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IAM2105 – CEO and Founder Helps Entrepreneurs Reach Audiences By Getting Them Featured in The Media

Podcast Interview with Kayley Hamilton

In this episode, we have Kayley Hamilton, a two-time Emmy award-winning producer, reporter, and the CEO and founder of Uplevel Agency, a public relations agency focused on turning founders into go-to experts and visible thought leaders in their industries.

The discussion begins with the importance of working with clients who have multidimensional stories that can be leveraged across different media platforms to reach wider audiences.

Kayley shares her transition from interviewing celebrities in Hollywood to working with entrepreneurs and CEOs, driven by her realization during 2020 that impactful stories and businesses exist beyond the entertainment industry.

She provides insights into her methodology for extracting and promoting the unique stories of her clients to secure media opportunities, emphasizing the significance of earned media and visibility.

Kayley also touches upon personal growth, the importance of mentorship, and the value of podcasts in her entrepreneurial journey, concluding with an encouragement for listeners to realize the power of their own stories and the impact of visibility in reaching their audience.

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Kayley Hamilton Teaser 00:00

I love working with people who have some multi-dimensions to them and some layers that we can pull out different angles for different types of media opportunities.

Cause that's when it's the most powerful when we're able to secure opportunities for our clients across a lot of different media platforms because that's just the most powerful so you can reach, wider audiences. So that's how we start is just diving deep into their stories.

Intro 00:28

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:57

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 Kayley Hamilton. Kayley, excited to have you on the show.

Kayley Hamilton 01:04

Gresh, so much for having me. I'm so excited.

Gresham Harkless 01:07

Yes, I'm excited as well too. And Kayley's doing so many awesome things.

So before we jumped into talking about Kayley's and having that interview, I want to read a little bit more about her so you can hear about some of those awesome things. In two-time Emmy award-winning producer and reporter, Kayley is the CEO and founder of Uplevel agency and impact focus boutique. Public relations agency, turning founders into the go-to experts, invisible thought leaders of their industries.

Kayley's has interviewed hundreds of celebrities reporting for top entertainment news outlets in Hollywood, including entertainment tonight, the insider and us weekly magazine. And she has been featured in business insider Kayley specializes in brand PR storytelling and securing earned media placements in top tier media.

Outlets placing CEO for brands in their business strategically in the spotlight, so they can share their positive message with the world. And I was doing a little bit of homework before I hopped in. And Kayley has done so many phenomenal things has a really inspiring story and hearing about her journey where she said.

And one of the interviews that she was a shy girl from Colorado that always watched entertainment tonight, dreaming of interviewing celebrities and those dreams became reality. So I love everything you're doing. And I think the thing I love even more than that is that I'm really big on helping people to level up.

So when I went to your site and just said media coverage that helps people to level up, I knew we were in the right place. So Kayley, excited to have you on the show. Are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Kayley Hamilton 02:29

Yeah. Let's do it. I know there's definitely some synergy here. I love it.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 02:33

Yeah. So we love synergy here as well. So I guess to kick everything off, I know I touched on a little bit, so let's rewind the clock here a little bit more on how you got started with a call your CEO story.

Kayley Hamilton 02:41

Yeah. So I grew up, like you said, very shy, insecure girl from Colorado, but I had these really big, massive dreams of wanting to interview celebrities and I wanted to interview celebrities because they were such a contrast to me and my life.

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So I was. I was very much playing small, shy, small little life. And I was so fascinated by these people that were so courageous to make themselves so visible on this world platform that the whole world knew who they were. So I wanted to really know who these people were behind the characters that they portrayed in the media.

And so I just really leaned into my dream and tried to rewrite my identity, who I believed I was change that perception. And Tell myself, if those people can interview celebrities on red carpets, why can't I know that I can do this. So I really leaned into it and got an internship at entertainment tonight, worked there for a handful of years, us weekly magazine.

And I did it. I interviewed celebrities connected with the human behind the character. And it was such an incredible experience. It really Built me into who I am and just really built my work ethic and I met incredible people and connected with the coolest people. It was just all the things. And then I wasn't sure if I would ever become an entrepreneur or a CEO, but it was during 2020 when everything shifted for everyone and I realized that's when I really discovered.

Real life CEOs through podcast interviews, through the media, through articles, TV, and I discovered these people outside of my little Hollywood bubble who are building incredible businesses and changing people's lives. And I just had something a flip switched in me where I. Thought, wow, I want to now, now I want to work with these types of people.

And so I joke that CEOs are, have become my new celebrities. So I left the entertainment industry to start my PR agency. So I could work with incredible CEOs doing incredible things and help them reach audiences who need to hear from them. Because I felt like during that time, I was struggling with what was next for me, my identity, again, how I.

Saw my future and these incredible just thought leaders, experts, people just showed up for me. I felt like by making themselves visible on things like podcast interviews. And so with my background in the media, I thought, okay, I know how to get people featured in the media. And I want to work with these types of people and business owners.

So why don't I meld that passion and my background and expertise and start my agency? So, today we work with CEOs and founders and entrepreneurs and we help them reach audiences who need to hear from them by getting them featured in the media.

Gresham Harkless 05:31

Nice. I absolutely love that. So I guess, could you take me through a little bit more on like, how that process works? How do you make that impact when someone comes through your door literally virtually and or any combination in between?

How do you have those conversations and take it from there?

Kayley Hamilton 05:46

Yeah, gosh just connecting with people and I love to connect with them usually it's virtually. It's really powerful when it's in person, but just diving into. Okay. How do are they currently portraying themselves online? How are they showing up on social media?

What is their headshot? What's their bio? What kind of content are they putting out? And then how are they showing up on their website and get a feel for it? feel of how they're currently portraying their brand online. And then I love to connect on a call and really just get personal and dive into their background, their story, like what led them from where they are.

Were to where they are today, and that's when I put my journalist hat back on reporter hat. And I love to just ask the really deep questions and dive deep into who that person is. And so I can frame it through my lens just from being a celebrity reporter. My job was to find that.

Kind of juicy headline or that powerful soundbite when interviewing celebrities. And so that's the skill that I take into interviewing clients, potential clients, whatever it is. So, yeah, I like to dive into, the depths of who they are, why they're building their business, what their mission is.

And those layers are important because there are so many different types of media. There are articles you can get featured, you can get even just quoted as an expert in a newsworthy article. You can do podcast interviews, you can do TV, and there's all these different types of mediums that will.

highlight different parts of your story and your business because they are different types of mediums and they tell different kinds of stories. So I love working with people who have some multi-dimensions to them and some layers that we can pull out different angles for different types of media opportunities.

Cause that's when it's the most powerful when we're able to secure opportunities for our clients across a lot of different. Media platforms because that's just the most powerful so you can reach, wider audiences. So that's how we start is just diving deep into their stories.

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Gresham Harkless 07:54

Yeah, that ends up being so powerful. So would you consider that to be part of what I like to call your secret sauce? Other thing you feel sets you or the organization apart and makes it unique is your ability to not just see that, but also to help people to recognize that and execute on that, do you feel like that's part of what sets you apart?

Kayley Hamilton 08:10

Yeah, definitely. I know. I think it is. And with my background and the way that we operate in our systems, how we take our clients through processes is getting to that deeper-rooted level of their unique story. And also shining a light on that, coming up with a really powerful way to storytell in that way when we present it to the media, but also presenting it to the media in a way that will resonate with them.

Since we do have kind of a Dual skill set. We have the PR pro side and we have the journalism reporter side. So we know how these newsrooms and journalists and reporters work. We know what kind of stories they want, how they want them presented to them, even just on a higher level of just communication, how they want to be presented stories.

So, yeah, I would say those. That's the through line of some of our secret sauce.

Gresham Harkless 09:02

Yeah, I love that. And I know one of the interviews I was listening to, and I wanted you to, I wanted to ask you a little bit more about the phrase that I heard on media. And that's a lot of what you do, meaning I guess something that, you have to do something to earn or something to get, is that a little bit more about what earned media is?

Kayley Hamilton 09:20

Yeah. Oh my gosh. Great question. Yeah. So earned to me is different from paid. And owned, so owned media is your social media platforms, your website, you own it. You tell everyone, what you're working on, how great you are. So, and so forth. And then there's paid media, which is paid advertisements. And so that's you paying platforms to promote your services to promote your products and earned media is exactly that.

It's earned promotion on 3rd party platforms, which means that you are getting endorsements from. Other people about what you're doing, who you are, what you're building, what your business is, and that's really desirable because it is earned and it's an endorsed an endorsement from a 3rd party. And that's why people that's why PR is really powerful because it's different from the owned and the paid.

Gresham Harkless 10:11

Yeah, it's just not you're rubbing out the credit card, so to speak and saying, I'm paying for this opportunity. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack.

So this could be like an Apple book or even a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:10:27] Kayley Hamilton: Such a good question. I think my hack, which got me started into starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur. Entirely is. Listening to podcasts, which goes back to exactly what we're doing right now.

But like podcasts have totally changed my life. I feel like they are truly like the curtain being pulled back on such high-level, high caliber, valuable, powerful conversations that we would have otherwise never had the opportunity to listen in on or be a part of, or connect with those people who are having these conversations that are so incredibly enlightening.

And it's really important. To just remember that seeing is believing. So, for me, when I listen to other CEOs, talk about their businesses, talk about their journeys, it makes it so much more real for me to put myself in that position and to validate that it's possible for myself. So I'm just really grateful for all of the people who have done podcast interviews and have had the courage to share their stories and to be super transparent with how they've built their businesses, the struggles that they've endured, the highs, the lows, all of it, because it makes it feel so much more real.

Just from a connection level and for me to realize what's possible for me. So I feel like that's a hack is just continuously listening to, and it doesn't have to be experts in my industry all the time by any means. It's just people building interesting businesses that I feel a little bit called to listen to.

And, yeah, again, going back to the human-to-human, I feel really connected to them. As a human, and by seeing what they've accomplished, it makes me realize, okay, I can accomplish big things too.

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Gresham Harkless 12:16

Yeah, absolutely. So what would you consider to be what I like to call more of a CEO nugget?

This is a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. I like to say it might be something you would tell your favorite client, or if you hopped into a time machine, you might tell your business self.

Kayley Hamilton 12:29

I think my CEO nugget would be to invest in support in terms of Mentorship, I would say, invest in mentorship when I 1st decided to leave my job at us weekly magazine. I bought my 1st kind of. Start your online business course, and it came with group coaching sessions and it was my 1st foray into anything business related and.

Again, like the CEOs that talk about their stories on podcasts. I'm so grateful for the people who give back to the ones that are 10, 20, 100 steps behind them and share all of their knowledge and value and guide you along the way. They share their skills, they share their processes, their insights, and I've found mentorship to be really, really powerful again, where, so you feel less alone and you can ask.

People who have been there before, if you're struggling, they can support you and there's so much, especially when you're going into entrepreneurship, there's so much. You just don't know that. You don't know. So having that support. Is so powerful. So I would say. Investing in mentorship has been really helpful for me.

Gresham Harkless 13:45

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So what would be your answer to my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO or goals that have different quote-unquote CEOs on their show. So Kayley, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Kayley Hamilton 13:57

Oh, beautiful question. To me, it just means like leading in purpose, leading on purpose, however you want to put it.

It's 3 fold, it's leading my team on purpose and making sure we're always coming back to what our purpose is, what our mission is for what we're doing and being that leader in that vision, leading my clients and the people I work with in the vision and in the purpose of what we're doing together, what we're building together, what that big.

Shiny goal outcome is that we're working toward and then leading on purpose, just within myself being the CEO of my highest best self and making sure I'm always connected to the truest, highest version of me and who I want to become when embodying every day. Ends. Yeah, leading myself as the CEO of my life.

Gresham Harkless 14:55

Yeah, I love that definition. So Kayley, truly appreciate that definition. And of course I appreciate your time even more.

So what I want to do now is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best people can get out of you, find about all the awesome things, you and your team are working on.

Kayley Hamilton 15:14

Thanks Gresh. That was such a lovely interview. I'm so impressed. You do such a good job. Wow. Thank you for holding such a lovely space for me.

I really appreciate it. But I'd like to just leave this conversation, reminding everyone listening that your story is really powerful and what you're creating is really powerful and it's really valuable and people are waiting to hear from you. Audiences are waiting to connect with you. They're waiting to learn from you, be inspired by you and ultimately work with you.

And they can't do any of that. If you don't get yourself visible, if you're not seen and if you're not reaching them where they are and showing up where they are. So that's my mission and purpose with all of this. And again, you can find me at Kayley Hamilton on Instagram, K-A-Y-L-E-Y. And you can learn more about us at,

Gresham Harkless 16:09

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much again, Kayley, to make it even easier. We'll have the links and information in the show notes as well, too, so that everybody can follow up with you and connect with you and all the awesome things that you're doing.

And I hope you have a phenomenal day.

Kayley Hamilton 16:21

Thank you so much. Gresh. I really appreciate you. Thank you for having me.

Outro 16:24

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Want to level up your business even more? Read blogs, listen to podcasts, and watch videos at Also, check out our I AM CEO Facebook group. This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless Jr. Thank you for listening.


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(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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