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Women in Business Interviews Author and Digital PR Expert Sally Falkow (@SallyFalkow)

 Women Grow Business contributor, community member, and guest expert Sally Falkow has recently released the Kindle version of “Smart News: how to write press releases that get found in search and shared in social media“. We had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her latest project, and what she’s learned from being a business owner.

Sally Falkow is the CEO of Meritus Media, a digital PR agency  based in the LA County Business Technology Center, a tech incubator located in Altadena CA.

Women Grow Business Interviews Sally Falkow

Why did you become a small business owner?

I believe that you have to make your own luck and your only security is your talent and ability.  So I’ve always been entrepreneurial.  Plus I’m not very good at taking orders!

I’ve had my own business for 35 years and I’ve taught my sons to do the same  It’s stood us in good stead during tough economic times when others have been laid off from what were supposedly secure jobs. We have always made our own way in life and made our own opportunities. 

Tell us a little more about your business, Sally. 

Our location in Altadena CA keeps us surrounded by a bunch of very smart people, many of whom are connected to CalTech and NASA!

 We’ve been in business for 6 years, but I’ve been doing this since 2000. Most of our staff work virtually. We have a team of talented writers, videographers, designers and developers who help our clients take the leap from traditional PR to the digital and social media world.

What’s the most critical step you took in order to grow your business?  

I had to learn to wear  all the hats necessary to make a business grow. Just because you are good at something does not mean you will succeed.  You have to learn to be the CEO, the CFO and the CMO.

That old saying “if you make a better mousetrap people will beat a path to your door” is not accurate.  They have to know that you have that better mousetrap and they have to know where your door is.  And you have to be organized and ready  to produce those mousetraps when they do find you.

Do you have any suggestions for business owners who want the world to “beat a path to their door”?

Every business has news. Every business has a story to tell.

The media is under pressure today and they’re open to using content from outside sources, as long as it is written in the right format

The public is looking for news and information online. If you present your news right, it can be found by the people looking for exactly what you offer. But you have to learn to tell your story in a way that can be found online. It also has to cut through the clutter people are exposed to everyday and deliver value, so that they want to share it with others.

Your latest project is a book about how small businesses can get more press using press releases. Can you share with us about how this came about? 

For the past six months I have been writing a book about creating news content that gets found online and shared in social media. Studies show that business buyers use press releases found online as their  prime source of information about a company or product prior to purchase.  98% of journalists start a story by doing a search on Google. Consumers read press releases online.  It’s vital for a brand to have their news content found and shared online.

In 2005 I heard that a few very smart PR and SEO people were collaborating on optimizing news content and I was lucky enough to become part of that project. I’ve stayed abreast of all the changes and updates over the last seven years. I’ve been teaching this at conferences and workshops, but now it is all available in a book.

Is there a reason why you’ve made a special release available on Kindle? 

Luckily with digital books it’s possible to constantly update the content, since the digital world changes so rapidly.  Just as this book was being published Google changed their rules for links in press releases – and I was able to quickly add that to the book.

How did you recover from your biggest business-related failure, and what did you learn?

I had a partner who decided to leave the business during the recession. We had to close the agency, lay everyone off and I had to start all over, alone.  I learned that I can do anything, even under the worst conditions.

And it looks like you’ve gone on to continued success! Any major lessons from your  success in business so far?

Know who needs your service and what problem it solves for them. Always give more than expected.  Deliver in Abundance.

What’s your favorite small business resource? 

One of my favorite resources is Xero.com.  I love their online accounting software.  It makes it simple and easy for me to keep track of exactly where my money is going,  how much I am making and spending.

Thanks again to Sally Falkow for making time to do this interview with us. Again, you can find Sally as @sallyfalkow on Twitter, and at her site, Meritus Media, where she also maintains a leading blog on digital public relations. Below is an excerpt from her newly released book.

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