When Marsha Friedman launched News & Experts in 1990 under the name EMSI Public Relations, she came up with a pay-for-performance model of PR, which was an innovative approach for PR agencies. Clients would not pay a monthly retainer fee, as is standard in the industry.
She turned to her high-powered contacts in the financial industry and offered to book them as guests on radio shows. At the time, Marsha had no experience in public relations, so her first approach was to send a standard press release to radio show producers, which drew no interest.
That failure led Marsha to a winning formula that would propel her company to long-term success. As a marketer, she understood that a press release simply extolling the virtues of her client violated the most basic marketing principles of understanding who your target audience is and what would engage their interest.
Knowing that many talk radio shows wanted guests who would keep their listeners tuned in, she came up with a pitch format that gave producers the information they needed to say, “Yes,” and invite her clients on their shows. The pitch explained the topic the interview would be about, why it would be of interest to the show’s listeners, and why the client had the credentials and experience to speak on the topic. That approach made all the difference.
Things went well and she booked radio show after radio show. Then one of Marsha’s best clients upped the ante. He asked her to book him on national TV.
Always up for a challenge, Marsha agreed. She tweaked her radio pitch format to better match the needs of a TV producer. Once again, she wasn’t thinking about her needs or the client’s needs. It was all about the TV producer’s needs.
The same client came to her once more. This time he wanted to appear in print, and using the same approach, but with a newspaper editor’s needs in mind, Marsha arranged for the client to be featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This was the first of many press coverage successes for this client – and it became the successful formula for all of her clients as she built her company.
As the business grew, that understanding that print, radio and TV were different media with different needs, led Marsha to build her company with departments headed by campaign managers who specialized in each medium. At other PR firms, account managers are responsible for pursuing opportunities with all media, rather than being able to focus on one area that is their speciality of knowledge and relationships. Later, social media would be added to the EMSI mix.
Marsha also noticed that her clients who had the most successful campaigns shared something in common. They had authored books and those books essentially were summaries of their key messages and expertise. That realization led to the creation of Marsha’s first book, Celebritize Yourself: The Three-Step Method to Increase Your Visibility and Explode Your Business. Those three steps: Write a book, which helps open the doors to the media; speak in front of as many audiences as possible; and sell, whether you’re selling your book, another product, or a service.
Over the ensuing decades, EMSI became an award-winning national public relations firm. Over the years, they have continually landed placements for clients in top-tier press such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal; have scheduled guests on national TV shows, such as The Today Show and Good Morning America; and have arranged thousands of interviews on national and local radio shows around the country.
EMSI’s guaranteed-media model and media successes drew the attention of Advantage|ForbesBooks for their authors. They worked together for over a decade and found themselves to be a perfect fit. So, when Advantage|ForbesBooks was looking to acquire a public relations firm, it was natural for them to turn to EMSI. In January of 2018 EMSI was officially acquired by Advantage, a match that proved a great success and the firm is now an integral part of the services Advantage provides its members. At the time of the acquisition, Advantage decided to officially change EMSI’s name to News & Experts, which had been the name of the division of EMSI that the media knew the company by.
Today, News & Experts continues to be a leader in the public relations field, succeeding in its mission to help clients promote their personal and business brands by gaining publicity through national media coverage.