What was it that made your competitor position itself as an industry leader? It was likely a PR agency that helped it gain a competitive edge.
Well, your business can make it too. What it needs is an agency that can create results-driven branding for your business and help you compete successfully. This is exactly what Ripley PR brings to the table. Spearheading the operations of the company is Heather Ripley, an accomplished PR executive and its founder and CEO.
Heather combines business management, solid analytical skills, and creative B2B public relations strategies to deliver measurable results for your brand.
Inspired by her passion for serving clients, we at Insights Success got into conversation with Heather to learn more about her journey and how her rare combination of creativity and analytical thinking is helping businesses thrive.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at Ripley PR. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
In 1996, I worked for a department store’s buying office and fell in love with ad copywriting. My career over the years evolved into public relations and marketing. In 2009, I was managing PR and marketing for a large franchisor, Clockwork Home Services. While there, I secured a spot for our three franchise brands, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing and Mister Sparky, on The Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump.
That appearance helped our CEO position the company for acquisition, and he sold the brands for more than $180 million. I then entered the agency world and worked in senior management for two different agencies before moving back to my hometown of Maryville, Tennessee and starting Ripley PR in 2013.
Within 45 days of starting Ripley PR, I had secured my first three retainer clients. Within six months, I had hired my first full-time employee.
Now, Ripley PR is a global public relations agency that has been recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as a Top Franchise PR Agency four years in a row and was honored by Forbes as one of America’s Best PR Agencies in 2021. Through our hard work, we have cemented ourselves as one of the top PR agencies in the country for the home service industry and skilled trades. I also published a book for the home services industry last year, entitled “Next Level Now,” which is available for purchase on Amazon.com.
Tell us something more about Ripley PR, its mission and vision.
My team really loves what we do. We only succeed when our clients succeed. It’s not about gathering awards for Ripley PR, but how best to ensure that we successfully advocate for our clients.
At Ripley, you don’t just get one person to help you increase your company’s visibility; you get an entire team of specialists. Our experts can help you create content, pitch story ideas to the media, and show you the best way to become an expert in your industry.
Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in the PR niche through your expertise in the market.
We pride ourselves on our knowledge of the home services industry and the world of franchising. Those are two of our nicheindustries that we serve. During the time I spent at Clockwork Home Services, I came to realize that the home services industry was underserved in the public relations field. Many home services business owners don’t understand the power of PR or feel they don’t need public relations until their business is larger or has a crisis. Ripley PR’s success in driving growth for home service companies and adding value to a franchise system illustrates how important public relations is to these industries. Our goal is to help home services and franchises dominate in their service areas.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
The ability of the average person to influence the reputation of service companies through review sites like Google or Yelp is a perfect example of why an agency like Ripley PR is useful to this industry. While we do rely on tried-and-true earned media outreach strategies, we employ world-class systems like media databases and workflow management platforms to help us provide measurable results for our clients. In addition to using technology ourselves, we also represent several tech and SaaS companies operating both in and outside the home service industry. Journalists are hungry for more news about innovation, so we lean into and leverage the stories behind our clients’ own tech advancements to keep their brands top of mind.
If given a chance, what change would you like to bring to the sales and marketing industry?
I’d like to show smaller businesses who want to double or triple in size how public relations can help them grow. Many smaller companies think they don’t need PR because they either aren’t big enough or they aren’t going through a crisis. But public relations can work for any size organization. If you’ve ever wondered why your top competitor was quoted as an expert on your local news, the chances are it wasn’t just luck. The owner probably hired a PR agency. A public relations agency can help any size business become known as the thought-leaders in their field.
What, according to you, could be the next big change in the public relations industry? How is Ripley PR preparing to be a part of that change?
Social media will continue to grow and evolve. While social media has had a share of bad publicity lately, it’s still a medium that journalists follow. So, in order to stay relevant and top of mind for those delivering the news, companies will need to stay active on social media. In addition to legacy media, non-traditional media is becoming increasingly popular. Influencers, podcasters, YouTubers and others will continue to impact more of our decision-making on media outreach.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run and what are your future goals for Ripley PR?
Ripley PR has clients across the U.S., as well as internationally. We will continue to evolve, improve and grow as an agency and deliver results for our clients, no matter where they are based. We provide our clients with detailed reports that help us determine what is working and what is not, and we make the necessary adjustments to improve results.
Four years ago, I started another division of Ripley PR called Orange Orchard. This agency division is committed to using what we’ve learned at Ripley to advocate for organizations that are providing eco- and animal-friendly products and services. I would like to see Orange Orchard be a global force for good in the world.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the business sector?
If you believe in yourself and you are willing to work harder than ever before, you can be successful. When I started Ripley PR, I had my knowledge of the industry and my business acumen to fall back on, but I experienced a lot of challenges and was determined to remain resilient. If you believe you have a unique talent or product to offer the world, take a chance and showcase what makes you special.