Interview: Monica Rosenfeld, founder of Wordstorm
Monica Rosenfeld is the successful Founder and Managing Director of WordStorm PR. We’ve been counting the days until Monica’s PR workshop at MUSE, but in the meantime, we were able to pick her brains on her PR expertise.
I have been running WordStorm PR since 2000. Before this, I worked as a producer for Channel Nine’s A Current Affair. WordStorm PR has worked with hundreds of businesses over the past seventeen years, increasing their credibility, trust and bottom line by putting their brand in the media spotlight. I’m passionate about educating businesses on how to use the media’s thirst for content to their advantage and de-mystifying the methods media use to create content.
Why do you believe PR is essential for successful business?
Businesses engage in PR for a variety of reasons but at the heart of it, media coverage builds credibility. While advertising gives you the opportunity to tell the world how great you are, PR gives you third party endorsement from one of the world’s most trusted sources – the media. It increases brand understanding rather than simply awareness, meaning businesses have the opportunity to educate consumers about their unique selling propositions.
In the digital world we live in, PR is also integral for a good SEO strategy. Coverage on high page-ranking sites improves SEO exponentially and of course, when consumers Google your brand name you want positive news stories to be the first thing they see.
Your PR workshop is tailored for small businesses. What is the key difference of running PR activities for a small business compared to larger companies?
Small budgets mean we have to be creative, which we love! Our entrepreneurial clients are passionate, dynamic and don’t sit still. This is what I love, which is the reason I don’t work with large corporate companies. We have to focus on finding the story angles, building relationships with key media and being persistent (while knowing the balance between being persistent and being a pain!).
Is there one golden rule of PR for small businesses?
Keep digging until you find that angle! Every business has a story to tell.
What are some unique PR strategies that specifically apply to the creative industry?
Creative businesses are some of the best to work with because they often have wonderful visuals for us to use in the media. A picture tells a thousand words and journalists will often run a story or not based on the photo alone. Creative businesses understand this and will work hard to get the images and video content we need to maximise media opportunities.
What is the question you get asked the most frequently?
“Can you get me on TV?” This is the question nearly all of our clients ask us. TV has an unparalleled power. You’re getting so many eyeballs, they’re engaged and they are in a good position to be sold to. We have built up fantastic relationships with TV and we know how to create a good story and pitch it in the right way.
What inspired you to start your own company?
I joke that I learnt how NOT to do PR when I was at Channel 9. I was constantly called by business owners, PR people and occasionally crazy neighbours wanting their story on air. They didn’t understand what I needed, which was an angle, a hook, a human-interest element. I saw an opportunity to create a PR agency that really understands the media, what journalists’ days are like and how you need to communicate with them in order to get cut through. I also love the freedom of owning my own business and being able to grow and mentor young PR professionals.
Tell us about a PR campaign you ran that was extremely successful or that you are the most proud of.
One Friday afternoon, I got a call from a young man with a pretty extraordinary story. In a world-first event, his family decided to give away in a raffle a resort they had run for 20 years in a Micronesian island. When they approached us, 15,000 tickets had been sold. However, they needed a minimum of 35,000 more. We had a little over a month to get maximum media coverage across the country to raise awareness and increase credibility of the raffle.
We secured coverage for Win the Island Estates in a huge range of publications including Sunrise, The Project, Courier Mail, Daily Mail, Escape, Grazia, Herald Sun, MTV, News.com.au, RealEstate.com.au, The Daily Telegraph, Yahoo Be, and many more. As a result of the PR, 75,000 tickets were sold and amazingly enough, a young man from Wollongong ended up winning the resort – despite tickets being sold across the globe. It was a thrilling, satisfying campaign to be a part of!
Can you name an entrepreneur/successful business man or woman that you look up to and tell us how they inspire you?
I absolutely love what Lisa Messenger has done with The Collective Hub. Australia is full of inspiring and proactive entrepreneurs and The Collective Hub Magazine gives these people a platform to tell their stories. Lisa jumped out of her comfort zone in an age when magazines were folding and collapsing left, right and centre. She’s proved the naysayers wrong and she really does embody the true entrepreneurial spirit.
Monica’s PR Workshop for small businesses takes place at MUSE on May 31st.
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