Don’t take it personally: if you pitch a story and hear nothing back, it’s sometimes just not the right fit/story/timing. Or it could be that they’re just not vibing with your angle. Either way, it’s not personal — move on, and don’t worry about it.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Lynn Mooney, founder of The Launch, to discuss some of the things you need to know in order to excel in the modern PR world. Lynn has been a leader in the industry for over a decade and has worked with an impressive list of clientele, from small startups to billion-dollar brands. She has helped businesses reach millions of their ideal customers through PR and has secured press coverage across the globe, including Forbes, Vogue, Fox News, and USA Today.
In the past 12 months, Lynn stepped away from a senior leadership role in the PR agency world, opened her own business, gave birth to her second baby boy, and received her MBA! She is truly passionate about the innovative services her business offers — including signature DIY programs, teaching entrepreneurs how to master their publicity using her proven methods. Lynn currently lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband, two sons, and two dogs.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Can you tell us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thank you. I’m delighted to be chatting with you!
For the majority of my career, I’ve worked in the communications world, and have always been blown away by the impact of publicity. I am slightly biased, of course, but I honestly don’t think there is any better way to build brand credibility than getting that stamp of approval from a respected publication or authority. I’ve seen my clients secure one piece of coverage and get more sales in the week it’s published than they’ve had in the full year previously.
There are a couple of reasons that brought me down the path of creating my PR business The Launch — a major one being that my husband and I started growing our family. Having a toddler and a baby, I needed to have more of a balance at home and flexibility in my schedule — without putting any limits on my career goals. I was lucky enough to remain a partner of my previous agency, so I now get the best of both worlds.
The other reason was that over the years, I was meeting so many incredible entrepreneurs and small businesses who desperately needed publicity to grow their brand, but simply could not afford a large agency retainer. This inspired me to create a company that bridged that gap and made the power of publicity accessible for everyone — regardless of budget/location/time restraints.
What is an exciting project you are working on at the moment?
My business is just about to launch my new 8-week guided program called ‘Spotlight,’ which was created for female entrepreneurs wanting to take their business to the next level and master their own publicity. I want to help them harness the power of publicity and stop missing valuable opportunities to reach their audience, purely because they don’t have the budget for an agency — or have no idea where to start.
Spotlight gives members a peek behind the PR curtain and teaches absolutely everything needed to know to lock in coverage and media connections — from getting their online presence ‘PR-ready’ to exactly how to pitch to a journalist or find their hook (and everything in between). The goal is not only to skyrocket their brands through publicity but also to create a community of like-minded entrepreneurs to share their wins with.
Traditionally this sort of information is something that a publicist would (understandably) keep close to their chest, but I want to share my expertise with those who really need it. I am providing my exact formula for PR success, and there is no program quite like this on the market — I am so excited for it to launch!
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started in PR” and why?
- Don’t take it personally: if you pitch a story and hear nothing back, it’s sometimes just not the right fit/story/timing. Or it could be that they’re just not vibing with your angle. Either way, it’s not personal — move on, and don’t worry about it.
- Think quality over quantity: don’t mass-email your pitch to a hundred journalists. It doesn’t work! Instead, pick a dozen and spend time curating individual, personalized pitches. Do your homework and build rapport. Yes, it will take longer but the conversion is much higher.
- The headline is just as important as the story: the heading (i.e. your email subject line) can make or break your pitch. If it’s not eye-catching enough to pop in a journalist’s inbox — it will get lost or ignored. Just as much care crafting the headline should be spent as the pitch/story itself.
- Be patient: your/your clients’ first media hit is not likely going to be Good Morning America or Ellen. Publicity is built on consistency, so set realistic targets and work your way up to the top.
- Grow your network: while I’m not too fond of the saying that PR is ALL about who you know, there is an element of truth to it. Networking is essential in publicity, and building authentic relationships will open up many more opportunities down the track.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
I think to succeed in any industry, you need to build a great tribe of connections. Particularly when operating in the PR/Marketing space, you want to grow and maintain your little black book so you can lean on them if needed. In addition to the ‘typical’ networking events (which are excellent), you should always be on the lookout for making connections in everyday life. Some tips that spring to mind are:
- Be yourself: relax — networking is no different than meeting a new person on the street or a friend of a friend. Be yourself and be confident in what you bring to the table.
- Have an elevator pitch: Always be sure that you have a very brief elevator pitch rehearsed. It will take the stress out of introductions and will kick off your interaction with a good impression. Keep it short and natural though, and make sure it’s not a sales pitch — that can come further down the track (if at all).
- Listen and take note: actively listen to whoever it is you’re chatting with. Ask questions, find out their interests, and take a mental note of what they talk about. You can refer to it again when you follow up with them. Which leads me to…
- Always reconnect: always ask for a business card or social handle so you can stay connected with them. Engage with them on social media and follow up on anything you discussed when you first met. If its a journalist, keep up to date on their content and engage with some of their posts — but don’t overdo it, a couple of comments a month is plenty!
Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the insights you have for generating good, qualified leads?
Absolutely! PR is such a brilliant tool for generating leads, and one that can often be overlooked. Here’s a couple of tips we often share with our clients.
Online coverage does wonders for: Whenever you secure any piece of online coverage, be it an interview, placement, or a guest post — always aim to get a backlink to your website so you can capture the lead. Most publications are okay with this, but if not, make sure that your article is jam-packed with keywords relating to your brand, as this will also boost your visibility/ranking. It goes without saying, but the more publicity you secure (and the higher your Google ranking) will make it much easier for warm leads to find you.
Speaking engagements: Booking the right speaking gigs have been proven time and time again to drive quality leads. I’ve seen some people report up to a 70% conversion rate when speaking to their perfect audience! One tip here would be to always finish with a limited-time, special offer for attendees. Another would be to get the attendee list from the organizers pre-event so you can get a great idea for the type of person attending and you can tailor your talk to them. Finally, ensure that plug your website and social handles at various stages throughout the talk, making it super easy for them to connect. There is an awesome program by Pete Vargas called ‘Scale to Stage’ which dives deep into maximizing speaking opportunities for lead conversion, it’s definitely worth a look.
Repurpose press hits: The beautiful thing about securing publicity coverage nowadays is that it (usually) lives forever online. A lot of brands will just place the coverage in their ‘media’ section of their website and forget about it. I would recommend re-sharing it multiple times, perhaps as part of a targeted social media ad promoting the content or referring to it in future promo collateral. Taking advantage of every single relevant piece of coverage is guaranteed to not only build your credibility but also get the attention of potential leads.
Is there a particular podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
Yes, I love ‘Mind Your Business’ by James Wedmore. I’m a member of his coaching program, and I really resonate with every bit of content he puts out there! His philosophy is that hustle and hard work are not essential ingredients for success — but when I first started following him, my motto was basically to always ‘hustle harder’! I used to wear my ‘busyness’ as a badge of honor.
My mindset has changed massively since then, and every episode I listen to inspires me to figure out ways to work smarter, not harder. James has reframed the way I look at business in a huge way. He hosts a particularly excellent episode with Michael Hyatt on productivity and focus, called “Do less. Achieve MORE.” Please give it a listen, it’s powerful!
Because of the role you play, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Well, I definitely think that we could all do with being a little kinder to each other, particularly online. Every day I’m shocked by the hateful comments I read on social media, and struggle to understand what motivates someone to do so. Regardless of if the person you’re commenting on is a celebrity, influencer, or friend — we should be practicing more empathy and being aware of the impact words have. We have no idea the state of others’ mental health, and how the next comment might be the one to push them over the edge. A favorite quote of mine comes to mind, which is — ‘In a world where you can be anything, be kind.’
This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.
My pleasure, thanks a million!