Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Interview with Steve Turner of Solomon Turner PR

In this exclusive interview series, hosted by Jesse Samberg, we delve into the fascinating business journey of Steve Turner, the founder of Solomon Turner PR. From starting out as a radio/TV journalist to navigating the challenges of the great recession of 2008, Steve shares his insights on overcoming obstacles and consistently delivering exceptional results for his clients. Join us as we uncover the unforgettable stories, future plans, and the evolution of the small business landscape through the eyes of a seasoned entrepreneur.

Interviewee Name: Steve Turner

Company: Solomon Turner PR

Intervirew Host: Jesse Samberg

The Interview

Let’s get started. First, we’d like to know more about how you started your business journey

Steve Turner : I started as a radio/TV journalist. I wanted to be a sports announcer and did several years of play-by-play, mostly on radio in smaller markets and some cable TV. At the same time I was in ad sales and eventually became sales manager of a few radio stations, even station manager at one. When my radio career started to phase out, I went to work for an ad agency for a while and liked the strategy of offering multiple ideas to help a client get branded and increase sales. I also got involved in event planning and publicity and eventually started my own public relations firm in St. Louis. I merged with my partner, Shelly Solomon, who ran an advertising agency in 1990 and we have been going strong ever since. Our firm has been successful, and we have been named one of the top PR firms in St. Louis for the past 15 years in a row by Small Business Monthly.

Reflecting on your business history, what stands out as the single greatest challenge you’ve successfully navigated, and how did you overcome it?

Steve Turner : The great recession of 2008 was an absolute disaster for most companies and especially those in marketing and related services. We were rolling along pretty well until that point. Over the span of a few months we lost nearly every client we had as businesses trimmed everything just to keep their doors open. It took a lot of praying and perseverance to keep going. Fortunately, we were able to leverage resources to survive. It was a horrible time but slowly we got through it and eventually business started to return to near normal levels.

Businesses often face ongoing challenges. What does your business consistently grapple with, and how do you tackle these challenges head-on?

Steve Turner : One of our ongoing challenges is to be able to juggle multiple projects at one time while maintaining consistency with our clients. The goal is help companies meet their objectives and KPIs. We always desire to deliver beyond expectations. A business can only do that with the right strategy, management and manpower. Prioritizing client needs is a must. The challenge becomes doing the key work with the right people at the right time in order to achieve the desired results.

Can you share with us the most unforgettable story involving a customer or client? What made it memorable, and what lessons did you draw from the experience?

Steve Turner : One great story involves our first engagement with a motivational speaker. I had been listening to well-known speaker Brian Tracy to stay focused and motivated. His stuff is terrific. One day I was at a local radio station with a client helping him with an interview and a gentleman popped in with a huge load of Brian Tracy cassette albums (this was before CDs). I asked him if Brian was coming to town. He said yes he was doing a public seminar. I said oh my gosh I love Brian and I would be glad to publicize the event at no charge in exchange for tickets. The seminar promoters played coy but actually loved the idea of someone helping them promote their program. I did it pro bono and it went extremely well. They then asked if I would go on the road with them and help them promote Brian in other cities. We put a deal together, this time for cash, and I traveled all over the U.S. helping them promote their programs. Later they grew and a few their guys went on to work for Anthony Robbins and other speakers who also engaged with us. That experience was amazing with too many stories to list here. However, we learned a lot about promoting speakers, authors, and special events. Now, a few decades later, we still get contacted to help build the brand for multiple speakers and authors.

Looking ahead, what are your current plans for your business when you retire?

Steve Turner : We do not have any family members that are interested in our business. My guess is that we will sell our assets to another public relations firm or slowly scale the business down over time until we no longer wish to manage it.

Navigating the small business landscape can be both challenging and rewarding. Can you share a bit about the specific hurdles you’ve encountered in areas like sales, marketing, and adapting to changing customer trends?

Steve Turner : Our firm started before the internet. We specialize in media relations and in those days your targets were basically newspapers, television stations, perhaps radio and some trade journals. The internet changed it all. Once the internet got rolling everyone was scrambling to learn and adjust to the new digital media. Suddenly there were online news sites, blogs, and internet-only publications. Then social media joined the scene and many of us had to learn all the nuances of social media as well. It was a time for great change. Clients began asking for more exposure with digital media to reach their customers. Some public relations firms refused to learn the new media and basically shut down. Other firms began hiring people with some knowledge of social media. We learned to incorporate social media into our offerings and made it a part of our PR campaigns where appropriate. In recent years we have seen a shift back into more traditional media as many businesses realize they can’t duplicate the reach and brand value of a major news story with just multiple postings on social media. We have adapted to offer a multitude of services ranging from thought leadership to general traditional media, to social media, to video marketing, and strategic communication to provide leading edge services to our clients into the mid 2020s and beyond.

Leaders Perception magazine would like to thank Steve Turner and “Solomon Turner PR” for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!

Interested in connecting with the host of this interview series? Feel free to reach out to Jesse Samberg on LinkedIn: Jesse Samberg’s LinkedIn Profile

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