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How to compete like a big brand without spending a lot

Jeremy Ryan Slate, who's the founder of Create Your Own Life podcast, joins Small Biz Buzz to discuss how your small business can compete with big brands without breaking your budget.

When it comes to building your marketing strategy, Slate recommends thinking of your journey as climbing a flight of stairs. You have to figure out what the bottom stair is so you can start climbing up.

You want to find out which stairs are already getting you there. It's the smaller ones, more niche, more industry related.

“Your PR and your marketing should work together. You can't just have one,” said Slate. “Whether you're a small business, medium-sized business, whatever you are, if you learn how to get media the right way, you can really cut the learning curve.”

Click play for more.


Scott Martineau (00:00):

All right. Well, welcome to this episode of Small Biz Buzz. I'm Scott Martineau.

Crystal Heuft (00:16):

And I'm Crystal Heuft. I got it.

Scott Martineau (00:21):

You did. That was great.

Crystal Heuft (00:22):

Thank you.

Scott Martineau (00:22):

Today we have an awesome guest, Jeremy Ryan Slate, who's the founder of Create Your Own Life podcast, with us today. Jeremy, welcome.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (00:29):

Hey, thanks for having me guys. I feel like this is the most people I've had on a Zoom call for an interview. This is awesome.

Crystal Heuft (00:35):

I know. We roll deep.

Scott Martineau (00:36):

We bring out all the guns for you.

Crystal Heuft (00:37):

That's right.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (00:38):

I brought them, too.

Scott Martineau (00:40):

There we go.

Crystal Heuft (00:41):

I wish I had those guns.

Scott Martineau (00:44):

Yes. For our listeners, you couldn't see, but Jeremy did just flash his guns.

Crystal Heuft (00:48):

Oh, thank you.

Scott Martineau (00:50):

Yeah, immediately made me feel intimidated. So with that setup, welcome, Jeremy. I think the first thing, I'd love to just have you give our guests a brief snapshot. Who are you? Tell us about your podcast, and we're going to poke in questions, but just give us the quick summary of who you are and what you're about.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (01:08):

Sure. I'm a husband. I'm a father of just about two years now, to a very rambunctious child, who is amazing.

Scott Martineau (01:14):


Jeremy Ryan Slate (01:15):

I have two dogs, a Border Collie-Corgi mix, a Toy Poodle, and I also have a pet pig named Remington. We love animals in this house.

Crystal Heuft (01:23):

So cute.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (01:23):

I also have a podcast called Create Your Own Life, where I interview world-class performers.

Scott Martineau (01:27):

So, the pig.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (01:28):


Scott Martineau (01:28):

Let's just pause, sorry.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (01:29):

No worries.

Scott Martineau (01:29):

Because you went there. So where does the pig live?

Jeremy Ryan Slate (01:32):

I'm sorry, I've got a coffee grind in my mouth. He used to live in our house, then, he has a little bit of a bladder problem, so we built a house for him outside. We fenced in the whole backyard and he kind of goes out there all day, digging stuff up and doing whatever he wants to do.

Crystal Heuft (01:49):

So cute.

Scott Martineau (01:50):

That is fantastic. Okay, all right, good.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (01:51):

Yeah, he lives a very good life, man.

Scott Martineau (01:53):

It sounds like it. Great. All right, continue.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (01:55):

Yeah. So I also have a podcast called Create Your Own Life, where we're over a couple of million downloads now and almost 800 episodes. I get to interview people that are world-class and just really remarkable. I'm really interested in very, very interesting and different people and their life experience.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (02:13):

We also have a PR agency called Command Your Brand, where we help people appear on top-rated podcasts as guests. I don't know, man, I feel like I've done a lot of things in a very short period of life. I'm also a former competitive power lifter.

Scott Martineau (02:26):

Ah, okay. So that helps us understand the guns. I don't feel as intimidated. Well, I do, I feel equally intimidated. I don't feel as bad about myself. Power lifter, so-

Crystal Heuft (02:33):

It actually makes me feel really bad about the fact that I've got absolutely nothing planned this weekend. I'm feeling behind in life after hearing Jeremy talk, but then also I'm like, I've got no plans to improve that this weekend.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (02:47):

Well, I've been going nuts this whole like quarantine time with our gyms being closed. Oh, my gosh. It's insane.

Scott Martineau (02:54):

Well, you do have a pig, so I don't know what you're ... that probably doesn't cover your weight limits or weight requirements there, but-

Jeremy Ryan Slate (03:00):

No, he's only 75 pounds. I need a lot more than that.

Scott Martineau (03:03):

Oh, he's a small ... Okay. Okay, all right.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (03:04):

Yeah, he's a mini pig.

Scott Martineau (03:05):

So I want a little more context on Create Your Own Life podcast. So, millions of downloads, hundreds of episodes. Take us back, all the way to the beginning. What sparked this?

Jeremy Ryan Slate (03:19):

So I have my master's degree in early Roman Empire propaganda, not a very applicable skill in the world of getting jobs. So when I got out of school, I taught high school-

Scott Martineau (03:27):

It's great for podcasting, though [crosstalk 00:03:29].

Jeremy Ryan Slate (03:29):

Oh, it's amazing for podcasting. I have some really cool conversations. Like I had Dan Carlin from Hardcore History on, and we went, like, total nerd. It was great. But when I got out of school, in New Jersey, if you want to teach, you have to have a teaching degree, and since I didn't have that, I ended up teaching in private school where you don't really need that.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (03:43):

So I did that for a couple years, and my mom ended up having a really bad stroke in 2012, and it kind of set me on a little bit of a spin, trying to find out what was going to work for me. So I quit my job on a whim, because I had seen this network marketing presentation, and I didn't know what that was, so I saw this presentation, I was like, "Dude, I'm going to be a multimillionaire tomorrow? Sign me up."

Jeremy Ryan Slate (04:03):

So it didn't go like that, but it was kind of the first thing that got me started. I went from there to selling life insurance, which I was pretty good at, but I hated feeling like a bad mob boss, being like, "So you love your family, right? You should buy this." So I did that for a little bit. Then I went from there to selling products on Amazon, and I left the "Get my product for just $1" promo code on my listing, so I lost all of my stuff to one address in Maryland in about 20 minutes. I was kind of like, "All right, so I failed at a bunch of things. This didn't really work."

Jeremy Ryan Slate (04:33):

I taught myself how to code websites from reading a bunch of blogs and watching YouTube videos, so I worked at a friend's marketing firm for a little bit, and in that time I actually was like, "Okay, well, what am I going to do for myself?" Back in college, in like 2007, I had been introduced to podcasts by a professor of mine, and it was always something I liked listening to, but I didn't really know, how do you start one? So after all these failures, I started this podcast and it was absolute crap, it was horrible, but I at least got started. I quit after about 60 days, and I had like 100 downloads.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (05:08):

In 2015 ... I feel like this is a really long story. In 2015, I lived in Peru for about a month, and it kind of got me out of my space and all that kind of stuff, and it made me realize, like, "Okay, so where are you going with this? You're getting married in a few months, you've failed at a bunch of different things, and you're just working part-time for your friend. What are you going to do?" I was like, "Okay, well, if I'm going to take this podcasting thing seriously, I'm going to go out, I'm going to take a course, I'm going to figure out how it works, and I'm going to treat this as a professional."

Jeremy Ryan Slate (05:35):

So the idea of Create Your Own Life came from a conversation I had with my dad right after I quit my teaching job, because he's like, "You are crazy," and I'm like, "Well, I'm going to create my own life," and he's like, "Good luck with that, buddy." It was kind of the first place of where that started, and the show took off, man. We had 10,000 listens in our first 30 days, and that was all the way back in 2015, and it's just been rolling ever since.

Crystal Heuft (05:59):

That's awesome.

Scott Martineau (05:59):

Wow, that's fantastic.

Crystal Heuft (06:00):

I feel like a lot of entrepreneurs can say they failed multiple times. I think that's why they get ... When they get going, they're so passionate about it because they understand what it is to not be successful at that. But it's great to see where you've come, and one of the things I was interested when I was reading up on you was, it said you had interviewed over 500 entrepreneurs. So one of the things I'm really curious about is, what are some of the lessons you've learned by interviewing all these different entrepreneurs, of all different kinds of businesses? What are your takeaways from interviewing that many entrepreneurs?

Jeremy Ryan Slate (06:34):

Yeah. Well, I want to add to the first thing you said there first, because that's a really, really important point. As you said, you've failed at all these things, and I think people don't give themselves enough chances to fail, because you have to fail at some things before you find the right thing.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (06:46):

I was talking to Kevin Harrington yesterday, who's the guy that created the infomercial back in the '80s, and he said, "I was on stage one day and I said, 'Who do you think has failed the most in this room?'" And he raised his hand. He goes, "Because I've failed more times than all of you, because I've tried more times than all of you." So I just wanted to just point that out, that's just really, really [crosstalk 00:07:04] for your audience.

Crystal Heuft (07:05):

I love that.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (07:05):

But in terms of what I've learned from guests, and this comes from my personal story, as well, with a lot of people I learn from, adversity is your best teacher. The fact that you are in a crappy situation is a really important way to grow because it's going to show you who you really are and cause you to go so far out of your comfort zone that you don't really, I guess, care about what can happen to you anymore. Because I think a lot of times, we're afraid of, "Oh, if I pick up the phone, somebody may not answer it," or be mad at me, or whatever it is. It's like, that's such a little thing, but once you get pushed to this point of adversity, it's pretty intense.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (07:37):

I've had a Bedros Keuilian on my show, who's the guy that started a large franchise called Fit Body Boot Camp. They came to America from Armenia, and he was eating out of garbage cans in high school to make things work. Or like Grant Cardone, when he was 25, was in drug rehab, and somebody told him he'd never amount to anything. So I think adversity is a huge, huge, huge thing, and if you use it the right way, it can actually be a gift, because it's something that can actually help you get over yourself. So that's one thing.

Scott Martineau (08:07):

I'm curious.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (08:07):


Scott Martineau (08:08):

I'm curious, taking the last two points just a little bit deeper.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (08:12):


Scott Martineau (08:12):

So can you think of a guest on your podcast, where maybe you were most surprised about the adversity or the failure? Maybe on the surface, you looked and said, "Ah, yeah, it looks like they had it from the get-go," but where were you most surprised?

Jeremy Ryan Slate (08:26):

I don't know if it was somebody that had it from the get-go, but it was somebody that, I guess the public story people see is not what actually happened. So I had, do you guys remember the Dos Equis commercials years ago, with The Most Interesting Man in the World?

Crystal Heuft (08:37):

Yeah, so great.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (08:38):

So I interviewed him about three weeks ago, Jonathan Goldsmith, and he's telling me this story about, he was in like 300 different TV shows and stuff like that back in the '60s, and he just kind of didn't make it, and he was like, so he left Hollywood. I was like, "Wow, so you didn't really make it till later in life?" And he goes, "No, dude. I left, and I went and became a millionaire in network marketing." People just don't really talk about that part of his story.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (09:00):

So I think it's, to me, it's really interesting that what the perceived success is publicly, isn't always what success is to people, and it's also not the stories people pick up because sometimes they don't sell as well. You know what I mean?

Scott Martineau (09:11):

Right. Yeah.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (09:13):

I think it's really important to have an open mind when you look at a lot of people's stories.

Crystal Heuft (09:17):


Scott Martineau (09:17):

Yeah, fascinating.

Crystal Heuft (09:18):

Jeez, he really sounds like the most interesting man in the world, now that I know this back story.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (09:22):

He is, though, because he told me, "I've lied so many times to get parts in movies, because you just agree to things, and then you'll figure out how to do it later on." They're like, "Hey, can you ride a horse?" He's like, "Well, of course I can, like the wind." But he grew up in Brooklyn, and he'd never seen a horse before, and then the horse almost killed him once he got on, and the director's like, "Like the wind, huh?"

Jeremy Ryan Slate (09:48):

But I think that's also a great point to people I've interviewed, is, sometimes you've got to make things go right. Now, that doesn't mean that you lie about your stats, or whatever it is you've achieved, or whatever it may be. But sometimes, you have to agree to things and figure it out later. I think that's really important, as well, because you're going to challenge yourself to go far, far, far outside of your comfort zone, and sure, I've said I can make some things happen that stressed me the heck out, but then you figure out how to do it.

Crystal Heuft (10:12):


Jeremy Ryan Slate (10:12):

And is the first version pretty? Absolutely not, but it gets you out there.

Crystal Heuft (10:17):

That is cool.

Scott Martineau (10:18):

Love it. All right. Great. So we've got, adversity was kind of one meta theme. What else are you seeing?

Jeremy Ryan Slate (10:24):

So the other thing, too, and I see this ... I think a really great example of this is, I had the founder of priceline.com on, Jeff Hoffman, co-founder of priceline.com. He said that, for him, once he realized how to build a big business, was once he stopped thinking it was all about himself. I think with a lot of entrepreneurs, once you flip to this viewpoint of, it's the food in my mouth and in my belly and me being able to live, to realizing there's all these other people you can help and grow, and these things you can achieve, your success grows exponentially from there.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (10:58):

I've just seen it again, and again, and again, from a lot of the different people I've talked to. They kind of flip from this mindset of me to we, and they're more successful than they could ever imagine, because it's not just about themselves and putting food in their own stomach. It becomes about mission, and it becomes about a lot of these other things, and actually, making money becomes a lot easier. I've seen this in my own life. Really, when you move from sustaining and making things work, to impact, you actually do change a lot of things for yourself.

Crystal Heuft (11:26):

So true.

Scott Martineau (11:28):

I was just listening to a podcast the other day, and the woman was talking about leadership in times of stress and uncertainty, which, obviously, COVID brings a lot of that. She's a, I don't know the technical term, but she's a nurse that administers anesthesia, and she said that is the absolute key. The interviewer asked her what was her secret was, and that's what she said. She said, "I have to focus on the patients. If I'm thinking about needles and ... " By the way, I hate ... I love the benefits of epidurals, for example, but I hate everything about them. They're the thing that made me most queasy. My wife's had several of them and I have to leave the room.

Crystal Heuft (12:02):

You looked queasy when you just said it.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (12:02):

I cringe when I see blood, man, so don't feel bad.

Crystal Heuft (12:05):

I literally thought Scott might pass out. You kind of went like a little wavy motion when you were saying it. I'm like, "Hang in there."

Scott Martineau (12:12):

Well, this might be too graphic, we can cut it in the post, but the thing I hate is, it's not the needle, which I don't like needles either, it's the fact that to administer it, you're actually having to bend over so that your spine separates a little bit, and then it's by hand, and then the margin of error is so ... yeah.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (12:32):

[crosstalk 00:12:32].

Crystal Heuft (12:32):

Yeah, you're about to get me fainting, so ...

Jeremy Ryan Slate (12:35):

I just got the nails on a chalkboard, or when your tooth hits the side of a pickle feeling. Oh, God, so bad.

Scott Martineau (12:41):


Crystal Heuft (12:42):

So bad.

Scott Martineau (12:42):

Anyway, such a great point, though. Put your focus on the value that you're bringing to the world, the client that you're serving. You know, it's funny because Clate and I were texting back and forth, or actually, no, I think it was somebody else. But anyway, we were talking about just how, when we started this business, we stumbled into a world of fantastic marketers, and there were different types of marketers. Some marketers are of the opinion that, marketing rules the day and my marketing can compensate for crappy products.

Scott Martineau (13:13):

I think there was an era where maybe that, I don't know, worked better. I don't know, but I definitely feel like the people that get it today, that have woken up, they understand that this is about value creation in the world, this is about an experience that I'm creating for my clients, and I think your point is so great, but put the focus there. That's where you get the power.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (13:30):

I think that, to add to that point, something that's really important, as well, is I think sometimes people can put too much attention on, this has to be the best version it could ever be, and that keeps them from ever getting started. We're always focusing on, how can we make our product, and our process, and everything we do better? That's a key part of what we do each and every day, but I think there's so many people that, they need more information, and more study, and more work, and blah, blah, blah, blah.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (13:57):

Yes, iteration, that is 100% correct. The first iteration of something's never going to be perfect, but it shouldn't be like what you're saying, where it's not at least an equal value exchange. If you really want to do well, man, it's about exchanging in abundance, above what somebody paid for, but if you're not exchanging at least equal value, especially with the internet, you're screwed, because people will find out.

Crystal Heuft (14:17):


Scott Martineau (14:17):

Well, and some of the best maybe relationship building things that can happen is the interaction between a customer or a client and a provider, where they say, "This isn't working," and it's accepted, and it's iterated on, and things get better, right. It makes for an even stronger relationship.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (14:35):

No, absolutely, because you're getting that customer input, right. For us, we got some great customer input the other day and we made a slight process change, because we were like, "All right, we can make it better for the people we're serving." I feel like it's very important to have an open mind to that, but at the same time, realize the difference between helping your customer and trying to flip your business model because of a customer complaint, right? I think sometimes you may get people that are just unhappy people, and you can't change your business model for that. So you have to get good at knowing the difference.

Crystal Heuft (15:02):

It's important to scale those. I mean, one of the things I do is managing our social media, and I think it's really important, I'm trying to teach everyone, don't just say, "It's blowing up on social." You need to come with, like, what are the actual numbers, and how far above average is that? I think you've got to take those kind of comments out and really address, is this something that's a regular issue, and if it is, we need to address it, or is this a one-off and we need to help that customer?

Crystal Heuft (15:34):

It's a difference of those things, but so important to get the actual facts and make sure you're relying on data, not just on a whim. Because everyone hopefully is in business to want to help all their customers, but the winds can take you totally left, and all of a sudden you're like, "Wait, what are we doing here? This isn't even what we envisioned." So it's definitely important. I think that's a good call-out.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (15:58):

That's a really key point, though, to us too, for how Command Your Brand manages our business. Because I think a lot of people, too, kind of manage their business by how they're feeling today, or how much they like that person, or how much they dislike that person. In our company, every single thing in our company, whether it's social media impressions, whether it's gross income for that week, whether it's client successes or client upsets, everything is statistacized.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (16:21):

So we actually have a giant ... and this is online because we don't have an office, we are virtual, but we have a giant board of graphs of each individual part of the company. So we can see, okay, what happened there, and do we need to change that? Why is this going well and what's happening here? But I think if you're not doing those sorts of things, whether you're a big business or a small business, you're totally affecting what's happening, and you can make the wrong move based on how upset you are, or how happy you are, or how much you like or dislike somebody.

Crystal Heuft (16:50):

For sure. Well, it's clear we could be talking all day long with you, Jeremy, but I'm actually really excited about the topic we asked you to come here.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (16:58):

Yeah, totally.

Crystal Heuft (16:58):

We haven't even delved into that yet. So I just want to tell everyone, today we wanted really Jeremy to come here and talk about some of his expertise in how businesses, entrepreneurs, can compete like a big brand without spending a lot. I am super frugal, I get it from my mom, and I think it's one of the most important things, especially for small businesses and entrepreneurs, to understand how they can make a big splash without spending ... They don't have Nike dollars, so how do you make that same big splash for less money? So I'm super excited about this.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (17:32):

Well, so there's four different components to this, and I apologize if I'm a little long. I am from New Jersey, so we talk way too much, and I have a podcast, that's also a problem. But the thing I'm going to say is, a lot of business owners actually start in the wrong area, right. They're like, "Oh, I need marketing. I need marketing. I need marketing. I need marketing."

Jeremy Ryan Slate (17:48):

Here's the thing I'm going to point out to you. When you always need marketing, you're playing Hungry Hungry Hippos all day long, and when you run out of things to feed those hippos, it's over. So the thing you need to look at is, is your PR plan and your public relations plan is the thing that actually makes everything work a lot better.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (18:05):

Small business owners, especially local business owners, are actually at a huge advantage, but they see themselves at a disadvantage, and what the actual advantage is, and I call this the small pond strategy, right. Everybody has a small pond that they're part of. You're a big fish in a small pond somewhere. I grew up in a small town, five-eights of my own size, nothing happens there, literally nothing. So by [crosstalk 00:18:26].

Crystal Heuft (18:25):

Me, too. I grew up in a small town, and I love them.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (18:27):


Crystal Heuft (18:28):

I love them. They're so great.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (18:30):

It's a huge advantage, because when I write a press release, the local newspaper runs it without editing it. As a small business owner, the first thing you should do is pull out a spreadsheet and make a list of all the small ponds you're in. Maybe your university. My university's run stories about my company. It may be the community you live in. I live in a lake community, so they have a magazine that goes around.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (18:52):

There may be, like I said, a small newspaper. So we actually have, I don't know if you guys have this where you live, but we have a small newspaper, that, it's sent out once a week, on a Thursday, to every house in my county and the two counties around it. So it's kind of like the, what's happening in the county. Now, here's the cool thing about it. They have an online component, too. So every time that you get something as a press release in that actual newspaper, it goes out to all the people in those three counties, and it goes onto Google News, because they're considered a news source by Google News, so you're actually going to get a Google alert for that, too.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (19:26):

So that's kind of the place to start. List out all these small ponds you're a part of-

Crystal Heuft (19:30):

I love that advice.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (19:31):

It's so doable, right? It's so doable. List out all the small ponds you're a part of, and you need to learn how to write a press release. There's a really good article, just Google "HubSpot press release". HubSpot wrote a really good article on how to write a press release, because it's really, you need to write them very cut and dry. They're not supposed to be interesting. That's how they are.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (19:50):

But it's, learn what a press release is, also learn what things are newsworthy, because I think people don't quite understand what newsworthy means. So it's like, did your company achieve a stat? Did your company do something? Did your company support a cause? Are they doing something? So it has to be something that's interesting. Like when we got 50,000 downloads, that was one of the first things I talked about, and it ran in the local paper, it ran online. What part of the country are you guys in?

Crystal Heuft (20:15):

We're in Phoenix.

Scott Martineau (20:16):

We're in Arizona.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (20:17):

You're in Arizona. Okay, so you guys know nothing about New Jersey. Okay. So the largest regional paper in our area is called the Bergen Record, and the editor for FiOS One TV was reading the Bergen Record, and I had sent in a press release to nj.com, which publishes in the Bergen Record, and there was our article. They said, "Oh, this would be an interesting TV story." So we got local attention in the paper, was on the internet, and then it got me on TV. So I was able to build a lot of early press this way by looking at what my small pond is.

Crystal Heuft (20:46):

I think a lot of entrepreneurs probably don't see ... they might be thinking right now, "Well, I don't live in a small town." But Phoenix is pretty big, and just while I was sitting here, I thought of a few small ponds for Keap that we use. We have YES Phoenix, which is a great Facebook group, where there's tons of entrepreneurs in. We've got Phoenix Startup Week. There's small ponds within any section you're in, so don't get discouraged if you're sitting out there, like, "Well, I'm in a big city." There's small ponds everywhere you are. You have to think of your community and your audience and find those ponds.

Scott Martineau (21:17):

Yeah, Jeremy, speak to our audience, who, like I think a lot of people these days are, they serve an online crowd, right. So what are some examples of small ponds for those who aren't ... their business is not oriented to the local community?

Jeremy Ryan Slate (21:32):

Well, I just want to add to what Crystal said, too, because that's a really, really good point. Because when you're looking at a big city, as well, Crystal, they have neighborhoods, right?

Crystal Heuft (21:40):


Jeremy Ryan Slate (21:40):

I know it's kind of a defunct paper now, but there used to be a paper called The Village Voice, which just served a certain part of New York City called The Village. So you may even want to look at that, your neighborhood may have a newspaper. So this is a really good place to start.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (21:53):

Now, I guess, Scott, going back to what you said, I would still start with small local newspapers and small local publications, because the actual advantage we have as online entrepreneurs is they don't understand what we do, so it's extremely interesting to them. Do you understand what I'm saying? That's why I got a lot of early press for just talking about having a podcast, because people were like, "What is that?" So you have kind of this advantage, where, if people aren't aware of what you do, that local press is still going to benefit you, and like I mentioned, a lot of them have an online component, man. So you can get in Google News, you can get in a lot of these different places.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (22:26):

Now, the thing I would recommend, as well, is let's expand our spreadsheet we were working on at the beginning of this, when we were talking about small ponds. If you look at a lot of places, I think there's mindbodygreen, that's a little bit of a bigger pond, but there's a lot of these blogs that actually are going to service different industries, and they're looking for a lot of contributor content.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (22:46):

So you can write a full article, and pitch it to the site, and get them to publish it. You're going to look for either editor@ the website or ... An info@ isn't really one you want to go to. You want to find an editor contact for that website, or somebody that writes the type of content you like and pitch it to them. But starting out with even blog posts in places in your niche.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (23:07):

Like I started writing, one of the first places I started writing was influencive.com. It's right in my wheelhouse of online entrepreneurs, millennial-type influencer marketing, stuff like that. So that was a really good place for me to start. Then I started writing for newtheory.com, greatdaily.com, and boom, I was on business.com.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (23:25):

So it's like you can start to build a lot of these components, and whether it's your in-person newspapers, or it's these online publications, they're stairs, right? So you have to figure out what the bottom stair is and you can start climbing up. Everybody's like, "Oh, I want to be in Forbes, and I want to be in Inc. and I want to be in all these different things." That's cool, man, and that credibility help will you, though it's a no-follow link, so it won't help to rank your website, but you want to find out what the stairs are already getting you there. It's the smaller ones, more niche, more industry, get more of those, start getting on some medium sized podcasts, some smaller podcasts. Some of those are going to help you climb the stairs, as well.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (24:02):

So you want to figure out what those small media pieces are, that are at the bottom. If you're looking at podcasts, it's usually shows that have less than 20 episodes and less than 50 reviews, because they are a little bit newer and they're going to be easier to get on. Whereas the bigger, more established ones are going to a little bit harder. But those can even be seen as a bottom or middle stair on getting your steps to your bigger press, which then gives you credibility.

Scott Martineau (24:22):

Love it. Great. All right, so step one, focus on PR and the connective stairs. Love it.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (24:30):

Yeah, and I guess adding to that, too, Scott, you want to get those things, and like I talked about, marketing without those things is like Hungry Hungry Hippos. Now, the PR pieces you're creating are the things you market, right. I think the thing a lot of people don't get is they try to treat media and podcasts and stuff like they're a top-of-funnel thing, like they're a lead gen.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (24:49):

They can be if it's a really big show, but also at the same time, when you're looking at your marketing funnel, it could be something towards the middle of your funnel, which then gives you more credibility and helps people to convert. It could be something that you use to your current audience to show them like, hey, you have the credibility that you have, to want to work with you. So once you create these PR pieces, they're things that you then use in your marketing to make your marketing work better.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (25:14):

One of the things I like to do, as well, is a lot of retargeting with a lot of these PR pieces. I can't take total credit for this, I've got to give a shout-out to Dennis Yu from Blitzmetrics that taught me how to do this. But one of the things he'll do is, he calls it the Dollar-a-Day ad strategy. You take a lot of these PR pieces you've gotten, and you put a retargeting pixel on your website, and you create 30, 60, and 90-day audiences, and you run a budget of $1 a day, retargeting these PR pieces at the people that have been to your website. So these are people that know who you are, and this is the credibility they need to continue the journey. So your PR and your marketing should work together. You can't just have one.

Crystal Heuft (25:52):

Definitely. Definitely.

Scott Martineau (25:54):

Love that. I mean, we all experience it, but the psychology of seeing somebody who's getting ... just the fact that somebody is getting press immediately creates credibility, right. It creates evidence that helps us to understand and build trust. So I love that you pointed out the interplay between PR and then the ways you can use it in the rest of your marketing. Fantastic.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (26:17):

It's an active thing, too, because I think a lot of people have this misconception ... Well, I know a lot of people have this misconception, because they've said it to me, "I'll just wait until my business is so successful the media finds me." They're not looking. It's a 24-hour news cycle, where there's so much going on and there are so many options, you've got to be out there willing to tell your story, willing to pitch it, and willing to get it in front of the right people. So if you're not going to actively-

Scott Martineau (26:36):

If they find you, it's not the story you want them to be telling [crosstalk 00:26:38].

Crystal Heuft (26:38):

That's for sure. That is for sure. If they find you-

Jeremy Ryan Slate (26:42):

"Do you know what Scott did?"

Crystal Heuft (26:44):

If they find you, it's something you wish got swept under the rug.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (26:48):


Scott Martineau (26:49):

You know, I think one other thing to pile here on PR, too, before we move on, I think-

Jeremy Ryan Slate (26:54):


Scott Martineau (26:54):

I think that, you know, this is part of our mission at Keap, is to help make starting a business be as admirable as maybe the idea of being a doctor or a lawyer, that has kind of this clout to it. I think that, in a lot of ways, local media, they're tuned into the power of small business and the power of entrepreneurship, right. So I think it's a really exciting season. PR, when some people hear that, they might think, "Isn't that kind of, of the olden days?" I love that you're orienting us back to that, because not only is it a season, like you said, there are small ponds people can tap into and get great results.

Crystal Heuft (27:32):

For sure.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (27:32):

I think it's so true, because it's, like I said, if PR and marketing don't work together, you're just playing Hungry Hungry Hippos, man, and when you're finding your small pond, it is attainable. That's the thing you have to understand. If you find something small, it's easier to get, and you build up from there. I just, I think, whether you're a small business, medium sized business, whatever you are, if you learn how to get media the right way, man, you can really cut the learning curve.

Crystal Heuft (27:55):

For sure. I agree with that. I think PR is ... When some small businesses hear PR, they think that's only for big brands. So I like that we're talking about this in the sense of using that to compete with the big brands, because it is something small businesses should be doing. Now, how much time might be different. That might look different.

Crystal Heuft (28:15):

But I think finding those really key areas you want to be known in your community or your audience for is crucial to getting more customers, and getting new leads, and a new audience. It's one of the reasons we wanted to do this podcast, was just, anytime you can get in front of a new audience, you're going to get new opportunities.

Crystal Heuft (28:35):

So I think it's critical, but that being said, what kind of advice would you give to an entrepreneur or a small business owner to really manage that space? They have lots of hats on, what kind of emphasis should they put there? Like in a 100% effort, what kind of effort level should they be using for their PR?

Jeremy Ryan Slate (28:57):

Early on, I put like 80% of my effort on PR, because I knew it was important to break through and get known, because if you don't get known, there is no survival, right, you have to get known in order to survive. So I put about 80% of the effort on that.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (29:13):

Now, the thing I did is, because I feel like getting started and getting that first hire or whatever it may be is really hard for a lot of small businesses. Like you said, you're wearing a lot of small hats. So I kind of figured out what things I could outsource to virtual assistants in the beginning, and that allowed me to hire a lot more U.S. based staff. But that was one of the areas I started. There's a site called Help a Reporter, it's called HARO. Are you guys familiar with it?

Crystal Heuft (29:36):


Jeremy Ryan Slate (29:36):

One of the things you can do with that is, if you have responses you're giving to a Haro, which is, reporters basically say, "This is a story I'm writing. I'm looking for a source about blah, blah, blah." So what you can do is keep a file of maybe some that you've answered yourself, and then you can have a virtual assistant start to respond to some of those for you to help you get those pieces, and when they come back in, you answer them yourself. So you want to figure out what some of these areas are, where you can use somebody that's a virtual assistant to help you. Like I said, that allowed us to get to a revenue point that we could start hiring U.S. based staff.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (30:07):

So I would honestly start looking at some of those smaller, lower energy things. You can get somebody to take the interviews you've done and turn them into words and stuff like that, and dictate them, whatever it may be. So you want to find areas where you can use a virtual assistant to help you early on.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (30:28):

Like I said, you need to spend a lot of your time on PR early on, and get creative with that, too. Like, I know one of the things we've done is a lot of community outreach. Like, we're very anti-drugs, so we do a lot of stuff against, you know, drug education and stuff like that. We're doing a lot of that, because that's also PR, in a different way, and it's because we want to help and we want to support people. But that's also another PR action.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (30:51):

So you have to figure out what creative things you can do that either, A, are cheap to do, which is, having a VA help you with some of these things, number two, that don't require a ton of energy and that also align with your purpose. So I think that's really, really, really important.

Scott Martineau (31:06):

So I'd love to hear any other thoughts you've got, too, and we didn't give you really space to talk about Command Your Brand, so maybe tell people what you do there, and then what other thoughts do you have in this vein about small brands competing like big brands?

Jeremy Ryan Slate (31:19):

So at Command Your Brand, we are a PR firm that helps people get their story down, because how you tell your story is vital. So we actually coach people through a process on how to do that.

Scott Martineau (31:28):

An actual story, like a-

Jeremy Ryan Slate (31:29):

Yeah, we help them get that down. Then we actually pitch them to podcasts, help them get set on those shows, and then we also teach them how to repurpose all the content they're creating. So that's really what we do, because we know it's vital, and we know how much podcasting and a lot of that has really changed my life.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (31:45):

In terms of other things in competing like a big brand, it's a lot of retargeting ads, man. I know, for us, we've seen a ton of success with very, very cheap Google Ads. We didn't even get complicated. We used Google Smart Ads, where Google decides for you. So you can do it a lot of really cheap, easy ways if you look for that blue ocean, man. But I think a lot of people, they're all kind of fighting over the same areas, and we found out there weren't people looking for our keywords, so we've put a decent low budget to Google Ads.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (32:16):

So I would start to look at, what are your small ponds? What are the blue oceans you're a part of? Don't keep fighting over the same piece of meat everybody else is. And what can you use a low budget? Retargeting ads, meaning you are targeting ads that people at that have already been to your website, are so affordable, because you don't have to spend much, because it's already people that have been to your site.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (32:38):

One other thing that I would also recommend, as well, is, there is a program we use on our site called getemails.com, and they have a massive database of people that have opted into email lists, because sometimes companies, yes, do share your information, and they can turn about 30% of your anonymous traffic into email opt-ins that are totally legit, totally cool, whatever it may be, so you're also still retargeting people that have already been to your site. I find the best traffic is people that have already seen you.

Scott Martineau (33:10):

Got it. So one follow-up question I want to have, since you obviously have a successful podcast, and it sounds like in many cases you're working to get your clients on podcasts, what are your thoughts to our listeners, maybe who've thought about the idea of a podcast, may feel intimidated. I think your points earlier were great that the podcast can fit ... It may not be, immediately out of the gate, the best top-of-funnel strategy, but it sort of fits in the marketing funnel. So what are your thoughts there, and what's your general advice to entrepreneurs who are thinking about a podcast?

Jeremy Ryan Slate (33:38):

I would say, first off, if you don't have a different message, and if you don't have something that makes you really different and unique, it may not be the best time to start one now, until you're really developed in that. Because, hats off to him, John Lee Dumas has done a great job with Entrepreneur on Fire, but there are like 250,000 people who've tried to copy that model and tried to just make the exact same show. It's like, "Come on, dude." So if you don't have a different and unique message, you may want to wait a little bit until you have that patterned out.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (34:05):

The other thing I would say is I think, and there's a South Park episode I got this from, but it's called the ... It's the episode where they talk about the magical internet money, where they think they get a video online and everybody becomes a millionaire, and I think people have that misconception about podcasts. They think that they start a podcast, and they just have Joe Rogan advertising money rolling in and stuff like that.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (34:26):

The thing I would tell people is, there is going to be one half of 1% of people that do that. The thing you need to realize is how your podcast can support your business, whether that's through networking, whether that's through joint ventures of some kind, whether that's through using it as the main PR vehicle, like I have, for your company. So you have to realize how your podcast fits in your strategy. Don't have it be the thing that you think is going to be the monetizing vehicle in itself. For most people, it's just not going to be that way.

Scott Martineau (34:52):

Well, Jeremy, thank you so much for being with us today. I think you've given some great advice. Just your general advice in working with so many successful people on your podcasts, as well as the specific advice to find your small pond, get really clear about your story, and leverage that story in a way to get your name out there, and then use retargeting to reinforce that. Awesome. Any final thoughts you want to squeeze out before we close up today?

Jeremy Ryan Slate (35:19):

Yes. If I could tell people to do one thing it would be, read the book by Cal Newport called "So Good They Can't Ignore You". I think, I'm 33, so I'm kind of on the edge of this millennial generation, where the problem with my generation is everybody thinks that the heavens need to open up and they're going to have a purpose. Cal says that, kind of knowing that out of the box, you can't, so you find something you're really good at, and whether that's what you do in your business now, or something that's part of your business, you focus on that till you get really, really, really good at that and it becomes effortless, and that's where the passion comes in.

Scott Martineau (35:49):

I love that.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (35:49):

Don't follow your passion. Get good at something until you become passionate.

Scott Martineau (35:53):

Love that. All right, well, we'll put a link to that in the show notes. Great advice. So, help our listeners know how they can find you.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (35:59):

Absolutely. Well, I know we've talked a lot about PR and a lot about getting attention, and if people are interested in the seven reasons they're not getting booked on their favorite podcasts, I actually put together a really good piece on that, that's going to help them do that, and it's over at commandyourbrand.com/sevenreasons, and the word seven or the number seven will work for that.

Crystal Heuft (36:18):


Scott Martineau (36:18):


Crystal Heuft (36:20):

I will say, you must be good at that because I don't ... Typically, we're inviting the guests on that someone knows, or we've met somewhere, and we get the request sometimes to come on, and I think it was a great email that made me feel like you'd be a great fit. So thank you for the great conversation today, and we're so glad you were joining us with lots of great insight. I'm definitely going to have to check out that episode with The Most Interesting Man, because now I'm more interested than ever. No joke.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (36:51):

He really is interesting, and he wrote a book about his life. I think it's called "Stay Interesting". So, anyway.

Crystal Heuft (37:00):

I'm in.

Scott Martineau (37:01):

Nice. That's very appropriate.

Crystal Heuft (37:01):

I'm in.

Scott Martineau (37:04):

Crystal's already ... it's like selling Popsicles with Crystal. All right, well, thank you, Crystal. Thank you, Jeremy Ryan Slate. We're going to call this a wrap for this episode of Small Biz Buzz.

Jeremy Ryan Slate (37:10):

Thank you so much.

Scott Martineau (37:18):

Thanks for listening to Small Biz Buzz. Please take a second to subscribe to the show and leave a five-star rating. It helps keep the show going. And, if you need a hand with growing your small business, head over to keap.com, that's K-E-A-P.com, and get started. More business. Less work. That's Keap.

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