22 Apr April 24, 2019 – Diamond Physicians Dr. James Pinckney II and Unexpected Twists Ashley Crouch
Dr. James Pinckney II – Founder & CEO at Diamond Physicians and Transforming Healthcare Delivery in America
I am an entrepreneur that became a doctor, not a doctor
that became an entrepreneur. Most doctors don’t get a
hint of business training.
Dr. James Pinckney is a leader and disruptor within his field of medicine; a Who’s Who, Texas SuperDoctor, and recipient of the Jackie Robinson “42 under 40.” He attended the #5 Medical School in the country on an academic scholarship. His company, Diamond Physicians, is a franchisor that allows franchisees with no medical background to open a cash-pay, membership-based medical services facility. Medical practitioners have been utilizing medical insurance in a way it was not intended for the last 30 years, which has led to unreasonably priced services and no real patient interaction, but Dr. James’ model is changing that.
Ashley Crouch – Founder of Appleseed Communications, Award-winning Visibility Strategist, and Author of Unknown to Unforgettable: How to Stop Playing Small, Land National Media Attention and Position Yourself as a Power Player – Read interview highlights here
The Domino Effect: If you land a breakout story, you don’t
need 5,000 stories. Just 1 or 2 in a national platform, and
all the other platforms get in line to feature you.
Ashley Crouch is an award-winning visibility strategist, the founder of Appleseed Communications, a PR company that helps rising entrepreneurs get the media attention they deserve. Through her social good initiative, The Seed Fund Project, she offers micro-loans to women entrepreneurs in 21 resource-poor nations. She has worked with best-selling authors, CEOs of multimillion dollar companies, TEDx speakers, social innovators, and more. She has helped her clients get featured in outlets including Entrepreneur, FOX Business, MSNBC, Huffington Post Live, Fast Company, Forbes, Inc, TIME, and the New York Post. She coordinated writing arrangements with Business Insider or American Express OPEN Forum, created marketing partnerships with the United Nations Foundation, speaking opportunities at The Atlantic LIVE, Columbia University, Massachusetts Conference for Women, or PR Week. Ashley Crouch’s background is in women’s magazines. In 2011, she helped to launch the “first no photoshop fashion magazine for women,” Verily, which currently sees 1 million views a month. Her writing has appeared in Forbes, The New York Times, Fast Company, TIME, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Refinery 29, and others. Ashley has been accepted into Seth Godin’s AltMBA program and WeWork’s “Mission Possible” program for social impact entrepreneurs. She has trained over 2000 people worldwide in visibility strategy and she was a Forbes Under 30 Nominee for 2017 in Social Entrepreneurship.
Highlights from Ashley’s Interview
I’m on a mission. The world we’re living in today is becoming more saturated than ever with noise, posturing, frustration, and a lot of confusion. I’m sure you feel it as well, with the people that you work with and that you interview, we’re all looking for solutions. And it can be really tempting to feel stuck, and that we’ve been sold a bill of goods, especially when it comes to marketing, and PR.
I came into this world with my eyes wide open; I’d had no background in PR whatsoever. Totally naive, no idea how to do it. All I wanted to do was get the word out about a fashion magazine. It seemed like I was throwing spaghetti against the wall trying to see what would stick. And I said, “There has to be a better way.” Because in the world we live in, when you can get any cuisine on the planet delivered to your door in 10 minutes. There needs to be a system for this.
In the early days of the fashion magazine, there were a team of us, five women. And if you know anything about the studies around women entrepreneurs, which I’m sure you do, last year only 2.3% of women received venture capital or investment funding. So we had to find a way to get the word out, to convince people we were legitimate. For so many startups, that’s how everyone feels, right? You’re trying to carve a niche for yourself in a saturated market, and you’re trying to stand out, where everyone’s saying they do the exact same thing as you do. There’s no market we can go into now that is not saturated.
This was 2011. We’re starting this fashion magazine. And I said, “Look, guys, we need language to talk about this magazine. We need to help people understand how we’re different.” So I branded it as the first Photoshop-free fashion magazine to exist in a world where that had never happened, and was a pipe dream. And that captured the imagination of the media. But I had no relationship. I had no connection. I didn’t know how to write a pitch letter. All I knew was if I have a story, and I’m passionate about it, I can get in the right doors. So I started pitching to the New York Times, and the New York Post, and found myself in meetings with the New York Times and The Queen Latifah show.The first thing that I did was I had my story angle. And this is really important for people to understand. When I was getting started, people told me, “Tell your story.” But I had no idea how to tell a good story from a bad one. So I created this story angle, called the unexpected twist. The unexpected twist was a fashion magazine that did not use Photoshop. How interesting, how fresh and original. And the unexpected twist is something that anyone listening to this can replicate in their business or brand, because they’re likely challenging the status quo, or providing a solution to a common problem. Embedded somewhere within the brand or business, your listeners, you probably have an unexpected twist as well.
Once I have the unexpected twist, I started doing research about who is the book editor at the New York Times, who is the senior editor at the New York Post, who’s the producer at CNBC. I started looking at who was the decision maker at these outlets that was also passionate about this kind of issue, such as women’s empowerment, media, women’s leadership, startups or entrepreneurship. And I wrote them an email. Sometimes they didn’t reply, and then I followed up.
This is where a lot of people make a mistake. They never pitch, and they never follow up. I’ve trained over 2000 people in the last year, this is one of the top four issues. People don’t know who to pitch, and they don’t ever pitch. So the first thing is to identify who’s the writer, producer, or editor who is interested in the topic area, and already writing about similar things that you are trying to pitch. And then I handed everything to them on a silver platter. Instead of making a simple announcement, “Hey, we’re really cool,” I wrote about an angle, which was, “Hey, we’ve kept models off the street, we put them in the pages of a fashion magazine, we have friends nominate each other to be featured in a magazine. Because we want to create a culture of affirmation in a culture of competition.” See, there’s a story in that, it’s something relevant to write about. And then I said, “I’m going to be in your area for a series of meetings tomorrow, do you have five minutes where I can stop by your office and bring you your favorite coffee?” I approach everything with a sense of empathy, really thinking about how busy these people are, and taking the guesswork out of the pitching process. They have to simply say yes or no, they don’t have to think about what am I going to write about, when am I going to do this, who is this person?
If you’re in exchange, the senior editor of Happy to Post said that it was one of the only cold pitches they had ever accepted. And we wound up in a meeting together. And they broke it, and it went viral around the world to seven countries, 42,000 likes and shares. And at that point, it triggered this massive domino effect. So what is the domino effect? This is what I teach in my program. If you land a breakout story, you don’t need 5,000, just one or two or three in a national platform. All the other platforms get in line to feature you. That’s what happened. Our story broke in Happy to Post. We went viral around the world, because people were so intrigued by this unexpected twist. And then all the other outlets started coming to us, like the Queen Latifah Show, and CNBC, and even Allison Australia. Anybody can do this system, and it’s a lot easier than you might realize.
PR agencies pay huge fees, around $3000 a month, to access global databases, which is why they’re often $5-10,000 a month. The client is paying, because this is a big expense on their end. But you don’t have to do it that way. I found a workaround that allows anybody to get the contact information of virtually anyone they could want to pitch simply by using a free plugin for Google Chrome. And I bet you want to know what it is. The free plugin for Google Chrome is called Rocket Reach. You can type in any contact and find virtually any email address. And here’s what people need to know. Not all media outlets are created equal. For example, if you are an author, I just had a best selling book come out called Unknown to Unforgettable. In this book, I talk about my signature system. Authors want to get featured on podcasts most often, because we can have a conversation to explain systems and why they’re so different. And I can explain why I’m on a mission to change the PR industry, and why people can access my book, read it in an hour and a half, and literally get featured in national media outlets. So I created a blueprint for people, that if you’re a coach, or you’re an author, or you are a product entrepreneur, you need certain kinds of outlets. They’re not all the same. So anybody who wants to know exactly what to do, they should text media, the word media, to 266866. That’s it, they can get the blueprint. And that will give them the outline of which outlets to prioritize for maximum impact. And then also install Rocket Reach and start pitching right away. Because you get the contact information of virtually anyone you want to reach, that is super high value. And I would love to hear feedback from people because you can get results in 24 hours using that alone.
Really anchor your unexpected twist in what you’re going to be proving. Say three reasons I can prove this, or why this is the case, and three steps anyone could do to take action right away.
The first thing is that half the time people don’t follow up, and they are leaving thousands of dollars and opportunities on the table. But there’s a way to follow up that is quick, easy, and I say 60% of the time, it works every time. This is my five word formula. And I say don’t change it, don’t alter it. It’s powerful. And it’s short. And it simply says
“Hello name–whoever that is, just their name–following up here… Any interest?
That’s it. Five words. Those five words have landed so many client deals, so many partnerships, so many media features and national platforms for clients that I say it’s proven. It’s quick. And then if you’re getting followed up with you can say quick, easy, yes or no. Maybe it went to your spam folder, and you might actually have been interested. But if you’re not interested, all you have to say is no. It’s not some long email about, “I’m so sorry to bother you, I just wanted to check in…” That whole posture, waste a lot of time. You need to be really direct, really clear, and understand that you have a lot of value to offer. You’re trying to present an opportunity. That’s a much stronger posture to take, and it’s one that gets work super well, for me and for all my clients and students as well.
You should pay $5, and get my ebook, Unknown to Unforgettable. It will teach you how to land your one whale breakout story. All the other features will get in line to feature you. You’ll get double the impact in half the time. Don’t waste $50 to $100,000 doing media on small blogs, your cousin’s blog, Facebook ads, don’t do it. It’s a waste of time; you’re not going to move the needle in your business. Instead, get those breakout stories in national platforms, position yourself as a power player, and get all the other ones coming in to you.
Let me tell you why this is powerful. A student of mine, Venetia, had never been featured anywhere, not even in some distant whisper on the internet. She came to me. We talked about exactly what I just shared with you. What is your story angle? What is your pitch? Who are you contacting? Within weeks, she got a full profile in Fast Company. It doubled her web traffic overnight. She got clients and customers right away. She forged a very powerful partnership with Northwestern University where she went to school and their alumni network. And then a magazine approached her, and said, “We would like to feature you as our featured Trailblazer in our print magazine, the September issue.” Anyone in media knows that is such a powerful issue. And it was off to the races just because you know how to land the breakout story. So it doesn’t have to be rocket science. In fact, it’s easier than ever to do. But I would say prioritize landing your breakout story first. You can do it with my book, Unknown to Unforgettable. It’s $5 on Kindle right now. From those methods alone, even stay-at-home moms are getting featured in less than 24 hours. It’s massively powerful. This is a proven system. It’s proven. And I know it, because I didn’t have time to waste on getting no results. I was going to get fired if I didn’t get results. So I only know what gets results, and what’s working in the market today, not 20 years ago, today.
Anyone who wants to be in touch should reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org, text media to 266866, grab that cheat sheet. And if you go to Amazon, you can get Unknown to Unforgettable by Ashley Crouch, and it’s getting really great reviews right now. So those would be my top steps to take. I hope you feel served today. Thank you for having me.