1700 – Blended Line with Pace Public Relations’ Annie Pace Scranton

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the Chief Executive Officer, Founder & President of Pace Public Relations, Annie Pace Scranton.

Annie started the conversation by acknowledging the rapid changes in the media landscape, with traditional media outlets facing layoffs and closures. Despite these challenges, she emphasized that earned media will always hold weight and credibility, making it more meaningful than any ad or marketing campaign.

Annie highlighted the importance of earned media for different types of clients. For companies seeking funding, being featured in respected publications or news programs can enhance their credibility and increase their chances of securing investments. For smaller clients looking to expand their customer base, digital placements in high-traffic websites can drive traffic to their websites and result in conversions.

Beyond immediate visibility, Annie explained the long-term benefits of earned media, such as its impact on search engine optimization (SEO). Being quoted or mentioned in high domain authority websites can improve a company's reputation and attract prospective customers.

However, she quickly pointed out that securing earned media is not a guarantee of overnight success. It requires additional efforts to maximize the visibility and impact of the media placement. This can include investing in SEO, creating a content calendar for social media, featuring the clip prominently on the company's website, and promoting it to the customer base through newsletters.

Annie also discussed her book, “The Guide to Earned Media: How to Use PR Strategies to Enhance Your Brand.” She explained that the book primarily targets students and PR communications professionals. Still, there is also a growing need for mid-level executives who may not have a dedicated PR professional or external agency. These individuals can benefit from learning PR skills to advance their careers and benefit their companies.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Importance and value of earned media
  • Benefits of earned media for different types of clients
  • Long-term benefits of earned media, including impact on SEO
  • Additional efforts required to maximize the visibility and impact of media placements
  • Case study of working with Andrew Yang and the Forward Party
  • Discussion of Annie Scranton's book, “The Guide to Earned Media”
  • Ongoing process of securing media placements
  • Insights into pitching the media and working effectively with journalists and producers

About Annie Pace Scranton:

Annie Pace Scranton is a prominent figure in the world of public relations, renowned for her role as the founder and President of Pace Public Relations, a distinguished global PR firm headquartered in New York City, NY.

Scranton has established herself as a leading force in the industry with a track record of serving notable clients such as Away, Inc., Fast Company, and NewsNation. Her unwavering commitment to helping PR professionals secure meaningful placements for their companies is evident through her extensive contributions.

Scranton's influence extends beyond her firm, as she frequently imparts her expertise at industry events, including Digital Summit, Silicon Slopes, Elevate, INBOUND, and Adweek. Furthermore, she plays a crucial role in shaping the next generation of PR practitioners as an adjunct professor at New York University (NYU).

Annie Pace Scranton's remarkable career is marked by her dedication to elevating the field of public relations and mentoring future professionals in this dynamic industry.

About Pace Public Relations:

Pace Public Relations (PPR) is a highly regarded full-service media relations and communications agency headquartered in the vibrant hub of New York City. At PPR, their hallmark is strategic customization where each client's unique PR objectives are meticulously tailored to ensure maximum media exposure.

With a specialized focus on securing placements in television, radio, print, and digital platforms, PPR is the vital link between clients and the press, effectively connecting them with the media exposure they desire and require.

Distinguished by their exceptional performance, PPR has earned a spot on the prestigious Inc. 5000 list, a testament to their excellence and growth within the industry.

PPR is also a Certified Minority and Women's Business Enterprise in New York, highlighting its commitment to diversity and inclusion while delivering top-tier PR services to its clientele.

Tweetable Moments:

03:30 – “Earned media will always still be here. It's never going to go away and the credibility and legitimacy that getting featured in a TV news program or a respected journal or publication is always going to hold weight and it's always going to be more meaningful in my opinion than any ad campaign or marketing campaign.”

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Pace Public Relations website at

Check out Pace Public Relations on LinkedIn at

Check out Annie Pace Scranton on LinkedIn at

Check out Annie Pace Scranton Book: The Guide to Earned Media: How to Use PR Strategies to Enhance Your Brand on Amazon at

Check out Annie Pace Scranton on Twitter at

Check out Annie Pace Scranton on Instagram at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence com and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, it's Annie Scranton. Annie, you are the founder and CEO of Pace Public Relations. You found on the Web at Pace Public Relations and the author of the new book, The Guide to Earned Media How to Use PR Strategies to Enhance Your Brand. Annie, thank you so much for joining us.

*Annie * (00:01:20) - Thank you for having me.

Josh (00:01:22) - All right. Well, listen, I'm excited to have you on my in my former life. You know, I was a media consultant and PR advisor and so forth. So I love that we can have this conversation. Certainly, you've written the book on it. So it's so great to have you here. Give us a quick overview of the work you do and certainly you know who you typically work with with Pace and the impact you have.

*Annie * (00:01:45) - Sure. So our company, Pace Public Relations, is a media relations agency. So what we do day in and day out is help our clients to get featured prominently and favorably in the media. So we're kind of like the go between between a a CEO or founder, a product, a brand, a company, and getting a great feature on the Today Show or in the Wall Street Journal or on podcasts or any any kind of form of traditional media. We work with all different sorts of clients. We're agnostic when it comes to industry.

*Annie * (00:02:22) - So we work with tech companies, commercial real estate organizations, but then we also represent political pundits. We represent lifestyle products and browns. So we have a few different divisions that we work with, but the common denominator is the media.

Josh (00:02:39) - Yeah. And so what do you so if someone were just to say, I guess if you were to give a State of the Union for where we are when it comes to earned media today, thinking about, you know, where we've come from, where we are today, what would you say kind of the current State of the Union is for earned media today here in 2023?

*Annie * (00:03:01) - Uh, the state of earned Media is that it's changing rapidly and the change is nowhere near over. Um, you know, the media has taken a hit in the past couple of years, but even more so recently in 2023. Um, a lot of layoffs, a lot of layoffs, a lot of publications, closing verticals, closing TV news, not getting the same ratings that they used to.

*Annie * (00:03:30) - So it's kind of undergoing a massive change right now. And we're seeing a lot more in terms of like streaming networks popping up, paid opportunities, becoming much more mainstream. Um, but earned media will always still be here. It's never going to go away. And the credibility and legitimacy that getting featured in a TV news program or a respected journal or publication is always going to hold weight and it's always going to be more meaningful, in my opinion, than any ad campaign or marketing campaign. Um, but right now we're really seeing a rise of those kind of blended lines when it comes to paid and sponsored opportunities. So right now, I think earned media strategists are really developing a comprehensive plan that incorporates sort of traditional organic earned media pitching alongside marketing and paid opportunities.

Josh (00:04:34) - Yeah. And for someone who maybe hasn't really considered earned media, can you talk a little bit more about the value, particularly if someone says, Well, I don't get it, why would I invest all of that effort to be in front of a what may actually be a relatively small TV audience or print reading audience, for example?

*Annie * (00:04:57) - Well, even if it's a small audience, if the audience is the right audience, then it's going to really help you.

*Annie * (00:05:06) - But it depends on what your goals are for the company. So a lot of companies come to us when they're about to raise around or go out and ask for funding. So if we're able to secure them a feature in, say, The Wall Street Journal or an interview on CNBC, when they go and ask for money from future investors, all they have to do is show them that clip or that interview, and those investors are going to automatically understand, oh, okay, this company was vetted by a real journalist, a respected publication. This all automatically puts them ahead of the pack in terms of their credibility and the likelihood that this company is going to be a good one for them to invest in for smaller clients and brands who are maybe just looking to increase their customer base and drive traffic to the website. What we really implement is in a lot of cases is digital placements where actually we can track back specifically how many new leads are coming into their website from that digital placement because there's a hyperlink in there so you can track it.

*Annie * (00:06:16) - It's a way to just expand your audience and expand your footprint that goes beyond just, you know, your own social media or your own marketing efforts.

Josh (00:06:25) - Yeah. Tell me more about that. What do you mean by digital placement?

*Annie * (00:06:29) - Just if any, any news site that you read or a lifestyle site that you read, think of or You know Marie Claire. Com. Any of those big websites if they're featuring your company in there and then they have the hyperlink back to your website or to a specific landing page, you're going to be able to track exactly how many people clicked on that article and then clicked on that site and then landed on your website, which is hopefully going to result in conversions, you know, in sales or new leads for you. And what we found also is that those digital placements are very useful when our clients of ours want to long tail them and use them for SEO search engine optimization. We have clients all the time that tell us that, you know, they get new customers, new patients, new clients that find them from interviews that they maybe even did several years ago.

*Annie * (00:07:27) - But because they're optimized in a in such and such a way, this is what, you know, their prospective customers are seeing.

Josh (00:07:34) - Yeah, very high domain authority. Google and other search engines absolutely favor those high domain authority websites. And so if you're quoted, you've got links back or even mentions, you know, in that that is huge reputation builder. But you're absolutely right. I agree with you. So, you know, kind of that long term ROI is absolutely there. So what are some other ways, you know, especially I think sometimes, especially in the past, I think that you would maybe have a lot of clients or potential clients. My background's background here for anyone who's not familiar. So my last company, Savings Angel, I became a media personality and that's all I did To grow that company into a seven figure company. Didn't spend a dime on advertising. I just served audiences in the media. And it was it was a great way to do that. And then we kind of evolved into becoming media consultant.

Josh (00:08:34) - PR, I don't do that work anymore. So that's why I'm so thrilled to have you here today. But it absolutely works. And one thing that we would or we would hear quite often, I'm sure you've heard this too, is this idea, Oh, good, I'm going to get my name in lights and then immediately overnight, I'm going to become a sensation because I'm going to get all this business because of this new visibility, when in fact, there's actually more work that probably should be done after you secure the placement and get your hit, right?

*Annie * (00:09:06) - Yeah. I mean, this is not you know, we're not miracle workers. We don't you don't just change all of a sudden from having like 100 followers to a million followers overnight. It is a process. But when you go say say you get a big national TV interview immediately, you're going to have on any national network, a million people at least, that are watching you. And that's amazing. But how many people live in this country? A lot more than 1 million people.

*Annie * (00:09:35) - So there's a big opportunity to take that clip, to take that interview and then put it out there, so to speak, in a way that is going to attract a larger audience. So what I mean by that is taking that clip and investing in SEO, taking that clip and chopping it up to build out a content calendar. For your social media. Taking that clip and putting it front and center on your website, taking that clip. And when you do your e-newsletter promoting that to your big customer base, say, I'll watch as we were just on CNN or the Today Show or what have you. It's all of those different tactics that are going to really increase your likelihood of achieving your goals. Like the One interview is amazing, but there's a huge opportunity to take after that.

Josh (00:10:25) - Yeah. Tell me about, you know, the work that you do or maybe like a case study or someone that you've had the opportunity to work with. I guess just what they were coming in, what were they hoping to create and what were you able to kind of manufacture together?

*Annie * (00:10:43) - Wow.

*Annie * (00:10:44) - I mean, yeah, there's a lot of a lot of cases for that. But, you know, one client that we're working with right now is Andrew Yang and the Forward Party. And they're a really a really forward thinking or organization, political organization that's working to evolve the country's collective way of thinking about our political party system and how we likely have the need for more than two parties when we're doing presidential, state and local elections. They're very involved in ranked choice voting efforts as well to really democratize the process and have it feel more fair and equal across the board. So through our work with him, we're able to book him on myriad TV networks from MSNBC to CNN to Fox News. ET Cetera. And he's on there talking about day of political news, but then is able to weave in the efforts and the sort of emphasis that forward party is having in those conversations and through those interviews, they're really just raising the awareness of the forward party and getting more people to sign up for, you know, on their website and to just kind of be involved in that conversation.

Josh (00:12:07) - Yeah. Your book, The Guide to Earned Media How to Use PR Strategies to Enhance Your Brand, which it's on Amazon right now. Who should be reading this book and is this going to be enough in terms of, you know, I guess, ideas or strategies that somebody can use to get, I guess, get some great visibility, get some traction, help impact change in the world that that they're looking to create.

*Annie * (00:12:38) - Yeah. So this book really is meant for certainly students and PR communications professionals. Absolutely. But there's also just kind of a growing need for, I would say, like mid-level executives where the company that they work at maybe is realizing or recognizing that they have a need for PR, but they don't have a dedicated PR professional or external agency. And so it's meant for folks who are maybe mid-career, who recognize that if they learn these skill sets, they're it's going to be an asset for them in their career and for the companies that they work at. So it really is laid out and written as a guide for how to go about securing media placements for yourself, for the founder and CEO of your company or for the product or brand that you represent.

*Annie * (00:13:33) - Um, it is, I think, a fairly thorough. But the thing about pitching the media and getting earned media placements is that you have to keep doing it. It's not something where you can write one pitch, send out one pitch and get all the press you ever wanted and in two days you're done. This is a process and there's a lot of, you know, skills and tactics that the average person just wouldn't know. And so that's kind of what I try to impart there to them, specifically when it comes to working with journalists and producers and kind of like how they operate, because I was fortunate enough for the first ten years of my career to work as a TV news producer and print journalist. So I'm able to give some of that, you know, internal thought process.

Josh (00:14:19) - Yeah. So any major like if you were to say, listen, you know, in my world, this is what I do every day, I've done this for a long, long period of time. Listen, I can tell you, you know, here, like the one, 2 or 3 biggest things that if, you know and I wanted to talk maybe specifically to a founder, if there's lessons that they could possibly learn from you of things that they could probably do to make themselves a little bit more, both media friendly and media accessible.

*Annie * (00:14:49) - Well media accessible is just that be accessible when there is a producer calls or a journalist emails you if it's the right opportunity, don't delay because chances are they probably have five other emails out to different folks that they could quote or interview. So you don't want to delay. You want to get on that opportunity right away. In terms of being friendly to the media, we certainly recommend media training and and figuring out how you're going to give the best interview on camera if it's a television interview, because there is the performative aspect to it. And in addition to the messaging that you're putting across. So every executive wants to be able to talk about their company and tell and sort of share their talking points, their selling points. But you have to do so in a way that's not going to be overly promotional because, you know.

Josh (00:15:45) - People do not like that.

*Annie * (00:15:47) - I don't like that because audiences.

Josh (00:15:49) - Don't like that.

*Annie * (00:15:50) - Oh, you know, you have to think of the viewer at home or the reader at home.

*Annie * (00:15:55) - They're they're reading this article or watching this TV interview so they could gain something from it so they could have a takeaway. So you need to think that's why we sort of train our CEOs and our founders to think in terms of like trends within the industry and then to think of themselves as that thought leader, as that subject matter expert in sort of elevating themselves to give expert opinion on the industry as a whole as opposed to their specific individual product or company. And then of course with LinkedIn and all the other social media platforms, there's an opportunity for CEOs and founders to really engage in writing video thought leadership tactics on their own platforms. That is going to just speak to the audience that they've developed.

Josh (00:16:44) - Yeah. Annie, who would make a really great client introduction for you at Pace Public Relations?

*Annie * (00:16:54) - Well, as I mentioned, we are industry agnostic, but some of the industries that we've done really, really well in is commercial real estate and financial firms. We're you know, I used to work at CNBC and Fox and we're able to really get a lot of these financial, um, financial analysts on to talk about the markets or their favorite stock picks.

*Annie * (00:17:16) - ET cetera. However, all the way on the other side of our company, we have a very robust lifestyle division. So we work and do really well with products in addition to thought leaders in the space, like sort of think fitness experts or medical and health experts. But when it comes to product pitching, like if you have a new fitness product or you have a food and beverage that you're pushing, we do a lot in terms of affiliate marketing. And so that's really the how it is now when you're pitching products. And so by combining both thought leadership and the affiliate marketing tactics, we're able to be really successful for lifestyle clients as well.

Josh (00:18:00) - Yeah, pays public relations. And of course, Annie, your book is on Amazon right now and other booksellers, The Guide to Earned Media How to Use PR Strategies to Enhance Your Brand. Anything else that you'd recommend for someone in terms of like next steps or kind of take away after this conversation here?

*Annie * (00:18:20) - Well, you know, I'm I'm very happy to talk to anybody.

*Annie * (00:18:24) - If you're interested in learning more about PR, the communications field, so you can find me very easily on LinkedIn. Annie Scranton. Um, but I would just say as a takeaway, if you're starting out pitching earned reporters, earned producers, just to remember that you have to meet them where they're at. So do your research, see what they have been reporting on previously. Watch the show of their producer that you're pitching. You have to take the time to research the people you're pitching properly in order to increase your chances of success.

Josh (00:18:59) - Yeah. I should also point out that you have a podcast, the it's called the Pace Podcast. And again, to our friend that's listening. Listen, you're already in a podcast player. Just search for the Pace podcast. You'll find it and you're the host of that. So Annie Pace Grant and again thank you so much for joining us. Your website Pace Public Relations, your book, The Guide to Earned Media How to Use PR Strategies to Enhance Your Brand. Annie, thank you so much for joining us.

*Annie * (00:19:28) - Thank you so much for having me.

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