Welcome to The B2B Mix Show. We’re focused on digital marketing and sales topics to help you elevate your B2B brand. Check back on Mondays for new episodes.

This week on The B2B Mix Show, we speak with Brian Barquilla, the Content Director at Build My Reputation, about how to use different media channels to build your reputation for free.

During our conversation, Brian touches on the following:

  • How B2B companies can leverage the demand TV producers and journalists have on them to always produce content to build their reputation.
  • How you can stand out amongst the tons of pitches producers and journalists receive daily.
  • How companies/individuals can use unforeseen events as opportunities.
  • How individuals/companies can leverage articles/news clips to further their own reputation.
  • And more.

Want to connect with Brian online?

Brian’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianbarquilla/

Company Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/buildmyreputation.net/

Company LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/build-my-reputation

Company Website: http://www.buildmyreputation.net

About The B2B Mix Show:

The B2B Mix Show with Alanna Jackson and Stacy Jackson is brought to you by Jackson Marketing. Need help with your B2B online presence? Let’s talk!

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Alanna Jackson — Twitter, LinkedIn

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Alanna Jackson
Welcome to the B2B Mix Show with Alanna and Stacy. Each week we'll bring you ideas that you can implement in your own marketing strategy. We'll share what we know and advise from industry experts who will join us from time to time here on the show. Are you ready to mix it up? Let's get started.

Stacy Jackson
Hi everyone. I'm Stacy Jackson.

Alanna Jackson
And I'm Alanna Jackson. We are the cofounders of Jackson Marketing. And in case you still haven't heard, we are also sisters. Stacy, what's the topic of today's episode?

Stacy Jackson
Today we're talking about how to use media to build your reputation. Maybe you're wondering how to get on your favorite news station, a trade magazine or some other media outlet to cover you or your brand. One of the secrets obviously is understanding how to make producers and journalists' jobs easier, but that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this topic. Instead of me telling you all about it, we have brought on a special guest today, Brian Barquilla of Build my Reputation. Alanna, would you please do the honors of introducing Brian to our listeners?

Alanna Jackson
Absolutely. Brian is the content director at Build my Reputation, and for more than 20 years, Brian has been practicing his craft of small business marketing. Getting an early start in publications, he consults with clients about how custom content can help build a reputation to be proud of. He is a frequent contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and was awarded the prestigious Small Business Advocate of the Year from Small Business Administration. Welcome to the B2B Mix Show, Brian.

Brian Barquilla
Excellent. Glad to be here, ladies. Thanks for having me.
Stacy Jackson
Thanks for joining us. Before we dig into the topic of building your reputation using media, is there anything else you'd like to share about yourself or Build My Reputation?

Brian Barquilla
Yeah, sure. I mean, I'm today representing buildmyreputation.net, and really that's a service that helps position clients as subject matter experts in their industry, and we do that. Our strategy is to do that through carefully-created content that can be shared through social media and also pitched to separate media outlets. Usually the content lives on the site. It's all designed to help position clients as subject matter experts and thought leaders in their industry.

Alanna Jackson
Okay. Like I said, we always do, we have links to the sites as your contact info in our show notes. So let's dig into the topic of media. So TV producers and writers, journalists are all tasked with coming up with new and fresh content daily. In some cases they have like 24/7 where they have to have content because like the news channels that are constantly putting stuff out. How can B2B companies leverage and the demand that these TV producers and journalists have on them so that they can produce this content so that you can actually build your reputation by leveraging them?

Brian Barquilla
Yeah, you hit the nail on the head there. I mean, I think the first thing to do to unpack that subject really is to understand how the media actually works. And you're right. It's a 24-hour news cycle. It literally never stops. And there's a few different market conditions that are at work here. For one, there's lots of different ways to spend your marketing dollar, and for most media outlets, really all of them, it's advertising revenue that drives the whole operation. And instead of having just a handful of different opportunities to spend your marketing dollar, now there are quite literally thousands. So they have to do more with less. So what that means is they have made changes to their business model. And now even some of those same talking heads that you see on TV, those are some of the same people that are farming and sourcing their own stories that are going on the five o'clock news.

Now, it's not always true for national outlets, but it absolutely is true for smaller regional outlets. So if you understand how that cycle works, you really can position yourself to be their go-to expert in whatever industry that you play in. So I want you to do this. Picture yourself. You go into work in the morning, okay? And then you go to a staff meeting, and it's a big room with a big conference table, and your station manager or your general manager is at the top of the room and say, "Okay guys, we go on in two hours. What do you got?" And he's staring right at you waiting for you to say something.

And this happens every day and many times, multiple times a day. And those poor people that are sitting around that conference table have to say something. So they're constantly-

Alanna Jackson
Not stressful at all.

Brian Barquilla
No. Can you imagine? That's not the world that I play in, but I have a lot of respect for those people that do. So the point is if you can help be the conduit and help them do their job a little bit easier, well they can lend their credibility to you to really catapult your agenda.

Alanna Jackson
I think a lot of people forget too that they're not always going out and seeking all these people that they're showcasing on their site or on their TV show. Sometimes these people are actually the ones reaching out to them to be kind of showcased.

Brian Barquilla
That's absolutely true. And if I'm speaking about television in particular and you're watching the six o'clock news or five o'clock news, whatever it is in your area, they're usually covering. It could be things like social issues, could be traffic, could be news, whether it's good or bad. But really, rather than just report on the who went when, why, if you can add color to that story, you can really add value to the broadcast, and they would really appreciate that.

So I'll give you a quick example. I used to work with a client that was in the transportation safety business, and they came up with transportation safety products. And in our area we had a, it was a horrible story, we had a head-on collision one night that involved a police officer, and there was fatality involved. And it led that evening newscast. And we reached out to that news outlet and said, "Hey, we understand that you're working on this story. I think we can bring something to the conversation." We brought with us stats from the highway safety administration. We had access to the head of the organization, the trade organization, and we provided some color on how wrong way accidents actually happen and how to prevent them. And it was perfect. As long as you're in the right place at the right time and you can add value to whatever has happened, you can really position yourself in a great way.

Stacy Jackson
And that kind of leads into a question I have for you. You've already hit on some good tips on how to pitch to producers and journalists. How can people stand out though among the piles of pitches that these people probably get every day? Especially with tools like Cision and PRweb throwing kind of probably junkie press releases at them, how do you stand out and make sure you're newsworthy versus just boring?

Brian Barquilla
Well, again, going back to their actual job duties, boy, they move fast. So you have to figure out how to be short in your emails, talk in bullet points, anticipate their next move. So even if they like what you say, say whether it's on a telephone conversation or an email, they're likely going to ask you, "Okay, can you send me a headshot?" Well, I'm telling you to be proactive and send that like in your first email and send a bio on the first email and streamline the process as fast as possible so you become easy to work with. Because if you provide any resistance at all, they'll likely go to the path that has the least resistance. So be the easiest, most responsive person that they work with. You'll develop a relationship over time with them, and anytime they cover a topic that is loosely involved within your industry, they will call you for some additional feedback.

Stacy Jackson
Do you think that tools like PRweb kind of get in the way of doing the actual work yourself and ensuring that you're really providing value to these producers? Have these kind of tools kind of made it easy to just put any old boring thing out there?

Brian Barquilla
Right. I think there's a place in the market for those tools and those options like PRweb does. But also old school rules still apply. There's no substitute for good old-fashioned relationships and accessibility. So I always encourage clients make sure let's know who these people are as far as who is bringing us the news, let's connect with them on LinkedIn, let's follow their Twitter feeds and let's really look for opportunities to add value to what they're doing. Not necessarily push our agenda on to them as in press releases. So the tendency for people is, is to just show up and throw up, right? They're trying to communicate everything to them in one email, and that just doesn't work. Just put yourself in the other person's shoes and see, look, they're just trying to get this story done in the next 10 minutes so they can move on to the next one. And they're thinking in that kind of small blocks in time. So just make it as easy as them just pulling your content off the shelf and plug it in and move on to the next one.

Stacy Jackson
I liked that -- "show up and throw up." I've not heard that. That's a good point though. Treat these people as though they're your customers. You're not going to hopefully go bore your customers with a bunch of bragging about yourself and your product. You want to go there to help them. So these are customers of your content.

Brian Barquilla
It absolutely is and-

Alanna Jackson
I have-

Brian Barquilla
What do we do with our customers? We have to be available, right? So you have to be super, super available to media and in particular television, especially because their producer or that person that wants to add color or some type of commentary to the story that they're working on, you're not the only person on their list. They'll call you and look for your feedback. If it goes to voicemail, they may not even leave a message. They'll just hang up and they'll smile and dial in and call the next person on the list, and they'll keep running through their lesson until somebody gives them what they want. So as simple as it sounds, answer your phone. If it goes to voicemail or you tell them that when you decide to return the call in an hour or after lunch or something like that, it just isn't good enough. They're going to fill that need with somebody else's opinion before you can get back to them. They may even call you and say, "Hey, can you be in our studio in 15 minutes?" I've had that happen before.

Alanna Jackson
Do you find that phone versus email one works better than the other in these situations?

Brian Barquilla
I find that in initial introductions, email works well because you give them an opportunity to dig into your profile and get to know a little bit more about you before you introduce yourself with a phone call. But there's certainly do both, and I would be persistent as well. Again, you can certainly pitch them on ideas or things that are happening in your community that are important to you that you can add value to. But it's much easier if you just bolt on to a story that they're already working on or something that's happening in the national conversation or whatever it might be like that.

Alanna Jackson
And when you're sending the emails, is there something that you should do in your subject lines so that those stick out a little bit more? There are things, best practices there that people should try?

Brian Barquilla
There's probably many different ways to do that. I can tell you what we've had success with is we would reference whatever story that they're working on in the subject line. So at the time of this recording, gosh, it could be any number of things that are in the national conversation, but the subject line might be the topic that's in the news right now or I can help you with such and such story that you're working on, something like that.

Alanna Jackson
And we know that unforeseen events happen all the time in personal life and in business life and just everywhere. So how can companies or individuals kind of use those situations as opportunities? Do you have any examples that you can share and walk through with us?

Brian Barquilla
Examples on how this has been executed?

Alanna Jackson
Yeah, like an unforeseen event that's happened and how someone has leveraged that to use that as an opportunity to improve their reputation.

Brian Barquilla
Yeah, absolutely. I know that there's one example that I have in our community here in North Florida. There was a house fire, and the family unfortunately lost everything, and one business, an individual stepped up and said, "Hey, I'm willing to pledge $2,000, and I invite other businesses to join with me in this cause, and let's see if we can get this family back on track." So it was a unique idea that started this sense of community effort, and then you had different businesses that would step up and pledge. And then our local media outlet ended up publishing all the different names of these businesses that were supporting somebody, a family in our community that had a tragedy happen to them. I thought that was a pretty cool, pretty unique thing that happened that from a PR value you couldn't be the [inaudible 00:13:12] Not only the business that started that, but all of the businesses that followed it afterwards.

Alanna Jackson
Yeah, and I'm sure that there's some ways that you need to do that because there might be sensitive situations, so I'm sure that companies need to be very careful about how they go about taking opportunities from those events that happen, right?

Brian Barquilla
Yeah. That's the tricky part. A lot of the news we hear isn't necessarily, or most of it really is, isn't necessarily positive. You don't want to appear as an opportunist. Resist the urge to promote your own business. If people were interested in what you do and the comments that you have though, they will seek you out. Okay, so focus on really driving value and adding to the conversation rather than using it as an opportunity to for self-promotion.

Alanna Jackson
Hey, folks. Let's take a break to hear about today's sponsor.

BREAK

Alanna Jackson
And we are back.

Stacy Jackson
So I know we're primarily talking about trying to build our reputations with media, but what would be an inappropriate way for a business to deal with a crisis situation and the media is coming to you? It may not be something you want to talk about. And I know I just threw this question out there, so if you don't want to hit on this, we won't add it in.

Brian Barquilla
No, I have a good example for that actually. As much as the media can work on your behalf and for you, I do caution clients to have your guard up. Be very careful because the media won't necessarily announce their intentions. So I do have an example of a local gym that was doing some great work and ended up figuring out a niche with local police officers. Okay. And over time, dozens and dozens and dozens of police officers would go to this one gym and train, and they offered some very hands-on private instruction. So our local news channel called the gym owner one day and said, "Hey, I heard you're doing some great work with our police officers. We'd like to talk to you about all the good things you're doing about and that the gains that you're making."

And he was very excited to talk to him, as you can imagine. He had pictures of him being on the five o'clock news about all the community good that he's doing because in his mind he's talking about, yes, we're getting our police officers fit, and we're lowering our risk of heart disease, and we're increasing their fitness so they can make our community safer and all the good things that would happen from physical training. And the news media came and talked to him all about that. But really the hidden agenda was, is our news outlet figured out that the city already has a gym. And that city funds were being used for private personal training. And that ended up leading the new story.

So what he thought was a very positive thing ended up making him look like a villain. And as a result, of course, all that business went away for him, and things just took a terrible turn. But knowing what he knows now, he would be more skeptical about why they're there and what they're saying. So anytime the media seeks you out, proceed with caution. That's my best advice.

Alanna Jackson
Yeah, that's very good advice because you don't know what angle they might go with.

Brian Barquilla
That's right.

Alanna Jackson
So what if the media did seek you out as a business owner, would you recommend they work with a PR rep or agency like yours to help them kind of navigate those waters?

Brian Barquilla
I think it's a good idea to have a second opinion for sure and somebody else that's a bit removed from the situation just to really look out for you. I don't think it hurts to work with a PR firm at all. Many times a story can be very positive, but you don't necessarily know that until it gets aired on the news or the article comes out. That's why we kind of always have to have our guard up.

Alanna Jackson
Right. There's a recent story where a company, they're a startup company, and they posted one of their potential hires. They posted a PSA with one of her personal profile pictures from her Instagram, and they had so much backlash because she was basically saying if you're going to apply for a job, don't post pictures like this on your personal profile. But that one media post just crippled their business. They had to take down all of their social media profiles and everything because they-

Stacy Jackson
Even their website.

Alanna Jackson
Yeah, their website because they were getting so much backlash. So just one little thing that gets on media can just either make or break your business sometimes. And that's kind of scary when you think about it.

Brian Barquilla
Oh it's very scary. That's the power of media. It can be used for good or bad if you want to look at it that way, right? And then the example that I just used for the gym, unfortunately they're no longer in business. And that news story has had a lot to do with it.

Alanna Jackson
So let's say that you've gotten all the positive and no negative results from pitching the media and building those relationships. What should I company or an individual do now? How can they leverage all that information that's out there and keep the good feelings going and just continued using the content that's been created for them?

Brian Barquilla
Well, that's a good thought. So here's how we do it. So if you followed all of the feed, all of the directions that we just laid out, and you happen to get a win, and you're on the five o'clock news talking about a particular subject, or you appear in a major news article, whatever it might be, that's a win. And that's content that you want to leverage and pay dividends for you down the line. So what we recommend is taking that content, whether it's a news clip or whatever it might be, and really making sure amplify that message through your own channels. And that can be through your own social media like Facebook and LinkedIn for example, and it certainly should be part of your own internal communication like with your client base, your email list. Okay.

Talking to your audience and communicating to them that, hey, reminding them that you are working with the foremost expert in the industry. Here is an interview we did with such and such new station, or we'd like to have your feedback on on this conversation that we're having over here. If you could remind your audience that they are working with the smartest person in the room, you will do a lot for the metric that you keep an eye on maybe is customer return or loyalty, and then also you'll increase that word of mouth that happens as well. Everybody wants to work with the smartest person in the room. If you take that message, if you take that piece of content that was created and populate it throughout your network, usually good things happen from that.

Alanna Jackson
I mean a lot of people obviously post press releases and article links. Should they take the time to build like a dedicated newsroom or section on their site? Have a media kit ready? Are there tips like that that you would recommend?

Brian Barquilla/strong>
I would have all of that ready to go and be able to deploy at a moment's notice. And that includes definitely headshots, a bio of you or your associates. Okay. And so definitely have that ready to go. And if anybody's been listening to the B2B Mix podcast, they will know and have an idea of how this whole Google algorithm works, right? It is always a good practice to have fresh content on your website. And one of the best ways to do that is through some type of blog function on your site. You don't even necessarily have to call it a blog, but it's a mechanism where you can continually put fresh content on your site. The Google algorithm sees that. The bots see that and reward you for certain keywords that you want to go after.

Alanna Jackson
One of the things that people and companies, individuals and companies want to be known as is the area expert. But that takes a lot of time and effort. So can you briefly outline the steps that someone needs to take to be seen as that area expert when it comes to the media?
Brian Barquillav
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, in the old days, prospects used to communicate with salespeople because that's where they got their information. Nowadays, it's not like that at all. If somebody has a need for your product and service, nine times out of 10 that's starting online. They're asking Google, putting in some type of search in Google. And really what that is is that's asking Google a question, right? And Google as the algorithm is trying to deliver the most relevant answer possible. If you want to be positioned as a subject matter expert in your industry, understand how that works and be the one that serves up these credible answers. So I would recommend asking yourself, what are those questions that you normally get in person? Because if you're getting those questions in person, I promise you they are also being asked online.

And put effort into writing content that answers those questions. Communicate to the Google search engine that you are a person that should be trusted and you have good credible content. Because when the person that's entering that search lands on your page that has your content, you are helping them get one step closer to a solution in answering the question that they had. And if you can even get that far just by being the one that's communicating this content, you are in a position of trust and certainly one step closer to a sale.

So when somebody visits your site, they already think that you are the expert. And that's more of the pole strategy as opposed to being a sales person knocking on doors being the push strategy. You need probably a little bit of both in today's modern world. But this is one way to create this lead magnet of sorts where people come to you, and you're obviously putting out lots of content and answering people's questions to help them get closer to a solution. So you are by default the expert, and people always want to work with the smartest person in the room, the smartest person they can find. So if you can engage with people in their ways and they start asking you questions, I mean we all know that's much closer to a sale.

Alanna Jackson
So Brian, if you're a company, obviously you want the company to be seen as an expert. What if you've had an employee or a leader who's really just hit the scene and everybody thinks, "Oh that's the go-to guy or lady" and then that person leaves. That's kind of a blow to the company's thought leadership. How do you balance company versus individual in that sense?

Brian Barquilla
It's funny you say that because you the big trend in marketing now in sales is people really don't want to do business with faceless organizations. They really want to have a relationship with a person, right? So it's kind of going back to the old school rules. If you are creating great incentive programs and keeping people happy in the workplace, there is no reason why they wouldn't stay with you. So the organizations that I see that have the best results aren't afraid to invest into the individual to help them build their reputation because they know that there's a longer-term goal here. They expect that employee to be with them for a long time. And if they ever do separate, that's their nice parting gift. The organization has helped them build a reputation. But look, if you keep people happy, invest in their success, they're not going to leave here.

Stacy Jackson
And I imagine some kind of succession planning for the future experts when this person leaves would be a good idea too.

Brian Barquilla
Well, it certainly would, and the way to bolster that is create more than one expert in the organization. I think it would be dangerous to have one sole expert in your company. And if that person ever does leave or gets hit by a bus, your company's not dead in the water. You've got a fallback plan. You've got some contingency in place.

Stacy Jackson
So are there any additional tips that you would offer our listeners?

Brian Barquilla
Yeah. So when it comes to building your reputation and working well with the media, I think overall, I think you just want to listen to what they're working on and see how you can plug into their systems. We talked a lot about television for example, but the same thing works with print media as well. Most all outlets, whether it's actual newspapers or niche publications within an industry, just like I gave the example of sitting around the conference room, the same thing in a publishing world happens as well, right? So be the person that is easy to communicate with. Just about in all of these sites, they have the same financial pressures as the rest of the media does. They're trying to figure out how to monetize their content. So if they can borrow somebody else's content that is not self-promotional and is good value-based content, they're happy to receive it.

And most of their websites, if you scroll all the way to the bottom, you'll see like their submission guidelines and be able to see on how they prefer to receive content. They might tell you how many words they per the that they prefer or what kind of format they want to receive it in, whether it's a Word doc or a PDF or whatever it would be. So pay attention and look at those. Anytime you create an original piece of content, have in mind about where you want to distribute, not just creating it, just to create it. And also in those same publications for example on their websites, they usually have an editorial calendar that they're publishing. So see what's coming up a month from now or two months from now. So you can stack the cards in your favor and potentially be in that issue.

Alanna Jackson
Our last question for you, it's the tough one, but I think you probably know it's coming since you're listening to our show. So if you weren't content director for Build My Reputation and you could do anything, what would be your dream job?

Brian Barquilla
Well, I would clearly be a race car driver.

Stacy Jackson
NASCAR or...

Brian Barquilla
No, not so much NASCAR. Definitely road racing. I think it's fun. It's something I've done a little bit.

Alanna Jackson
So you do a little bit on the side for fun?

Brian Barquilla
I don't do it so much anymore, but I have done it, and it was a lot of fun. But as it relates to marriage and family, it's not the easiest profession to choose.

Alanna Jackson
I was going to say, you have daughters, don't you?

Brian Barquilla
I do. I do. They're probably-

Alanna Jackson
They probably wouldn't want you doing that.

Brian Barquilla
I know. And by the way, they're just approaching driving age as well. We have a small incident, pressing the gas instead of the brake right in front of our garage door.

Alanna Jackson
Oh no.

Brian Barquilla
Three weeks ago, so we're still learning over here.

Alanna Jackson
And so if you were doing the racing, they could be like, "Well you do it, Dad. Why can't I?"

Brian Barquilla
I know. I think it would make them a better driver probably. I don't know.

Stacy Jackson
Maybe learn to drive defensively and offensively.

Brian Barquilla
That's right.

Stacy Jackson
Well, Brian, thank you so much for joining us and sharing your insights with our listeners on how both companies and individuals can improve their online reputations and their reputation with the media. If our listeners would like to reach out to you, what's the best way for them to get in touch?

Brian Barquilla
Well, two ways. I mean, hit the website at buildmyreputation.net, or feel free to send me a direct email at brianb@buildingmyreputation.net and that's Brian with an I.

Alanna Jackson
And we will include that contact information in the show notes as well. If you want to get in touch with me or Stacy, you can hit us up on social, on Twitter. You can find Stacy at Stacy_jax. That's S-T-A-C-Y underscore J-A-X. And you can find me at Alanna_jax. That's A-L-A-N-N-A underscore J-A-X. If you're not a Twitter fan, you can always look us up on LinkedIn, Stacy Jackson and Alanna Jackson. And don't forget, you can always leave us a voicemail on the Anchor mobile app or on our show page at b2bmix.show. Have a great week, guys.

Alanna Jackson
The B2B Mix Show is hosted by Stacy Jackson and Alanna Jackson of, you guessed it, Jackson Marketing. If you need help with your B2B inbound market marketing efforts, visit us at jacksonmarketingservices.com. Yay!

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