IAM678- Principal Amplifies The Brand of Small and Mid-sized Businesses

Podcast Interview with Steve Turner

Steve Turner is a Principal with Solomon Turner PR in St. Louis. Solomon Turner was started by Steve and his partner Shelly Solomon in 1990 and is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020. The firm has won several awards including Small Business Monthly's list of Top PR firms in St. Louis for 11 years in a row and Steve was recently named a Rockstar Publicist by Thrive Global and Authority Magazine. Steve has worked with clients in both the B2B and B2C sectors. Clients have included Anthony Robbins Seminars, Coldwell Banker, HealthSouth, Northwestern Mutual, and dozens of companies on a national and local basis. Today Steve and Solomon Turner's focus is primarily to help amplify the brand of small and mid-sized businesses. Steve is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

    • CEO Hack: Video conferencing tools such as Zoom and Skype
    • CEO Nugget: Be flexible and be able to pivot
    • CEO Defined: Being a leader and being responsible



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[00:00:02.20] – Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

[00:00:02.20] – Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Steve Steve Turner of Solomon Turner PR. Steve, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:39.79] – Steve Turner

Thank you. Great to be here.

[00:00:41.39] – Gresham Harkless

No problem.

[00:00:41.79] – Steve Turner

These are interesting times we face.

[00:00:44.10] – Gresham Harkless

As we talked about before we jumped in, yeah, it's definitely an interesting time. So I appreciate you for, for being with us. Before I jump fully in, I wanted to read a little bit more about Steve so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. And Steve is a principal with the Solomon Turner PR in Saint Louis. Solomon Turner was started by Steve and his partner Shelly Solomon in nineteen ninety and is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary in twenty-twenty. The firm has won several awards including Small Business Monthly's list of top PR firms in Saint Louis for eleven years in a row, and Steve was recently named a rock star publicist by Thrive Global and Authority Magazine.

Steve has worked with clients in both the b two b and b two c sectors, and clients have included Anthony Robbins seminars, Coldwell Banker, HealthSouth, Northwestern Mutual, and dozens of companies on a national and local basis. Today, Steve and Solomon Turner's focus is primarily to help amplify the brand of small and mid-sized businesses. Steve is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Steve, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

[00:01:42.59] – Steve Turner

I'm rip roaring ready to go.

[00:01:45.00] – Gresham Harkless

Let's make it happen then. And, to kick everything off, I guess, I wanted to rewind the clock and hear a little bit more about your CEO story. How did you get started with your business?

[00:01:54.50] – Steve Turner

Yeah. So, I was in the radio business for many years, in news and sports, and did a lot of coverage of different kinds of events and reporting. And then, worked briefly for an ad agency and went back into radio. And I always liked the big idea approach, instead of just putting a client on one radio station selling them advertising. What about everything they could be doing? Maybe they should be on a billboard, or maybe we could get some articles in the newspaper, maybe get some interviews on radio or television. So I always liked that approach, and, eventually, things kinda petered out in the radio business. And I decided I'm gonna start my own public relations firm. So I did that on my own for a few years, and then I met my partner who turned out also to be my wife. Mhmm. So we started doing business together. We actually met at a Chamber of Commerce function originally.

[00:02:46.00] – Gresham Harkless


[00:02:46.40] – Steve Turner

And then, we kinda kept meeting at different places. Some people fixed us up, and, she had an advertising agency, and I had a PR firm. So I had the Turner Group, and she had s Solomon and Associates. So we decided to bring it all in-house and make it Solomon Turner PR. And so we were all working together. We were my part was doing the news releases and publicity, and she was doing graphic design, event planning, and things like that. So we complemented each other really well. So the teams, worked well together, for a long time and then, kinda started focusing more on the PR and marketing side of the business.

When times changed, they became more online. Her design skill team kind of was upended by the online stuff that was kinda taking over the market. So the people that used to march into the office for typesetting and layout and design kind of started migrating to the Internet. And so it was hard to compete with people that could get all the software and do things fairly cheaply and expensively, So we kind of dismantle that side of the business and focus more on PR and marketing, and that's where we've been for the past twenty years or so.

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[00:04:01.50] – Gresham Harkless

Nice. I appreciate, that story and appreciate, obviously, you guys complimenting each other in business, but also personally as well too and being able to kinda, make that happen. And I think you're you're right. When you were you and you had the foresight years ago, as you kinda spoke to, about how I think it changed from my understanding as well too that it used to be you could do one thing, and usually you can get your name there on a billboard or maybe in the yellow pages or something like that, and that's all you had to do to now, you know, people's, I guess, the way they're taking in content and the way they're interacting is so varied and different that you have to be a lot more in different places in order to reach and connect and get your story, you know, heard in so many different ways.

[00:04:42.00] – Steve Turner

Yeah. Exactly. So, we even remember the pre-Internet days before you had all this digital stuff. And so in the old days, it was easier to perhaps connect with the right people because you had a few newspapers and a couple of TV stations and a few radio stations to interact with to get clients, mentioned, get their publicity out there, maybe do some marketing stuff. And then when the Internet times changed, all of a sudden, you have all these social sites and different kinds of things to get people out there. And the audience kind of splintered over time where you all of a sudden, there was LinkedIn and you had Facebook and Twitter, and now you have Instagram, and Are they on YouTube, for example? Is video a key part of your marketing ensemble?

What vehicles do we need to connect with your audience? So it's all about the audience and what tools you need. Now a lot of them are spread out over all these things. So some might read the newspaper. Some might be on, watching a piece of TV news. Some will be on YouTube. Some will be on Instagram. So you kinda have to do a little of each to cover all the bases. And so it's kind of a multidiscipline, multifunction approach that incorporates all these different vehicles into one thing to try to get your message out there. So it's a lot more complicated and complex in the old days, and then you get into things like search engine optimization.

Are you on the Internet? Can people find your page? Are you properly displayed? Is your message correct on your website? When people do get there, does it make sense? Do you have a lot of outdated stuff? A lot of people have newsrooms on their websites, and the last thing that happened was in two thousand twelve. I'm like, you mean nothing's happened in your company in the last eight years? I think it's time to refresh that a little bit. So content is really important. And, obviously, part of our deal is content, writing articles for clients now, keeping them updated, using the Internet to their advantage, as well as doing what we call traditional public relations, which is getting people in newspapers, television interviews, radio interviews, and things like that.

[00:06:53.60] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. And I appreciate you for breaking all that down because I think so many times, it gets very overwhelming. I can imagine for businesses and organizations how to keep up with all those things, but I always said, you know, if you're not gonna become a master at learning all those things, then at least become a master at knowing who to call. And then you guys having that experience and kinda leaning on and being able to connect with you and to be able to figure out how to kinda execute on that multi-pronged approach that you kinda talked about before.

[00:07:17.10] – Steve Turner

Yeah. Yeah. And one of the mistakes we see a lot with different companies and we try to teach this is once you get a really solid publicity hit, what we call a hit, in a major newspaper or in your local paper or something, don't just say, oh, that was great. A few people saw it. I got some responses. It was wonderful. Onto the next thing. Well, wait a minute. You just got a great hit. How are we gonna leverage that to take the best advantage of it? Oh, okay. So think about all the things you can do. You could put it on your website. You could put it on LinkedIn. You could put it on your Facebook page. Maybe there's some way to work it into Instagram. You could do an email blast to your customer base.

I mean, there are all kinds of things you can do with that. And so we try to teach clients to think in those terms of how to best leverage the publicity that they get. So people say, well, we got an article in the paper, but not everybody reads the newspaper. Well, you're exactly right. They don't, which is why you need the other forms of media out there to get your message across. But let's leverage it. That's a great feature piece on your company. So let's put that on LinkedIn and these social sites. Maybe even do a video about it on YouTube somehow incorporating that article into your, two-minute video on YouTube. How does that work? How can we do that? So all these things have to be considered, and I think companies are missing a great opportunity if they don't take advantage of everything and figure out how to leverage some excellent publicity hits that they get into a bigger pie that they can utilize.

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[00:08:42.00] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. You're right. I appreciate you for breaking that down because I think, you know, I talked about a little bit on, like, how, you know, companies are overwhelmed. But as you said, like, that also presents an incredible opportunity because you getting featured in a newspaper, getting featured on the local news or whatever that might be or however that might look. You have an opportunity to kinda repurpose that in so many different ways, and you can connect with people in a myriad of ways because there are so many different platforms that they're using. Assuming your target market is there, you have a way to kinda connect with them and repurpose that content in so many ways.

[00:09:11.20] – Steve Turner

Yeah. Exactly. And so that's the main thing that I think is different from today than years ago is you have so many vehicles, but they're all available to you, and some of them are no cost.

[00:09:21.00] – Gresham Harkless


[00:09:21.29] – Steve Turner

So, you know, you could do a two-minute YouTube video for nothing and get it out there. Yeah. You may wanna advertise it, but you could advertise it on your other sites as well. Hey. Did you see our news story? It was on YouTube, and it was posted on the network television station here in our market and all these other things and really, blast that out there to everybody. So you take advantage of this in multiple ways, and it can really be a home run for you if you do it right.

[00:09:45.79] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And I love you, for sharing that and breaking that down so that people can definitely, understand. So would you feel like that, the ability to be able to kinda see things like that, see those opportunities is what I would call, like, your secret sauce or the thing you feel kinda sets you apart and makes you unique?

[00:10:00.70] – Steve Turner

Yeah. That's certainly one of them. It's kind of, knowing how to turn, chicken feathers into chicken soup, so to speak. You know, a lot of times, we'll work with a small business, and it's like, well, we really don't have much to talk about or what about this. So we can find things within the company. Everybody has a good story to tell. And, with our expertise being around long enough, we can figure out with the company what makes a good story and what some reporters might be interested in and then kinda start working on that. We do all kinds of different things. I mean, awards are great for a business.

A lot of people don't file for awards or try to get them. But if there are, business awards in your community that are local, you know, those would have some leverage for you. And then after you get that, you can write press releases that you just won the award. You could do an email blast. You can do all kinds of stuff. Maybe you have some charity work you're doing that would be worthy of some good press, some community awareness. Maybe, you have a championship marathoner who works for your company. There are all kinds of different angles that you could look at within a business and see what can be turned into some really good press opportunities for you and really what, raise the awareness of yourself and your brand at the same time.

[00:11:18.00] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. I appreciate that. And so, I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So that could be like an Apple book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:11:30.50] – Steve Turner

Yeah. I like, all these, video, and conferencing apps are great. I mean, we use Zoom. We've used that for several years now. Skype and different things things like that really help you connect with your clients and stay on track. And I think there's, there's some value to communicating where people can see you, and you can correct documents and do different things and share them back and forth. Rather I and, you know, I was kind of hesitant a little bit about it because, you know, at the beginning, you have to look presentable for the most part depending on who you're talking to. So, you know, if you're disheveled, you may need to change clothes or whatever. but it gets worked out. I think it's a real benefit to have those apps.

[00:12:13.79] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. You said so much in this day and age that we're in. So I want to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. So that could be like a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. Or if it can happen to a time machine, what might you tell your younger business self?

[00:12:28.00] – Steve Turner

Well, I think the important thing now is to be flexible and be able to pivot. And I think when things are moving to z and you're doing x, you need to move to z or you're gonna be in big trouble. So if you think about all these things that have happened over the last couple of decades, I know some PR people that when the Internet took over, like, I'm not a tech person. I can't do this. And a lot of them just folded up shop or decided to do something different, which is crazy, but that's what happened because they were not flexible enough to move with the times. And so you have to learn that kind of new technology, which doesn't seem that difficult, but you had to learn it to be able to stay in business.

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[00:13:07.10] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. No question. I definitely appreciate it. And, now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quotes, unquote CEOs on this show. So, Steve, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:13:18.50] – Steve Turner

Well, I think it means two things, being a leader and being responsible. A, you need to figure out how you're gonna guide your company to the next level of growth. If you're standing still, you're really moving backward because all your competitors are growing and figuring out strategies to get to the next level. So you need to figure that out, and you need to figure out the tools and the people it's gonna take to get there. So that's kind of the leadership part of that. The other part is the responsibility part Because when you go to sleep at night, you're responsible not only for yourself but for all the employees who work for you and their families. You are creating their livelihood. You're getting them paid. Their paychecks are very important. They need to make a living too. And that's your responsibility to keep

[00:14:02.39] – Gresham Harkless

The pot boiling and making sure they're taken care of. Definitely appreciate that, that definition, and I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and listeners know and, of course, how best they can get over you and find out about all the awesome things you guys are working on.

[00:14:19.70] – Steve Turner

Sure. I would say, again, be flexible during these times. You know, we pray every day and, you know, hope for the best, and that's all you can do. And, you know, we wish all the small business community the best going forward. We will get through this, and, it'll pass. It's just gonna take some time. If anybody wants to chat, love to hear from small businesses and others that, you know, have some needs. We're at Solomon Turner dot com, s o l o m o n t u r dot com. And you can find me, Steve Turner, on LinkedIn and also Facebook, Twitter, and, you know, most social stuff. So we're out there.

My email is s turner at Solomon turner dot com. S turner at Solomon turner dot com. And I'll give you my phone, three one four 02:05 zero eight hundred. Three one four 02:05 zero eight hundred. So there you have it all. Little sales pitch, but, yeah, we love talking to people even if they don't have an immediate need. Always able to lend a hand. Somebody says, hey. What do you think of this? And, you know, we'll give you some advice. We helped out a local company here that was making hand sanitizer for, first responders, and we didn't charge them anything. We just said, hey. This is such a great service.

Yes. We'll help you get the word out and do whatever we can to make it work. And she said, yeah. I just wanna help other people. I'm not really here to make a million dollars doing this. We're just delivering them to local police departments and firemen and, other first responders. And I said, wow. That's terrific. Let's let's help let's help you out. We did. So anybody that wants to have a conversation about things like that, you know, we're all ears.

[00:15:59.10] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Thank you so much again, Steve. We will have the links and information in the show notes, but I appreciate that reminder as well too. And, you know, it's important in times of difficulty, in times of transition, and maybe disruption, even to say that, to say the least, you know, we are reminding ourselves of how we can be of service even for the small business that you talked about or even for us with our talents and gifts that we have. So definitely appreciate that reminder, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

[00:16:22.50] – Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


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