(6 Minute Read)
One of the hardest, most stressful things I have ever done is start a business. Literally, everything you hear about it, is spot on. And after going through it the past few years, I have so much respect for those that not only take the leap, but those that take the leap in the middle of their career.
Think about it... if you're not some dormroom tycoon, you likely have these things called responsibilities. And as you get older, those responsibilities seem to grow exponentially (kids, bills, mortgage, family, the Jones's next door). You know what I'm talking about.
And then there are the "Crazy One's". The so called misfits. The one's who want to take a different route, who put themselves out there and face their insecurities.
Like this one...
@Twilmott just hammering out another triple crown
I was so excited to sit down with Tina Wilmott and not just because I needed some founder's therapy. It's because she's been through the start-up and has made it out the other side. Tina had an incredible career in PR, but saw an opportunity and went for it (Endurance Sportswire was born).
So when someone like Tina talks, I'm takin' some notes. Event Public Relations 101 class is now in session.
Yep, let's do it. BTW, It's great to see you.
Well, it's great to see you too.
So where did you grow up?
All over California!
I was born in Newport, RI, but moved to Northern California when I was a few weeks old. My dad was in the Navy and then held different sales positions, so I lived in nine different places by the time I was in junior high school. Then we settled down in Mission Viejo in Orange County, CA.
So what was 12 year old Tina Like?
Awkward and a bit shy. I moved three times sixth through seventh grade so I spent a lot of time trying to fit in my new surroundings and make friends.That said, I think junior high was awkward for everyone! It got much better in high school.
I can see that. You're definitely leading the pack here.
The Wilmot Family Album.
What’s your spirit animal?
An elephant? Clearly that isn't reflected in your running ability.
They have trunks and can blow water out of them, how cool is that! Actually, I love the fact that they are so big and strong but have this very gentle and playful side to them. They are very devoted to their herd and will protect them at all costs.
So when you’re a little tipsy, what are you drinking?
Red wine always, but likely throwing back a vodka drink of some sort when out having fun.
When not at home, where do you feel most at home?
I live at the beach in San Diego, but also love Lake Tahoe (camping, snowboarding, hiking). I spent most of my weekend winters there when I lived in the bay area years ago and try and do at least one trip there every summer.
Tina's post hike Tahoe routine. Kick those feet up.
In 5 years, what do you want to be most proud of when it comes to your work?
If in five years Endurance Sporstwire/Outdoor Sportswire was seen as a viable acquisition by a reputable organization, it would be affirmation that I've created a valuable service for our customers and done something right.
At this stage in your career, what is the best piece of advice you have received?
When I went out on my own, I had a lot fear of failure which can be paralyzing if you let it. I came across this quote as I was launching and it summed up both the fear and excitement I had about starting my own business.
“Come to the edge.”
“We can’t. We’re afraid.”
“Come to the edge.”
“We can’t. We will fall!”
“Come to the edge.”
And they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.
- Guillaume Apollinaire
Tina charging over the edge.
In your work-life are you insecure about anything?
Making the wrong decision about what the next steps are in growing my business. Now that I've made a few mistakes however, I realize there is always a good learning experience to be had even if it doesn't work out.
Where do think your passion for the sports world comes from?
I ran competitively in high school and still run and race today. Eventually, I fell into triathlon, snowboarding and surfing - none of which I claim to be any good at, but have enjoyed immensely over the years.
You sure you're not that good? Seems like you're about to hang ten here.
Tina walking to the nose with a little style.
How did Endurance Sportswire come about?
I was previously the communications director at a well-known online registration company and there were a number of announcements our endurance division wanted to publicize.
I wonder which one that was?
Hah, I just found the traditional press releases services to be expensive and the media categories you could select from were very broad. With endurance sports growing in popularity, I felt there was a need for an affordable press release service that specifically targeted reporters and industry people in the running, cycling and triathlon industries. We distribute the press releases and include links to other interesting B2B news through our website and via a daily email. Four years later ESW has became a "must read" to find out what was happening in the business of the sport.
And now you have Outdoor Sportswire as well?
I knew I wanted to expand into another sports-related niche. Outdoor sports seemed like a natural next step and is a larger more established vertical overall. We launched Outdoor Sportswire Sept 1 and have see great initial results. I wish I had done it sooner!
Speaking of your launch (Huge Congrats by the way), what were 2-3 strategic PR & Marketing tactics did you put into place?
Well thank you.
But, have you heard about the cobbler's son that has no shoes? I'm embarrassed to say that I've had little time to promote! That said, we have built a considerable list of people in the industry so my approach has been to segment and target audiences that I feel would benefit most, starting with PR agencies that have multiple clients in the outdoor and/or endurance sports space. We are also working hard to get industry organizations on board to establish further credibility.
When thinking about hiring a PR agency....
At what point does it become worth it for an event organization to hire a PR Agency?
When they have some good ongoing stories to tell or news to share that would be of interest to a reporter and his audience. The best agency in the world can't help you if you don't have any news. That said, agencies are good at coming up with unique angles, creative ideas and typically have contacts in the media an event organization would not have.
When an organization is thinking about hiring a PR Agency for their event or event series, what specific questions should they ask?
Here are 6 helpful questions:
1. Who will be working directly on our account with us and pitching the media?
2. What type of progress reports will we receive and how often?
3. What are some results and examples of successful campaigns you can share about companies/events similar to ours?
4. What size or types of clients do you typically work with and where do we fit in?
5. What is your approach to working with media?
6. What would the first two weeks look like working with your agency?
What 3 things can a local event organizer do to catch the attention of press?
Have good stats and unique stories to share (i.e. human interest stories are great for local media).
You mean like the story RunningUSA did on you?
Hah. Isn't the RunningUSA Team amazing?
How much time before the event should an organizer start thinking about event PR?
It depends on your goals. Are you looking to increase registration or get media around the event on race day? I like to work backwards from the day of the event and identify various announcements that could be made. You then need to ID what type of media would be interested in that announcement.
What are three ways an organization can measure the results of their event PR?
Again, it depends on what you are trying to accomplish with your PR program. It could be number of new registrations following an article, number of broadcast hits from the event, feature stories versus mentions. And if you are measuring social media, there are Likes, Tweets, Instagram photos, Shares and much more.
Do you have any tips on leveraging your event PR efforts in your marketing?
Share the results with your current sponsors and use when pitching new sponsors for the following year. Highlight awards and great quotes from articles on your website and in email campaigns.
If you could interview any athlete (Living or dead) who would it be and what would you ask them?
I have a hard time picking an athlete, but would love to interview Richard Branson and ask him what brings him his greatest joy and what scares him the most.
Sir Richard... I like that. Maybe you and I can interview him next.
What's the last book you've recommended to or gifted to someone?
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” ― Annie Dillard
What I love about entrepreneurs like Tina, is that she has figured out how to align her lfie and her business, around an industry she is passionate about. She is making it happen and doing it her way.
For any of our upcoming interviews, let us know if there are any questions you'd want us to ask (just leave a comment below).
Nike: Lauren Rinkey, Global Director of Brand Experience
@LaurenRinkey just hangin out on a wall.
Challenge Family: Victoria Murray Orr, Director of Communications
Ironman: Roch Frey, Director of Operations
NFL: Katie Keenan, Director of Events
LA Marathon: Murphy Reinschreiber, Director of Operations
Vans Warped Tour: Kevin Lyman, Founder & President
Big Sur Marathon: Doug Thurston, President
Ragnar Relay: Tanner Bell, Co-Founder & President
Marine Corp Marathon: Rick Nealis, President
Beats By Dre: Jason White, VP of Marketing
Sea Otter Classic: Frank Yohannan, Founder & President
Boston Marathon: Matt West, VP of Operations
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