Transcript 105: Doing PR Like a Method Actor, with Nancy Marshall

Speaker 1: 00:00 Welcome, you’ve arrived at destination on the left with Nicole Mahoney, learn from the experience of travel and tourism experts who use collaboration and creativity to attract more visitors, strengthen their marketing programs, and reimagine how their industry does business. Hello listeners. This is Nicole Mahoney, host of destination. On the left,

Nicole Mahoney: 00:21 I am passionate about travel and tourism and love learning from the experiences of professionals in the industry. That is why I’m so excited to introduce today’s guest, Nancy Marshall. Nancy has been doing pr since the early 19 eighties. Once she started out in public broadcasting, then she moved to sugarloaf to be director of communications. She founded her agency, Marshall Communications in 1991 serving tourism and especially outdoor recreation clients. Since then, her agency has grown significantly and now with a team of 11 people, they handle the state of Maine, Office of Tourism and state of Maine, department of Agriculture as well as the Orvis company. Nancy’s passion is around personal branding and she works with individuals to leverage their personal brand. Nancy recently launched her own podcast, the Pr Maven podcast, and she hopes listeners of destination on the left will subscribe. Thank you for joining me, Nancy.

Nancy Marshall: 01:22 Thanks Nicole. It’s really fun to be with you. I’ve known you through agency management institute now for several years and of course I love podcasts because it’s just another way to have a conversation.

Nicole Mahoney: 01:36 I love chatting. Yeah, absolutely. And in our industry of all industries, right? Pr and communications, having a conversation is, is, is second nature to us and I’m glad you mentioned the agency management institute because that is where, you know, the boats, both of us belong to that network and we’ve met at several of those events and what I’m really excited about is that you are in the agency business as a, as um, I, but you also work in travel and tourism. And so I’m really excited to hear and learn, you know, from your experiences in working in travel and tourism. So thank you so much for giving us some of your time today. And before we get started, Nancy, I know I read that brief bio, but it’s such a short snapshot snapshot of who you are and, and how you’ve gotten to where you are today. So I’m wondering if you can share in your own words your story and then we’ll dive into the questions.

Nancy Marshall: 02:30 Sure. Well, if you look in the dictionary under the word extrovert, I think there’s a picture of me because I was born extroverted. Um, I just know no other way of being in the world and I’m very, very curious. I’m always curious about people and um, you know, I have two sons who are in their twenties and my younger son is always like, mom, you don’t have to talk to everybody. And I like, yeah, I kind of do because I just, I just love to talk to people and find out where they’re from, what they do, why they’re, wherever they are, you know, if I meet them on the coast of Maine or at the ski resort or whatever, I just love to chat it up with people. So I feel that my extroverted personality led to the career that I have now. When I was in high school, my father was working for Westinghouse Electric Corporation as a sales executive.

Nancy Marshall: 03:32 He sold big electrical equipment and um, he actually spotted in me the traits that it would take to be a good pr person because he had worked with the corporate PR executives for Westinghouse. So I was lucky enough when I was 17 to have a chance to spend a whole week in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a job shadowing the PR department for Westinghouse. And it was then that I realized this is the career that’s for me, you know, it’s just a, all of the skills and passions that I had then and still have to this day. So I’m really grateful. My Dad’s been gone for 10 years now. But uh, I’m forever grateful and I just hope that somehow he knows how I’ve taken this pr thing and just run with it for, for, you know, my entire career.

Nicole Mahoney: 04:24 Yeah, I think that’s a, I’m sure he is very proud of, of what you have done and how you’ve run with that pr thing. And can you talk just a little bit about [inaudible] in your bio? We talked about how you have this passion for personal branding and can you talk a little bit about the Pr Maven and how that came about? I know it’s the name of your podcast, but it’s more than that.

Nancy Marshall: 04:45 Sure. Yes. I mean I started Nancy Marshall Communications, my agency in 1991 and have run that to this day. I mean it’s still thriving now. We’re called Marshall Communications because I have a really strong team and I wanted to take my first name out of the company name to put the shine the light on the whole team. But um, I started branding myself as the PR maven several years ago when I got involved with something called reach personal branding, which is a personal branding organization. It’s actually since been sold, but, um, I became certified as a strategic personal branding strategist. Uh, because actually since the beginning of my career, I have always really enjoyed sharing human interest stories and, um, you know, from 1984 when I started working at sugarloaf, I was then promoting this guy who skied every single day for about 20 years. He never missed a day of skiing and that was early on in my career and I started like publicizing streak.

Nancy Marshall: 05:58 We used to call him the cal ripken of skiing because, um, he just skied and skied and skied. So, uh, the media loved his story and so I kinda got experience in this, uh, you know, working within an individual and kind of making them more well known through the media. And of course the media loves human interest stories, especially kind of an average person that’s doing extraordinary things. And the skier, his name was Paul Shipper and he has since passed, but he wasn’t really a great skier at all. But, um, he just had a passion for skiing and, and then he actually kind of had a passion for his streak and for the publicity. I mean, he, we got him into people magazine two times and Good Morning America sent a TV crew up to do like their whole opening of their show at sugarloaf and this was back in the eighties and nineties.

Nancy Marshall: 06:52 So I, I got a taste of what personal branding and publicizing of individuals all about and, and now, um, that’s, that’s my own passion in public relations. I work now with authors and executives and athletes who basically kind of wanted to want to raise their own personal profile so they become more findable, more known for whatever their superpower is. And uh, I kind of feel like my superpower is personal branding. Um, right now I’m working with James Kennerly who is a, an organist of all things. He plays this Oregon and Portland, Maine called the Kaczmar, Oregon. He’s from London, England, but he is officially the municipal organist in Portland. And so I’m working one on one with him to raise his profile. James Kennerley. He’s really one of the best organists in the world, but he’s also very hip, very fun and very, uh, extroverted like me.

Nancy Marshall: 08:05 So we’re working together and just, you know, doing, I think doing great things, but also having fun doing it in my book. That’s what it’s all about. Absolutely. That’s awesome. Uh, well personal branding strategist, this is going to be really interesting for our conversation because I just love how you kind of shared that story about the skier from, from sugarloaf and how, you know, his personal brand then a help sugarloaf, uh, gain some national pr. And so exactly, you could google a, if anybody’s interested. Paul shipper was his name, s c h I p p e r and actually, um, sadly, but when he did pass the New York Times did a huge, like half page hope on his life, including a lot about his skiing streak. And I just, you know, I, I, I read that I kind of looked up to this guy. I said, Paul, you would have loved this because of, you know, the Dr Times really gave him a lot of ink. And again, like he’s just a normal guy who was like an Olympic skier. Anything. But um, yeah, that was my first time experiencing personal branding. That’s so cool.

Nicole Mahoney: 09:24 Um, you know, I heard a podcast, a New York Times has a podcast called the daily that I listened to and they, they interviewed different journalists from different beats and they interviewed someone from the New York Times that’s in charge of deciding who do we write these obituaries about because it’s very coveted, I guess from W, which I didn’t realize. And so it’s kind of really interesting, you know, how they go through and identify those people that have those interesting stories to tell. And that’s definitely a tribute to Paul.

Nancy Marshall: 09:57 Yeah. Well, and actually in a sort of strange, this is something, you know, I started my career before the internet and before email and um, you know, now actually if somebody is writing your obituary, they probably are going to google you and see, you know, what’s online about you so that it’s kind of a relatively new phenomenon. And so in a strange way, you know, establishing your personal brand is going to someday impact how you are remembered, what is really your legacy.

Nicole Mahoney: 10:30 Yeah, absolutely. So Nancy, a, as you know, on this podcast, we like to cover both creativity and collaboration. We find that it’s sometimes it’s hard to talk about one without the other. They’re very intertwined, especially when we’re talking about travel and tourism. But I’d like to dive in on this first question on creativity and, uh, with all of your experience in the various clients that you work with, understanding how competitive the tourism and hospitality industry is. What kinds of things have you done, um, or have you seen your clients do to really stand out

Nancy Marshall: 11:06 from the crowd? Well, Nicole personally and um, you know, my team, I have a team of 11 people. What I’ve tried to be as a role model for how you have to just dive into whatever your client is doing. So again, from an early age, I was representing a ski resort and I was a certified ski instructor. So I really had some credibility because I was a skier and I tried to dress like a skier and talk like a skier and really understand what skiers we’re looking for. And then once I started my agency, I was representing a Whitewater rafting company, so I went and became a registered Maine Guide for Whitewater rafting. I went through the guide training so that I see, again, I could not just talk the talk but walk the walk. And then I was doing pr for a wind jammer that sailed off the main coast that was a 170 feet long.

Nancy Marshall: 12:05 And I learned how to haul the sales and trim the sails and a steer the boat. I didn’t learn how to dock it because that was, you know, docking of vessel of that size buyers, a lot of training. But, but I stood by the captain while he did that. And uh, and then later on my agency was working with a hospital, for example. So two of my employees went into the, uh, into watch a surgery, you know, they suited up and all of the sterile clothing and um, they went into the operating room. So our mantra has always been that you have to just really know your client’s business in order to represent them. So I feel that, um, I think one of the competitive edges that my agency has always had for one thing is just being enthusiastic and I think that if you’re really enthusiastic about something, you’re going to be like a magnet.

Nancy Marshall: 13:02 You’re gonna draw not only journalists but people who become kind of part of the tribe of your client’s business. So I feel that, um, you know, in addition to having been in pr for like a really long time now and I’ve been, you know, I’ve watched the, how it has morphed from the time of using postage stamps and press releases in envelopes, but I’ve always really tried to stay on top of technology and technological changes. Uh, so I feel that one thing, uh, that in addition to being really enthusiastic, I also try to make the most of traditional relationships, you know, the face to face kind, but leveraging social media to extend relationships. And that’s actually the platform of my own podcast now.

Nicole Mahoney: 13:55 Yeah, absolutely. Um, you just provided so, uh, so many golden nuggets of information. I want to make sure that the listeners kind of a caught all of that. But I want to start with this whole idea of what you called your mantra or this idea of diving into whatever industry your client is in. And um, you know, what that sounds to me like is that whole idea, and I know it’s an overused word, these days of authenticity and being authentic, but, but as the communications professional or as the Pr Rep, um, you actually are that registered Maine Guide. Are you actually, you know, do know how to ski and you’re, you know, and you and you’re an actor, you’re a skier or you’re doing the sailboat. And so to me that seems like you’re really able to, you know, speak in your client’s voice but, but be real about it, right? Oh yeah, exactly.

Nancy Marshall: 14:52 I think to really communicate with the media, they want to talk to somebody who knows what they’re talking about and you know, ultimately I want the media to be talking to my client. So, you know, in the case of Sugarloaf, I would like them to be talking to somebody who works there are skis there or even works behind the scenes and the grew making machine or on the ski patrol or whatever. But, um, I feel that through my pr career I’ve had more credibility both from the clients and from the media if I’ve actually really done the thing as opposed to, you know, I always think, and I’m not trying to dis people who are set in New York City doing pr because they obviously are in the media capital of the world there. But yeah, I feel like a publicist who’s in New York City, but trying to promote whitewater rafting on the penobscot river up in millinocket main, you know, that’s really hard to do because you don’t, you can’t really describe what it’s like, you know, you might be just reading out of the brochure off the website. But I feel that, you know, we, I’ve been, my agency has handled the state of Maine tourism account since 1993 now with a short interlude when, when we lost the account. But um, yeah, the, the media people definitely sink of me and my agency as being like the main people, you know, we, we really no main very well.

Nicole Mahoney: 16:28 Yeah, I think that’s great. And then, um, can you talk a little bit more about this face to face piece because that was another thing that, that you started to talk about and um, and, and I’m wondering, it kind of relates to what you just described about being this um, New York City pr firm who might have perhaps more face to face opportunities with some of those national media outlets and have those relationships but then not have that, you know, into intimate experience with the actual destination that they’re, that they’re pitching. How do you kind of balance that? And again, I just, I have a lot of them

Nancy Marshall: 17:05 friends who are pr people, respected pr people in Manhattan and not, I don’t want to in any way dis them. Of course, now I feel that, um, and travel when you travel with somebody, especially if you do an activity and the outdoors, I feel that you create a bond with the journalist as a PR person. You create a bond with a journalist. I’m an example is Everett Potter who is spin at a, you know, very well known travel writer for a long time as long as I’ve been doing pr and I’ve traveled with him, you know, on behalf of the Orvis company. We’ve been to Missoula, Montana. We have skied together in numerous places at sugarloaf and out west. Um, and we’ve, we’ve, he has like a cottage on a lake in Maine actually. And I’ve been to his cottage on a lake in Maine and his visit, he and his wife have visited with me in Portland.

Nancy Marshall: 18:02 So, um, we’ve done stuff like real stuff where you’re not necessarily pitching, you’re just like kind of being friends. And that is in a way it’s a luxury to be able to build a relationship like that. But in my career that has been where the magic happens is when I’ve been able to spend time with my media contacts. Usually it’s enjoying the outdoors, although sometimes enjoying a great restaurant too and maybe a glass of wine or two that doesn’t hurt either. But um, yeah, so I’ve had the luxury of representing clients that, you know, would have me meet and greet and travel with, with media people and those bonds, you know, if you tend to those relationships, I think of it as like tending to your garden, you know, you, you, you keep track of when those people’s birthdays are and you send them birthday cards and you send them holiday cards and you call them up on the telephone.

Nancy Marshall: 19:14 You know, you talked to them on the phone. I, I worry about the digital natives and my two sons are digital, you know, they’ve grown up online. I worry about them thinking that they have friendships with people who are just on line connections that they’ve never done anything with these people. And in my premise, and again, the premise of the PR maven podcasts is you need both. You need, if you meet somebody through an online connection, you need to like do something with them in person and if you meet, if you do something in person with someone or meet someone at a networking event, you need to connect with them, whether it’s through linkedin or facebook or instagram or whatever you need to make an online connection. But I feel that you need in order to be like a real friend, somebody, you need to have both ways of being connected and you also need to be available to the media in good times and in bad.

Nancy Marshall: 20:13 Like when, when bad stuff happens, like God forbid there’s a fatality or a fire or a murder or something horrible. If that happens with your client, you can’t hide. You have to be out front. And it definitely helps in pr. If you already have a relationship based on trust went up. When a crisis occurs, that journalist is going to believe what you’re saying. Uh, you know, if you have a reputation obviously of being truthful and forthcoming. So, uh, in my mind that’s the mark of a great pr professional. Somebody who has a lot of media contacts and people who know, like, and trust you.

Nicole Mahoney: 21:03 Absolutely. I think that’s great advice. And, um, and uh, a great way for you to, you know, have described how this, how this relationship ship works and how you’re building the relationship both online and offline and hopefully listeners picked up on, you know, the time you spend with journalists, a lot of our listeners, whether they’re pr, working at a PR agency or you know, our destination marketers themselves or communication managers for destinations, you know, they get to spend a lot of time with these writers as well just as you’ve described. And this whole idea of being able to forge that relationship deeper than just that one visit, that one fam trip or, you know, whatever that might be. I think it’s just a really, really great advice. Um, and, and I love how you kind of used that example and said that way you, you are a trusted source and so good or bad, they trust you and it makes some of that, a crisis.

Nicole Mahoney: 22:07 Communications should you ever need it. Um, you know, a more valued and you become that trusted resource for them. So that’s actually a perfect kind of segue into this next question where I like to. I’m kind of turn this around and think about a time where you might have faced some adversity or a challenge because I just love the creativity that comes from facing a challenge. And so I’m wondering if you can share with our listeners a time that you might have experienced a challenge or some sort of adversity and then sort of the creative problem solving and solution that came from that.

Nancy Marshall: 22:48 Well, I will say that in 2013, uh, we, we responded to the RFP, which is a request for proposal for the main tourism account and it did go to another agency, actually an agency in New York because the decision makers at the time thought that they would be better served by somebody right there in New York City. So that was quite devastating because my agency had grown over the years a log with that contract for the main tourism office. But, um, my contact from the rafting company who I had worked with this rafting company starting in the, in the early nineties when I first started my agency, my contact who’s name is Russell Walters, called me on the phone and he said, Nancy, you have built a large network, a network of people who trust you, who love you and who will stand by you and don’t worry. He said, your network will take care of you.

Nancy Marshall: 23:53 And it almost makes me cry because, um, it’s, it was a really profound thing, you know, that at that time I was really hurting. I had a large staff. I didn’t want to let people go. You know, as a business owner, you never want to have to let people go when you lose a client, but sometimes you kind of have to, to save your business. But, um, I, I just, and actually it was right around the holidays. We’re doing this interview around the holidays, although I know it’s going to air, uh, in early 2019. But, um, you know, in the holiday, sometimes you take time off to be with your family. But, um, I actually hired Stephen Westner, uh, who was a mutual friend. He’s the author of profitable podcasting I’m in, which is a book that I’ve used for, for my podcast, but I hired him because he has a company called predictive Roi to create measurement systems so you can predict the return on investment of a marketing expenditure.

Nancy Marshall: 24:59 And he flew from Lacrosse, Wisconsin to Maine, I think it was the Sunday before Christmas. We spent a whole weekend together, like in the conference room of my office, just like mapping out a strategy to get new business. And it was amazing. Um, we, we created a really powerful proposal for a natural gas company that was just establishing a foothold in Maine and we were able to land a large account that essentially replaced the tourism account. I didn’t have to lay anyone off. And as a result, uh, I’ve really learned about the power of measuring everything you do because in pr it’s really easy not to measure and say, oh, we know it’s doing good. You know, we know that that article in the Wall Street Journal is helping us. But to actually create ways of measuring, you know, how, how is that impacting your web traffic, how is that impacting your sales? Uh, how many more facebook likes are you getting, how much engagement? So now, uh, we really doubled down on measurement in everything we do and happily we handled that natural gas company for about 18 months and then the main office of tourism account came back to us. So it was just awesome. And in the meantime we learned a lot from working with Steven who actually is on episode number 11 of the Pr Maven podcast and I actually have appeared on his podcast onward nation three times now. So, and you’ve been on his podcast too.

Nicole Mahoney: 26:46 I have and I’m Steven and predictive Roi actually produce this podcast. So we have a very close relationship with them and yeah,

Nancy Marshall: 26:57 they are fed test and again we know them through agency management institute and talk about a network that is powerful. I mean our network, I kind of think of it like my second family, don’t you, you know your. Yeah, absolutely.

Nicole Mahoney: 27:16 So again, in your answer to this question, you’ve given us quite a bit to break down. Um, first of all, I’d like to start with this whole idea of, um, when it comes to PR firms, uh, selecting, you know, the local from, uh, such as yourself or that New York City pr firm. It’s actually something that I’ve found debated amongst my clients as well. Do you need that from in New York City to have to have those relationships and leverage their relationships in order to get that coverage, especially for travel and tourism. And I’m wondering if you have, since this is sort of a boomerang client, right? They laughed and they came back. Were there any learnings that happens within your agency or, or you know from the client during that,

Nancy Marshall: 28:08 that period of time? Well, we actually do now subcontract to Conrad Pr, which is owned by Gail Comran, so she is right there in New York, but she also has a summer place in Maine. So consider her to be a resident of both places. And um, so she really helps us like boots on the ground. We do quite a few events with the media in Manhattan, so I feel like our client gets a kind of the best of both worlds is having, having someone in Maine and someone in New York, you know, it’s debate, it all depends on uh, on your relationships and of course in the world of pr now we’re dealing with influencers who are kind of a new breed of influencers so to speak. And so trying to determine how they fit into the overall puzzle is. And also they’re sort of in a gray area between the advertising and the PR agencies. So that’s been something that gail has helped us navigate and then we work collaboratively with an agency called Bev k, which is a large national or actually international ad agency that handles main tourism also. So we learn a lot from them and I think they learned from us as well. Absolutely.

Nicole Mahoney: 29:36 Those are great examples for collaboration. And, and I, I, I had said that when we, it’s hard to talk about one thing without the other. Um, but before we move on to talk a little bit more about collaboration, I did want to back up and ask you about this whole idea of measurement and, um, you’re, you’re so right. When you say in the PR world, it’s a, you know, it’s definitely been a topic of conversation at national prs say conferences and even for us at our, at our local chapter, how do you measure and what should you be measuring? Um, and, and you talked a little bit about web traffic and social engagement and sales impact. Um, can you expand on that a little bit? I think our listeners would, would really learn from you on, in that area.

Nancy Marshall: 30:23 Well, there is a book called measure what matters by John Doerr and that’s spelled d o e r, r, and he talks about objectives and key results and measuring those. There’s also another book called traction by Gino Wickman. Um, which is an entrepreneurial operating system that includes creating a leadership team within your company and having weekly meetings where you, you have a measurement dashboard. But when we’re starting a new engagement with a client, we actually have a discovery meeting where we tried to, uh, uh, arrive at what are, what are the goals and you know, what are the metrics and we, we decide collaboratively what to measure. So I don’t think you can say everybody should measure the same things. I think it all ties into, uh, where, where are you going to be focusing your, your time and your money and you know, your overall investments and, and from your experience, what impacts your, your sales the most.

Nancy Marshall: 31:34 So of course google analytics is a very underused measurement dashboard in and of itself because, um, you know, Google analytics will tell you so much about what, uh, what’s happening on your website and people who don’t use google analytics are really missing out on a lot of great information a day to day on, on how people are coming to your website and how they’re moving around and whether they’re bailing out and just, you know, they’re not finding what they’re looking for. So they’re leaving. So Google analytics is part of a measurement dashboard, but you also would want to look at whatever social networks you’re focusing on. So if you’re focusing on facebook or twitter or instagram or Linkedin, you know, are you gaining more friends, fans, followers, contacts on those platforms, and again, how much engagement are you getting? In some cases you, you might not want thousands of thousands of friends and followers if you have a small group that’s very highly engaged.

Nancy Marshall: 32:43 So it’s really very important to to narrow down the metrics that, that impact your sales. And some people will say, well we don’t really know, but if you start measuring you will see patterns and you’ll see, oh wow, you know, we’re getting a lot of engagement on our facebook and our sales are increasing. So maybe you know that facebook is, is impacting your growth. And of course I’m facebook advertising is a really cost effective means of promoting your business. It’s actually one of the most cost effective means of advertising right now I believe. Especially in tourism.

Nicole Mahoney: 33:28 Yeah, we agree. We agree with that. We do a lot of facebook ad campaigns for our clients and it really is an effective way to reach an audience. Thank you for that. And thanks for the uh, the book recommendations, a measure what matters and uh, the traction traction. Yeah. Books. I think those are excellent and I think you’re so right in that you just start to measure. You might not know exactly what to measure, but if you have a conversation and you kind of discover a couple things that you could look at as you start to measure those couple of things more might come to you or like you said, you’ll see those patterns. So, so often my best advice to people is just start.

Nancy Marshall: 34:14 Yeah, I mean for some properties in the tourism business they might want to see literally how many people are walking in the door or you know, for restaurants, how many people are calling for reservations or for attractions, you know, how many bus tour or motor coach tours they’re getting. So again, I don’t think it’s not one size fits all. It’s really a matter of knowing your business and as an agency to. I think as an agency you really need to delve deep into your client’s business and experience it. You need to go there and, and do the thing, whatever it is that goes back to my whitewater rafting example, you know, I, I, uh, you know, went through the guide training and I hung out at the lodge and I talked to the people and you know, you can learn so much.

Nicole Mahoney: 35:06 Absolutely. So, Nancy, is there a project that you’re working on now that you’re really excited about and I think I might know the answer to this, but.

Nancy Marshall: 35:17 Oh, I’m curious what you think. I mean, for one thing to call, I’m excited about everything. I mean I just can’t help myself and I, I mean my, my family just, there’s sometimes like, can’t you just turn it off? And I’m like, no, I can’t, I can’t turn it off. Um, well I am going to the Robert Rowes content marketing seminar presented by agency management institute at Disney in January. So I’m excited about content marketing. I just feel like it’s right up my alley and my agency’s Allie. But I’m my podcast. The podcast is growing, I think we’ve done 21 episodes so far and a one episode, which is number nine of the Pr Maven podcasts. We did it live at a chamber event. I actually gave a live presentation about personal branding and growing your personal network and so we use that live presentation as a podcast and now we’re looking for other conferences and conventions and meetings where we can take our podcast on the road and I’m talking with Maine Biz, which is Maine’s business newspaper about doing live podcasts at their events because they hold a lot of business networking events around our state.

Nancy Marshall: 36:44 But, um, Greg Glenn, who is the producer of a podcast and I, uh, we have our suitcases ready and we will go anywhere really that, uh, where we see an opportunity to have the PR maven on the road podcasts if I just think it’s so exciting.

Nicole Mahoney: 37:04 That is exciting. We took a destination on the left on the road, uh, earlier this year and attended a museum association of New York State Conference. And from that we produced a series of five podcasts. We interviewed about 20 people. It was a, it was a lot of fun. So I’m excited for you because those road shows are fun and, and it goes right along with your team of getting out there and talking to the people and that’s really awesome. You’re a quick learner. So I’m so nancy, we’ve already talked about so many different collaborations that you’re involved in, but um, I, I’d like to dig a little bit deeper and, and uh, I’m just a huge believer in this whole idea of what I like to call coopertition where perceived competitors actually come together to create big wins, things that they couldn’t have done on their own. And I’m wondering if you can describe a time when a collaboration between competitors has either worked for you or for your clients?

Nancy Marshall: 38:13 Well, uh, through the main office of tourism a cow back in the nineties, which actually is the last century, we created a program called the PR partners program and basically it’s a, it’s a free program that anybody in the tourism industry can join. So hotels, restaurants, attractions can be part of it. And basically they just, in decatur through a form, they just fill out a form and tell us that they’re interested in hosting travel journalists who are traveling to the state of Maine and with an understanding that we are qualifying these journalists, that they have legitimate media outlets and that they’re actually intending to produce stories, whether it’s broadcast or print or sometimes online as well. So we now have very large database of what we call the PR partners so that if a journalist is coming to me and if they’re interested in a certain topic, whether it’s a bed and breakfast inns on the coast or they’re interested in ski resorts or they’re just sitting glamping, which is glamorous camping resorts or whatever their specific interests. This database that we have is totally searchable. Uh, so again, we could create an itinerary that includes golfing or it occludes lobster boats or lobster fishing. Um, whatever it is. And we’ve had this, this database or this program of pr partners now for so long that it’s really grown into a great, again, a great collaboration so that we can create an itinerary for journalists. So they can see a lot of the state, both coastal and inland and experience a lot of different things that we have to offer here.

Nicole Mahoney: 40:09 That’s a great example. Um, and I, I love that, uh, you have this database available to you because especially when you’re hosting travel writers, do you need to make sure that not only that you have partners who are willing to host, but also that they understand, you know, how to host, right, and how to host a journalist and what the experience should be like and what to expect. And I imagine there’s some sort of training that goes into that or

Nancy Marshall: 40:35 there’s training, there’s newsletters, there’s, it’s an ongoing correspondence and communication between us, the office of tourism and these pr partners so they can be educated on how, how to best host travel journalists to leverage the visit.

Nicole Mahoney: 40:51 And I imagine some of that training is changing now with, uh, with travel influencers because that’s a whole different breed of expectations, right? Exactly. Yes, it is. That’s awesome. Um, and so I’m, I’m wondering, we just kind of touched on it a little bit, but how do you manage expectations within that, uh, that partnership because it’s so critical I think, to, to success?

Nancy Marshall: 41:22 Well, we, we definitely educate the PR partners so they know that the journalists who comes has every intention of producing a story, but we also say there’s never any guarantees and if you need a guarantee of getting a story, then you should just buy advertising because um, you know, the travel writer themselves, they could put in their best efforts to produce a story, but a story can get killed if, if a publication, you know, changes there content calendar or you know, I have a copy here of cooking light magazine and they’re going out of business so they’re not going to be publishing a hard copy anymore. So she travel writers don’t always have control of whether their story gets published or when it gets published. So I’m again, that’s, that speaks to having a long track record and the business and also knowing people. So, you know, if we, we know that if one of our writers, you know, gets a story that gets killed, we know that they’ll really work hard to get that story placed somewhere else and sometimes we help them with that.

Nicole Mahoney: 42:39 That’s great. So Nancy, I’ve really appreciated your time. We’ve covered a lot of ground and I have one last question to ask you, um, before, before we say goodbye and this question is actually one that’s brand new now to the podcast, but I’m going to be asking it of my podcast guests starting with this episode. So you’re the lucky one to get this first, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Um, and hearing a lot about this idea of destination marketers, I’m becoming community managers and kind of what does that mean to be a community manager? And um, to me it’s kind of a more holistic approach to managing, managing the destination. It’s not just about the brand or the story, but it’s also about engaging the locals. And I’m wondering, um, if you are seeing more of this, where you are in Maine and if there’s any examples that come to mind?

Nancy Marshall: 43:38 Well, of course I, um, you know, whether you use the term community or network or tribe or called or whatever you want to call it. I believe that any brand needs to have raving fans, people that will represent the brand act as brand ambassadors. And that, I mean, sugarloaf is a great example because people who are die hard shergill loafers, they have this logo on a bumper sticker on their car. It’s a very recognizable triangular logo. And people who love sugarloaf tend to sort of, they call themselves sugar loafers. They, they, they, they represent, they’re walking versions of the brand. So I feel that a good pr person needs to be able to tap members of the community too, represent the brand for our interviews with the media for one thing. But also, as you said, if you’re thinking of yourself as a community organizer, um, you know, yeah, it’s a two way street.

Nancy Marshall: 44:45 You need to learn from those raving fans what it is that makes them different. And how do you define the brand story? And actually in some cases we create a message map that has the, uh, the wording or the brand messages, uh, so that people who are speaking out on behalf of the brand can sing off the same song sheet is what we call it. So they already kind of sings in tune, not that you’re going to dictate exactly how people describe the brand, but if they can have some shared language around the brand, that definitely helps. So again, in my work with sugarloaf back in the day and then my work with the state of Maine Tourism, and even now my work with the Orvis Company, uh, they have a movement called 50 slash 50 on the water where they’re trying to get 50 percent of all fly Fisher people, people who enjoy fly fishing, they’re trying to get 50 percent of them all to be women. And so, uh, we’re, we’re getting a lot of women who fly fish talking with the media. So your premise about being a community manager is spot on. You have to be able to work both with the media and members of the community two communicate on behalf of the brand.

Nicole Mahoney: 46:11 Absolutely. And I think that was just a great way to, to wrap up our conversation again, you gave us so much to think about and so many new ideas. I really appreciate you spending some time with us, Nancy, and if our listeners wanted to seek you out, um, what is the best way that they can connect with you?

Nancy Marshall: 46:32 Well, I’m a big linkedin users. They can go to Nancy Marshall on Linkedin or they can go to a. we’re creating a page just for destination on the left so they could go to Pr Maven Dot Com and that’s p r m a v e n Dot com slash destination on the left where they can sign up to receive a copy of our ebook about the value of having a strategy along with one of our things to do today. Pads which are highly coveted by people and um, and a copy of my book as well. Pr Works

Nicole Mahoney: 47:10 well. That is an awesome offer and thank you very much for that. And we’ll make sure that we put that link as well on our show notes page so that listeners can go to the show notes page and easily find that. And again, thank you so much for being with us Nancy, and we’ll look forward to learning more from you on the Pr Maven podcast. Thanks for calling. I look forward to having you as a guest on my podcast as well. I’m looking forward to it. Thanks again. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 47:39 It’s time to hit the road again. Visit a destination on the left.com. During your travels for more podcasts, show notes and fresh ideas.