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IAM1783 – CEO Focuses on Brand Awareness and Media Relations

Podcast Interview with Ronjini Joshua

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In this episode of the I AM CEO Podcast, host Gresham Harkless Jr. interviews Ronjini Joshua, the CEO and founder of The Silver Telegram, a PR agency that specializes in brand awareness and media relations for technology companies. With 17 years of experience in the PR industry, Ronjini shares her insights on effective public relations and building a successful agency.

Throughout the episode, Ronjini emphasizes the importance of preparation and planning in running a successful business. She also discusses her approach to working with clients, building custom plans that align with their goals and help bring their brands to life. Additionally, Joshua shares her insights on effective communication and relationship-building, particularly in the context of media relations.

In addition to sharing her expertise, Ronjini offers practical tips and advice for entrepreneurs and business leaders. She recommends waking up before everyone else as a helpful tool for maximizing productivity, and emphasizes the importance of being a creative leader who can inspire and motivate their team.

Overall, the episode provides valuable insights and advice for anyone looking to improve their public relations and marketing efforts, particularly in the realm of technology and media relations.

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Transcription:

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Ronjini Joshua Teaser 00:00

Being able to place people in media, it's not as easy as calling in a favor, which a lot of people think. You really have to have a good story. You have to know who to pitch. And when I'm able to do that work, it's really fun, but I don't find myself being able to do that as often now.

Obviously, as a business owner, I've had to change my priorities, but if I could pivot, and pick anything, it would definitely be media relations. I kind of work with other people who have the same mentality for that.

Intro 00:28

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 are in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:55

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit over 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we are repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, the business pillars that we think are gonna be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, and what I like to call CB Nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month we are focused on the visibility game, a.k.a. marketing, advertising, PR, and sales. I often say the name of the game is being found, and these tools will help you to do that. We have heard the philosophical question, if the tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? If there's a really, really great product or service and no one knows about it, How great is it really? What impact does it ultimately make? This is where we will go into this month, looking at visibility, branding, marketing, public relations, sales being the lifeblood of businesses, building, meeting companies, and so much more.

This is probably one of the most exciting and probably the most excruciating topics, but we hope this month to demystify or maybe even vanquish the fear and help and arm you with the tools to be able to increase your visibility. So buckle up and sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I AM CEO Podcast.

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 Ronjini Joshua of the Silver Telegram. Ronjini, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Ronjini Joshua 02:24

Thank you. It's nice to be here. I Appreciate you guys reaching out and us talking today.

Gresham Harkless 02:29

Yeah, absolutely. There's loads of value that I know this episode will have. Before we jump in, I wanted to read a little bit more about Ronjini so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing.

Ronjini is the CEO and founder of the Silver Telegram, a PR agency focused on brand awareness and media relations for technology companies.

She's been in the PR industry for 17 years, working at large agencies as well as in-house PR and is the founder of her own agency. Ronjini is the host of the PR Playbook podcast, a podcast about everything you need to know about public relations, as well as a contributor on Forbes and a speaker at industry events.

Ronjini, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

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Ronjini Joshua 03:06

Absolutely. My head feels like it's getting a little big.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 03:09

There you go. Keep it up for the episode. We gotta get all that knowledge out. So, I wanted to hear from the beginning on how you got started. Could you take us through your CEO story? What let you get started with your business.

Ronjini Joshua 03:18

Yeah, absolutely. I don't know, it might be pretty common, but my story started by accident and I remember vividly thinking when I was first out of college that I never wanted to be the owner of my own business. I remember thinking of that then all of a sudden it happened. I actually worked at a lot of big PR agencies and what I noticed was like anybody, like a gap in the market. There was a gap in startup PR agencies. Startups work a little bit differently than regular businesses. They have less money. They're looking for more impact.

What I saw was that we were turning away a lot of startups that had maybe a smaller budget and not small by any means, but small for the agency. So I was like sitting there, I wasn't doing a lot of work because we were turning away little small startups and I was like I should be working with those companies. They're interesting. They're doing something different. At some point I was like, okay, I'm just gonna quit. So, I quit my agency. Yeah, I quit my agency and started freelancing for some of these smaller companies.

Then from there, I actually got to bring on people that I used to work with in other places, other agencies. I used to work in video games, so I brought on someone from there because we were working a lot in video games when we first started the agency, and it just blossomed from there and I started liking it more. Obviously, there's a nuance to business ownership that's different from anything else you could possibly do. So it's really hard to give it up once you become a business owner. You realize the potential and all the different things you can do.

From there I had other business ideas. So, I think it's really easy to become a serial entrepreneur once you start a business.

Gresham Harkless 04:57

Yeah, absolutely. I used to say when you scratch that, so to speak, you start to see like opportunities pop up everywhere once you start to see them. I think the problem and the challenge then becomes not try to do all the opportunities at the same time and the focus on one. Tell me about it. No, I absolutely love that.

I think everybody loves like the startup story, so to speak, especially those that don't have unlimited resources, which nobody really does, for lack of a better term. And then being able to be crafty, to be resourceful, to be able to figure out how to get their name out there and really to build that business. I think those are really in my opinion, some of the best stories.

Ronjini Joshua 05:28

I think in hindsight though, I probably would've done it differently. Maybe we'll get to that. Yes. I definitely would've done it a little bit differently if I knew the direction I was gonna be in or the position I was gonna be in today. Which I didn't plan for it. So, there's something for having a business plan, I think.

Gresham Harkless 05:42

Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. I know we touched on it a little bit when I read your bio, so could you take us through exactly what you do for your clients and how exactly that process works?

Ronjini Joshua 05:52

Yeah, sure. So we are PR agency, so, another reason why it's so different we're professional services. I went to school for PR, so I'm one of those few people that like graduated and actually did.

Gresham Harkless 06:02

Do what they're doing. Yes.

Ronjini Joshua 06:04

Do what they're doing. So in public relations, we really focus on brand messaging. So developing the message to your audience. Then also getting people in the media. So, a lot of people don't know this and my parents still don't really get it, but there are people who place news stories in the media and I'm one of those people. We mostly work with technology companies but we have some lifestyle companies that we work with as well. We take those stories and we put them into something that's newsworthy. We draw out the news from their company stories and then we ship it and send it to media that might be interested in who are reporting on those particular areas.

So for example I work with a robotics company. They just raise a huge round of funding, 40 million. They work in industrial inspection and so they help save lives by putting robots out in the field versus people who are climbing big telephone towers or something like that. So basically we take their story and we tell them, okay, this is how these robots are benefiting this industry and then we'll send it to someone like Popular Science or Wall Street Journal or Forbes or something like that.

Gresham Harkless 07:08

Nice. I absolutely love that. I think that I sometimes will call like the PR agencies, kind of translators in the sense that, especially working with technology companies, because I find those kinds of IT technology companies probably are super smart.

Obviously can create incredible solutions but sometimes aren't as gifted as being able to tell their story and get that across to the people. So that's why I look at it as being like a translator.

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Ronjini Joshua 07:29

They always tell me, I'm always getting stuck with an engineer and they're like explaining something. I feel bad because I have to ask them the same question over and over again because they're telling me first the technical term, and when you ask them again.

Then I say, can you break it down a little bit more? Can you break it down a little bit more? So, I always tell people that you should be able to explain it to your grandmother. That's the level that I need.

Gresham Harkless 07:51

Oh, see, I thought you were gonna go with a four-year-old, but now the four-year-olds are so tech-savvy that you might have to go with a grandma to be able to do that.

Ronjini Joshua 07:58

Exactly.

Gresham Harkless 07:58

I absolutely love that. So, I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. It could be for yourself or your business, but what do you feel sets you guys apart?

Ronjini Joshua 08:07

I think my personal secret sauce is that I have a personality where I can really get excited about most things. So I really try to find that silver bullet within any brand and I cling onto that and come up with ideas and I usually start generating ideas within minutes. Once you start explaining to me, I can come up with stuff. So I think personality-wise, I am very excitable. I think that just leads to that I'm very creative and so I keep coming up with story angles. So personally I think that's why I've been able to be so good at media relations, is that I can extract those little pieces. That's always been my specialty, working in PR is media relations.

That's our agency specialty too. So it leads to our kind of overall special sauce of being able to place people in media. It's not as easy as calling in a favor, which a lot of people think it is. You really have to have a good story. You have to know who to pitch. And when I'm able to do that work, it's really fun, but I don't find myself being able to do that as often now.

Obviously, as a business owner, I've had to change my priorities, but if I could pivot, and pick anything, it would definitely be media relations. I kind of work with other people who have the same mentality for that.

Gresham Harkless 09:16

Yeah, that makes so much sense. I think that as we get clarity on exactly what we're doing and who we are, we start to attract those like-minded individuals. I love that curiosity speak piece that you spoke to because I think obviously it's huge for a PR but I think it's huge in business as well too. I think that we touched on those opportunities that start to blossom up and it's largely because you do have that curiosity and are able to look at things and find that silver bullet as you said.

I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. This could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have. What's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Ronjini Joshua 09:49

I think my hack is waking up before everyone else. So I wake up pretty early and this is something I've actually always been interested in with other CEOs and people who have families, like how do they function? How's their day schedule? Because I wanna know if I'm crazy or not, but I wake up at five usually. I try to wake up and just give myself 10 to 15 minutes to figure out what I wanna do for the day and then I'll obviously start working if that makes sense.

But I really just use that 10 to 15 minutes to figure it out and then get the house ready for the morning especially now since everybody's at home. I get the house ready in the morning and then my kids wake up around 6:30, so then between 6:30 and 8:00, I have to kind of work with them.

Gresham Harkless 10:33

Awesome. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO Nugget. That could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice or as you referenced something you might tell yourself if you were to hop into a time machine.

Ronjini Joshua 10:44

The nugget is preparation and planning. I think right now my mantra is purpose over perfection. So it's really like getting stuff done. However, I do think planning and preparation is really important. That time is probably the most valuable time you can spend on your business. So whether it's a day or a couple of days, I started doing retreats last year and literally just by myself. It's not a luxury retreat. I tried to get other people involved and they were only interested in massages.

Literally I gave myself 36 hours to do as much work as possible in the planning department. And I couldn't believe how well that worked for mental planning. So it was a personal planning session, but also business planning. I was able to get some stuff done on my website just because it gave me the clarity and distance to be able to do that. I told my clients that I would be unavailable. I told my team they're gonna have to deal, I'm gonna be gone for two days. You're gonna have to take care of everything.

So I think that was really important. So, Taking one or two days for planning, maybe a quarter. I think that is like probably the best thing I've ever done, and I wish I started doing it a lot earlier.

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Gresham Harkless 11:56

Yeah, no, I love that. I definitely appreciate you speaking about that and how important it is to create that space.

So many times we think that it'll just organically happen, you have to actually create that space, create those two days, three days, whatever that might be, so that you have that space in order to make a plan.

Ronjini Joshua 12:10

And if you're worried about the time or the money that you're gonna lose, you're actually gonna make more money because you're gonna plan. I think one of my biggest concerns about doing stuff like that is, oh God, I'm gonna be gone for a day, what is the client gonna do? And it's really not that big of a deal if you think about it in a long-term way in that, you could plan ahead and get someone to cover you. Or plan ahead and let them know that you're not gonna be there.

I think we all deserve that space. Sometimes as a CEO or a business owner, you put a lot of pressure on yourself to be on all the time, but you could still be on, it's just on for longer, longer-term planning. So I think it's really important to know that you're not gonna lose money just by taking a couple of days off.

It's probably really vital and critical to your business to do it, I think, like managing your time in a way that it's like human and not a robot, so, I have to often remind myself of that.

Gresham Harkless 13:02

Yeah, absolutely. But I think you spoke to it. I think the fact that we have to remind ourselves that we are human and, as you said, progress over perfection, we're not gonna always be perfect.

Once we remind ourselves of it, it is just every muscle that we work out, you have to do it on a regular basis. It's not something that you can just tell yourself once and then you're good. Usually, you have to continue to check in and make sure that happens.

Ronjini Joshua 13:22

Yeah. I do my best. I could tell when I'm getting really overwhelmed, I'm like, oh gosh, I think it's time. It's time to check-in. Like I start coming into this like flow, this regular flow of knowing when that time is coming.

Gresham Harkless 13:34

Yeah, absolutely. It is so funny you say that because I even find that in the morning or during days when I don't do those kinds of morning activities, I see my day gets out of whack and I would look back and I'll say, okay, I didn't do that in the morning. That's why I'm exactly where I'm at.

Now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping to have different quote and quote CEOs on the show.

So Ronjini what does being a CEO mean to you?

Ronjini Joshua 14:00

I think it's being someone who's a leader, a creative person who can motivate and inspire the rest of your team. You don't have to be the jack of all trades, you just have to know what you're good at and focus on that. Moving things forward is I think the key role of a CEO in a positive way. So, not being afraid of change and also continuously learning is part of that as well.

Gresham Harkless 14:27

Yeah, absolutely. With the change, being like the only constant and understanding that we will never probably really be perfect, so continue to progress as you said so eloquently before, I think it's an absolutely huge thing and you showed tremendous leadership when you do that. So definitely appreciate 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 can let our readers and listeners know, and then of course, how best they can get ahold of you, subscribe to your podcast and hear about all the awesome things you are working on.

Ronjini Joshua 14:54

Sure. Thank you. So our website is thesilvertelegram.com and you can find all the information there. Then we also launched the PR Playbook podcast earlier this year. You could find that on any of your favorite podcast players. So Apple Podcast Spotify, iHeartRadio. We're all over there.

Then also on the website, you can find the podcast. It's thesilvertelegram.com, the PR Playbook podcast. Then if you wanted to contact me, if you have questions about PR, about a program, or if you should even do it I get a lot of those questions.

It's just ronjini@thesilvertelegram.com and I'm sure you have show notes, so, I can give you all my information there. I'm on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and all that stuff.

Gresham Harkless 15:37

Awesome. Yes, absolutely. Like you just said we would definitely have the links and information in the show notes just to make it even easier, and I hope you have a great rest of the day.

Outro 15:44

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. 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 www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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