135: The Power Of PR with Cameron Herold


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Known as the CEO Whisperer, our guest, Cameron Herold, was groomed as an entrepreneur. His father and both of his grandfathers were entrepreneurs, and that’s where he got exposed to public relations in the early days. Cameron has been known to double profits by working with his clients, having built two $100-million companies. He shares his wisdom from stage regularly and has been called the Best Speaker Ever by Forbes Magazine. You’re going to enjoy this interview and, in particular, our discussion about his new book called Free PR.

The Power Of PR with Cameron Herold

FTC 135 | Public Relations
Free PR: How to Get Chased By the Press Without Hiring a PR Firm

Our guest is known as the CEO Whisperer. He’s been known to double profits by working with his clients, having built two $100 million companies. He shares his wisdom from stage regularly and has been called the Best Speaker Ever by Forbes Magazine. You’re going to enjoy this interview and in particular our discussion about his new book called Free PR. Welcome, Cameron Herold, to the show.

Mitch, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

It’s my pleasure. Cameron, you hit it out of the park with this book. Tell us how you got started in all of this.

I was groomed as an entrepreneur. If I go back to the beginning, my father and both of my grandfathers were entrepreneurs. My brother and sister and I, were each groomed to be entrepreneurs later in life. We all own our own companies. All I ever knew was being an entrepreneur. In fact, I did a talk that’s on the main TED.com website called Raising Kids as Entrepreneurs. It chronicles my story of how I was groomed to be an entrepreneur from a very young age. That’s even where I got exposed to PR in the early days was watching one of my grandfather’s get a lot of free publicity for his company, Lift the Lodge. He had a hunting fishing resort in Northern Ontario. Watching my dad get PR for his little business up in Northern Ontario as well and getting in the press almost every year he was covered in the newspaper at some point.

We have that in common. My family has been an entrepreneurial family since I’m a little boy. When my dad was a building a chain of candy stores in New York, I noticed he did something interesting. It fits in with the title of your book. What he did was he bought a roasting machine for cashews and almonds. He installed it, oddly enough in the front of the building, venting to the front. At 8:00 AM, we would start up the roaster and by 8:45, we had a line. My dad was brilliant at stuff like this and I learned so much from him. The value of growing up in a family like that is unbelievable. Here we are. We’ve both done some cool stuff. It’s because we have the support of our family. Imagine if, God forbid, someone in the audience reading was born into a family where entrepreneurship was thought of as trouble or mischief.

Entrepreneurship has only been cool for the last twenty years. The rise of the first dot-com explosion in ’98, ’99 is when entrepreneurship first got cool. Prior to that, when I was a kid growing up in the ‘70s and ‘80s, being an entrepreneur was evil. We were vilified. We were told to not sell stuff. It certainly wasn’t cool at school. My kids thought I was nerdy. My cousins, aunts and uncles thought I was this greedy little capitalist. Now everyone looks and goes, “You’ve done so well.” It hasn’t been that long that it has been cool. It’s a tough road.

What got you into your first real business?

My first real business, I was twenty years old. I was walking through university and the only one that accepted me. I had 62% getting into college. I went to Carleton University in Ottawa. I was walking through the university and I found a flyer that said, “Run your own business and earn $10,000.” I applied and I was granted a franchise for a company called College Pro Painters.” That’s where I learned how to run a company, how to hire people, manage people and do sales and marketing. I even learned how to do real formal PR back then. I was with that company for seven years. I ended up coaching 120 franchisees in four years including Kimbal Musk, who’s Elon’s brother and then Peter Rive, who was Elon Musk’s cousin who built SolarCity. They both worked for me back in 1993 as franchisees. That’s where I cut my teeth in learning how to run a company.

It takes that first experience. I got so much of that experience as well in my first venture too. That makes a lot of sense. What did you do after that?

I did College Pro Painters for seven years. I ended up going to the West Coast and opening up the West Coast of the US. I got involved with a friend’s company. We built out a chain of autobody collision repair shops that is called Boyd Autobody in Canada. It’s now called Gerber Auto Collision in the US. It’s the largest collision repair chain in the world. From there, I went on as president of a private currency company. We built and sold that company to a US public company. I left there. I was hired as the chief operating officer for a small company that was changing its name over to 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. I came in as the fourteenth employee at the head office. When I left, six and a half years later, we had 3,100 employees system-wide. We were operating in four countries and 46 states. I had 330 franchisees. I was the chief operating officer during that entire time.

How long were you there from the time you started to the time you left?

I was there six and a half years.

What you accomplished in six and a half years is basically what legends are made of.

Certainly, I got lucky. I worked with some great people and we work hard. We focused on what Jim Collins calls the flywheel, found a couple of core areas to focus on. We picked three. I chose to pick going with higher prices so that we could afford the charge and make money and give away a premium product. I also chose to drive company culture and create a cult-like environment where we could create a magnet for great employees coming to work for us. Lastly, we chose to drive PR. How did we leverage our brand by getting the media to talk about us? It’s because we couldn’t afford to buy advertising.

Get clear on your vision of where you’re going. Share on X

You’re not going to the park obviously. To me, the thing that I always noticed about that company was the name. That one move alone, I believe puts you on the map. The other thing I want to talk about here is luck. The reason I want to talk about luck is that there’s no doubt to me that in my life, luck played a role in my success. I worked hard and all that stuff, but I got lucky. There are people who worked as hard, maybe even harder longer than I did and never did get lucky. It doesn’t mean they were bad. It doesn’t mean that they weren’t skilled, but there is some element of luck. Maybe it’s not luck, maybe it’s having some surety in your mind about your future and then allowing the universe to drive success towards you. Does this resonate at all?

It’s the latter. We got lucky because we were so clear on our vision of where we’re going. I codafide what we did back then. We call it a vivid vision where we crafted a four-page written document describing our company three years in the future and what it would look like. I can feel like three years out. We could see ourselves in the future. When opportunities presented themselves, they were either, “Yeah or no way,” because we were so clear that they fit where we were going. Our luck continued to present itself, but we turned away things that didn’t align with where we’re going. We said yes to the things that we’re absolutely aligned with where we were going. We were lucky but luck didn’t distract us. Luck continued to propel us.

It is absolutely culture that drives a company forward. It’s just as interesting how a bad culture can totally wreck and destroy a company. We’ve certainly seen that over and over again in the news with different companies out there that have not had the luck to have been prepared and to make things happen the right way. At the same time, what I like to think about it is that what you call having a vivid vision. That’s another way of saying, being totally clear on who you are, what you do and what you expect to happen. Having that expectation for me has always been a very powerful way to move myself forward and to propel a business by being clear, by being sure, by knowing what it looks like in the future. That gives you an advantage a lot of people don’t have, would you agree?

It’s the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” A lot of people are working hard but not necessarily in the right direction. We were always working in at least the direction that we chose to work in. We were completely maniacally focused on that. Our team came in every day knowing that that’s what they were to work on. They were excited about it because they saw value. We would communicate our vivid vision. We would communicate the future to the media. Every time we got covered in the press, we didn’t talk about now. We kept talking about the future and where we were going. That’s what they wrote about.

As we now start to get into the content of your book, what you basically are doing is you are feeding the media exactly the story you want them to tell. That is the most powerful way to work with the press because as you also say in the book you’re helping them do their job, which is what they want. It’s what they need. By making their job easier, you get exactly what you want done in the press, which is very powerful. We might as well at this point since we’re talking about PR and the power of PR, let’s transition into a discussion about your new book, Free PR. Tell me what inspired you to want to write that book.

It was a client of mine, Grasshopper.com. David Hauser was the CEO of Grasshopper. They sold for well over $100 million. He asked me if I would coach his PR team internally and if I would write their manuals. I originally wrote for their in-house PR team and that was years ago. That became a chapter, one small chapter of Double Double. People kept asking me for more, the clients that I was coaching and at speaking events. Eventually, members of my COO Alliance kept asking me for more content related to PR. I realized that I gave the left a lot out or I glossed over it. It was that I didn’t realize how much of a unique ability it might’ve been for me.

If I spent the time out enough details and put it in writing for everybody, a lot more companies could benefit from it. One of my clients was looking to hire a PR firm. I got frustrated with him and I said, “That’s going to be a massive waste of money.” I could teach you in an hour on how to bring it in-house and do it on your own for less money than they’ll pay a PR firm. He dared me. We did. I showed them how to do it. An hour later, he was convinced he was going to go out and hire his first in-house PR person. That was the genesis for the book, Free PR, was codifying it and putting it in place.

FTC 135 | Public Relations
Public Relations: When opportunities present themselves, you can easily determine whether they’re a “hell, yeah” or “no way” when you have a vision.


When I started Timeslips Corporation, we didn’t have any money at all. We didn’t have a choice. PR had to work for us. It was the only option we had. I basically embraced it completely. I said, “This is what we got. This is what we’re working with. Let’s make it work. Let’s do whatever it takes to make it work.” I had to figure out what you wrote about in your book about all by myself. If there were business coaches around, I had no idea that they were. I didn’t even know what a business coach was. If I did, I might not have been able to afford to hire one. It was a tough road because I was basically flying by the seat of my pants. The more important element of it was that when it worked, it worked like crazy.

I think one of the reasons why I’m able to codify things like PR and why I’m able to write a book like, Free PR, is I’ve built three different franchise companies. I’ve coached a number of others that are in the franchising space. I see things in a very easy to implement the system. It’s not a system that the government would use. It’s not a big bureaucratic one that an MBA would require to be able to use. It’s a very simple to execute system on how to get a result because that has to scale over hundreds of franchisees. In all the years of generating free PR with College Pro Painters, at Boyd Autobody, for watching my dad’s business and then building an in-house PR team at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? it started to get simple. That’s how I was able to pull it all out of my head and codify it in a way that gave so much value so quickly.

There’s something to be said for when you say pulling it all out of your head. When I wrote my first book, it took me almost eighteen months. I threw it away and started from scratch again because I felt like the book was so bad I would never even buy it. The point of it was that I had to find what’s called the spine of the book, the overarching theme that makes your material come alive. In your book, Free PR, it’s so clear exactly what to do. It is literally the MBA on public relations that is never shared in a school environment. We tried to do it both ways. Once we were successful and we could afford it, we hired a PR firm for a ridiculous amount of money. It was a complete bust that we went back to doing it ourselves.

There’s often a use for PR firms. Nothing beats having a person who sits close to the CEO, who’s a vibrating with the same culture as the rest of the company, who understands the marketing and who is focusing on pitching your stories five days a week, not one and a half days a week. If you’re going to pay a PR firm $6,000 a month, they have to pay their employee $5,000 a month. They can’t afford to have them working on your thing full time. One person is working on four companies. If you hire a full-time person to work for you and pay them $5,000 a month, you’ll get a spectacular PR person. You have them five days a week. It’s easier to do it in-house.

The second part is that the PR firms, they don’t lie to us. They tell you that it’s all about relationships. If they’re going to land you five stories a month for three years, that’s 60 stories a month for three years, 180 stories. They don’t have 180 relationships. They’re pitching the media too. It comes down to how creatively can you pitch in? What I generated is a system that we laid out in Free PR that allows companies to generate on average six stories per month with a full-time person doing it in-house for you. The leverage off of that is massive because you can amplify that with social media too.

Another point that you make which is critical is that it’s you who own your PR relationships instead of leasing or borrowing them from your agency. That was such a powerful point to be made in the book because then you have those relationships forever as opposed to a PR firm, who claims they have them and lends them to you because you’re paying them. Having those relationships, at least for me, was so valuable. I kept using them over and over again. They were thrilled to hear from me when I had something newsworthy to say because they knew it was real.

There’s that part where you own the relationship. You have the voice and you can reconnect with them or they can come back to you to be an ongoing source. That’s one component. The second component is to realize that there’s also an awful lot of news outlets that you are waking up to every single morning wondering what am I going to write about? You’re doing them a by picking up the phone and calling them and saying, “Do you have two minutes? I think I have a good story for you,” because they need a story and they don’t have time to do investigative journalism. That whole idea of investigative journalism with Peter Parker out on the beach looking for the story, that hasn’t happened for 60, 70 years, that whole investigative journalism. You’re doing the media favor by giving them a story.

You're doing the media favor by giving them a story. Share on X

If I’m a small company and I want to get started on PR, what would you say my first steps are?

The first step is to think about your core angles for your company. Let me give you a typical company that sells widgets. You have, Bob, is the CEO of the company. He sells widgets. Bob has the story of how he quits his crappy job and started his widget company. He has that story to tell, which inspires people. It educates people. It gives people hope, especially in a time of a recession, etc. Bob has his story about overcoming adversity, the trials and tribulations, the lessons from the edge, all the struggles that he’s had, the classic hero’s journey story. Bob has a story about how he’s created a fantastic world-class culture for a company of 50 people and what culture means, not what Google says it is with free massages and free lunches.

Bob also has a story about leveraging technology and how he took his widget company. He grew it and doubled his revenue in doubled this profit by leveraging this technology tools and hacks that every other company can use that are simple to execute. It’s not Salesforce. They’re easy to implement systems. Bob also has his last angle, which every company has, which is how a customer benefited from his product or service. It’s that customer-centric angle. You can take those five angles and stamp those out over virtually every single company. Those become the starting points of, “That’s the story that I’m going to pitch.” For each angle, you come up with five-core bullet points that support the angle. That’s enough to start with.

There’s a lot to be covered in what you said. One of the things is being able to craft that origin story, that hero’s journey story in a way that makes it interesting to the press. Do you have any tips or techniques that you use to do that?

The key one is to remember that the person that you’re phoning is the journalist. The journalist is a writer. The journalist is trained in creating stories. The journalist is trained on crafting these perfect stories so you don’t have to write the story for them. You have to give them five sentences, five bullet points that are framing the story, “I quit my job, I was scared, I started this company, I had all these issues, here’s how I overcame the issues and I was successful.” They’ll create a story around that. If it’s, “My customer had this pain, my customer bought the product, my customer has all these benefits, my customer is happy,” you give them the five bullet points and they will create the story around that for you. They’ll write the story. You don’t want to write it for them. It’s almost insulting when we write the story for them.

This is what you talk about in the book called writing your story angle. Is that exactly what you’re talking about now?

It’s coming up with five core stories or three stories per company, and then coming up with the angle. The angle would be the headline that you would see in the newspaper or magazine. It would be the title of the article. From there, you’re going to have the core three to five bullet points that are going to support that angle. That’s the basics. That’s all you pitch to the writer.

FTC 135 | Public Relations
Public Relations: PR is less about the journalist to contact and more about who you want to see or hear this story.


You can twist that in a way to resonate with what’s going on in the world. You can pick a news item even and more or less mold your story to resonate with that news items so that you can have something contemporary to talk about. Is that right?

You can talk if we think about current affairs right now, we’re talking about immigrants coming in. You could talk about immigrant labor being successful in your business and how you gave immigrants a job and how you gave them a career or you gave them hope, or you could talk about how immigrants were starting a company and how they were successful. You can take something related to how your company benefited from watching a movie together and the movie was Greenbook or whatever. You can hijack a story and weave that in. That can often be quite powerful.

How do you feel about using celebrity names as a way to attract people to a press release for example or to a pitch document? Does that make sense to you?

It’s the relative or relatable. As an example, when we built 1-800-GOT-JUNK, we had been featured on Oprah. We would talk about being featured on Oprah to all the media and that gave us instant credibility. We were on Oprah in 2003. It was years ago. I still mention being on Oprah because that’s credible. I still mention that Kimbal Musk worked for me as did his cousin, Peter Rive, who built SolarCity and that was in 1993. That was years ago that they both worked for me. Both of those because they’re attached to Elon Musk, are huge parts of credibility. They can make sense when you’re weaving them in, but you don’t want them to detract from what your core story is.

I want to keep dissecting this process so that people can learn from you right here on the show. Once you have the story angle, once you’ve picked a current event or a popular person or a celebrity to attach it to, how do you find journalists that are interested in what you have to say?

The first part is to think about your audience and who you want to read the story or hear your story. It’s less about the journalist to contact. It’s more about who do I want to see this story or hear this story. Once you understand who they are, then you find that the news outlets that target those readers. You reverse engineer that. As an example, if I’m telling a business story, and I know that my readers are small company entrepreneurs with five to 50 employees, I will probably target magazines like Entrepreneur Magazine or Inc. Magazine. I won’t target Fortune or Forbes or the Wall Street Journal. If I’m targeting CEOs of billion-dollar companies, I’ll probably target the Wall Street Journal and Forbes Magazine, not Entrepreneur Magazine.

You think about the target audience. If you have a certain geographic area that you’re targeting. Maybe you’re only operating in the Boston market. It doesn’t make sense to go after the major national outlets as much as it’s so easy to get some of the local coverage getting coverage in the Boston Globe. In fact, we’ve been covered as an example, I’ll go back again to 1-800-GOT-JUNK? The biggest paper in British Columbia is the Vancouver Sun. That’s read by millions of people. There are probably six different sections in that paper. You’ve got the front section, the business section, the career section, sports section, the life section, there’s another one. We’ve been covered on the front page of every section of that newspaper. We were covered in the sports section because one of our employees was training for the Vancouver Olympics in snowboarding. We’ve got a photo of him standing with his snowboard in front of one of the 1-800-GOT-JUNK trucks. We talked about how our company was helping to give him the freedom to have a job and to train for the Olympics.

At the end of the day, remember the journalist that you're pitching is a journalist. They know how to write a story. Share on X

That’s such a great way to take your story and attach it to something of value to the publication or the particular journalist who has that as an interest, which leads to the question. Once you identify the Wall Street Journal, how do you identify who at the Wall Street Journal you want to pitch this to?

This is the art. This is where some of the art of the PR comes into play. I’ll give you an example, one of the very first PR people that I hired and trained is a guy named Tyler Wright. Tyler was a wonderful, fantastic PR individual. When he got tired of pitching the media, he would head off to Barnes & Noble or head off to one of the corner newspaper stores. He would sit and read through newspapers and read through magazines. He would literally pour through the print editions scanning for articles that were similar to the kinds of stories we might be pitching.

He would grab the names of those writers, write them down in his notebook, come back to the office and go either in Cision or media outlets or on Google and look up the contact information. He would phone those journalists directly. You would flip through the Wall Street Journal. You’d flip through each of the articles. You’d look for articles that are similar to what your story is. It might be three writers in the Wall Street Journal who are writing the entrepreneurial stories. You pitch those. You pitch into them. You don’t go over to the guy or the woman who’s covering the oil and gas or the mergers and acquisition space because they’re not going to care about your story.

One of the points that you made in the book, which I thought was very valid, is the type of training this person should have. I hired a young woman who was an intern from Northeastern University in their PR program. She was being trained as a PR practitioner, specialist. She was the worst person I’ve ever had doing PR for my company. You talk about that too. You talk about the fact that a great PR person needs sales training more than they need any form of journalistic training. Is that right?

At the end of the day, remember the journalist that you’re pitching is a journalist. They know how to write a story. I want to a PR person who knows how to sell because I don’t want them to be insulting when they send over a request after speaking on the phone. I’m looking for someone who loves to cold call, who can handle rejection, who’s okay with getting told no, who was going to continue to pitch and continue to pitch and continue to pitch until that person says, “This is interesting.” A typical marketing or communications person if they’re told, “No,” they run away and hide. A salesperson, if they’re told, “No, thanks,” “That’s the person’s phone number now because they took my phone call. They probably were busy. I’ll call them back in a few days.” A salesperson doesn’t take no for the answer.

That’s so important. I agree. If someone can get energized by a no instead of being defeated by a no, they’re the right person because they’ll keep calling and dialing, which is great.

I’ll give you the perfect answer. I told my coauthor of the book, Adrian, who is the founder of a company called CanvasPop. I used to coach him. He asked me three times if I would coauthor this book with him and I said, “No, I’m doing it on my own.” When he asked if he could read it and gave me some suggestions, I was like, “I think you might be able to bring a lot to the table.” Adrian took it to a whole new level of how valuable this book is. He didn’t take no for an answer. Another one is I called the Associated Press. I probably made sixteen phone calls, sent about six different physical mail pieces, probably five or six different emails over the course of three and a half months before the Canadian bureau chief from Associated Press finally phoned me back and said, “I think I have a couple of minutes now. What’s your story?” There’s no way that a marketing person would touch someone sixteen times and be told, “No, I’m busy.” This guy hung up on me sixteen times. It was never, “F-off go away. Don’t ever call me again or I’m calling the police.” It was, “No, I’m too busy.”

FTC 135 | Public Relations
Public Relations: The media needs content every day because if they have good content, they’ll have a lot of readers, listeners, or viewers.


That’s what my old friend, Chet Holmes, used to call pig-headed discipline. When you have that type of attitude, then just about anything as possible.

You mentioned Chet, rest in peace. Tyler who I mentioned, our PR guy passed away a few years ago as well. We both have had big influences in our life that are no longer with us.

What I remember from the book and what we covered briefly is that there are approximately four-story categories. There are announcements, evergreen, seasonal and stunts in events. I certainly understand the first three. Could you get into a little bit more about stunts in events?

These stunts in events are finding a way to create a buzz around something that isn’t news. It’s done in a fun enough way that a photo op will be cool. You think about that every photographer for every newspaper and magazine, when the story comes out, their name is listed beside the photo. In this case, I love phoning the photographer because nobody ever phones that except their mom. I literally pick up the phone and say, “Do you have two minutes? I have a great photo op for you.” They always say, “Sure, what is it?” I explain this stunt that we’re doing. We’re either giving away blue wigs to support the Vancouver Canucks or we’ve got this huge slide that we’re installing in our park or we’re standing up on the roof of our building, waving at traffic or whatever it may be. They always love that photo. The reality is the media needs content every day because if they have good content, they’ll have a lot of readers or listeners or viewers. If they have readers, listeners or viewers, advertisers will want to pay to be in the limelight so they need the cool stuff. They need things that are unique. They don’t have time to go behind it.

You’re bringing it directly to them. You’re coming in through the back door by getting the photographer to go back and pitched the story for you.

It’s the path of least resistance. You think back to when you were in high school. You had the cute girl in high school that you wanted to ask to go to prom, would you ever go to her dad and ask for his permission? No way. It’s not going to happen because that guy’s job is to say no. That guy is the editor for the news desk. The editor’s job is to say no all day. What I’m going to do is I’m going to tell the journalist a great story. He’s going to go or she’s going to go back to the editor and say, “I’ve found this great story. What do you think?” The editor is going to say, “Go write it. I’m too busy saying no to these 392 press releases we got.”

It’s very clever and very sensible at the same time. These are some amazing tips. Earlier when you talked about story angles, you mentioned that you were always able to position what you spoke about as the future, your vivid vision and the big hairy audacious goal of the company. Can we talk a little bit about the other four-story angles, the overcoming adversity, differentiated culture, leveraging technology? Let’s talk about some of these other things. Are they as valuable to get press in those areas as the vivid vision?

A salesperson doesn't take no for the answer. Share on X

I’ll give you an example. Right now, I’m building out the COO Alliance. It’s the only network of its kind in the world for the second in command. Everybody has groups for entrepreneurs. There’s YPO, EO, and Vistage, all these amazing groups for entrepreneurs. There’s nowhere for the COO. I can talk about how hard it was to start this off. I can talk about how hard it was to attract a group of people. I can talk about how I was going through a divorce and trying to start up this part of my business. I’m trying to keep my game face on. I can talk about how I almost had a complete breakdown crying in front of the group one day because of my divorce and how I decided to talk about a vulnerability in front of all the COOs. That became a core part of our model.

The media loves that. They love writing about those stories. I can talk about how we’ve leveraged technology and how we’re texting more than emailing now. How we’re even talking with our members is getting through to them more often or how we’re leveraging tools like Slack or Zoom. The media is looking for something to write about. The reality is that doesn’t have to be as newsworthy as we might think. We have to give them a rough story and a brand or people who are willing to give them more information so they can write it.

I love the fact that you’ve basically laid out all the steps in the book so that about anybody can take these story angles and start riffing on their own and come up with four or five, six different ideas for each angle. Before you know it, you could have twenty stories that you have the potential to help a journalist right for you with you.

I’ll give another great tip. Go grab a magazine or a newspaper or go onto a blog or go onto an Ezine or scroll through a list of prior guests that a podcast host has had. Ask yourself for this guest or for this story, how could my story be similar or how could this one be similar? Read the newspaper with both eyes so you can start seeing what could be similar. You’ll start to see that there’s an awful lot of stories out there that if you change the name and change the product, it could be you.

Can you give me an example?

Overcoming adversity. Every single entrepreneur has had a problem with their startup. They’re quitting your job and starting the company. I quit my job at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and I started my coaching company or I quit my job at X and started here.

That’s a perfect example. Every one of us has that story. It’s literally changed the name. You could pretty much tell the same story. You and I could probably continue to talk about this practically chapter by chapter. It’s so fascinating. I still have a few questions for you. I want to urge readers to go to the show page, get the book, review the things that we’ve discussed and started incorporating these things into the way you think about PR maybe for the first time. As Cameron has done, he’s created huge empires based on this exact technology, this exact methodology of getting the press to talk about you. Cameron, off the topic, different topic entirely. I want to ask you a question. I know you and I know each other pretty well at this point, but for readers, I like to find out a little bit more about what makes you tick. Here’s the question. Who, in all of space and time, would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with?

FTC 135 | Public Relations
Public Relations: Instead of trying to train the CEO how to run the company, train the CEO what needs to happen and how to make it happen.


I’m going to say my mom. My mom passed away seventeen years ago. She passed away right as I was starting 1-800-GOT-JUNK? with Brian. She never saw any of my success in business. At least from that point on, she never saw my two children grow up. I have a seventeen and a fifteen-year-old boy now. She didn’t know me. That would be an amazing time to recap and to go through all that with her. I’d also like to find out why she keeps leaving me dimes. I was told about seven years ago that my mom leaves dimes for me, $0.10, not quarters, not pennies, not nickels, not bills but dimes. I’ll tell you, I find them everywhere. I don’t find any other coin ever. I find dimes constantly.

It’s a very symbolic gesture. I have a stepsister who lost her mom. She believes that its feathers that show up in her life. Feathers find their way inside of a locked car sitting on the dashboard reminding her that mom is still there. I totally believe in that. It’s a matter of recognizing when these things come up. If memory serves me well, I think you’ve said mom as well the last time too.

She’s on my mind.

Here’s the grand finale that changes the world question. What is it that you were doing or we’d like to do that truly has the potential to literally change the world?

I’ll stay focused on business because that’s what we’ve been talking about. I believe that right now what we’re doing with the COO Alliance and then also with the Second in Command podcast, that we are putting the tools on how to grow companies into the hands of the people who do it. Instead of trying to train the CEO how to run the company, we’re training the CEO what needs to happen. We’re training the COO, the second-in-command, on how to make it happen. I think that we’ve had so many great groups for entrepreneurs, but we missed a huge opportunity to create this group, network and education material for the COO, who is the second-in-command. I think that what we’re doing with the COO Alliance and the Second In Command podcast has a massive opportunity to impact businesses, customers, and employees.

This is a fantastic idea, the COO Alliance. Apparently, it’s serving a big need. I’m certainly glad that you’ve created this. What about COOs that are reading this, how would they find the COO Alliance?

The main website is COOAlliance.com. Also our Second in Command podcast where everyone tends to interview the entrepreneur, the CEO. We only interviewed the second in command that we wanted the rest of the story. My logic with that is that it would almost be out like asking a husband and wife, how did you raise your children? She would have a very true story of how they raised the kids. If you asked the husband, “How did you raise your kids?” His story would be very true, but very different from his wife’s. Both absolutely true but it’s a very slightly different perspective. The Second in Command podcast is a great word to learn more as well.

Find a way to create a buzz around something that isn't news. Share on X

That’s a great mission to be on. You’re serving the world in a very powerful and important way. If I were a COO, I would love to find out more. The point is that it sounds like what you’ve built is something very specific for a very niche audience. It’s perfect. I’m glad you did that. Cameron, it was great chatting with you. I’m so glad we got this chance to catch up. Thank you so much for sharing what you know about PR. Readers, go out and get the book. It’s called Free PR. Thanks, Cameron.

Thanks. I appreciate having me on. I appreciate it.

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