Okay, fine. I have a man crush on Dave Ramsey, and yes my wife is cool with it. She actually worked closely with him for six years, but I’m not bitter.
If you’ve not heard of Dave, he’s a major radio personality with 4.5 million listeners weekly, the creator of Financial Peace University, and the author of three New York Times best-selling books, Financial Peace Revisited, More Than Enough and The Total Money Makeover, which have sold more than 6 million copies combined. He’s also about to launch a new book, EntreLeadership.
If he was Ron Burgundy and someone didn’t know him, he’d say, “I’m kind of a big deal.” Well, actually, Dave would never say that, but the truth is he is a big deal to me and millions of people who are or have been in debt or others who simply want to manage their money better. Proudly, thanks to Dave’s inspiration and teachings, my wife and I are debt free and on the road to financial peace. And it’s a beautiful thing.
I’ve often wondered what’s it like to do PR for Dave. To me, he, his team and their mission are incredibly newsworthy, especially today when “debt” is such a major topic of conversation in the U.S. That said, how do they decide what PR opportunities to take? What’s challenging about being Dave’s PR lead? As the company has grown and Dave’s celebrity has exploded, how has the job changed?
Well, I got answers to all of these questions and more recently when I corresponded with Dave’s VP of PR, Beth Tallent. Turns out, Beth’s answers serve as great insight and counsel to anyone who does PR for a CEO or well-known personality.
1. As the VP of PR for a very newsworthy personality and brand, how do you decide what PR opportunities to take and not take?
We’re in the business of helping people. So when we look at a media opportunity Dave has to be able to give a tip or present facts that the consumer can apply to their life and make it better.
2. What’s the best part about being Dave Ramsey’s PR lead? Most challenging part?
I love knowing that what I’m doing makes a positive difference in people’s lives. The most challenging part is convincing the media that their audience is interested in personal finance and business.
3. I understand social media is not managed by the PR department, unlike many companies. How was that decided upon?
At the time that the company jumped into social media the PR team didn’t have the resources to take it on. We work closely with the social media team. With all that’s going on in the company it’s nice to be able to focus on traditional and online media and know that the social side is in good hands.
4. What’s the primary PR thrust right now?
Dave’s latest book, EntreLeadership, launches in September so we are preparing for a book tour. We have also added additional speakers so we are actively building their brands in the media.
5. What’s your advice to others on providing advice and counsel to CEOs?
Be honest and direct. It’s not helping anyone if you withhold information. Your CEO hired you for your expertise so give it. If you work in an environment where your CEO consistently doesn’t listen or doesn’t value your advice you might want to look for another position. Dave and I don’t always agree, but I know he’s listening and he values my input.
6. As the company has grown and diversified, how has your job changed?
In the early days I was the PR team and did all the pitching and booking. The PR team has grown along with the company so now I spend more time leading a great team than I do working directly with media.
7. What’s your single greatest success in your job to date?
We’ve worked with a lot of great media like “60 Minutes” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” but I think our greatest success is staying in the media consistently. Staying a relevant part of the current media conversation is much harder than handling the occasional campaign.