously got some fans here. And I wanted to share with everybody, that before we went to the BBC interview, John gave me a long list of things that I had to make sure I did, for example, shave, which hasn’t happened this evening, John, I put on rebelling a little bit. This evening, I had to make sure that I scrubbed up a little bit well, and you know, bits of toothpaste on the face, and relatively well groomed otherwise it was going to be captured on video and shared several million times, which I think on reflection, I don’t mind you being dictatorial on that, that’s pretty good advice. So imagine this. Imagine this, you’re a small business, and you’ve never got yourself in the media, you’re a new business. Okay, what what are the sort of thought processes that we go through? And I think we’ll dive into storytelling and how to structure that story in a moment. What’s the sort of thought processes that you need to go through if you think right now, now I really want to get my my business in the papers. Just to give you some context, Florence, Florence, from came to our Paddington event, which you came to that event actually, John, Florence has a cat cafe business, that as soon as this lockdown is over, I know that she’s going to open the doors to that she’s saying getting press in newspapers in London and women’s magazines for the cat cafe would be something of interest to her, Linda is upcycling furniture and making forgotten bits of furniture looks stunning. She’s had some really, really good press, actually, Linda, but I think she’s she would saying, you know, I’d love to get my furniture in Vogue magazine or other interior design, fashion magazines, just to give you a couple of ideas for context of, you know, how do you get your business in the media? What’s the process people need go through?

Sure, well, let’s start off with a wonderful idea. You absolutely can get your business into the press, you don’t need a PR agency, and you don’t need a huge amount of budget. And you absolutely have the skills or the ability to develop the skills to be a media player. Well, the number one thing, I mean, we sort of five major principles, I’ll give you them all in one go. And then we’ll sort of run through them a little bit, I’m gonna write these down. These are the things which these are the principles, which I believe are gonna last stand the test of time. And because they’re standing up now, even in lockdown, and a lot of what we did when we put together full story media was to sort of think about what’s what are sort of the big trends? What are they gonna be the constants? Okay, so number one is be a storyteller, right? Because journalists are storytellers, and what we’re looking for our stories, that’s what we have to do. You know, you if you’re talking about getting press a publicity, you’re thinking about a media campaign, the word story should be coming up again. And again, that’s in the middle of your page. And everything else goes around it, journalists, the storytellers. So what’s the story? Number two, think visually and create amazing images. So you can be two examples there. I mean, I mean, a cat cafe, upcycling, I mean, I can already picture in my head, the sorts of great pictures that could go into the press, you know, the these, these could be striking. And so many businesses in the pop of business school, you know, they’re creating physical products. And that’s great, because that that gives you real props to create great pictures. Now, we always, throughout people, clients suggest a professional photoshoot. But if you’re tired, or you’re on a budget, you know, just think illustratively what, you know, what does your business really look like to your customers, if you’re a bread maker, come on, you’ve got loads of bread, if you’ve got a cat cafe, you should be a business owner of the centre surrounded by some lovely feline cats staring over your shoulders, you know, upcycling, you know, some, you must have some exciting and interesting furniture, which you’re doing. So think visually. Number three is create your own content. Media in the UK and all across the world is in decline and has been massively disrupted by digital that just aren’t as many journalists around, they don’t have the time to do that much stuff. And so you know, you need to write your own story, you need to create your own bios, you need to come up with your own quotes and press. It is one thing, which I want you to think about next time you’ve ever read a newspaper, a lot of the quotes in there have never been spoken out loud. Not really, they’ve been sent via email. Who sent them well, the person that they’re from, or the PR or the marketing person that’s working with them. CNET, create your own content, create your own quotes, your own stories, etc. Number four, help journalists help journalists to write their stories. And not just journalists, also people that are doing events or we’re putting together you know, promotional material where you might be included, help them to do it by sending over a nice, pre prepared bio about yourself, your own pictures, your own stories, have to do the heavy lifting for them. You know, whenever I get interviewed or wherever, you know, going in someone’s book or doing a podcast, I’ve got stuff that I will send them about me detailing, you know, in short, short sentences, who I am, what my experience is. I’ve got high resolution pictures to send over because they’re going to need these things. And finally, the number one, the number one really, it’s be available, be responsive. People often complain Oh, why so and so always on the press? Why sounds I’ve always been interviewed. I’ll tell you why. It’s because they’re always available. I’ve seen that with entrepreneurs. I’ve seen it with politicians. I’ve seen it with all sorts of people, the people who are on the press the most and the people who just damn well show up again and again and again, no matter what publication is there.

And they get into the mix and they get onto journalists. The first call persons, someone like say, you know, Tim mine from weather spends, he found a real sweet spot he did, because most of the big pub chains in the UK are big listed companies. And this is sort of about the biggest private owned company. And so, you know, we talk about pubs, a lot, pubs, and beer is kind of one of those big subjects that we talk about. So who do they call when they want to talk about the latest issue regarding beer, or pubs or tax on beer or whatever it might be? It’s like talking to Tim Martin, as soon and he was always, always always available. And so said, every journalist knew they can contact him. And if they did, he’d be there. Because you know, if you’re a TV producer, the one thing you can’t stand is an empty chair. If you’re a radio presenter, the one thing you can’t stand is dead air. You know, you need someone there broadcast is actually often there’s a lot of opportunities for broadcast. Same for Atlanta for the for the print journalists, you know, they’ve got copies, right, today, not tomorrow, you know, today, probably by the end of the hour, they’re gonna get a story out there. So somebody who’s good to go, someone’s talking away, like to mine or lots of other entrepreneurs or get lots of press. They’re available. They’re responsive, they say yes, straightaway. And that’s kind of what the sort of the number one thing. So those are my big ones.

I love that. Let’s dive into some of those in a second. I think I think I just want to get granular for a second. Who is it? We need to? Who is it we need to email? Do you put a press release? You know, your story that you’ve written up? Do you stick that as an attachment? Or do you copy and paste it into the body of an email? You know, and do you add the photo to it too? Do you follow it up with a phone call? You know, what’s, what’s the sort of mechanics if you think of these, you know, all of our small businesses that are watching that want to get some press either in, you know, newspapers, magazines, or you know, trade press, trade magazines, trade blogs that are specific to their industry? For example, what what are your sort of tips on, you know, how to how to email who to email and how to structure it?

Sure, in terms of, if you’ve, if you’ve put together a press release, or I was I like to say a story, because press releases are often near me, like they come from the marketing department, I prefer stories,

you read my revenue, we wrote down, it needs to be the story that I’m sharing, not the press release?

Yeah. We don’t really send out press releases, not in the traditional sense. Had this

even using that language is more likely to get the thing opened, isn’t it?

Yeah, I mean, you know, when I, when we put together a story, which we sent out, you know, the style in which we write it, is in the style of a newspaper, believe it or not, because we’re sending it to a journalist who’s writing in that style. Yeah, it’s, it says it’s revolutionary. I mean, you know, we just like write it in a good standard news format, we put a headline, we have a kind of a couple of teaser sentences, we have a couple of strong lines to say what the story is. And some funnier quotes. By the way, you always paste these things into the body of the email, don’t send attachments, right, because you want the journalist to read it as quickly as possible. And if they’re going to open up an attachment, that’s an extra action for them to perform. So you paste it into the body of the email, we often we typically do send pictures, we would send the lower rare lower res version of the picture. So they they know what the picture can look like. And if they if they want the high res, or they need it, then we tell them that on the email that you know that the higher res are available, so they need to go into print. Because the low res probably okay for online, but if you’re going in printing, you need high resolution pictures, which could blow up big. So for the magazines. Okay, nice. So yes, we would attach a picture, but let me paste the story into the body of the email.

And you would you send this to the editor? Or would you be looking for sub editors on the specific, you know, area of business that you’re in? Or what has what was that mechanism that like, I guess it depends on the on the publication or the media channel that you’re contacting. But if you’ve got a sort of rule of thumb, because there’s people watching here that are in the education sector, travel sector, you know, people that are doing arts, we got photographers, there’s someone asking questions about, you know about doing tours, we’re going to dive into some of the mistakes and the things to avoid for Kate’s Malinska. And a couple of people are asking about I don’t have a story, how do I get a story and when’s the right time to tell it but just before we get into that, who is the best person to contact and what tips have you got about getting the damn thing open? Because Ali’s point is, you know, do it’s very difficult to get a cold email opened, isn’t it? I mean, what’s what’s the sort have open open tips that you can that you can share that in your experience

about Well, I would usually you put the headline into the subject line, you might. The other thing, which stops a lot of press releases from getting published is a lack of a good photo. So sometimes we put in, you know, photo story into the subject line, if you’ve got an image is strong, you want to flag that one up. So we’ll put up right near the top of the photo story. And then an interesting headline. The headline is one of the most important things I mean, in many ways, it is a journalist job to create one. But we often want to make sure that that’s clear. And so the headlines, headlines are really important. Because if, if it just sort of says, you know, press release, company’s sales increased, you know, it’s boring. And so

you try not to me, John, it’s not boring to me, I understand it’s boring to everybody else.

Well, that’s that’s kind of the point, what a lot of entrepreneurs don’t realise what makes them very happy and excited, is just not very interesting to the press. There’s, there’s different ways to write headlines. I mean, my favourite is when you have two things which don’t fit together, get the unlikely pairings. So it’s kind of like so one, someone that we work with Carlene Jackson. She’s a dyslexic entrepreneur. And, and so the big quote, which has opened up a lot of doors is dyslexic dyslexia, I consider dyslexia to be a gift that’s helped me in business. So dyslexia is a gift. And dyslexia, if you like that, to most people, that’s a disability. So they don’t think dyslexia and gift. So that’s two things which don’t really fit together very well. So I certainly know we’ve had quite a lot of traction with pop up and what journalists really like is, they like some real truth, some candid truth, there’s a lot of PR bullshit out there. And here’s sign a pain saying, two weeks ago, my business lost 150 grand. And now, I’m helping 5000 entrepreneurs. Well, that’s, you know, that’s kind of, firstly, it’s like, whoa, they’ve been hit real hard. And they’ve been open about it. Because, you know, a lot of entrepreneurs don’t want to be open about their failings or the downfalls. And then it’s kind of like, you’ve lost all this money, but you’re trying to help people in a big, big way. So kind of look, if you’re, whatever your business is, look for the things that was a bit unusual look for the things that don’t fit together. The things that surprised people, these are the the stories that you know, the journalists looking for, you know, tell me about you’ve got a lady that is doing recycling, you know, maybe they you know, they sold a chest of drawers for a ridiculous amount of money. Which they bought for 50 P initially, or they you know, they found in a skip, you know, I sold this item for five grand on a fan in a skip the week before, you know, that’s, that will catch someone’s attention. Probably.

Yeah, I hope Linda caught that bit, because that’s a great piece of advice. And I have to say, we, I do poke fun at you for the word juxtaposition, John, because I know it’s your favourite kind of headline, creation of putting two things together that don’t belong. I guess the cat cafe is kind of writing its own right there, isn’t it and there’s, there’s something there for sure. i When the telegraph came in, did that piece they sent a photographer to my house, as you know, which was quite soon after the lockdown had happened. So my doorbell rang. And then we had this really weird moment where he backed off about four metres down my pathway. And we sort of did this virtual sort of, we want to shake each other’s hands, and we sort of waved each other and then he kind of came in the kitchen, but he almost had to hover his way into the kitchen, because he felt really awkward about being in my house during lockdown. All my family was staring at me going, you said, we’re not allowed anyone in but there’s someone in our house, what do we do? And it was all a bit weird. I have to say, the, the that that approach of headline writing has had a huge impact on our business in the last two or three weeks alone, just by getting that thing published in The Telegraph, as part of was very humbling to be on a page of COVID-19 heroes, I sort of felt a bit awkward reading that going on we’re here. But that’s enabled us to engage so many more people and actually, you know, we’re into, we’re into a you know, a lot of figures in terms of the traffic to our survival guide. I know Jack Jack will put the link to our business survival guide in the Facebook comments at the bottom, we’ll pin it at the bottom because this is the thing where we’re putting all of our content. So if this is the first time you’ve watched any of our live streams, you can go back to all the blog posts and videos that we’ve stuck in there. And we’re interviewing lots of different experts with you We spoke to Barney, the escape artist on Tuesday about money. Of course, we’ve got John this evening, talking about how to make your company famous. So we’ve got a little bit granular. We’ve talked about, you know, I think a great tip of putting the words photo story, if you’ve got a striking picture in the subject line, you know, writing a headline and thinking of the story where two bits don’t fit together the most surprising bit about your business, the most exciting bit about your business, the most unusual bit about your business. That’s, that’s really rich hunting ground. And I think one thing I’ve discovered from lots of people that have been to pop up business school, is their stories are phenomenal. Because we tend to meet people, most most of our participants from our events are sort of over the age of 30, which means there’s a bunch of history there. And, you know, we’ve had a teacher that set up a catch up in Manchester, you know, a pet shop for buying buying stuff specifically for cats. And her experience was teaching teaching English to rowdy teenagers in one of the roughest estates in Manchester. And, you know, it’s those kind of stories where I used to be doing this. And now I’m doing this, I bet there’s a bunch of people watching here that without realising it, actually, they’ve got a story right there. I used to live in this country. Now I’m starting my own business in London, or I used to be, you know, a police officer. And now I’m, I’m running a business, which is a familiar one to me. So I’m all right now, though. I’m over it. So let’s have a look here at. Thank you, Kate, for your congratulations, I just want to dive in. Let’s dive into Is there anything more on the storytelling side, John, that you know, your your out of your five principles of engaging the media, your first one is about storytelling, and I’ve just sort of given a couple of bits away that are in my head from the work that you and I have done together? Is there anything else that you could add to that, that would be helpful for people to hear?

Um, what i Everyone is a storyteller. As for I believe, that I believe everyone is very capable of being a good storyteller. It’s just that we sort of get out practice and when we learn how to tell stories, and listen to stories when we’re at school, and then it becomes it sounds like it’s something which is quite childish. And in fact, it’s like an absolutely critical business skill. Most people I think, if they allow themselves if they relaxed they can be, they can be very interesting and entertaining storytellers are about Sure. I tell you give them the simplest story format in the world, pretty much. It’s like a thriller.

Let’s do that. Because I think specifically, Tanya has is talking about her business about offering accent softening and English pronunciation as an online offer. And Tony, you should definitely check out Blackboard English on Instagram, one of the pop ups, businesses that started we’ve got some other people that are asking questions about, I don’t even feel like I’ve got a story. I’m not quite sure where to begin. Yeah, let’s do the three. Let’s do that.

Everybody’s got a story. Okay. And so let me let me tell you, this is a question that I’m asked all the time people say, How do you become a journalist? Okay, so I’m going to answer that question, and then teach you so you can answer the question that, you know, however you got into where you are today. So how did I become a journalist. So, at the turn of the century, I left university and to be honest with you, I, I was directionless. I didn’t have a career path. I didn’t really know where I was going with my life. And I was going around from job to job, I was doing the sales job, I was doing an admin job, wasn’t very happy, wasn’t really enjoying it. Thankfully, one of the jobs I took was a magazine, and I was friendly with the editorial staff, and we were chatting. And they said to me, you know, why don’t you write an article for us because I was kind of interested in it. And, and you have quite a bit about politics. And there’s a political column about the Iraq war that was on at the time. So this about 2002. And so I wrote this piece, sort of jokey sort of punky piece, and send it off to them. And they published it. And I saw my words in print for the first time or design, I saw my very first byline, there was John card, and I just thought, wow, you know, I could get paid for doing something like this, my life would just be so much better. And so I saw rich set off on a journey that I was on, right, I got to become a writer and a journalist, that would make me happy. That would be and I went got some work experience or whatever writing gigs, I could get demand for the paper, get some money, that’d be great. Caught up in newspaper and sort of said, you know, can I work for you or can you give me some work experience and they sort of said, well, you need to get this question. modification called NCT J. And, and yeah, you probably get some work experience, I’ve got some work experience enrolled in a college course, stop being independent went live with mom and dad for a few months while I did the course, did the course. And then right at the end, basically through all my belongings into my Ford Fiesta drove down to London to take my first full time job. And, you know, it’s not as if everything’s gone swimmingly since then, but life has been so much better. You know, every day, you know, I’ve enjoyed or I never sort of dread the morning, as I used to when I was much younger. And that’s how and so. So how can you take that story format and apply it to your life? Right? There’s three parts, right, there is a trigger, the transformation, and then the moral of the story. Those are the three parts. So where did your Where does your story begin, you start off. So you know, in the ordinary world, maybe life isn’t that great. Maybe you’re struggling a little bit. But something inspires you, it triggers you to go off in a new direction. Alright, so that’s the trigger. So for me, it was Wow. So my words in printers thought, This is it for me. And then the next stage is the transformation. So you know, you tried to get your business going, you had some knockbacks, you had some help along the way. Whatever you did to get your business going. That’s the transformation. And then there’s the moral of the story there. Where are you? You today? Where’s your business? This today? What are you doing and learnt and who are you know, what have you found out about yourself, you know where you are today. So it’s as simple as storage you can get. Tell me where you were before your business started. Tell me what inspired you to set up your company, how you transformed yourself and your life. And then where you are today. 123 Now I’m pretty sure that most of you who are listening, you’ve got a business can craft some kind of story like that. And you know, try saying it out loud. Try scribbling it down. Get some voice activation software if you don’t like writing, just talking to the computer. So your words, say say My story began in 2015. I was, you know, stuck in a boring office job but didn’t really enjoy it very much. And I was thinking to myself, I’d like to do something better. And I’ve had this real passion for cats. And I thought well what can I do that he’s interested in cats and offer what would it be great to set the cafe for cats. I’m what inspired that story. And then you know that that? And then tell us about how he did it and then where you are today. That should be great.

Yeah, and I guess the icing on the cake you can absolutely get press yourself. I was gonna say the icing on the cake is the is the high resolution photo, the impact food image that tells your story I brings the colour to the story right. Now I get it. I mean, I get it.

Pictures are really important. Pictures aside important.

So Kate from Bridgend is writing now and she’s definitely got some awesome stories. Actually, Kate, I don’t know if the live stream lets you but you should definitely put a picture of the craft kits that you’ve created. And I saw a picture today. They’re absolutely brilliant. There are so many Kate has got some brilliant stories. And actually, this is a great one actually. Okay, I hope you don’t mind I’m going to spill the beans but only a couple of them. You know, during the period that we’re going through at the moment whilst trying to run a business and run a home with young kids at the same time. And I love Kate did a couple of videos where she had to, she went out for exercise, but I think it was mainly to get some sanity headspace and work on her business. She made a video and it was quite fun because she’s kind of in the woods whispering and hopefully my kids can’t see me. I’m making a video about my business. You know, there are so many incredible stories right now of people that are working on their business ideas whilst on lockdown. That in itself is a great story, isn’t it? And I think you know, we should those, you know, the lockdown thing. Plus, I’m working on my cat cafe business and Jenny Jones. I think it’s Jenny Jones has just

gone Simon. So again, I think it said like it was like a headline story that you know, I set up my business hiding in the woods for my kids. Yeah, yeah.

Go like, Hey, if you heard that bit, there you go. Let’s that should be that should

be. I’ll generate some headlines here. And now.

Let’s do it now. Okay, your love this one. This is great. Jenny Jones, so Jenny’s an accountant, but she also runs laughter sessions to make people feel good and manage stress. So we’ve got an accountant that makes people cry with laughter. Yes, I love this.

I think you’re doing it now. Okay. All right.

You’re gonna do it better than me. I’m going to shut up for the next one. So Carrie Barton has written her own headline as a result. Have your advice. She’s talked about herself as the Dyslexic photographer in lockdown, which I love. Where are we? There was a couple more back here. Okay, so we’ve got Alexandra Louise is a newly qualified green badge tour guide in Salford, Manchester. And of course, the tourist industry, especially at home is going to take a big bashing from before it recovers. How can she promote herself and get more social media coverage? And her businesses called bricks and water? Alexa tours?

So she’s a tour guide in Salford? Yeah, locked down. Yeah, that’s a tough. That’s a tough gig. Yeah. I think it sounds like a great story. Sorry, no laughing at you. I’m just thinking is sex, like, the sort of thing which would appeal to a journalist? Yeah. Hi, I’m a tour guide for Salford Manchester, and I’m in lockdown. Yeah, it’s, um, I’m trying to imagine what kind of content would be some good quotes that have come out of that piece. That’s that’s kind of like quite a fun story.

Yeah. And I think like from a, from a an entrepreneurial perspective, I’m sort of going, you can absolutely run a tour business online. And, you know, the whatever, whatever. Alexandria, I think the name was sorry, Alexandra, wherever you were doing before you decided to, you know, to become the badge holder into those tours. You know, let’s say for example, you’re a teacher. So meet the teachers come tour guide, who’s, you know, she’s doing virtual tours of Manchester, from her kitchen. And there’s probably a headline in that somewhere that that John will be better at coming up with and me, I think you might have frozen on the screen. So I’m going to keep talking for a second. John, if you haven’t frozen, then say something. So I think Tanya, Tanya said that her story judging, you said, John, my story is quite sad. I don’t know if people will want to hear it. And it’s quite personal and nothing to do with my business. So, you know, this is the lady that was doing the, the language speech therapy for people to soften their accents and sound more English. And, you know, I guess if you’re going to share your story, it needs to be something that you’re comfortable to put out there. Right.

It you, I mean, you know, if you’re going to go public, you’re going public. But, you know, a personal story, which is, especially if it’s a story about someone overcoming adversity, that can actually be a very compelling story. You know, all the all the best stories are really great stories. They’re always about struggle. And so if you’ve, you’ve been through dark times, you had to overcome a lot of things to get to where you are today who’ve struggled, then then actually, that that is a very, that can be a compelling story in a journalist like stories about struggle, everyone likes stories about struggle. Think about all the best films, you know, always about sort of the underdog. It was about someone struggling through and I mean, I one of the things I do in the media training sessions, and we got time for today we talk about the hero’s journey story. Yeah. And and that’s obviously a big part of the book as well. And it’s all about struggle. So you know, it could be a good story.

So we’ve got a an opportunity, we’ve got something like 15 minutes left. So if you’ve got any questions for John, John, I buy you a bit of thinking time whilst whilst I talk about this next little bit. So my thinking time is that Kate has said, she’s a trauma and abuse survivor who became a life coach to help people heal from traumas and is now doing free anxiety and panic attack prevention programme for police and NHS staff. I mean, that sounds absolutely phenomenal. Maybe there’s a head maybe there’s a headline in there that we can come up with. Get Russell as mistaken identity for electrical testing. And now he actually does electrical testing. I think there’s something genius behind that story somewhere. And yet, Linda, we know your story, Linda. Absolutely. And that that is an incredible story of, you know, when we met you and the circumstances that you were to either achieve. So Sarah, Sarah is watching from Indianapolis, where we ran an event in October I met Sarah and Sarah is sitting since her original business idea didn’t go the way that she wanted because of the lockdown stuff. She has been drawing since that she was a toddler. And finally, during the time that we’re in now, she’s found herself drawing every single day and she’s so happy because with the exception of a few jobs along the way, it’s 70 years later, 70 years later, and she’s now doing something that loves Well, I mean, there’s that’s a headline. There’s a headline in there somewhere. Yeah,

yeah, it took me 70 hits To start my first business, it’s, it’s quite interesting. Yeah. I mean, you know, what sets entrepreneurs apart from the rest of the rest of the population is that they actually finally take the plunge and set up their own company. And so, you know, I came with my business idea 50 years ago, just launched it today. But I’m glad glad that she’s got there, it probably wouldn’t be a good story. Yeah, she should write that one down.

Yeah, I mean, I love that and actually stairs for someone that’s not been doing a lot of drawing for 70 odd years. She’s very, very talented at drawing, and she sent me one of those sketches. Were in the morning, actually,

I guess there’s gonna be a lot of people. There’s gonna be a lot of people who sort of say, can be saying, you know, it took a global pandemic, to motivate me to start my business. And it took, it was the credit crunch that got me so self made me self employed. I was working for a magazine. I was doing best writing in my life. And then, you know, the magazine was just smashed by the financial crash. And you know, I was made redundant, and I’ve been self employed for the past decade.

The language that you use was the credit crunch helped me to start my business. And I really love that language. I noticed that that you said that right at the start. And I think I mean, that’s a that’s a headline. That’s the headline right there, isn’t it?

Yeah, I’m just trying to talk I just speak in headlines. Or, you know,

if you’re poor kids, they must lay my smoke around the house and a very alert state because they’re being fired headlines at them.

It’s less than us. Rumour has it’s just sort of cynical people.

That loses mind over empty cereal box. I mean, your your kids must be on tenterhooks the whole time. I love that. Right. So, look, John, I think I’m gonna ask this a couple more questions that are coming in. So last opportunity, folks, if you’ve got any questions, we’ve got, we’ve got an opportunity of a of a, an experienced journalist, between him and his wife, Corrine, they’ve got 40 odd years experience of journalism is written for The Guardian, The Times, he’s got pop up business school, on the BBC, and in the Telegraph, and all sorts of places. If you’ve got any other questions for John, please fire them in before we finish. John, did I interrupt you?

There’s something I want to tell everyone because people are always asking me about, you know, contacting journalists, and how do I get in touch with journalists and so on. And I always say, the best time to get in touch with a journalist is when they’re actually writing a story where you might be a relevant part. And thing is what journalists are doing these days, they advertise what they’re writing about. They want to get interviewees in quick, so they sort of crowdsource interviewees. So I’ve written down, I hope, you can see that a little hashtag there, you will have to request Yes, or no request. If you go on to Twitter, just open a new tab on Twitter right now. And type that in. That will come up with basically a load of tweets from journalists who are writing stories, they basically say hi, I’m writing for The Guardian, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, or whatever. And I’m looking for this type of person, hashtag journal request. And that’s, that’s, you know, you can get national journalists on their local journalists trade journals every week using journal request. Now, how you reply to a journal request, is really important. And we have got a free, completely free PDF article about this, where it basically will give you some straightforward advice on how to reply to general requests and to other forms of journalist requests, because there’s other things called response source and Harrow, and things like that. And this is what we do on behalf of pop up and other people. You can go on there, anyone can go there, you have to be a PR person. And you can reply to the journalist who’s done one of those tweets as these journal request tweets, how you reply will make a big big difference. So if Jack you’ve got some of you can put on the the comments section right now. It’s just a little link, which takes you through to the full story Media website, you can download that your guide to journalist requests. You also asked about, I probably should have mentioned it then about how to contact journalists, like if you’re emailing them, or you want to invite them to your event or something like that. Well, once again, we’ve created a bunch of templates for you. So this should be five templates, which again, is on the full story Media website. It’s completely free. Ping on there, check your email address and you’ll get a a template sent over to you so check and stick that one in there, too. That will be wicked and then certainly Everyone should get some along with this talk, two completely free bits of advice, which will help you contact journalists, one for the journalist request and the other one, email templates and other messaging templates for you. Because you can do this by yourself is a lot of people do, and they do so very successfully.

Brilliant. I love that John Jack’s put the link in right now, which is the and I think there’s, there’s one mistake which people make with these Jenai request tweets. So there was a question earlier on, you know, what are the mistakes that people make? But specifically on the journal request? Can you tell everybody what not to do with those?

Yeah, when you see a journal request on Twitter, it’s on Twitter, and Jonah says, Hey, I’m looking for interviewees general requests. I mean, I don’t tend to press the retweet button, because all you’re doing is just telling everybody else about it.

So you say you don’t tell anybody, it’s there.

Yeah, and I don’t press the like button. And I don’t normally comment, to be honest with you. Because that there’s just no point. It’s better if you can contact the journalists directly via email, or sometimes you can do a comment. Also, if you’re doing on Twitter, and you’re looking at the journal request, please click on the latest button. Because otherwise, you’re seeing general requests, which are just popular from probably 24 hours ago, which point it’s too late. So you can’t be on a bit of a hiding for nothing for generic West unless you know what you’re doing. But then there’s the is actually how to respond and generally find that email address, often it’s in the bio, sometimes you can just Google it and find it. And then that and then reply in a way, which is going to help them to be able to write their story. And typically, that means sending over a little bio about yourself to some commentary. If you’ve got a nice low res picture, you maybe stick that on to and give them the components that they need to put that story together.

That’s great advice. Thank you, John, are there any other mistakes that you’ve seen people make, you know, when you when you are back on the desk, and you know, things were coming into you where people wanted to get their stuff in the publications that you were writing for? Was there any, whether it’s anything that sort of, you know, made, you have a sharp intake of breath and hit the Delete button before any other action was taken?

Oh, I’m in the so many. So, so many journalists, inboxes are just filled with, you know, atrocities really, crimes against media. I mean, it’s what’s I mean, the the main thing is that I have a little folder called PR fail, and then all the worst press releases. But they’re often times where you think you that could have been so much better. And so often, they just haven’t really thought through that. It’s a story. So there was one, which I saw a little while ago. And it was all about this company, which had a big, big growth in sales. So you know, happy CEO sends out a press release, because look at all my sales. And I kind of figured that might be actually be a story in there. But I could tell that it was like nowhere near the top. As it went down. I turned out that this company is all about basically selling their charging points for electric cars. And so what this story was about, for the people out there was the growth in electric cars. Yeah, that’s what you what’s happening in your street is what you care about. You don’t give a monkey’s that this business is, you know, got 45% growth in the last quarter. You know, that’s not a story at all. What is interesting is the next car you buy might be an electric car, or your neighbour might very soon have a Tesla, I’m counting how do they charge it up? And that’s what it means to the people. So you got to sort of think about, you know, what, why does anyone care about this story? And what’s the story here? What is it? What is more in in Grimsby care about this story, you know, because they don’t care about your business growth, but they might care about how it impacts on their life. And that’s what the story is what it means to the people out there. That’s that’s the interesting thing.

Yeah. We haven’t run an event in Grimsby. But if we do run an event in Grimsby, I want to make sure that Maureen comes to it. John does a very important person, we need to get her there to help us with our PR. And I think there’s a couple of comments in here about which I really want to talk to because because I’ve had personal experience of this. Of so let me read out. Helen Lawson’s comment. It’s a great comment. And she said, I’m expanding my business from just workplace well being training to a workplace wellbeing consultancy as well. Should I wait to be ready and more established and experienced in these areas before Trying to get that traction? You know? So I think I think question is around timing. And then there’s a follow up question to that, which is, along the lines of, you know, it feels a bit self indulgent, doesn’t it to sort of talk about myself in the media, maybe I shouldn’t be talking about my clients, or maybe I should be talking about something else, it feels a little bit icky to some people’s are their face plus that in the media. So it’s partly about, there’s a question here, partly about timing and partly about, you know, is this really something that I should be doing? Have you got a view on that? I mean, I’ve got a view from an entrepreneurs perspective, and you can answer as an entrepreneur, but also, as a journalist, what goes through your mind when you hear that?

Well, I think we set a bad company. And and the first thing we did was we got a photo shoot, and then we were at a press release and sent it to the press.

Did they get did they get in the August? In August? On

August? 1, it is. That’s kind of that’s, that’s my take.

I’m really interested to know, like, because, you know, suddenly, you’re on the other side of this. Yeah, only in the term. Not only are you sort of gamekeeper turned poacher, you, you’re also you know, as an entrepreneur, someone, I’m no longer the, the name in print, and the sort of the faceless guy that creates churns out these stories. You’re now the guy in the limelight? Did you have a moment of if I’m a little bit nervous about putting myself out there now? Or are you sort of Actually no, I, I’m so well versed in, in the industry that I know, it’s the game went through,

I had to, I mean, actually, I had to start going out there and doing my own interviews. And you know, because I haven’t really been interviewed many times, I’ve done a few, but not that many. So what I would say to anyone actually, is trying to get their first bit of practice, you know, get yourself interviewed as quickly as you can. And then to tell your story. So I’m going to talk about yourself, you know, sort of sort of radio phonons and things like that we can have a chat with a DJ, that’s a good starting point. Do you get yourself on their list as well? Certainly contact your local press. Local press is a good place to start. Because the journalists, they can write some good stories for you. There’s a chapter a day, I think, you know, actually, Nick, his name is his credit that computer game, some COVID busting computer game. And he wrote a story about himself. He said, we’ve been on our blogs, and he picked up some advice and stuff like that, where to write a story. And he sent it over to me. And it wasn’t like a sort of a professional job, but he just done it himself. And he sent it off to his local paper. And they taken it and then turned into a story. And I’d given them enough information in detail in their proceed, sent a picture of himself, just holding his mobile phones, he’s got this computer game. So it’s just picture of him holding his mobile phone with his computer game on. And the stories about basically, him creating this new computer game is that donating all the money to the NHS, so a newspaper or publish a story like that, because you know, they’re not, it’s not so promotional. And now the job, there’s a journalist there who’ve taken this thing that she sent over, and they ran it down. And well, they basically just written a press release. You know, that they’ve, you know, that, that local news story now, it’s out there so other journalists can see it, so it gets spreading around. Yeah, brilliant. And, and also, they’ve they’ve sort of like, just written his story for him. Brilliant. So you know, I just say from you know, get out there. And also think about this, you know, what if Sky News was like knocking on your door tomorrow? Do you really want that to be your first interview? Or do you really want the Today programme to be your first interview? In a you don’t know, like, start off with the trade journals, local journalist, local, BBC, radio, WM or whatever, who, if 40 listeners that sort of a certain time of night, get on there, get interviewed, get talking, get used to it, you’ll get better with practice.

I love that. And I think, you know, you’ve just reminded me of, I think, what’s behind some of these questions about timing? And should I really be talking about myself? I think what’s behind that is fear. And I certainly went through that, and I don’t want to drop names, but but actually, I’m going to drop names when we went up to the BBC, as a Cafe Nero right outside the BBC prestigious head office. I went in there and I met you, John for a cuppa. Just before you arrived. I was sat in there and oppositely was Hugh Grant. And and I was fine up until that moment, and I thought, oh, no, there’s famous people here. Oh, no, I’m going on the telly. And do you remember when we went into the green room, or just before we went on to BBC One News, I got an absolute grilling from the BBC journalist who was who she just cuts cheap just tore me up for paper. And this was not on camera this was in, she was just sort of asked, she fired four or five questions at me to get a flavour of it. She, she sort of play with me for a bit, then spat me out and then walked off. I thought, oh, no, I’m gonna get destroyed. And I think Luckily, I had enough of these sort of, you know, radio interviews over the years and press interviews and the coaching from you and Korean that I think just about saved my bacon if it wasn’t for that I’d have been in big trouble. So I think the thing behind all of this is it certainly when I when I read that thing in the in the Telegraph that you got louder than some of the other bits that we’ve had in Forbes, I read the article and I do it a short, sharp intake of breath, I sort of go, oh, no, everyone can see that. Yes, they can. That’s the point. Because if you don’t shout about your business, nobody else is going to, and it does take a moment of going, You know what, I’m doing something of value here. And I’m helping people and like Helens business, it’s all about well being. And she is going to help people make potentially life changing decisions and experiences because she’s helping them deal with difficult stuff. And then if that’s not a business that needs to be shouted about, I don’t know, what is Helen. So I think you know, what I had to do with with media. And traditionally, I used to sort of step back a little bit and let Alan do most of it. Because Alan Allen’s really good at churning out a soundbite, that’s for sure. And he’s very confident in that stuff. So I was quite happy to do that. Because now we’re in different times. And, you know, I had to put on my big boy pants and go right, I think we just need to get on with it. Now. Let’s just go for it and see what happens. And you know, I haven’t got it right. Every time I’ve had a couple of moments where I thought, Oh, I shouldn’t have said that. But you know, nobody died. The business wasn’t destroyed. And ultimately, it’s it’s helped us and it’s helped us massively so and I think one one final thought, and I’m gonna give you a chance of a final tip, John. But I thought I thought Katie Kim said that bit behaving myself was important, but it’s my eyes go. Believing in yourself is important. That’s what we needed. It’s just we just the to back ourselves. Because if you’re not excited, and if you’re not backing yourself, no one else is going to so I’m gonna give a final thought in a second. John, you’ve probably you’ve probably got one last tip that you could share with everybody. You’ve been very generous. What’s in my mind is this on Tuesday, next week at 9pm. We’ve got Ken, Ken is joining us from his blog, which is called humble Penny. Ken’s got about 15,000 followers on his YouTube channel. And he’s been running a blog and running digital online businesses for some time. He’s got lots of experience to share about money about getting financially independent and about running a digital online business. So if you’re around next Tuesday, please, please come and join us for that Ken is absolutely excellent. And you’re going to enjoy that one. In the meantime, it’s time to tell your story. And get it out there. John, if you got one last tip to share with everybody before we before we wrap.

I think the final tip is just help the journalist to write their story, think about their job and help them to write a story especially now. The wall lockdown, you know, there are a lot of the journalists are stuck, you know, in their flats or their houses, and they don’t know what’s going on out there. And you can give them insight from your world as to what’s really going on. So you know, have some guts and get yourself out there. And believe that you can do it you know that the radio shows the TV shows and newspapers, they got to have somebody in it. And so why not you

beautiful John, thank you so much for joining us and giving up your evening, please thank Koren for lending you to us for an hour and a bit. Thank you everybody for watching and for asking the questions. We’ll go back through the thread and we’ll pick out some questions if we think there’s some more value that we can add Of course. Thank you very much everybody see on Tuesday of next week. Goodbye. God

bless all the best time