About Karla Jo Helms:
Karla Jo Helms is the Chief Evangelist and Anti-PR(TM) Strategist for JOTO PR Disruptors(TM).
Karla Jo learned firsthand how unforgiving business can be when millions of dollars are on the line—and how the control of public opinion often determines whether one company is happily chosen, or another is brutally rejected.
Being an alumnus of crisis management, Karla Jo has worked with litigation attorneys, private investigators, and the media to help restore companies of goodwill back into the good graces of public opinion—Karla Jo operates on the ethic of getting it right the first time, not relying on second chances and doing what it takes to excel.
Karla Jo has patterned her agency on the perfect balance of crisis management, entrepreneurial insight, and proven public relations experience. Helms speaks globally on public relations, how the PR industry itself has lost its way and how, in the right hands, corporations can harness the power of Anti-PR to drive markets and impact market perception. http://www.jotopr.com
What are some of the strategies you use when it comes to creating a consistent marketing message to help companies have their brand stand out?
Combining paid, owned, and social media with EARNED media along influencer channels.
What does this mean? Let me give you a short history of what has been happening…
There is a series of colossal developments going on right now that are already changing the way we consume news media and information in such a way that will never, ever be the same again.
In reality, it has been going on for years now.
No one refers to the public as THE PUBLIC anymore. There is no such thing as the masses anymore. Markets and even the media are partitioned into super-segmented categories of publishers, influencers, and content creators today; reaching super-targeted audiences in a massive way like never before.
What we have to understand is how this started, which is with the mainstream media (big media) and the rise of smaller outlets, causing big news media as a whole to shrink and even implode in its ratings. This affects marketing because the way people are consuming news and information is being mirrored in how they want to be marketed.
In a nutshell, we’re seeing the end to big media because we’re seeing the end of what’s called “mass society”. Mass society was the kind of industrialized society that developed at the end of the 19th century and thrived in the 20th century. That’s when we first started seeing these centralized, bureaucratic institutions and structures, which the world has basically revolved around. Next, life began to recalibrate around Washington DC, or eventually, around Brussels in Europe. The next phase of the evolution began to recalibrate around Silicon Valley in terms of finance and the coastal cities, like San Francisco to San Diego. We are seeing this shift again to southeastern cities like Austin, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia. This is happening in the world of big media. Society is being replaced by what has been called “the network society.”
And the network society is different from mass society in that mass society was always very location-driven. The gambling industry was centered in Vegas. Finance on Wall Street or Silicon Valley. Country music in Nashville. But we are changing and are doing that less and less because we’re no longer connected by virtue of our regions to one another.
I started to see it in 2016… more and more new outlets and influencers were being added to my database. And what’s more – they were growing in circulation and subscription numbers month to month exponentially. It’s now a decentralized network of content creators who are no longer dependent on big media or increasingly even big tech in order to communicate.
And so, what this means is that decentralized content creators, like what we have here on YouTube and new social media sites popping up, and a whole host of other publications and platforms, is really just the beginning of the future of news and marketing channels—being increasingly replaced with independent content creators.
What are the benefits of using a positive pairing when it comes to marketing? How can it benefit the brand of a business?
Positive pairing is basically winning the battle of the human mind. You take up space in your target audiences’ minds and thereby limit other brands from taking up that space.
Everyone has loyalties to their favorite brands. Shared values create a natural connection with brands consumers already love to another one that shares the same values or quality.
But it is more than that.
There is no such thing as communicating to the masses today. It is a super-segmented targeted set of publics that make up the masses. Speak to the leaders and influencers that impact those segments and you 1) lower your marketing spend 2) increase your marketing ROI – but more importantly, give confidence and credibility to your brand…. Money is an idea backed by confidence. Make your brand have confidence and credibility by positive pairing and promote the hell out of it – and you have more money. It’s simple math, actually. Earned media is a form of positive pairing.
What would you say is the biggest challenge that entrepreneurs are facing when it comes to marketing their brand?
Finding, targeting, and creating a PR>Marketing>Sales machine that has enough targeted volume of outflow that brings in immediate leads and sales meanwhile creating a long-term strategy for consistent lead nurturing that facilitates sales.
- Having a complete and thorough strategy created that you are following, based on
- marketing research
- the current public opinion landscape
- competitor research
- the size of the target audiences you are selling to
- their mindset, likes, dislikes, fixed ideas, need, and wants
- the human emotion and reaction barriers in the marketplace that you have to overcome to break down the brick overcoat of resistance
- how long that will take you
- the speed of growth you need to follow obtain your goals
- your current resources– time, money, personnel (manpower)
- and needed resources as you scale
- all to determine your estimation of effort, messaging, positioning, and marketing rollout plan (BLUEPRINT).
- then testing, tweaking, following stats, pivoting based execution of that strategy.
Most businesses don’t have that formula. Most don’t follow it because they get into the execution and forget to monitor the strategy. It can be a painful process, but crucial to winning market share.
Why is it crucial for businesses to create a strong content strategy? How can it help them grow their customer base?
Speak to influencers today – not the masses. Influencers, or Key Opinion Leaders, control these segments of the population in terms of mindset, thinking, judgment over data, etc. You get to the influencers and change their minds or get them thinking newly, then you will have reached your targeted audiences FASTER.
This is the new age of disruptive PR & marketing.
How would you say COVID-19 has impacted the way entrepreneurs market their brand?
What we have seen from companies intent on growth since COVID is this undaunting persistence to never be affected like this again. They are planning for 1) plenty in reserves to carry them through for 6-12 months AND 2) a robust and prolific marketing plan to withstand and rise above another pandemic, recession, or pandemic.
During the pandemic, it was those brands that could speak to the media and influencers about what was happening in their market that was impacting the economy, society, and the innovative solutions being developed to out-create the pandemic that made the news. That increased exposure and media coverage carried these companies from possible oblivion to being noticed by major investors, potential clients, and enterprises to create new lines of business and/or salvage what they lost.
Again, they spoke to influencers where people got their data from… and evaluated their data. When they entered into the KOL mix – they were instantly given credibility and confidence their brand didn’t have before. So, if this can be done in times of crisis – what about in a non-crisis? The same formula holds true.
On a final note, what advice can you give to entrepreneurs when it comes to creating strategic B2B marketing tactics?
Create the strategy first. Hire an outside firm to help you create it – they can be objective and see what you cannot. Tactics don’t do anything without a strategy in place to tell you where those tactics go and when.
You wouldn’t go to war without a WIN-THE-WAR strategy. Battleplans are based on strategy. They are altered and changed based on what happens in each battle—but the overall strategy mainly stays intact.
Business is War.
Treat it as such and you will see faster improvement than just trying out a new tactic.
The strategy takes time—while you are creating it you can implement interim tactics in volume to give you the time and bandwidth to create the right strategy – while at the same time seeing what tactics are working (stats) which you can incorporate into the mid-and long-term strategy. Then you can scale back on those tactics not working and start implementing programs from your strategy that will carry you to viability.