What is Earned PR

Hosted By Matt DeCoursey

Full Scale

See All Episodes With Matt DeCoursey

Jason Simms

Today's Guest: Jason Simms

CEO & Founder - Theirsay

Deep River, Connecticut

Ep. #1143 - What is Earned PR?

In this episode of Startup Hustle, host Matt DeCoursey speaks with Jason Simms, CEO and Founder of Theirsay, a public relations firm. Listen to them discuss the components that make good earned PR. Additionally, learn why relationships are a huge part of PR and why doing your own PR is so hard.

Covered In This Episode

Jason explains that earned media is more valuable than paid advertising because it comes from a trusted source. It involves collaborating with media outlets to provide value to their audience, including publishing articles, interviews, podcasts, and more. Jason and Matt also touch on the significance of authenticity and vulnerability in earned PR and the role of public relations in crisis management.

Today’s discussion also emphasizes the importance of standing out and capturing attention in a saturated media landscape. Matt mentions receiving numerous emails from people wanting to be on the podcast, but only a few stand out with compelling subject lines.

Get Started with Full Scale

You will learn the importance of building relationships with journalists and understanding their preferences. When a journalist writes about your company, it signals to potential customers that you are an expert in your field.

To get your company featured in top publications, Jason recommends the following:

  • Identify your target publications. What publications do your target customers read? What publications are relevant to your industry?
  • Create valuable content. Journalists are always looking for interesting and informative stories. If you can create content that is relevant to your target publications, you’ll be more likely to get featured.
  • Pitch your content to journalists. Once you’ve created valuable content, it’s time to start pitching it to journalists. Be sure to tailor your pitch to each publication.
  • Be patient. It takes time to build relationships with journalists and get featured in top publications. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away.

The conversation further highlights the value of being transparent and authentic in PR efforts.

Earned PR can fuel your growth exponentially. Find out more in this Startup Hustle episode now.

Best Entrepreneur Podcast Available on Spotify, Apple and Google Podcasts


  • Jason’s backstory (1:21)
  • Why does a company need public relations? (3:40)
  • What is earned PR, and what’s so hard about it? (5:08)
  • What forms does PR take? (12:07)
  • Finding the right people and reaching out to them in the right way (14:26)
  • Assessing how a media outlet works (18:34)
  • What makes a good pitch? (20:49)
  • How do you get into the media? (29:02)
  • Relationships are a huge part of PR (30:23)
  • The importance of being clear about what you know and what you don’t (35:58)
  • DIY PR (36:09)
  • Best advice for founders or entrepreneurs for creating PR (40:23)

Key Quotes

There are really three components to an effective marketing strategy. There’s owned, earned, and paid. And so paid, that’s easy to understand. You’re buying ads. You’re buying sponsorships. You’re paying someone directly to expose you. Owned, also fairly well understood. Everyone knows what it takes to have a good website. You know, social media, your email list, anything you own and control.Earned is by far the most misunderstood because everyone’s used to kind of controlling when you publish and what you get to say. But earned media is more of a collaboration between you and a media outlet because you’re sort of borrowing their audience in exchange for bringing some value to that audience. So that can take the form of publishing opportunities, where you’re writing an article that’s being published by an outlet, or you can be interviewed by an outlet and get quoted by them.

– Jason Simms

I think most people know who Mr. Beast says he’s kind of like the YouTube influencer at this point. And I was just watching, you know, as we came into the beginning of the year, and we were putting short form stuff out, and I was watching this video with me because, you know, it’s really important in the beginning, if you’re gonna be a content creator, you get people around you that aren’t afraid to tell you when your stuff sucks, he goes, “because everyone thinks their content is better than it is.

– Matt DeCoursey

Just think about the media as something you can have a relationship with. So, a lot of times, founders will get frustrated, they’ll say, ”These outlets don’t cover us. They don’t like us.” They take it personally. It’s really probably not anything personal. It’s just about knowing how to approach it just right. And maybe shaping the content that you’re offering. I think it’s easy to get frustrated and get negative, but the media is out there trying to do a public service. It wants to provide useful information to people with interesting information, and you can partner with them to do that.

– Jason Simms

I think the main advice is don’t expect earned PR if you’re not out there trying to get it.

– Matt DeCoursey

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Rough Transcript

Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!

Matt DeCoursey  00:01

And we’re back back for another episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey here to have another conversation, I’m hoping helps your business grow. So as you’ve started your business, you’ve wanted to create it, create hype for it, you’ve probably made social media posts, you’ve bought paid advertising, maybe you even went big and got a box of pens and handed them out and they had your company name over it. There’s a certain type of PR and hype that’s a little harder to get. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Before I get into who I’m having that discussion with today, today’s episode Startup Hustle is powered by full scale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult and Full Scale can help you build a team quickly and affordably. And also have the platform help you manage that team go to FullScale.io to learn more. With me today, I have Jason Simms. Jason is the Principal and Founder of Theirsay, that is a public relations firm out of Deep River, Connecticut. While you’re down there in the shownotes looking for that FullScale.io length, there’s also a link for theirsay you can learn more about what they do and how they can help you get some earned PR. Without further ado, Jason, welcome to Startup Hustle.


Jason Simms  01:12

Matt, thanks for having me on.


Matt DeCoursey  01:14

Yeah, appreciate you joining me in and why don’t we start our conversation with a little bit more about your backstory?


Jason Simms  01:21

Yeah, so I run Theirsay, it’s a PR firm I founded 10 years ago. We specialize in tech firms and professional services firms, helping them tell their story in the press and share their expertise. And like a lot of people I came to this PR field from journalism. So it’s fairly common that, you know, you’re in a journalism career. And at some point you you switch to the dark side DND join PR. So I was a reporter for The Oregonian, the daily paper in Portland covered music for a long time. And now you have a strong background in music, which was a great way to great first job out of college was being a music critics had a ton of fun, also covered news there. And I wrote for outlets like Village Voice, spin, a bunch of just different magazines, Seattle papers, and all kinds of different outlets, even done some some public radio podcast type stuff in the past and moved to Connecticut 10 years ago, kind of was looking for my next chapter and started a PR firm, I’ve done some kind of PR on the side, because when you’re a reporter people kind of ask you, Hey, can you help me promote this event or put together a press release. And so I had sort of done that as a side hustle and made it my main focus when I came out here and found that having that background in journalism really helped me do it. Well, I think a lot of PR, folks that don’t have that background will approach it with kind of a more marketing mindset where they’re like, We got to get the message out there. Whereas if you’ve done journalism, you’ve seen like, what works and what doesn’t, because if you’re if you’re a reporter, you get hundreds of PR pitches a day. And so you can kind of apply that knowledge of, hey, like this, you know, you have to provide some value to the media outlet in order to get them to tell the story that you want to tell. So sort of that up, you know, I’ve got a small team here in Connecticut, we’re about 30 minutes from Hartford, 30 minutes from New Haven two hours from Boston in New York. So a lot of media in this area. And I tend to hire extra journalists as well. So that’s most of our team. And, yeah, we’re working with tech companies. And then a lot of companies that have experts like law firms, accountants, architects, anyone who who needs more publishing and interview opportunities.


Matt DeCoursey  03:40

Why does an architect need public relations?


Jason Simms  03:44

Oh, man, I mean, every field is competitive architectures is probably more competitive than a lot of them. It’s I’m amazed how much effort for architects goes into getting projects, as opposed to designing projects. And so you know, an architect, they’ve got some amazing thing that they designed. And that thing is finally built. And they need people to know that they designed it. So a lot of times a story might come out about an amazing building. And it won’t even mentioned who designed it, it’ll just say like, Hey, this, this new thing opened, it’s really great. Come check it out. They talk to like, you know, the tenant or the owner of that thing, but they don’t talk to the architect. And so that’s one thing we do with architecture firms is just try to make sure they’re included in the coverage when the thing they design gets built, you know, and also thought leadership, you know, they may be looking to expand a certain practice, like one firm we worked with was wanted to grow their education, practice and design more buildings for schools. So we were doing a lot of thought leadership about, you know, what makes a good school building from anything from a health perspective to the, you know, utility of the classroom and how learning will take place in there. So just showing off what they know. So that when they’re pitching those schools and they’re up against five other firms, they can say, Oh, hey, check out this article in, you know, ed tech that we wrote about how to design a technology forward space for learning.


Matt DeCoursey  05:08

Yeah, if you, for those of you listening, if you’re looking at a lot of, you know, the hype that you can create for your business, oh man, I mean, the list, it feels endless. And this golden age of digital stuff, you know, and I think that we often turn first to things like social media, it’s right there at our fingertips, usually already in our hands with a smartphone, you know, that kind of stuffs pretty easy, you know, you can you say what you want to say you post what you want to post, some people are good at it, some people aren’t. But that’s accessible for all of us, you kind of move on to things that can be a little more or feel a little more sophisticated, like writing blog articles, maybe recording a podcast, like what we do here. And and you know, and then all of a sudden, when it comes to, you know, creating hype and getting the word out, you kind of run into a brick wall, you know, and so we talked about like the Earned PR and like when I think about that, what does that mean? That, as you mentioned at the beginning of the episode, you know, journalists, or people that write for media outlets or distributor purvey stories, they’re just getting slammed with stuff all day. And so you have the in you want at you as the person wanting the attention or the hype, you want attention in their publication on their platform, it’s similar to someone that wants to come on the show, you know, you hear it is here’s the outlet. If you’re going to provide value and work within the structure of our brand standards and stuff like that, then maybe you’re a good fit. So like, I think when you know when I think about earned PR is the first thing and I’ll just go ahead and tell everyone listening, you know, we’ve used their say, that’s how I know Jason at Full Scale, and Jason’s helped me get several articles published. If you have if you follow our top startup lists, he’s helped us, you know, get that stuff in Ink Magazine. Zynga CrunchBase. What else do we have company? Yeah, gas company. There’s a bunch of difference. The Las Vegas Sun. Yeah, we leave that out. With that. So So why does that stuff matter? And you mentioned like I asked, like, why is an architect need that stuff? Well, look, here’s the thing is when people want to do business with you, they Google you. You know, and I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve spent years grooming that search result. You know, because I’m an author, a podcast host, a business owner a lot of different things. And, you know, this is the stuff that pops up. So but earned PR is a much trickier thing. So when you think about it, like what’s the hard part about it?


Jason Simms  07:45

Oh, well, yeah, I think it’s, it’s adjusting your mindset. So you know, there’s really three components to a effective marketing strategy. There’s owned, earned and paid, and so paid, that’s easy to understand. You’re buying ads, you’re buying sponsorship, you’re paying someone directly to expose you. owned, also fairly well understood. Everyone knows what it takes to have a good website. You know, social media, your email list, anything you own and control earned is by far the most misunderstood because everyone’s used to kind of controlling when you publish and what you get to say, but earned media is more of a collaboration between you and a media outlet, because you’re sort of borrowing their audience in exchange for bringing some value to that audience. So that can take the form of publishing opportunities, where you’re writing an article that’s being published by an outlet or you can be interviewed by an outlet and get quoted by them. Or there’s, you know, podcasts, things like this, but whatever it is, you know, I think it’s really hard unless you’re doing it on a daily basis, to think to get put yourself in that person’s shoes and say, What is Fast Company looking for? You know, I know, I want to be in Fast Company, but what do they want? How do I provide something for them? And I’m sure that happens to you with the podcast all the time, people reach out and they say, you know, I want to be on Startup Hustle. And it’s like, well, why what would the episode be called? What would we talk about? Why have you What are you going to bring that we haven’t done in our 1000 episodes that we’ve already put out, you know, what you know yourself, but it’s hard to know what other people are looking for.


Matt DeCoursey  09:18

But with that, you get back to the value add, you know, cuz I was just looking through some, some little short content videos that we have yet to publish at the time of this recording, but I’m planning on doing it and it was Andrew Morgans and I were talking about what kind of guests we like and what kind of guests we don’t, the guests that, that I’m not a fan of, and the episodes that often end up in the trash can is when I get someone on here, and it’s just 38 minutes of shell. Yeah, you know, like, I mean, it’s just no matter what, it’s just a constant beating of of the of the marketing drum and that’s not value add That’s an that’s a different thing. So you know, some people also ask me what my favorite episodes are my favorite episodes are the deep conversations that I have with people that are willing to be open and transparent about the blueprint that led them to the success, or perhaps failure and are afraid to share that and want to tell that story. And, you know, and that’s okay, you can go to there say.com, that’s fine. But if you’re gonna sit there, you know, like five minutes of it and, you know, like straight and then lose people’s attention. That’s, that’s what the paid, that’s what paid channels can be four, if you want to get that out there. And you can go pay for that you can say, most things that you want to say, but the Earn side of it. When I think of earn two is, is I just think that there’s, you know, like the publications we mentioned. Well, a lot of these publications, I think all the best publications probably have a sponsored posts at this point. Yeah. But you know, that’s not that’s not earned PR,


Jason Simms  11:02

right? I mean, so the public is pretty savvy, right? So part of the value of earned PR is that everyone generally sees an ad, they know you paid for that ad, they sort of take it with a grain of salt. If they see that you’ve been covered by a media outlet, they, on some level, just understand that that outlet had to buy into you in some way, they had to think that you were interesting or noteworthy or knowledgeable enough to be put in front of their audience. And so they take it a little more seriously. And then I think, yeah, like you said, there’s more depth to it. So if you’ve, if you’re putting out an ad, that’s just sort of blasting out your message that that can be really effective, especially if you have a big budget. But you know, with a smaller budget, it helps to really resonate. So you know, you were talking about being it’s a big theme on this show like being forthright about your failures. And so, you know, I think vulnerability goes a long way in earned media, if you’re willing to talk about something that was hard for you and how it worked out or, you know, challenges that you’ve had, that’s definitely something that goes a long way rather than someone who’s who just wants to beat their chest.


Matt DeCoursey  12:07

Yeah, now when we talked about our NPR I just, I just asked chat JpT I’m like what’s on your PR? Now Now I’m probably gonna pass Jason off. It’s somewhere on this list that I’m gonna race through. Some of these he might not consider but I’m not the true source of this. Press mentions media interviews, feature articles, product reviews, social media mentioning mentions and influencer endorsements, awards and accolades, thought leadership and articles guest blogging, speaking engagements, community involvement, viral content, publicity, stunts, crisis management, trends, jacking sounds, sounds mean, expert quotes, case studies, partnerships, and collabs. Testimonials media mentions, these are all things like some of those I could even probably poke a couple holes in. But these are things that aren’t aren’t the straightforward mention of things right, so that they got earned PR. Now you have other side of the PR, too, that’s just straight out public relations. And man in the cancel culture, I got to feel like some of your peers are probably staying busy.


Jason Simms  13:16

Probably yet. I mean, there are firms that specialize in can in crisis PR, for sure. It’s, and those things you listed, I would say all could be considered PR, not every PR firm is going to do all those, for instance, we don’t manage influencers, some PR firms do but they’re also specific influencer marketing firms that are really specialized in that, which is I think, almost a whole other mindset, you know, talking to, I’m really good at understanding what the press is thinking about. And I’m really not that familiar with what influencers want and need and how that will work. Also, there’s kind of an overlap and paid video there, where you’re going to be paying influencers for content but but in some cases,


Matt DeCoursey  13:58

you might not though, because some influencers may pick up on what you want to do and and you also talk about, you know, if does that lesson or read any of the things that I speak or create are going to hear me eventually say if you want people to help you, you got to make it easy for people to help you. And part of what you know, like earn PR can be sometimes it’s whether it’s you or affirm some mysteries, you gotta get out there and start to ask it.


Jason Simms  14:26

Oh, yeah, I mean, that’s a huge part of what we do is ask ask a lot of people in the right, you know, think, you know, at its worst PR is kind of blasting out a press release to 1000s of irrelevant journalists. Like when I cover up music, I used to get pitches about kittens and logging and who knows what, like, but so finding the right people and then reaching out to them in the right way. So sort of saying, Hey, I see that you cover this. You know, here’s something that I think would be of interest to you. Here’s what we can provide you kind of understanding what they might need them. You know, it really helps to round out a story if you’ve got stats that they can use if they’ve if you’ve got images, if you’ve got other sources, you know, our clients tend to be experts. And you know, folks who have a company with that may have a product. But there’s also kind of real people sources, maybe the person using that product or the person who needs that expert, that really helps make a story in a media outlet, more well rounded. You know, a lot of times we might come to someone and say like, here’s this trend that our expert wants to talk about. And they’re like, well bring me people who are being affected by that trend, you know. So the more you can kind of bring the whole package, the probably, the better you’re going to do and then also phrasing it really briefly. So knowing how to reach out to people at the right time of day with kind of the right tone, the right amount of words, it’s there’s a ton of nuances to it. It’s a it’s kind of amazing when I hire X journalists, I sort of think, you guys, you were in the media world, you know how to do this, but then the ramp up to really get the hang of pitching media effectively, it’s pretty long, because there’s a lot of a lot of little pieces to it.


Matt DeCoursey  16:03

You know, one of the things you mentioned the package. All right. There’s a journalist out there listening somewhere that I’m probably gonna piss off here. Modern journalists are fucking lazy these days, man. They want this like delivery of just like their job with a golden bow on top of it.


Jason Simms  16:25

It’s really a factor the shrinking. Hey, but


Matt DeCoursey  16:27

here’s the thing. There’s all this all right? If you’re if you’re ever been in a relationship or been around when you look, the love languages, the love language of the journalists as the as the turn key article with a golden bow on top of that, right, yeah, yeah. But if that’s where you want love, you need to speak that love language. And that’s back to that making it easy for people to help you give them something turnkey, give them something that’s going to make them look good. Now that that could be a variety of different you know, things now, you mentioned that we were just talking about social media influencer stuff, so you can collect you can sell get earn PR let’s let’s just use Eric Perkins, who has been on the show before Eric’s a friend of mine. And I’ve worked with him a little, just to try to advise him about how to turn his YouTube stuff into a business, he’s getting close to, you know, he’s got 750,000 subscribers, for YouTube. Now, if I want to be on Eric’s YouTube channel, I could, but I’m gonna have to go to western North Carolina, and be where they’re filming it. And I gotta make it easy for him to put me on his channel. Now, if I’m sitting there going, Eric, I’d love it. If you’d come to Kansas City, leave your job for a couple of days, leave your kids and your family. I know you’re super busy. And you’re probably not going to get paid to come here. In fact, it’s going to cost you money to get here. You’re never going to be what’s the what’s the point in that? Like, what would be the upside of that the best people, the best channels, the best. The best audiences, all of that have been built over time. And they are usually operated and involved with very busy people. So like you said, in that world where I’m delivering to him, I probably have a really good chance of being on something there. But if I’m trying to sell will come to me anytime. And you know, it’s the same thing. When you want someone at someone’s advice. Where can I come? I will bring myself to you wherever you tell me at whatever time for however long you say I can stay?


Jason Simms  18:34

Totally. And it’s yeah, it’s kind of common sense. But uh, yeah, it’s assessing how that media outlet works. So like when we’re pitching podcasts? Do they do record podcasts over video calls like we’re doing right now? Or do you have to be in person? And if so, where is that podcast recorded? Like you’re saying and then making it timely is important to you know, we’re going to talk about this topic. That’s that’s big in the news right now is a lot more helpful than something that’s not and sometimes, sometimes, yeah, if you’re in North Carolina, like in your example, for one week, that helps too, if you’re like, This is the only chance we have Are you available that can kind of help move things along. But as far as you were talking about, like how journalists want that, that whole package, and part of that, I think is the factor that it’s of the shrinking newsroom. You know, there’s a lot of outlets that have half or a quarter of the staff that they had 10 or 20 years ago. So you’ve got webby used to have, you know, a business reporter, a healthcare reporter, a Education reporter. And now maybe there’s one person who covers all three of those things for a given outlet. So they’re just a lot busier, a lot more to cover. And with that, you know, one of the nuances with giving that complete package to is kind of using the right tone or you’re offering it but not doing their job for them too much. You’re sort of saying here are the resources I can offer. But sometimes folks will take your idea and take a whole different direction. They’ll say, Hey, I like this piece. what you’re suggesting, what if we do something like this instead? You know, so kind of that flexibility that flexibility in is like another piece to it?


Matt DeCoursey  20:08

Well, modern media has got it’s kind of it’s a lot more disposable. In some regards, you know, 20 years ago, the newspaper had a deadline that came out, it was out, you know, and like, you know, I mean, the internet never closes, I always tell people, it’s, it’s a hard book, do I want to be a tech entrepreneur? Okay, first off, you got to know, the internet never closes. So be ready. You know, there’s a lot to be said of that.


Jason Simms  20:32

It’s also more permanent, though, like you were talking about those search results. I mean, if you get a media clip, it may show up in your search results for a decade. Whereas, you know, in the past, maybe if you were in a newspaper in Kansas City, you know, no one outside of Kansas City is really going to see that. But these days, anyone can find it.


Matt DeCoursey  20:49

Yeah, remember that level of permanence is also important too. Because I mean, I’ve met a lot of people over the years that are searching and trying to find a way to get something out of search results. So yeah, that that can be difficult. But what isn’t difficult is finding expert software developers, when you go to full scale.io, where you can build a software team quickly and affordably. You’re gonna use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs, and then see what available developers testers and leaders are ready to join your team, full scale.io. To learn more, while you’re down there, click the their site link and learn more about what Jason’s PR company goes with. Now, we’re talking about what is earned PR? So I think we would be it’s smart to say, so we’ve talked about what some of the components of what might make a good earned PR attempt? What are some things that are guaranteed to just get your delete, delete?


Jason Simms  21:50

Yeah, relevance for sure to that person, you know, you might have a great story. But if


Matt DeCoursey  21:54

you’re pitching music guy with a cat and article, yeah,


Jason Simms  21:58

exactly. You know, if you’re pitching a sports story to the business reporter, it’s really not gonna go anywhere. And you might think, well, they could forward it to the right person, but they’re, they’re very busy. Yeah, what else is not


Matt DeCoursey  22:10

really compelling offer? And have to be very, very heavy, really compelling? Yeah.


Jason Simms  22:16

I think the assumption that you put the word out, and then press will come to you, I find that with a lot of companies where they say, you know, we’ve been putting out press releases for years, and no one covers us, and it’s,


Matt DeCoursey  22:29

you know, us releases


Jason Simms  22:31

exactly, it takes a you have to be very proactive, you know, a press release is kind of a tool, I think it’s not, it’s not something that’s going to lead to press on its own. It’s something that you can send to press to say, here’s all the information that you might need in a format you’re familiar with. But it’s not going to do it on its own. Gotcha. Yeah, like you said, overly promotional content. So if it’s just transparent, that you’re here to just sell what you’re doing, it’s not really gonna go very far. It’s got to be about something else. Is it about a trend? Like, you know, are you dialed into AI or something big that’s happening right now? Do you have some it did something remarkable happened, like a story that you can tell that has kind of a narrative of beginning, middle and end? Like, did you? You know, did you have a ticket business that failed? And then you went on to start a podcast that helps you launch a successful offering company? You know, that’s a good


Matt DeCoursey  23:26

route. But no, but I’m sitting here thinking, I’m sitting here thinking number one is boring. Okay, so I was watching, I think most people know who Mr. Beast says he’s kind of like the YouTube influencer at this point. And I was just watching, you know, as we came into the beginning of the year, and we were putting short form stuff out, and I was watching this video with me, because, you know, it’s really important in the beginning, if you’re gonna be a content creator, you get people around you that aren’t afraid to tell you when your stuff sucks, he goes, because everyone thinks their content is better than it is. But it’s the same thing with the story, like so. You mentioned like you the context of like, did you have a ticket company that did this or did that? Well, I had a ticket company that was wildly successful. And then I walked away from it, I walked away, I literally walked away from a business that I was making millions from, because I wanted to do something different. And that is almost that might be a more compelling story than the other parts that go in it. So you got to figure out like, you know, and Donald Miller has this book called The Story brand, which I which I’m a big fan of, and you can really learn there’s there’s a specific art to storytelling that can make a lot of things that you know, it’s and I’ve learned this through writing books, and my book editor you mentioned like the brevity of things and like keeping it moving, like the pacing of stuff, like that’s one of the things that we’re you know, working with you guys I found to be pretty interesting, because, you know, here, here’s, you know, we’re working on articles and I came into it. I had a couple of like, really refined ones that are about 1500 words and Jason’s like, these are way too long. I’m like, What do you mean? These are like, great, these are comprehensive. I worked on him with my New York Times award winning editor. And we didn’t submit them anywhere. Because the to friggin long, because think about that, like, you know, they needed to be half and those were still kind of long because TLDR we’re in this like, kind of, you know, if you can’t read it in a minute or two,


Jason Simms  25:26

yeah, different outlets that have different specs, you know, they’ll say, like, we want submissions between 700 and 1000. Words. So that’s a that’s a good way to knock it in that outlet is to not follow what they’re asking for. But yeah, like you said, it’s, it can’t be boring. And you’re right. People are very unclear about what is and is not boring, or what isn’t, isn’t news. You know, a lot of companies will want to put out a press release, hey, we’re launching our new website, we want to put out a press release.


Matt DeCoursey  25:52

No one cares why.


Jason Simms  25:53

Yeah, like, did maybe you’re launching it? Does it have some new functionality? We can talk about? Does it do something no one’s ever done before? Does it? Did it result from you know, the funding round? You just raise or I don’t know,


Matt DeCoursey  26:07

1000s of people and companies today that are doing that? Yeah, exactly. Like, if you look at it, and it’s like, okay, you could say so what to anything, but that would have been my response. Like, like, if you were if you were reaching out, and so we get a lot of the urn, like we probably get through, I don’t know, three to five a day. Yeah. that want to be on the podcast, sometimes more. It just depends. And, you know, a lot of them are that kind of so what but there are people that do it really well, especially, and they win and lose in that subject line a lot. Like I got one yesterday. And I’ll tell you what I’m usually I because I’m not even the person that processes this stuff reads it. At this point on the show. I’m just like the dumb guy that sits and talks in the microphone when they tell me to write. But you know, Jessica gets in and reads all these emails. And I got one it was like, it says something like eight, you know, eight year old kid builds billion dollar empire.


Jason Simms  27:02

Wow, there you go. That’s


Matt DeCoursey  27:05

what’s up with this, you know, because, you know, then you realize you’re not as smart as an eight year old. Happens to right? Maybe that’d be a good article, you know, an entrepreneur, an entrepreneur finally admits he’s not smarter than an eight year old. There you go. That’s the story. Some of that is, you know, and when I think when you’re trying to get attention is, you know, why do I want to read this? And how, you know, I ask all everyone listening, how many emails do you get? How many text messages? How many ads? Do you see? Or hear or all of that? And, you know, when we were referencing the newspaper, which, like, do they even make those anymore, but, you know, 2020, over 20 years ago, when I was managing retail stores, I remember reading this article that so I lived in Washington, DC, and the Washington Post could, on any day, give you enough paper to cover all of the surfaces in your home. With newspaper. I mean, the floor, the walls, the ceiling, the things in your house, like all of that. And but here’s the thing is it gives you a lot of context. Okay, so now, Jason, I just came over to your house like Mr. Beast, and I covered everything in newspaper, because I feel like that’s something he’d do, right? And I’m like, I’ll give you $10,000 If you can find your ad in one minute. Yeah, or something like that. But think about that, like, you’re I mean, you’re like looking around, and now everything’s covered in newspaper. But that is that is what we’re exposed to. As we’re the product, right? You know, and there’s been a lot of that’s been a lot of the the argument with a lot of the social media stuff, because it’s funny. There’s only two industries that refer to their target audience as users. That’s drugs and software. Totally. I


Jason Simms  29:02

always feel weird when I’m writing to users. Yeah. Yeah, you know, you’re hitting on something, too. I think that a lot of focus of, you know, in discussions about our media is how to get it, how do we get in to the outlet? But that’s only half the battle. It’s also how do you get it in a memorable way, you know, you’ve got to, you’ve got to be something that is going to resonate. So, you know, I like to talk about how it’s important to kind of paint a picture of what it’s like to work with you, you know, show examples of the difference you made for your clients or your customers. So that whoever’s reading can imagine, wow, that can be me. You know, it’s, it’s, that’s a lot of what we do, as well as coaching people for the interviewer to try to make sure that they hit what they need to hit and don’t get lost and waste time.


Matt DeCoursey  29:47

That’s not an uncommon thing on Startup Hustle, actually. We get a lot of that like people and so it’s funny because I check them out. You know, we record a lot of this in a virtual studio, and we’ll oftentimes get Like, a third person will show up and they’ll be. I just want to sit here and listen and like now. Wow, yeah, you can listen afterwards. They’re like sitting there. And I just, I’m just happy that I’m not the guy that ever even considered maybe I should have someone listen to my live recording to make sure I didn’t say anything to them.


Jason Simms  30:23

Yeah, I mean, that’s the point. I mean, relationships are a huge part of PR too, right? And so we often know who’s who’s open to something like that and who’s not like because a lot of journalists they don’t? Yeah, like you. They don’t want someone looking over their shoulder. They just want it


Matt DeCoursey  30:36

feels weird. It ruins the vibe. Yeah. But person in that regard.


Jason Simms  30:42

If you’re a business journalist, and and you mostly interview CEOs, you might be fairly accustomed to that, because a lot of a lot of kind of corporate marketing folks are gonna want to be very in control. And so they they’re, they’re used to kind of go in with their CEO to an interview. And so yeah, sometimes like,


Matt DeCoursey  30:59

that might be a thing. It depends on where it’s at. This is a this is a one on one conversation, and that’s the thing, is it. It harnesses the vibe, bro. Yeah,


Jason Simms  31:09

yeah. Listen to the, we’re recording this you can listen to.


Matt DeCoursey  31:14

If they’re really worried about it, we’ll give them the recording. But you know, we’ve had a couple people that they’ll come back and like we had, I can’t remember who it was when they wanted to hear the recording. And they came back and they have like 27 edits. Oh my gosh. And I said, we’ll make none of these. Yeah, yeah. So but if you want, we can just delete it. And no, no, no, no, don’t do that. Don’t do that. Yeah. And I’m like,


Jason Simms  31:39

that’s another thing too, is Yeah, knowing who would maybe let you listen to it and who wouldn’t? And who would be open to maybe 127


Jason Simms  31:45

edits? Yeah, like, obviously, 27 is crazy, but who might be open to one very crucial edit. If you’re like, Hey, I got this fact. Wrong.


Matt DeCoursey  31:54

That could be one that might get a lesson. Right? Like, hey, you know, I miss quoted this, or I didn’t, you know, I didn’t realize I shouldn’t have mentioned that yet. Yeah,


Jason Simms  32:05

yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, something that’s like, Hey, this is gonna cause me a big problem if we put it out. Or it’s gonna make the show not look good, because I attribute a quote to the wrong person. And then maybe you hear them out.


Matt DeCoursey  32:16

You say we like to say we publish this warts and all. Nice. But here’s the thing you get back to helping the part of why people to ask Jason some people asked me some of these, how do you guys get five podcasts out a week? And? Well, first off, there’s more than me recording them. Yeah. And also, we have a warts and all kinds of thing. When I hit record, my expectation is that I’m going to hit stop, and that’s the file. Yeah, you know, and, and, you know, some some, some weird things need to occur, to want to go and get it is significantly more work effort, energy. And then one of the things is, is it’s tough. Okay, so everyone likes short form videos now. And it’s like, who can make the shortest, you know, 18. Second thing. When you’re going to QA or proof, something like that, after you do any production element to it, you only have to watch 18 seconds of it. If you’re doing a good job for a show, and like, we have too much distribution, too, not to make an edit to any file and not listen to the whole file after. Yeah, that’s you never know, like, there’s just weird things that can happen. It could corrupt the second half. And we’ve actually had that happen. Like a year or so ago, we asked that someone didn’t QA an episode, and it was there was something corrupted with the file, and it just sounded like, static in your ear. You know, and I was like, Whoa, you know, that’s, but I mean, that’s the thing is, it really doesn’t take you mentioned, like the whole keeping people’s attention and stuff. Well, it’s easy to get it. It’s awesome. It’s even easier to live as


Jason Simms  33:59

a nomad. Speaking of efficient processes. Today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by full scale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult, Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And it has the platform to manage that team visit full scale.io to learn


Matt DeCoursey  34:14

more. And the Spoken like a true professional.


Jason Simms  34:18

Well, that’s part of I mean, it’s part of doing Dr. Like, I know what you do on this show. So like, I want to help my clients. I’ve had clients in your show, that’s how we met in the first place. You know, so I kind of have clients understand. Yeah, tell them the I told them exactly what you just told me the expectation is, this will air as if it was recorded live. So don’t don’t count on anything getting edited.


Matt DeCoursey  34:39

Thanks for doing that heavy lifting there. And then, you know, in some of that, and when you talk about creating our NPR and I’d went down a huge, less, you know, so I think if you’re gonna go out and you’re going to try to either create it for yourself, well, first off, and don’t take this wrong way. Just folks go out and try to get a loan for yourself. Yeah, you might get a bit you’re also going to realize like how rd as because it’s one of those things where if you’re not waking up and kind of trying to do that every day, if you’re probably going to find that you’re not going to do it at all, and part of why, you know why we hired, Jason was there was so you know, I look at trying to have a well rounded everything, it’s just kind of the way I operate with stuff. And I just, you know, as a writer of three books and different stuff, I was like, you know, I haven’t had any articles and some of these different things, it’d be kind of nice to just kind of spread that out. And we weren’t very good at doing it ourselves. But, you know, I think if you want to create, earn, you need to like figure out what kind you want. And then remember, it doesn’t all just fit under one blanket, like Jason was saying, like, his firm isn’t really like, like, they’re not going to probably help you get dialed in with like, 1500, you know, tick tock influencers, right. Yeah, exactly. There’s someone out there that does that. Yeah. The doesn’t specialize in the written word.


Jason Simms  35:58

Yeah, I think that’s, I think that’s a great thing for any professional service firm to do is be very clear about what you know, and what you don’t know. And have partners you can refer people to,


Matt DeCoursey  36:09

and like you told me in the beginning, you’re like, if, okay, so, you know, earn PR and publications and articles come in different levels of reality, you know, like, like getting in the Wall Street Journal is significantly harder. The No offense, Las Vegas Sun. Yeah. Some of that, though, but it’s still you know, you get you get it out there. And then and then one of the things is, I think is important as even though the Earn PR in the platform that is created, did we put an article on ink that ended up trending a little bit at one point, it was, how are we how this podcast and and the the hype we created with this, because you go back to like the Full Scale ads, which is what pays for this show? Right? And that that’s our that’s our why and well, there’s more than that. That’s part of it. But you know, you look back at, you know, what do you want, what do you want to create? How do you want to create it? And you should expect, I think, to still promote urine, PR?


Jason Simms  37:11

Oh, yeah, absolutely. It’s, it’s a great to get us it’s really different than marketing, but it provides great fuel for marketing, you know, if you’ve got, you can obviously make blog content very easily out of your coverage, you can we often pull out quotes, or try to kind of design in quotes where you can, you know, say, Inc said these five awesome words about our company, and put that on everything. And, and yeah, you mentioned the Las Vegas Sun and kind of like how hard it is to do PR for yourself, like I think, you know, to be in the spirit of transparency on your show. Like, yeah, that was not our first option. So I think that’s one reason it’s hard is like, if you’re trying to do PR for yourself, it takes persistence. And a lot of time it takes going through plans, B, C, D, E, F, and G to get to an outcome. You know, that’s an article we wrote for The Wall Street Journal had that in mind, we pitched it a lot of places, New York Times Washington Post, I know CNN looked at it eventually said no. And then we ended up sending it to a service that kind of sends it to major newspapers around the country. And again, that’s something that like most entrepreneurs aren’t going to know of themselves unless they’re in this field. And so that service kind of helps you get into and we it was in a number of papers, I think, one in Iowa or something, too, but The Las Vegas Sun was probably the biggest one. And so that’s just kind of a roll of the dice like it with that with that same service. We’ve gotten the San Francisco Chronicle, which is probably, you know, a step up from the Las Vegas Sun. And we’ve also gotten other, you know, other papers that were stepped down. But it takes it’s if you’re trying to do PR for yourself, it’s very easy to get discouraged to say, I wrote this perfect article that I love, and I sent it to the outlet that I want and they didn’t use it. Well know what they’re they’re still building


Matt DeCoursey  38:49

the content. It’s just weird like that. Because I’ll tell you, man, I’ve made videos, written blog, I’ve done everything at some point that you create in your life. Yes, is awesome, right? You publish it, and it just doesn’t catch it. The algorithm doesn’t show it to people or the search engine doesn’t like it or there’s just something and and then and then you have the flip side. So it’s kind of funny story. So before we started publishing, non podcast recording videos on the Startup Hustle, YouTube, I recorded I edited a video or recorded and edited a video myself about how to start a tech company. And all it was was I was just trying to reinvigorate my video editing skills. And I didn’t think too much of it. Put the video up and it’s the most populated became the most popular video and channel history. But it gets I mean, it just kind of gets like 100 to 150 views a day, which is kind of a lot considering it’s still doing it three years later. Yeah. But with that you never know. Like, I mean, I probably if I was expecting that to keep doing that years later, I have no sometimes, like I said, sometimes you create something you’re just trying to get try to do it. And then it grabs. I mean, I also had a viral video earlier this year that got almost 3 million views on Facebook. It’s just me sitting telling the story about selling golf balls as a kid,


Jason Simms  40:26

right? Yeah. And it’s, yeah, like you’re saying, it’s hard to know what’s going to hit. I think one thing you can that help sometimes is, is something that’s really particular to you, you know, select that ink article, you mentioned that that made it to the homepage of ink, they tweeted it. It’s about how to use a podcast to build a business. And that’s something that’s like very few people know about more than you. And then same with the golf ball video. I think that’s just something that


Matt DeCoursey  40:51

someone, a lot of people identified with it.


Jason Simms  40:55

No one had really talked about that phenomenon. But it’s something that once you put it out there, people are like, I did that, too.


Matt DeCoursey  41:01

It was amazing how many comments that were in there of people, you know, sharing similar stories, or, you know, selling cups of lemonade or something like that. And that was, that was fun. But yeah, you never know. You never know. And sometimes it’ll surprise you. What do you know, Jason? Here we are, you did my third ad read for me. So thank you. It was a little early. It was a little girl. I normally do that. Right? Before we like do a founders freestyle or something. You know, with that out as we wrap up today’s show, I mean, what’s some of the best advice you could give founders or entrepreneurs for creating earn PR out of everything we talked about today?


Jason Simms  41:38

Yeah, I would say to just think about the media as something you can have a relationship with. So so a lot of times, founders will get frustrated, they’ll say this outlet, you know, these, these outlets don’t cover us. They don’t like us that take it personally. It’s really probably not anything personal. It’s really just about knowing how to approach it just right. And, and maybe shaping your content that you’re offering. So, you know, I think it’s easy to get frustrated and get negative, but it’s the media is it’s out there trying to do a public service. It wants to provide useful information to people interesting information, and you can partner with them to do that.


Matt DeCoursey  42:18

I think the main advice is don’t expect RPR if you’re not out there trying to get it. Oh, it’s rare, like you’re gonna have to do something fairly phenomenal. Yeah, yeah, like for it to come find you.


Jason Simms  42:33

I was, I was in two bands in my younger days. And both of them were kind of remarkable acts. And the first one hardly got any coverage because I didn’t know about PR, so I was too young. I didn’t really know how to do it. Second one was. So the first one I was in a punk band in Albuquerque called question the answers. And we were super young. We were like in our early like mid teens, but and we kind of had, it wasn’t like the era of Blink 182. But we had like a more legit punk sound kind of like a Dead Kennedys circle jerks kind of vibe. And with all these older fans, it was a great story for local press that no one really told because no one suggested that they tell it. And then later, I had a band called the metal Shakespeare Company where we performed original like kind of Iron Maiden style metal that we would set scenes from Shakespeare to and we would dress in a combo of like Shakespeare and 80s Rock outfits. And that got a ton of coverage. So that’s kind of how I taught myself how to do PR was because I was a reporter at the time. And I was like, this is a great story. And we’d go on tour and I was get all kinds of interviews for us. The LA Times covered us. Lots of metal blogs, the Denver Post all kinds of big outlets, because, you know, I went around and said, Hey, this very bizarre act is coming to your town. Do you want to cover it? Here’s some amazing photos of us in these crazy outfits. And they often said yes!


Matt DeCoursey  43:48

Well, it’s interesting. And then also the lens is wide enough and I think that’s where I kind of want to make my last comment is like, I think you’ll also have to consider the width of the lens that would point back at you you know that one of the things that I’ve just kind of grown to accept with my relationship with Full Scale is that on many levels, what I sell is boring to the public. And and that’s okay, yeah, no, like I mean, you know, and we do some exciting and interesting things but the things that are maybe a little more interested in newsworthy or maybe like our charitable efforts are like 300 people from our company all showing up to clean up beaches one day or something that’s cuz cuz I the video at some point that I put out that was joking. It was like how do you how do you how do you tell the story of what it’s like to be a tech entrepreneur because and then I just have like a time lapse of me sitting there answering emails.


Jason Simms  44:46



Matt DeCoursey  44:48

Because it’s like oh, you hit send people, that’s it. It’s out, reply all.  Boom! Yeah, it’s like, I don’t know. I mean, so but, but with that, I mean, keep in mind And then what you’re pushing the story you’re telling or any of that, like, I mean, while it might be exciting to you, there might be another 12 people out there that give a shit past you.


Jason Simms  45:10



Matt DeCoursey  45:11

So, your expectation that that’s going to end up on the cover of The Wall Street Journal is a little much. So…


Jason Simms  45:17

That’s a big part of what we offer a bit of a differentiator for us as we take companies that are on the surface somewhat boring, and help show how interesting they are. Like, I just got a great clip for a trust in a state’s attorney yesterday in Fortune. So it’s like, that’s not something people are super excited about.


Matt DeCoursey  45:33

Right? But for that guy, and the guy that wants to hire him, and that’s the whole thing, though, you establish his cred. And like, I’ve referred to this as my Boy Scout badges.


Jason Simms  45:42



Matt DeCoursey  45:43

Now, here’s the thing is like, you know, now I have an author that has had articles published in and you get a nice little row those on your site or whatever. And the thing is, is keeping keep in mind as as whether it’s– you have to treat yourself as a brand as well, because it’s that presence and that credibilit… I mean, dude, I get a message almost every day of someone that’s like, I heard you’re the person I need to talk to, you know that doesn’t happen to the person that you Google. And there’s just like, Who is this? So if you can get give some give some credit to that. Well, Jason, thanks for joining me. For those of you that are interested in what Jason and their site does, there’s a link in the show notes for that. Make sure to check out FullScale.io. Jason, I’ll catch up with you down the road.


Jason Simms  46:32

Such a pleasure. Thanks, Matt.