Ready to start building your business with PR?
Download your FREE guide now to learn how publicity can increase your revenue, establish yourself as an expert and make you well-known for your amazing products and services.
As Seen In
Hello. I’m Ramona Russell. Lover of fur babies, fine wine, good design and the F word. Hater of feet, heights, clutter and washing my hair.
Business cannot survive without visibility. And it breaks my heart when a client—with kickass products and plenty of passion—comes to me after spending tens of thousands of dollars with a PR person only to walk away with nothing.
Which is why I’m obsessed with helping biz owners grow their companies by teaching them how to do their own PR. It’s not rocket science, but the overwhelming amount of bad—and just plain wrong—advice out there makes entrepreneurs feel like publicity is not a learnable skill. Which couldn’t be further from the truth.
And the reason I know that is because after working with me, my clients walk away with everything they need to get their own media coverage, which they easily achieve.
Don’t let my wardrobe comprised mostly of pajamas, my office-supply addiction and alphabetized spice rack fool you…my tough-love, no-bullshit coaching style shows business owners how PR can increase their revenue, establish themselves as an expert and make them well-known for what they offer.
And I would love to help you do the same.
“Ramona’s approach to marketing and PR is an individualized one, which I gravitated to right away.
She thinks out of the box, but does so from a deeply rooted understanding of current practices. For me, she had an uncanny ability to immediately size up where I needed to be and what platforms I should be on.
That resulted in her lobbying for me to become a blogger for The Huffington Post, by first convincing me, and then successfully landing me the opportunity. But that was not the end of it. She followed up with me by suggesting ideas for articles, proofing them and guiding me on their direction. This paid off in a big way with traffic back to my Web site, book sales, and my first two out of three articles featured on the front page of The Huffington Post. This generated thousands of hits back to my Web site, and I now see a steady stream of traffic from The Huffington Post to my company blog.
Ramona is amazingly talented, kind and smart as hell. She has single handedly redeemed the entire PR industry in my mind, after reversing an entire decade of bad PR experiences. She has renewed my faith and solidified my belief in the value of a good PR and marketing professional.”
Jade Teta, ND, CSCS, Metabolic Effect Fitness, Co-author, The Metabolic Effect Diet and Lose Weight Here
Latest on the Blog
Last week I was having coffee with a new friend who’s in marketing/branding/communications. She’s lived a fascinating life all over the United States and was telling me about one of her very talented, well-known and super connected friends in NYC who was thinking of starting a business. He had used a PR firm for past ventures, only to walk away incredibly disappointed (read: no visibilty). As a PR peep, I don’t understand how this happens. You have famous client with a huge following and a great story, yet you can’t make anything happen for him?
Unfortunately, I hear a story like this almost weekly. People come to me having spent thousands—tens of thousands—with a PR specialist, boutique or firm only to have nothing to show for it. Unless you’re a business owner, it might be hard to understand just how devastating this is. You’ve sacrificed, taken risks, gone without to start your dream and then you trust someone(s) with your hard earned dollars that could go a million other places only to be in the exact same place you started before you signed a six-month retainer.
Not only are you out money, time and energy, but now you don’t know what to, where to go or who to trust. And you might go down the road of blaming yourself and lack of business know-how (don’t do that) and think you’re not cut out for this entrepreneurial game. Or you think if you can just get a couple of big time peeps to notice you or up your social media game, you won’t need PR. Highly unlikely.
These stories really, really, really bother me. Not just as a biz owner, but as someone who has spent their entire career in marketing and PR. To know that there are people out there taking retainers that start at $10,000 and go way up from there, and end up producing very little results for their clients is disheartening to say the least.
And it happens for a variety of reasons:
– The client isn’t ready (or positioned) for PR, and the PR professional doesn’t realize it or doesn’t care.
– The PR professional doesn’t make sure the client has a well-developed story.
– The PR professional doesn’t understand the client’s goals for PR.
– The PR professional is using old-school methods without understanding current ones.
– The PR professional thinks press releases and social media are the most effective tools.
– The PR professional has no idea how to pitch the media.
– The PR professional has no idea how to interact with the media and breaks etiquette, therefore getting blacklisted.
So what can you do about this? Especially if you don’t know anything about PR.
You can learn how to do it yourself, or have an assistant or employee learn. It’s not rocket science and it’s very doable. But if that’s not your jam, and you really want someone to take the reigns, then do your homework before hiring someone.
– Ask other business owners who have had a good amount of visibility who they hired.
– Go to the testimonials page of the PR person you’re thinking of retaining and contact the people who wrote them. Ask them about their experience.
– Know your PR goals. Do you want visibly to increase revenue, brand awareness or to become famous? The strategies are different for each one.
– Know your story. Why would members of the press want to write about you? Hint: it’s not because you opened a biz or have a great product. It’s closer to your why.
Do not let a bad experience cause you to lose faith in an industry that is 100% crucial to growing a business. So spend a little time educating yourself, which will save you time, money and prevent you from crying into your tub of ice cream thinking everyone else has it figured out but you.
P.S. My current crushes: the Converse knock-offs at Target (I own white, navy and red), Eccolo notebooks, Sharpie fine point pens (forever), Vikings TV show and the True Crime Garage podcast.
“In the least creepiest way possible, I love you! It looks absolutely amazing!!” – Emily Westerfield
“I feel like I know you after reading your website! Nice job! Gonna save my pennies and come work with you!!!” – Sarah Snider
“Love it! You spoke right to me and I signed up.” – Ann Chikahisa
These are only a few of the almost one hundred comments I received after announcing my new website was completed. Not only did I receive a lot of love, I had some people decide to book me for coaching and one requested an interview.
Not a bad outcome for just unveiling a new site.
But I know it’s not really the website. These people didn’t all of a sudden remember they need PR help because of some kickass design. It was because I infused the best marketing tool I had: ME.
Every time I have a new site done, I put more of myself into than before. Whether that’s my sense of humor, my struggles or my no bullshit advice on PR, I kick it up a notch. So when people went to my new site and saw a message on the home page versus my blog or went to my about page and read about the difficult times I’ve been through (but that I’m still standing) or read that I’m completely at peace if you don’t want to work with me and (gasp!) don’t even like me, what they were seeing was ME. 100%. No fluff. Well except the stunning photos my friend took of me and Clyde where I’m actually showered and in clothes that don’t have an elastic waistband.
Because what I know more than anything after 15 years in PR, marketing and sales is that the more of yourself that is in your business, the more ideal clients you will attract and the more money you will make. And you will just be plain happier as an entrepreneur. Because this shit is hard. And it’s a lot harder when you’re hiding behind stock image photos and third person content wondering where to find clients.
So just be YOU. All the time. You’ll have better friends, partners and customers.
Oh, and please peruse my gorgeous new website and tell me what you think. Because I thought this shit out. Like every detail. Down to the fonts, the spacing. I couldn’t hide behind my OCD even if I tried.
A major props to you parents. I was a nanny while in college for two families. I’ve been thrown up on, had explosive diarrhea in my hair, been woken up multiple times in the night, dragged two toddlers and a baby to swim lessons in 100-degree weather. I know parenthood is no joke. But that was a long time ago.
Yesterday, I babysat my one-year old nephew, Ethan, who I’m obsessed with. He is perfection. He spends most of his time smiling and belly laughing. He is the best thing that has happened to our family, and I’m madly in love with him.
My little man was teething and getting over a cold and was not having it. He cried no matter what I did for two and a half hours and bitch-slapped me and Clyde at least twenty times. At the exact time his mom texted me that she had a feeling today was going to be good day, I was wrestling the equivalent of a drunk, bipolar meth head.
The only thing that made him happy was going for a walk outside in the 90-degree heat. We went to Starbucks, Target and lunch. He fell asleep at Target so I walked every aisle and found myself filling the stroller with popcorn, chocolate and wine.
I almost shit my pants trying to get us into the bathroom, and would have had no problem knocking down anyone—the handicap, the elderly, small children—who tried for the largest stall, which is the only one that would fit the stroller.
At lunch instead of sticking to my healthy eating, I scarfed down a tuna melt, fries and Diet Coke. And the entire time we were out, my nephew charmed the fuck out of everyone we came across.
He was Lucifer in a polo.
And I was a hot mess. I didn’t get a shower, forgot deodorant, had baby snot on my shirt, sporting frizzy hair while downing caffeine and singing Sesame Street songs. I didn’t even drink a glass of water much less reply to an email. And you moms who do this, work and manage to look put together. Who are you!?!? Unicorns. You’re fucking unicorns.
When my sister-in-law drove away, my nephew gave me one last evil smile.
I went inside and drank wine in my own stench. And then texted all my mom friends about my day and asked, “How does anyone do this without being a fat, homeless-looking alcoholic?”
One friend replied, “I just bought beer, wine and champagne. It will be gone by this weekend.” She sent a photo of champagne in a large red wine glass. When she sent the same photo to her husband, he asked, “Why are you drinking so early in the day?”
She texted, “Because we have a three year old son. And your parents are staying with us for a month. You’re lucky I don’t put tequila in my Cheerios every morning.”
But the truth is I don’t need to ask how moms do this because I know: it’s the unexplainable, overpowering amount of love you have for your child. I would throw myself in front of a bus or kill someone with my bare hands to protect my nieces and nephews. My love for them terrifies me at times. And I’m just an Auntie.
Giving my 16 year old niece driving lessons or talking to my 14 year old nephew about girls or teaching Ethan how to high five gives me more fulfillment and joy than my career accomplishments. There’s just no comparison.
So to you moms and dads that raise children—and do it well—and still find the time and energy to pursue careers, passions and hobbies, I’m in awe of you. You make the hardest things I’ve done in my life look ridiculous. And because of you, I get to throw my arms around your hardest work and have the most precious, meaningful and joyful relationships of my entire life.