March 21, 2022

Public Relations for Building Thought Leadership

Public Relations for Building Thought Leadership

Thought Leadership and Public Relations (PR) are interconnected. Today the power of publishing is in everyone's hands; be it on the website or through umpteen number of social media apps. Managing one's thought leadership with effective PR is essential as it helps in validation of content as well as expertise and builds trust.

In this episode, Surbhi is joined by Justin Goldstein of Press Record Communications, - a strategic communications company based in New York city. Justin shares  several insights from his experience in working with Clinton Global Initiative, General Motors, Best Buy and others.

Tune in to this episode to understand what are the latest trends in PR and what should organisations look out for when designing PR strategies.

Justin's company website is:
And you can connect with him on Linkedin:

[00:00:00] Surbhi Dedhia: Hello, Justin, welcome to The Making of a Thought Leader podcast. It's absolutely my pleasure to have you here with me today. 

[00:00:07] Justin Goldstein: Thank you so much for having me. 

[00:00:09] Surbhi Dedhia: Great, Justin. Usually, we have all our guests introduce themselves to, uh, the audience. So, the floor is all yours. 

[00:00:18] Justin Goldstein: Sure. Well, thank you so much.

[00:00:20] Justin Goldstein: Uh, I'm Justin Goldstein, president founder of Press Record communications, which is a, uh, strategic communications agency that has a focus on public relations and content development. And I've been in public relations for a little over a decade now, which is scary to say, uh, I've also worked with some pretty cool clients, like, uh, Clinton global initiative, Best Buy, General Motors, um, and now run our shop here. So that's a little bit about me. I also, um, worked in radio for a period of time at a station called w R H U F M in New York mm-hmm and, uh, looked to transfer that those skills to the public relations world or communications world.

[00:00:57] Justin Goldstein: So that's where I, I was, and I'm here today. 

[00:01:01] Surbhi Dedhia: interesting. You said radio and public relations and, uh, you know, often podcast is compared to radio the new age radio, if you will. So, let me, let me pick your brains on that a little bit. What are you seeing in terms of the trends like what's happening in the PR world? Tell us about it. 

[00:01:21] Justin Goldstein: Sure. So I, I think there's a couple of things happening, um, for more of a media relations front, I think, that the definition of what media means is changing. Where now somebody can go on Instagram, live and report on a news story and, and be classified as a journalist in a way, even though they don't necessarily fit the traditional criteria. The access to social media platforms has certainly changed who you can define as a reporter quote, unquote for better or for worse. I, I think also just defining what is an actual media opportunity has changed too, because a lot of times, we're I think drawn to the old guard of trying to focus on, the wall street journals of the world or the today shows of the world where now there are different mediums like Substack, for example, that are offering opportunities yeah.

[00:02:12] Justin Goldstein: To connect or podcasts as you're doing, um, that are offering opportunities to connect with even reporters that left their newsrooms to start of their own podcast or sub stack column. And that is a form of media. Now that's a very valuable form of media. I think it's just understanding where the value is coming from and what media really means that's going to shift the industry a little bit. 

[00:02:35] Surbhi Dedhia: True. And I feel, it is evolving per se, right? Like now we have more opportunity to, um, not only report, but even voice our opinions and, put content out as such. 

[00:02:50] Justin Goldstein: Yeah, absolutely. And that's what I, that's why I was using the Instagram am live example because I think it's. A great example of how you essentially can just load up your phone, you know, hit Instagram, hit live, and you can pretty much talk about whatever you want. Um, as long as you're of course not breaking the rules and regulations, but, it, it just provides a tremendous opportunity for anyone that's interested in being in any form of media to start their own channel and not have to go through the traditional methods to do that.

[00:03:17] Surbhi Dedhia: True. All right. I want to take you a bit behind, like, like 20 years back and how PR was, right. Because then it was about, you know, chasing the journalists, pitching them the ideas for stories and get, get them to cover. In my region in Asia middle east, it was mostly, the journalists would cover specific sector it, we used to call it beats. They cover a specific beat. And then, um, you convinced them to cover your story obviously amongst others. And it was always about maintaining that relation. So that PR the R in the relation was so critical. Then what is, what are the key measurement criteria now?

[00:04:02] Surbhi Dedhia: Because back then it was about your story getting published and you being in the media many more times than your competitors or, the other brands in the same industry. What's happening now? 

[00:04:14] Justin Goldstein: I don't really think the metrics have changed too much from that regard. I think there's just been more pressure to prove the metrics and develop metrics that showcase ROI mm-hmm and.

[00:04:24] Justin Goldstein: What I've tried to do at Press Record Communications is I've tried to work with my clients to really come up with metrics that are actually gonna showcase that ROI, move the needles. So what I always tell them is when you bring up the example of building relationships with reporters and securing media coverage, it's all about what you do with the media placement after it goes live. Right. So if, let's say for example, you got a placement in the wall street journal mm-hmm of course getting a placement in the wall street journal is amazing in and of itself, and you might get a phone call or two from, let's say a new business prospect that sees it, but ultimately it's what you do with that placement after that's gonna help make a difference.

[00:04:59] Justin Goldstein: So whether that's, Syndicating or promoting the coverage online on your website or social channels or using it to try to get a speaking opportunity, whatever it is, that's where you're gonna start to see the residual effects come in from putting in the time to actually build a relationship with a reporter and get that media coverage.

[00:05:17] Surbhi Dedhia: Right. Right. So what you're saying is it's like a long term, uh, game that we are talking about. Like once you get a coverage in wall street journal, it's just the beginning of this whole long tail process behind it to then leverage it in different ways. 

[00:05:33] Justin Goldstein: Exactly, exactly. Right. I mean, again, getting that coverage in and of itself, especially that level is, is valuable. Yeah. Because you're reaching an audience that you're looking to target through it, but. You know that the attention span, especially today of everybody with social media and just being on our phones all the time is much less than it used to be. So, you know, spending time on one story, remembering the ins and outs of the story and the quotes, there's less of a chance it's gonna happen as opposed to promoting that, that coverage over and over as much as possible and sending a shelf life so that you're looking to stay on on top of mind with the people that you're looking to try and reach an influence.

[00:06:08] Surbhi Dedhia: Right. We are talking about thought leadership here and what you just picked on right now is how people can leverage that ?Already getting that coverage is top notch, but you still, that's not the end of it all. What do you think in your experience at press record communications, and if you can give us some examples about companies have used this coverage in media to build their thought leadership. . 

[00:06:35] Justin Goldstein: Yeah. So I think one of the primary ways that they've done, so in easiest ways is to pull quotes or any kind of content from the media coverage that they get for their social media activity, because.

[00:06:47] Justin Goldstein: What often happens is if, especially if you're managing social media on your own, it becomes hard to create consistency, which is what the platforms reward. Right. They're gonna have your coverage or your content be top of mind. And top of the list in somebody's newsfeed if you're promoting your content on their more and more. So it often can be a little exhausting to do that, especially when you're doing that. Plus your day job. Mm-hmm and only from the media coverage allows you not have to reinvent the wheel too much and you can create, I've seen, you know, and I've done this for clients. I've seen clients get maybe like three to four social posts out of one piece of coverage that they get mm-hmm so that's one media value right there from the thought your perspective.

[00:07:25] Justin Goldstein: I've also seen clients be able to use it for speaking opportunities where, when they put together a real or an application, they can create a pseudo media kit and showcase that third party sources like journalists have validated their thoughts, um, on trending news or industry news, whatever it is, which helps to put into mind of the person approving that application. Oh, this person is providing valuable insights, been vetted, et cetera. So those are just two main ways that I've, I've probably seen my clients use it the most. 

[00:07:56] Surbhi Dedhia: Right. And I think, the other extension to that idea is that, you know, it's not only about, the media coverage, but what is it the, the area that you are adding value in as well, because just repeating the same point can help you, , consistently get that top of the mind awareness. It's just a different avenue, right? Like if the media is covering that aspect of your thought leadership. they add more value, obviously, because it's a third person voting and like, kind of saying endorsing you.

[00:08:27] Surbhi Dedhia: So there is a lot of tandemness involved in what we are trying to say here. Like not only the media cover covers it, but also the company themselves put in that added effort to put it on their social media. And then, uh, you know, in tandem promote what we are, what, what the campaign is about.

[00:08:44] Justin Goldstein: Yeah, I think also to your point, you kind of sparked an idea in my head that, you know, in today's world, pretty much every company is a media company. You know, their target audiences, whether it be reporters or clients or new business prospects, are looking for them to provide a perspective on the industry at the very least that they operate in.

[00:09:03] Justin Goldstein: So I, I think to your point, the company has to showcase the news um, in addition to the, the reporters that are covering their news. 

[00:09:13] Surbhi Dedhia: To enhance the reach. 

[00:09:15] Justin Goldstein: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Um, and yeah, it's only gonna help to enhance the, the credibility that they're building with their stakeholders, because that's the whole point of doing thought leadership in the first place, as you know.

[00:09:28] Justin Goldstein: Um, and anytime that you can get that third party validation from a reporter it does boost you quite a bit. 

[00:09:34] Surbhi Dedhia: Sure. So from the PR perspective, like, you know, if I have to give you an example here, um, we are talking about, um, a mid midsize business. Doing pretty good in, in, in the market, you know, having top rank in the business and then they want to enhance their whole, marketing efforts.

[00:09:55] Surbhi Dedhia: So if we are talking about marketing here, which is like, you know, um, doing the pre-sales or running campaigns on a ad campaigns on social and other other areas, and also writing white papers. How can PR then add to this whole marketing mix or is it going to stand separately? So with this example of this company really ranking on the top of the market, how can they do both PR and marketing?

[00:10:23] Justin Goldstein: Yeah. I think that, I think that public relations plays more of a supporting role for marketing, where you brought the white paper example. So for that, making sure that the way that the white paper is laid out is. Tying back to the company somehow, cuz I've seen clients make this mistake where they talk about a topic that maybe is somewhat related to what they do, but it doesn't tie back to the core function of what they do. And I think that's really important is that the whole white paper doesn't have to make that connection. But at some, some point or at some, at some points, it has to, because that's how you're gonna showcase your expertise and what you can do for somebody best.

[00:11:02] Justin Goldstein: And it would also be making sure that the key messaging is on point. And aligns with the brand messaging for the organization or the individual probably working with the company. So the organization that you're working with, just making sure that the brand messaging is on point.

[00:11:14] Justin Goldstein: It's not diverting from that at all. Um, so that's why we play again, more of a support system. I would say the marketing and that goes for content development too, where, you know, we're there to come up with is, and even say right content, but ultimately it's the marketer's job to then go out and use it as a sales tactic in a way.

[00:11:35] Surbhi Dedhia: Justin, tell me what are the kind of new PR trends that you are observing and, and, you know, here, why I'm asking you this specifically is because, you know, usually in the, you are in New York and usually United States is always in, you know, a step or two ahead in terms of, you know, setting the best practices and industry standards, than probably the rest of the world.

[00:11:56] Surbhi Dedhia: So I wanna hear from you, what are the trends that you are seeing that's happening in the PR industry? 

[00:12:04] Justin Goldstein: Yeah. So I think we talked a little bit about how the definition of media is changing. Um, you know, I think also going back to that metrics conversation, that's definitely something that's taking place, uh, in terms of just getting more pressure on the metrics to matter.

[00:12:18] Justin Goldstein: And then PR technology or communications technology, I think is also on the rise as well. Your audience might have heard of platforms like Cision. Meltwater those kind of platforms to help you to find reporters, track me to cover all that. There's some good innovation that's going on in that space. Um, in fact, I know of a, of a platform called quoted.

[00:12:37] Justin Goldstein: That's really doing some good work as well, uh, to help connect, uh, journalists with reporters. So. Yeah. I, I think that the technology space is evolving. It's getting a little better. Um, mm-hmm as PR professionals. Sometimes we struggle with those platforms, but I do think that they're becoming more and more of a tool to help automate, and also just spit out those, those valuable metrics a little bit quicker.

[00:12:58] Justin Goldstein: Right. Um, And I think also there's more of a shift to have communications in general, not just PR, but communications being serve as more of a partner to, uh, the higher ups in an organization and getting more involved in those conversations so that we're not seen as, um, I don't know if middleman or women is the right answer.

[00:13:17] Justin Goldstein: It's just it, you know, more so not being as ancillary or pushed out from, you know, the C-suite for example. So being just way more involved in those conversations than we used to be. Especially after COVID cuz after, well, at the start of the pandemic or maybe a little bit after the start of the pandemic, a lot of work started to pick up, especially in the crisis space.

[00:13:37] Justin Goldstein: Yeah. And so I think that's, what's also helped to feel more of a connection between the two at this point. 

[00:13:42] Surbhi Dedhia: Yeah. Actually that sparks a thought in my head, you that, you know, when, when you talk about crisis communications, because, Over a period of time. We have seen that marketers have taken over this, um, you know, like an umbrella role, if you will.

[00:13:57] Surbhi Dedhia: Like there there's content within marketing design, within marketing. and, um, so a, a, a bit of communication flows through it, not so much external, but more of internal communications and like the development of the content and the brand and all of that. Um, when it comes to any, uh, situation like this, like the crisis where you have to address certain, and, there is a nuance that only PR professional know how to deal with it.

[00:14:24] Surbhi Dedhia: Just out of curiosity, I wanna know what happened during COVID. Like, how was communication shifting with press record communications, Was it playing a major part for the clients. . 

[00:14:34] Justin Goldstein: Yeah, so I would say for us, not as much, but what I did see happening in the industry, I, I think there were a couple of factors, big factors at play, where there is a conversion of all these different news stories and movements that was happening. So, you had the, the COVID pandemic, which was changing how we work and where we work.

[00:14:55] Justin Goldstein: And that was. You know, definitely a major factor in terms of communications. And also, obviously having to lay off fire people because of profits souring and just companies, not sure what was gonna happen during the pandemic. You had the, the, um, the Black Lives Matter protests, uh, country. 

[00:15:15] Justin Goldstein: I think it was a conversions of major news events that was forcing organizations to really think meticulously about the messaging they were putting out externally in and internally, which is why public relations started to see such a boost instead of.

[00:15:30] Justin Goldstein: Um, drawing back during the pandemic. So you had, you know, at the start of the pandemic, you had workers getting laid off fired, uh, you know, temporary leave, whatever it was not really sure where workers were gonna be working from because we couldn't go to the office. And then you also had the black lives matter protests and a wave of, uh, racial justice coming into play.

[00:15:52] Justin Goldstein: So everything that. Or every word that an organization put out there was gonna be scrutinized. Yeah. And they really need a partner to make sure that they're going about that the right way and saying the things they need to be and should be saying. And so I think that's why crisis communications in particular got such a big, uh, or has still continued to get such big play a space is to make sure that, you know, what organizations are doing and saying is, is right.

[00:16:20] Surbhi Dedhia: And yeah, that's, that's an interesting insight while, you know, we see all the news coming out, you don't know how much of work goes behind, uh, you know, putting that article out from an organization perspective. So, yeah, that's, that's very interesting. Uh, You mentioned something earlier that how PR plays like a supporting role to, uh, marketing or digital marketing overall, can you tell me some specifics that, you know, uh, that companies should keep in mind while leveraging PR now?

[00:16:54] Surbhi Dedhia: Not all companies have the access or resources to a very well-seasoned PR agency like yours. Uh, but it, you know, this could be a good opportunity for the audience. Who's listening in to understand the specifics that they should be looking at while leveraging PR. 

[00:17:12] Justin Goldstein: I think with digital marketing, the easiest connection to make to PR is with the media relations aspect of it. Because again, you can use those media placements, let's say for, um, You know, for newsletters or for social posts, but also if, if you're looking to get speaking opportunities, that's another way that you can leverage it for digital marketing, cuz you can use the video and audio from that speaking opportunity to again, include an assets like a newsletter.

[00:17:37] Justin Goldstein: So I think it's, it's about taking stock of what, some of the core external elements of PR. Would be like media relations and speaking opportunities, and then assessing how they fit into the specific goals of your client or yourselves, if you're doing digital marketing on your own. Um, and then moving from there.

[00:17:57] Surbhi Dedhia: Sure. So when you say, uh, the external relations and you know, so again, we are establishing this whole fact that how integration can be like. The beauty of integration really into entire, marketing, you know, the effort that company's putting out. So of course, PR is so important to get that external, veto of the content that you're putting in.

[00:18:20] Surbhi Dedhia: And it kind of is like a cherry on the cake, uh, to, to for digital and marketing efforts, really to have like a third party endorsing what you are saying constantly. Which is important. What are, uh, some of the metrics that you go after we spoke earlier about the metrics, but if there, there are some quick metrics that you can share with us so it kind of stays on top of the mind to, for people, uh, looking for entering into PR.

[00:18:45] Justin Goldstein: Yeah. So I think one metric would be if you're reaching the right audience and not just a large audience, I say that all the time. Mm-hmm so if you're really, let's say, for example, you work in manufacturing, right? You have a manufacturing company. It's always great to get an opportunity in the wall street journal, but getting into more of a trade outlet, like let's say manufacturing today.

[00:19:04] Justin Goldstein: Might reach more of a specific target audience and the right audience quicker. So it's not just by going about how large of an audience, the publication reaches it's about what kind of audience do they focus on and how quickly can you get to that audience? 

[00:19:18] Justin Goldstein: And then I would also say messaging pull through. So what that means is making sure that any piece of media coverage you get is actually featuring the key points that you wanna address. Mm-hmm that goes into prepping for the, for a media interview, let's say. And, um, just getting your actual talking points together and working with the reporter on the at, but I think.

[00:19:38] Justin Goldstein: You know, if you see that your key points that you're trying to address are in a piece to, even if it's one of three or two of three, whatever it is, uh, then I would, I would mark that as a win. 

[00:19:47] Surbhi Dedhia: What about exclusivity?

[00:19:49] Surbhi Dedhia: Like, you know, is it, for a business to go, with, go targeted? Like, as you mentioned, right? If you're a manufacturing company, go for manufacturing today and not a wall street journal. Manufacturing today has a better bet on the audience reading your content. 

[00:20:04] Justin Goldstein: So I think what I would keep in mind with exclusivity or a couple things, um, one is that if you offer an exclusive to an outlet and they say, yes, you have to stick with them until their coverage goes live. So I would not reach out to another publication until that outlet that you promise the exclusive post their story.

[00:20:24] Justin Goldstein: And then. There's typically two ways you can go about pitching reporters. One is the exclusive route that you're talking about, which offer it to one outlet, but you could also do what's called embargo outreach, where you can offer it to several key outlets. And you just basically say, you know, listen, we can give you a heads up about what we're talking about.

[00:20:40] Justin Goldstein: If it's press release, whatever it is. Um, but you can't break the story of the state. So this way you can cast a wider net. And hopefully get more coverage on that day, but if there's really only one publication that you want to give the story work with and an exclusive is always the best way to go.

[00:20:59] Surbhi Dedhia: Right. Wow. That's so interesting. And it's also another whole view. I think PR is often thought off much later. Just the whole advent of, uh, social media and the ease of doing things. It can be so strategic. It can just hit the nail right on the head when executed or designed properly. Uh, in terms of content and conveying the thoughts.

[00:21:24] Justin Goldstein: Absolutely. I think PR should be brought in at the very top. Um, mm-hmm because, you know, again, going back to what we were talking about with the support system for marketing, there might be things that PR catches that the team, the broader team doesn't and ways to frame things that might benefit the organization in long term.

[00:21:40] Justin Goldstein: So I agree. I think, I think PR should be brought in at the top of any development of a marketing campaign, 

[00:21:46] Surbhi Dedhia: right. And can you tell us some tips if individuals or businesses can go for can, can they do their own PR or do they have to necessarily work with an agency?

[00:21:58] Justin Goldstein: Yeah, I mean, I always recommend at least working with a consultant, uh, because there are little mistakes that can be made that you might not catch mm-hmm . So I, I do think it's beneficial to at least work with one individual consultant or a firm. Um, You know, there are ways to do PR on your own that are a little, you know, if you, if you have a very, very small campaign where you're looking to test it out with just a couple of, speaking opportunities or, media outlets, it doesn't hurt to try, but I think there are certain things to watch for that a PR pro will watch out for you and, and be able to correct those mistakes before they're made.

[00:22:36] Surbhi Dedhia: Right. I think that's, that's a fine balance to achieve work with one person initially to kind of, and go small. I think that's also a very good advice. Go small. Try it out. Yeah. And see how, uh, you can bring back that messaging and how it resonates with your audience. So that's very important. Uh, Justin, this has been such a good conversation.

[00:22:58] Surbhi Dedhia: It brought me brought back so many memories of my time working in, uh, corporate communications. Uh, where can people find you? 

[00:23:07] Justin Goldstein: Well, thank you for asking. So, uh, best place would www dot press So P R E S S. R E C O R D. And then, um, you could also reach me at Justin J U S T I N. And press and find me on LinkedIn, uh, Justin Goldstein, E I and Goldstein at the end.

[00:23:26] Justin Goldstein: Yeah. 

[00:23:27] Surbhi Dedhia: Yeah. I mean, I'll put all the links in the show notes as well,. Uh, thank you for giving us so many tips and ideas about leveraging PR the right way. 

[00:23:35] Justin Goldstein: Thank you for having me. Appreciate it. 

[00:23:37] Surbhi Dedhia: Absolutely. A pleasure. Thank you.