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6 Weird Ways to Get a Reporter’s Attention For Your Business

Guest post by Victoria Green

Getting media attention – especially the right kind of attention – is something of an art. Whether you’re a celebrity, a business owner, or a politician, it’s all about finding an angle. And not just that – you have to be able to get a reporter’s attention in the first place. This can be easier said than done.

Bear in mind that reporters and media journalists are solicited hundreds of times a day. Their email inboxes are virtually overflowing. So if you want their attention, you need to go about it in the right way. You need to stand out from the crowd – even if that means taking an unconventional approach.

With this in mind, here are 6 weird ways to get a reporter’s attention. (See also: 9 Steps to Be a Thought Leader — and Become a Media Darling).

Start with Google

Google is an amazing resource to unearth useful information about the reporter, what they cover, and how they like to be approached.

A good place to start your ‘Googleathon’ is social media. See how they interact with others online, and whether they regularly interact with others pitching them ideas. You can also look to their work bio to see if they specify preferences.

There are different schools of thought on the best way to approach a reporter with an idea for a story. They may prefer email, Twitter, or a good old-fashioned phone call. In the unlikely event that they aren’t present on social media, you can defer to phone or email.

HOT TIP: look out for any pet peeves they regularly complain about. Take note as well of the current issues that they’re tweeting or retweeting. See if there’s any common ground you can use to help build a connection. Maybe you have a product that might help? Or maybe you feel the same way about a social issue?

Ultimately, if you already have a feel for the reporter and what s/he likes and dislikes, you have a better chance of reaching out to them successfully.

Weird ways to get media attention. source: pexels

Take a lesson From Tinder

The more I think about it, the more I realize that attempting to reach out and get the attention of a reporter is much like modern dating. Thanks to online dating, we often have a chance to find out about someone before we decide to approach them. When we do decide to make a move, the opening line is critical.

Tinder lines can be hilariously terrible. They can also be downright dull. Mastering the art of a good opener is paramount if you’re serious about looking for love online. And if you’re serious about getting your story picked up by the media, then it’s equally crucial.

‘Hey, how are you?’ is a great way to get ignored by a journalist. It does nothing to spark their curiosity. It lacks creativity and fails to disclose your reason for getting in touch.

Powerful subject lines for an opening email are:

  • Concise
  • Engaging
  • Unambiguous
  • Personalized
  • Value-driven

Remember, your pitch must immediately rouse the reporter’s interest. An effective subject line really is half the challenge. Check out these top 10 email subject line formulas for inspiration. You  may be surprised to learn that in some cases, “profanity f*cking works”.

Journalists also love data — so put your best foot forwards and give them some awesome data for free. Running an ecommerce business? Why not send out some surveys to your customers via social media and email to find out more about their habits? From family life and holidays, to food habits and leisure — there are plenty of useful insights and stories lurking out there.

Play it cool

Yep – the online dating metaphor still stands. When you’re building a relationship with a reporter, timing is important. Journalists are busy people with full schedules, and your clinginess will not be appealing to them.

Be respectful of what the reporter already has on their plate. Realize that when you send them a pitch, they’re probably not going to be able to respond right away – unless you’re very lucky and caught them at exactly the right moment. Give them at least a few days to respond before following up.

If the story is especially time-sensitive, then you need to make this clear when you reach out to them first time around. Conveying urgency is another great way to get a reporter’s attention.

weird ways to get a reporter’s attention. source: pexels

Send them a video

Video is changing how we create and consume news. Journalists know it, and if you can help them source quality video content, then they’re going to be very happy with you indeed. Here in 2017, video content represents 74% of all internet traffic (Source).

So if you want to give your story a boost and make it more likely to hit the headlines, consider sending a video along with your pitch. 4X as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it – and the same goes for news stories. News publications love video because it encourages readers to stay on the page for longer.

Making a vaguely professional-looking video doesn’t have to be hard. There are lots of great apps out there for making videos, including iMovie, PowerDirector, and LumaFusion.

Be willing to let it go

With time stacked against them, most reporters will probably require a follow-up a few days after you’ve pitched them your story. In most instances, they’ll probably appreciate the reminder — always with added ‘new’ information that’s of value to them — not, “Did you get my email about…”.

However, if you’ve already chased them a couple of times and received nothing but stony silence in return, you might need to try a different approach, angle, or twist on the topic. You can also ask if your pitch might be a better fit with someone else at their organization.

The risk is that you may not necessarily get the answer you’re looking for. But by putting it out there in a gentle way, such as “seems like this wasn’t a perfect fit for you – unless I hear otherwise, I will run a different idea by you soon.

If you are looking to promote something time-sensitive like a product launch or a new ecommerce venture, you are going to have to plan ahead and be mindful of editorial deadlines you can tell them that you’re offering it to them first. And if they pass you can move on to the next top person on your media list. Whether you build a store from the ground up, or invest in a readymade one, make sure that your branding and content is on-point enough to appeal to busy journos. A good pitch from a badly formulated brand may go to waste — so make sure you cover all bases.

Go bananas

Of course, if all else fails, and you really will stop at nothing to get that reporter’s attention, you can try one the following:

  • Hire a banana costume and do a little dance outside their office window
  • Pay a movie theater to play a pre-recorded video of your pitch after the ads at a movie you know they’re going to see (because they posted about it on social media)
  • Accidentally bump into them on the bus while holding a basket of kittens
  • Heroically save them from falling into a pond

Disclaimer: These methods are not tried and tested. I hold no responsibility for them going wrong.

via GIPHY

We need the attention of reporters for all sorts of reasons. Maybe you’re trying to make a story or piece of content go viral. Perhaps you just bought an online business and you want brand coverage. Possibly you’ve found yourself in the public’s bad books, and you need a bit of good publicity. Whatever the reason, it helps to know how to go about it. Hopefully these suggestions have been useful.

Got any other great ideas? Let us know!

Victoria GreeneVictoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer.

Vicky is a freelance writer and ecommerce marketing consultant. She loves being part of the brand growth hacking process and producing real, measurable results. In her spare time, Vicky shares her knowledge by writing for a variety of digital publications.


8 Things Donald Trump Can Teach Us About Courting Publicity

Guest Post By Victoria Greene

It’s fair to say that America is a fairly divided place right now, with wildly differing ideas about what’s right and wrong. Whatever your views, our blundering, boastful President does seem to have mastered one thing, and that’s showmanship. As he appoints more than a few questionable characters to office, many of us remain distracted by the latest inflammatory statements he’s made on Twitter, or by what’s going on with Celebrity Apprentice. As intelligent entrepreneurs and business owners, here are 8 lessons we can learn from his strengths and weaknesses when it comes to courting publicity.

PR is rooted in positive relationships

Most CEOs respect PR, or at least understand its function. Whatever their feelings towards it, they accept that in positions of high power or visibility, it is necessary. For better or worse, Trump is not most CEOs.

Donald has yet to realize that at the root of PR is a carefully tended network of positive relationships, built on clear and transparent communication. He mistakenly considers himself an ‘expert’ PR person, despite his total lack of tact, sensitivity, or awareness. Let’s not forget, he appointed a hedge fund manager to run his communications office.

For the life of him, Trump cannot seem to hold on to a PR chief, and the reason is quite simple – no self-respecting, professional PR person wants to work for a boss who thinks he can do better, and who will publicly shame you for trying to do your job.

How to apply: Dale Carnegie says in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People: “If You Want to Gather Honey, Don’t Kick Over the Beehive”. In other words, an aggressive approach will get you nowhere. He also says that “Winning friends begins with friendliness” – another simple yet oft forgotten pearl of wisdom. Take a look at this list of the 100 Most Trusted People in America. They are well-liked, charismatic, and many of them are actors. Interestingly, none of them are TV bullies.

Sometimes you need to take an unconventional approach

Some believe that Richard Nixon lost the 1960 presidential race due to his poor TV presence, compared to JFK, who understood the power of the medium. Trump is, of course, no stranger to television, having perhaps more experience with it than any other presidential candidate in history. Throughout his election campaign, he consistently eschewed conventional politics in favor of sensationalism and sound bites, in contrast to Hillary’s more measured approach.

What’s more, while Clinton worked to secure votes across all demographics, Trump lasered in on a specific target audience – white, working class men who had been feeling less represented under the previous Democrat government. In marketing we are often advised to ‘find our niche’, and it seems that the same could be true of politics.

How to apply: There are lots of ways to get unconventional with PR, though it’s no guarantee that just because your campaign is unconventional, it will be a success. From publicity stunts and viral videos, to riding trends and putting out crowdsourcing content, the internet has made it much easier to be imaginative. Check out these Timeless Creative PR Ideas.

If you fake it, you’ll probably get found out

Earlier in Trump’s career, several New York reporters spoke with a John Miller or a John Barron – two supposed PR men who sounded suspiciously like Trump himself. Miller and Barron were particularly insightful, sharing detailed explanations for Trump’s actions and love life, all the while presenting him in the most favorable light possible. You can read the full transcript of one of John Miller’s interviews here.

Of course, these strangely forthcoming sources were none other than Trump himself, and if you read or listen to the interviews, it is startlingly, ridiculously apparent. At one point, he even forgets to speak in the third person. The lesson here? It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: don’t pose as your own publicist and expect to get away with it. Oh – and the tan isn’t real either.

How to apply: It’s fairly straightforward really – just be honest and authentic about who you are and what you do. If you don’t fake it in the first place, you don’t get found out. Lance Armstrong was a celebrated road racing cyclist who many people admired, until the doping scandal came out. Likewise, Tonya Harding was a famous figure skater, whose career was left in tatters after she hired a thug to break her rival’s leg. The public hates a cheater, so keep your record squeaky clean.

You must be willing to listen to advice

PR professionals are much like counselors. Their job is to advise the client on the most effective approach to communications, if they want to achieve certain goals. They are a valuable asset to the team, and a smart client will realize the importance of listening to their advice, even if they end up taking a slightly different course of action. A sensible business owner will involve their PR person in all big-picture discussions.

The thing about Trump is, he really doesn’t want anyone’s advice. He wants to do his own thing and he thinks he’s got PR sussed. When Spicer worked at the White House, he griped about his limited access to the President, yet was still blamed when things went wrong.

How to apply: Benjamin Franklin said that “wise men don’t need advice – fools won’t take it”. If you’re attempting to navigate the choppy waters of publicity, it’s better to do it with a legitimate expert at your side. Part of a PR practitioner’s role is to train their clients to effectively face the media, as well as making their client’s reputation as strong as possible. Ultimately, they help to keep you focused and moving towards your goals – with the force of the media on side.

The celebrity phenomenon

Whether your feelings towards Trump are mild or extreme, it can’t be denied that he is something of a sensation. For better or worse (and likely worse), we’ve never had a figure quite like him on America’s political stage. We now live firmly in a culture of celebrity, and Trump – a longstanding TV star and populist bigmouth – is known by everyone. It shouldn’t really come into the equation when you’re running for President – yet it does.

Why? Because with their deity-like status, we listen to what celebrities have to say. So in 21st century America, should we be surprised that a celebrity has managed to become President? It’s wall-to-wall (pun intended) publicity, be it good or bad. Whether you love or despise Trump, he remains a popular topic of conversation – and that’s just what he wants.

How to apply: So how can you find ways to keep people interested in you? To enjoy the kind of engagement that Trump gets online and in the media, it’s all about being engaging and having a stance or opinion that people relate to. Today’s consumers are discerning about which brands deserve their time and attention. Don’t be afraid to start discussions, and fan the flames to keep them going. Experiment to find out what resonates with your audience, and mix up your timing, language, and use of imagery.

He tells it like (he thinks) it is

Trump doesn’t speak the political tongue. Everybody knows that – just look at his Twitter feed. Instead, he seems to say whatever comes into his head, without much of a filter to speak of. Agree with him or not, you always get the jist of what he’s saying. Some politicians do themselves a disservice when they speak in political jargon, alienating the less articulate voters.

Honestly counts for something in PR, even – or especially – if that honesty is controversial. Trump’s followers love him for his willingness to tackle any subject, in particular those that more seasoned politicians dance around.

Why is this so appealing? Because we value people who give us perspective on things that matter in our culture. In other words, we love someone with a strong opinion. And Trump – well, he is big orange hot air balloon of opinions.

How to apply: We want your perspective on what matters to you and why it’s important to your audience. Your strong opinion about a topic you care about sets you apart from your competitors who may have a different take – and sets you up as a thought leader. News shows are made up of people proffering different opinions on a topic then backing those opinions with facts, research, or other evidence.

Pick an enemy (or several)

Branding experts will often tell you to identify an enemy and position against them. That enemy doesn’t have to be a person, it could be a system, a state of the world, an injustice, or an opinion. The world’s top brands all have distinct enemies – and Trump is a brand too.

At this point, Trump has made many enemies, and he has a habit of calling them out and going after them. Choosing an enemy gives your campaign a focus – it’s the classic scenario of ‘us vs. them’ that galvanizes large groups of people into action. It’s a great tactic for businesses. Is it a good one for politics? It’s certainly been successful at getting Trump into office, but as to the effects on society and the world, it all starts to feel like a dark and dangerous road.

How to apply: So every brand or personality needs an enemy, but that doesn’t have to be a competitor. It could just as easily be an idea. A nutritionist might position processed food corporations as ‘the enemy’. A pro web designer might frame DIY website builders as ‘the enemy’. For an artisan coffee shop, it might be instant coffee. Whether it’s a belief, an assumption, or a rival business, every beloved brand has something to push against and rally behind.

If you don’t have the instinct for it, leave it to the professionals

Anthony Scaramucci has said that Trump has ‘excellent public relations instincts’. So is that true? He certainly represents something different, and something different – especially in politics – is pretty irresistible. But I would argue that overall, Trump’s PR instincts are fumbling at best, and volatile at worst. And they appear to be getting worse. His weeklong assault on his own attorney general in July was apparently ‘all his idea’. Good one.

Trump is used to the selective media exposure granted by his TV lifestyle, but as President, you are on show 24/7. PR decisions are more critical than ever. The best bosses understand their own strengths and weaknesses, but Trump’s inflated view of himself means he won’t listen to others. From a PR perspective, it will be interesting to see where his ego leads him over the course of his time in office.

Trump famously exaggerates, but if you’re looking to implement his tactics into your own business PR campaign, maybe think twice. Exaggeration and dishonesty are no way to do business – and you will be found out eventually. If you’re trying to get more media attention for your business, here are some good guidelines. What we can take away from his success is the importance of picking an enemy, leveraging social channels, being true to yourself, and being memorable. But we can also learn to become better listeners, better bosses, and better people.

Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer. Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer.

Vicky is a freelance writer and ecommerce marketing consultant. She loves following politics and drawing lessons that can be beneficial in other areas. In her spare time, Vicky shares her knowledge by writing for a variety of digital publications.


5 Ways Your Branding Can Get The Media To Call You With Karen Leland


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5 Ways Your Branding Can Get The Media To Call You With Karen Leland

Welcome everyone to the Be a Media Darling Podcast, today our topic is five ways your branding can get the media to call you. Our wonderful guest is a dear friend of mine, Karen Leland. She’s CEO of Sterling Marketing Group, which is a branding and marketing strategy and implementation firm, helping CEOs, businesses and teams develop stronger personal and business brands. Her most recent book, is The Brand Mapping Strategy, Design, Build and Accelerate Your Brand. To reach her, go to SterlingMarketingGroup.com.

You’re doing a TED Talk too. Did you already do your TED Talk?

I haven’t. Actually, I'm doing a TEDxTalk at Yale in October actually.

That’s fantastic. Obviously, the topic is branding?

The topic is actually of that whole Yale TEDxTalk, the theme is the gap. I'm going to talk about the gap between how people experience themselves and how their brand is sometimes represented in the world.

That will be a great place to start. There’s a lot of definitions of a brand. That you are the brand. Maybe we could start with what your definition of a brand is and why people should have one.

BAMD0021 | Get the media to call you

The Brand Mapping Strategy by Karen Leland

It’s funny because in the book, one of the things that I say is I tell people I'm going to play fast and loose with language because I use the word branding, and the word marketing, and the word PR, and the word social media, and the world business development. Not that they're all the same thing, but they're so inextricably linked in today’s world that they're really different facets of a diamond.

Branding in general, I like the definition Jeff Bezos gives about a brand is what someone says about you when you're not in the room. I really think a brand, whether it’s personal or business, is it’s your reputation. It’s how you are seen, it’s how you are viewed. It’s what people think of when they think of you.

That reason that I say that PR and social media and all of that is intertwined is that today, there are no just pure branding activities or pure marketing activities or pure PR activities. They all have a linkage and a relationship with each other.

We’re really talking about perception is reality and how all of those things still need to be consistent. Your social media can't look cutesy and wild if your website looks serious and buttoned up - that won't get the media to call you.

Exactly. The thing is that, the brand of your website and your collateral materials really need to match what the tone of your brand is, either your personal brand or your business brand, depending on which one you're designing collateral materials for. So many people have websites and collateral material that is just counter to their brands.

For example, I have people call me sometimes and they’ll go, “I use chartreuse in website design because my web designer said chartreuse is a really hot color this year.” Or somebody said to me the other day, “I used pink because I like the color pink.” That doesn’t mean that pink is the right color for her brand. As a matter of fact, for this person, pink was completely the wrong color.

People tend to think about designing their brand identity based on how they feel or what’s popular rather than based on what’s consistent tonally and energetically even with the particular brand that they have, either personally or business.

BAMD0021 | Get the media to call you

Get the media to call you by matching your brand to what you do for a living. This includes color choices, fonts, and language.

What should they start with? Let’s imagine somebody loves that color pink but it’s not matching what they do for a living or what they want to promote or they're offering.

What they want to communicate, what they're feeling they're trying to communicate. Again, we’re talking about color. Color is only one aspect. There are fonts, there’s design, there’s language. There are all these other aspects of how you represent your brand. Color is an interesting one because there’s a whole psychology to color. Colors will communicate to someone very, very different things depending on the color.

I think the place for people to start, it’s the reason, Susan, I really wrote The Brand Mapping Strategy book, the reason that I wrote it is that I think people need to start with defining their brands in some very specific ways. Let me give you an example that I use or an analogy that I use. I wear glasses. I know a lot of people wear glasses.

When you go to the eye doctor, you sit there and you're reading the eye chart and the eye doctor will put this big, heavy, gigantic thing on your face and he or she will click a bunch of different lenses. They’ll ask you, “Does this lens make it clearer or fuzzier? Can you see the letters clearer or fuzzier?”

The brand is like that. There are seven different aspects to your brand that have to be clear, not fuzzy and for you to understand and be able to articulate those seven aspects of your brand before you should be doing any brand design and before you should be even doing any brand building and putting it out there.

What happens is, people start putting it out there and building buzz for their brand but they drive people back to a website or to social media or to an online blog that is not representative fully of the brand. Then they lose people. There’s no conversion.

What are those seven things?

Of course, they are in the book.

Of course.

Of course.

It’s fully explained.

Absolutely. I’ll give them to you very briefly. The first one is what I call the anchor statement. That’s the go to statement about who you are. A lot of people call it the elevator pitch. It’s the very quick, who you are, go to description.

It’s not a tag line.

No. It’s literally like when you're at a cocktail party and someone says what do you do, it’s the one or two sentence answer you give.

I must say, “I double or triple entrepreneurs’ business using sound bites properly in their media appearances.”

Exactly. By the way, the thing that the anchor statement has to do is it has to be … People’s brains look for patterns. It has to be a pattern they can recognize. We’ve all said to people at a cocktail party or a conference, “What do you do?” They talk and we’re like, in our minds thinking, “I've got no idea what this person does.” We are totally lost.

As obvious as that sounds, a lot of people can't actually answer that question in an effective, timely, impactful way. It sounds easy but it’s not necessarily. It has to be something people, as I said, can fit into a pattern.

For me, I say, just what you said at the beginning of this. I'm a branding and marketing strategist and implementer. I work with executives, CEOs, business people on improving their business and personal brands. Everyone can get that. It’s understandable. That’s the anchor statement.

The other thing is the unique branding proposition. We always talk about, in business, unique selling propositions. It’s the same idea applied to the brand. What is it about what you do or how you do it that makes you unique, distinct, special? What sets you apart? I don’t mean by that, what makes you better than other people, but what is it that really is distinct about you? Again, a lot of people I find have not thought this through.

The third one is brand tone and temperament. What’s the consistent mood, tenor, quality, character, manner that you bring to all your interactions? Because there is a tone and a temperament that each person and in fact each business brings to their interactions.

Then there’s what I call the brand energy, which is what is it that you can be counted on to contribute in all circumstances and in all times? I've actually divided the brand energy up into a series of archetypes, which I go into detail about in the book. There are people that are advocates and people that are makers and people that are connectors and people that are motivators and people that are fixers and people that are visionaries.

As a matter of fact, you are in the book. I think I had you as a synthesizer. Yes. That was the brand energy that I gave you as an example for. I'm going to read what it says. You haven’t heard this. It’s short.

How exciting, because I apparently don’t remember.

It’s short. I think I might have just done it without asking your permission.

I don’t remember this at all!

It’s nice. I said something nice about you. Here’s what the synthesizer brand energy is. It’s, “People with this energy have the ability to bring together various elements, ideas, products, thoughts, etc. and combine them in a way that creates something new and improved. The types of statements they might make about themselves include, ‘I enjoy projects where I take multiple parts and put them together to make a new whole. I'm often asked to figure out how make several separate things work together and people tell me I'm good at blending and combining things together to make something better.’” I said, “For example, Susan Harrow is a media coach with a talent for taking information, blah, blah, blah.” There’s a little paragraph explaining how I think you are that.


Other words that describe that energy are integrator, blender and producer. That’s just one of about 12 different archetypes of brand energy. People are usually one or a combination of one or two. It’s very important to know which type you are because that tends to also determine the kind of language you use in your branding materials and how you talk about what you do. That informs it. Even sometimes the kind of logo that you create.

Number five is the signature story. Why do you what you do? What’s essential story that brought you to this place? How did you get here? What is it about your past and your history and something …

That’s the same as the story of origin.

Exactly. Same as your story of origin. The sixth is what I call the signature services, which is what are the core competencies and offers that you have that are particular to you. It may be a process you’ve created, it may be something proprietary that you have. It may be a system that you use. It may just be a particular spin or take you have on something.

The seventh one is what are your brand enhancers and your reducers. Really, what are your current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as a brand? Really understanding those and addressing those. Those are the seven general areas. Those sound so obvious. It takes me an entire day, an entire day working with an individual or a team to have them to identify all seven of those things.

I don’t think it’s obvious to most people. Yes, it might sound obvious but I know that people have so much trouble even with the elevator speech and their stories of origin and their bio and all of that. It doesn’t surprise me that there’s a lot of trouble.

Just list the seven again, just so people can remember that these are all necessary to have a personal or a business brand that is going to be effective before you go out and start doing buzz for your brand, which we’re going to talk about that and how to get the media to call you in a minute. I really want to have people have a sense of what is involved in creating a brand so they can start to see what parts of their brand are missing from these seven. Or if you’ve got all seven, bravo for you, rah-rah. If you don’t have all seven, to start getting those aligned before you reach out to the media so you can have results you want.

Of course this is going to help you get the kinds of clients that you want too so there’s no chink in your brand or nothing jarring that people go, “Hey, that doesn’t make sense. That doesn’t jive with all the rest of the stuff that I've seen or read on your website or on your social media or meeting you in person.” Because all of that has to be consistent too.

If somebody’s an organizer and they show up and their hair’s a mess and their clothes are askew and nothing matches, even though they may be an organizer for a home, you're going to go, “I’d never hire that person.”

Right, because it’s an inconsistent brand message.

Exactly.

It’s funny, I was talking to someone the other day who’s a productivity expert. I went to her website and it’s chaotic. Everything’s everywhere. You can't figure out the path. It literally looks like somebody just threw stuff on her website and tossed it all up in the air. I said to her, I said, “The problem is the message you're giving with your website is totally the opposite message of what you say you do. At the very least, you're giving people, emotionally, a confusion.”

The seven are an anchor statement, a unique branding proposition, a brand tone and temperament, a brand energy, a signature story, signature services, and brand enhancers and reducers.

BAMD0021 | Get the media to call you

Having a strong personal brand is important when you want to get the media to call you.

Great. Let’s talk now about why personal branding is important for everyone who wants to get media the media to call you. We’ve touched on that a little bit but I'd love to hear more of your thoughts. Why is this meaningful for the media?

As you know and I know, because we do this all day long, the space is super crowded today. The one thing the Internet’s done is it’s the great equalizer. In the past, you had to be really well known or really famous or really big to get media attention, or really, really extraordinarily unique to get media attention.

Today, anybody can compete for that media attention by being online. That’s just the reality of it. There’s a huge amount of noise, a huge amount of competition, a huge amount of input coming at media all the time. As a result, they're more gun shy, number one. Number two, they're much more careful to screen for certain attributes before they’ll even be willing to talk to someone. They're not as willing to give people a chance as I think they were 20 years ago because there’s so many people out there who are not qualified but think they are, so the media gets an influx of that kind of content from people.

I think you have to be able to distinguish yourself and to build a personal brand. Otherwise, it’s very hard for the media either one, to find you; or two, when you find them or reach out to them, for them to be interested in you.

According to Wasabi Publicity by the way, with the new survey that they did, the number one way that journalists are finding sources is Google.  

You mean they're Googling the terms and finding the person?

They're Googling terms and finding the experts for those terms. If you're not showing up, or you show up and they land on your website and you might have a good search engine ranking but your personal branding is not 100% in sync, then they're going to go down to the next person.

Just to give you an example of that, I was being interviewed by a reporter for a newspaper - not a newspaper - a magazine, the other day. I asked her how she found me. She said, “I Googled the topic personal brand consultant and you came up. I went to your website and I looked at what you had and I was very impressed, blah, blah, blah.” We somehow got into a conversation, this conversation about looking for sources.

I asked her, I said, “When you go to someone’s website, how big of a deal is it?” She said, “I have found people who are amazing sources and would have been fantastic for my article.” This was a major magazine, top magazine. She said, “Who would be amazing for my story but their website is so poorly written, designed, or represented, or all three.” Sometimes one, sometimes all three. She said, “That I can't use them because if I use them, what will happen is a reader reads my story, looks at the source. If they go to that source’s website, looking the way it does, or being written the way it’s written or being as poorly done as it is, it reflects badly on me.” Isn't that fascinating?

That is fascinating. Especially since it’s a national or a reputable source.

It was a national paper, a national magazine.

I would think that pretty much all journalists are starting to think this way too. That it’s part of their brand and the credibility of their story and their sources. You're right, if a source looks shoddy, it’s going to reflect back on them. I think that makes perfect sense.

It makes perfect sense. I just don’t think people think about it like that. I don’t think people realize it and they don’t think about it like that.

Let’s talk about how that works in social media. Essentially, what the media does if you do come up in Google like you did quickly, is that they have to vet you. She goes to your website and then typically they go to your social media too. What are some typical branding mistakes that happen on social media that would turn the reporter off and not get the media to call you?

It’s funny because I had some people over for dinner last night. One of them is a PR person and the other one is a branding expert. We’re all in a similar profession. We were talking about a client that we’ve all worked with. This person has a book out and they're trying to promote their book. I said, “What’s their social media look like?”

We went on their Twitter and their Twitter had 300 followers and they were following 250 of them back. I was like, wow, that is not good. This person was trying to get on CBS and all these major shows. The PR person was trying to explain to the client, “The producer of CBS is going to look at your Twitter feed. If you’ve got 300 people who are following you and you're following 250 back, that’s basically saying you have no influence in your sphere, in your area, in you field.”

I think one of the big mistakes people make, for example on Twitter, is they follow all these people then they follow them back. They don’t really have a Twitter following. Your ratio of followers to following on Twitter, you should be 10% or less of who’s following you number-wise of who you're following. That’s one big mistake people make on Twitter.

I haven’t even considered that. I don’t even know how many people I'm following. I have to look at my Twitter feed. Especially since when you go to other things like Klout, they say, “We can follow people for you.” I'm thinking, I don’t want those …

No, that’s a bad idea. You actually don’t want anybody automatically following people for you.

No, I don’t. That’s one of the criteria in order to connect sometimes. They follow people for you. I'm thinking, "I don’t want that." That’s one part of it, the ratio of followers to people that are following you. What about the content of the feed?

As you know, content is still king and it’s everything. It’s back to that thing about there’s so much noise today. What happens is, if you don’t have quality content, if you're just doing keyword stuffing or you're just throwing stuff up there, if you don’t have quality content, one, you're going to be penalized by Google. Two, when the reporter or the producer or the potential client gets there, you're not going to convert and close that person because the quality of your content isn't being seen by them as valuable, useful, helpful, etc.

Quality content, if this is even possible, is more important now even than it was just a couple of years ago. It’s probably the number one issue that most people have in their branding, is that their content is not of high enough quality. That can be visual quality, if you're doing something visual. That can be written quality if you're writing. That can be quality of the interviews if you're doing podcasts. If you're doing videos, I don’t mean the quality of the video like how pretty it looks because the standard for video …

It’s more like …

What you're talking about, exactly. The value you're delivering.

What you're saying is number one, ratio of followers to followees. Number two, the content of your feed in terms of if it’s valuable and high quality and it relates to what your business is, I would think. Sometimes I see people and that seems fairly unrelated to whatever they’re doing.

Are there any no-no’s not to put on your social media that would turn a reporter off? Let’s imagine you’ve got lots of quality content, but you’ve got one of your personal interests, maybe something, a little sketch or on the edge or whatever.

The thing is with something like Twitter, there is an expectation that there will be something personal. With Facebook again, it’s on the edge of personal. LinkedIn, there’s really not an expectation for personal. LinkedIn is pretty much the straight business to business player.

The problem comes in when people post things that they aren’t thinking through how they're going to make them look. For example, complaining about a former employer. That’s not a good idea, and people do it. Some of the things I've seen are things like people talking about how they were driving drunk, the cop pulled them over but they got away with it. That’s just a stupid thing to put on Twitter or Facebook.

It’s anything of that nature. Somebody used to say to me, “Never put anything on social media you wouldn’t be comfortable if it were printed on the front page of the New York Times.” That’s always my rule of thumb.

That’s very good advice. What about anything that’s going to attract the media and get the media to call you when they see your social feeds?

I think one thing that attracts them is numbers. If you do have good social numbers, if you have a certain numbers of followers, that’s absolutely something that makes a difference. That’s number one.

What would be the minimum of good? What would be considered good?

I think if you're on Twitter and you have 3,000 to 5,000 followers, you're in the percent of people on Twitter. Having 40,000 is better but if you at least have 3,000 or 4,000, it’s obvious that you are a player at least to some degree in your game. If you're on Facebook and you have more than 500 followers, you have more than 500 connections, you're obviously someone who’s using … Excuse me, LinkedIn. I said Facebook but I meant LinkedIn.

I knew you meant LinkedIn.

I'm not sure for Facebook. You would probably be able to answer that better than I would. As you know, Facebook is not where my audience lives. My audience lives on LinkedIn. LinkedIn first and foremost and Twitter second. I don’t really used Facebook for business because it isn't where my audience is. I'm not super familiar with that.

Facebook is more the business to consumer place. If you're selling to consumers, Facebook is a great place to be. If you're selling to businesses, LinkedIn and Twitter are more appropriate for that market.

That’s such a great point because doing social media, when people feel like they need to do all the social medias, do the social media where your people are. One of my clients and one of the Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul membership club participants, we did a podcast interview where … I will recommend that all of you go and listen to that. Where she talked about she had no list and she got 15,000 Twitter followers in two months and converted that to $40,000 worth of business

That’s definitely a podcast to listen to that will pop up on this one just so you can hear it, so you can use that strategy to get ready, so you will be media ready when they look at your Twitter feed. She had a really super great strategy for that.

We’re talking to Karen Leland and her new book, it’s called The Brand Mapping Strategy. You can find her information at SterlingMarketingGroup.com. Because we’re friends, we did a little interview over … I think you barbequed me up a fabulous steak and strawberries and cream, something super healthy. It was delicious.

BAMD0021 | Get the media to call you

The Brand Mapping Strategy by Karen Leland gives excellent tips on how to be ready for the media and get the media to call you.

Let’s go back to what else might get media to call you that you could have ready and be ahead of your competitors or other people in your crowded field. You were talking about how crowded the Internet is right now. How can we stand out with our brand and get the media to call us when they're maybe doing that search on Google? Or, when you responded to HARO or you responded to a query and they're checking you out to make sure that they choose you.

Let’s talk about HARO for a minute, which is Help A Reporter Out. As you know, I have a whole series of online programs. One of them is literally about how you use HARO and other online sites to reach out to reporters and have them cover you. Again, as simple as these stuff may seem, so many people are doing it so badly and inappropriately and they're missing the opportunity.

We’ll put that link up on BeAMediaDarling.com for this too. It’s a great resource.

The thing about HARO is that, you got to remember, if I'm a reporter, especially from any known paper or known entity or known media outlet.If I'm from Inc. Magazine and I put something out on HARO saying, “I'm looking for experts in time management to address how people can set goals for the New Year,” how many thousands of responses do you think I'm going to get within a five minute period?

A couple thousand.

Probably a couple thousand. One of the first things is, I always encourage people to put in the headline what [they are] actually they're responding to. Remember, that reporter, that media person is also getting emails for other things. I always put in the headline, it would be, “Expert for time management.” So that the person knows what it is that they're responding to. That’s one thing. It’s also, if you can sneak something in the headline very shortly about yourself that works, I think that’s great. I think the thing is, just the subject line is one of the first things that you have to do properly just in responding. So many people just don’t do that even well.

The other thing is, I always tell people, when I'm the media person and I put stuff up in HARO to interview people, if I get from somebody a block of text with no paragraphs, I am embarrassed to this but it’s really true, 9 out of 10 times, I won't read it. I’ll just delete it. I can't read a huge block of text. If it’s not separated into sentences or paragraphs that are easy for me to skim, it’s too much work and I’ll just delete it.

Most reporters I know have told me that’s the case. They will do the same. First thing is you have to make it easy for these people to read what you sent them. That’s number one.

Can I just say super quickly, that it should be the same on your website.

Absolutely.

Nobody wants to read that huge block. Just putting little headlines for each of your paragraphs so somebody could skim it and see if they want to read further.

Along those lines, one of the ways to skim is you want to put bullet points in that. You want to basically, you introduce yourself, you say why you're writing and then why you think you're the right person for their piece then put bullet point, bullet point, bullet point. If they’ve asked for something like tips, tip, tip or whatever information they’ve asked for. Your contact information and you're done.

I’ll tell you, a lot of times I get those from PR people when I'm the reporter asking for information and the PR person will not give me the contact information for their client. I don’t want to call the PR person, to get the client. That’s ridiculous. I know they want to control it a lot of times, but you really have to say the name of the client and their contact information. Reporters just don’t have time. They need to be able to quickly get access to what they need access to.

If you give them one extra step, then they're going to go to somebody who’s given them the ease of getting in contact with that person. It’s not just about your great content, it’s about the ease of which you deliver it to someone in the form that they’ve requested if you want to get the media to call you.

As soon as you are a pain in someone’s behind, you have just reduced your chances of them covering you by about 90%.

That’s a great point. What else do you look for? Because you’re on both sides of it since you write for Forbes.com and …

Entrepreneur.

Entrepreneur.com. Since you write both of them, you are also soliciting sources all the time. You're really on both sides of the fence that way.

I think the other thing they look for is people who really are experts at what they are looking for. Not someone who’s stretching the point and not someone who’s trying to pivot their story. They know what they need and what they’re looking for. Nothing annoys them more than somebody who responds who isn't really an expert or is trying to get them to pivot.

People have written to me, “I don’t know about that but you might be interested in this story.” No, because I asked for that. I asked for A, not for B. I will never use that person again because they're on my bad list for having wasted my time.

I totally get it. Are there any other no-no’s that won't get the media to call you?

Being long as opposed to short in terms of what you write the person, and being arrogant. I remember once, I actually have this as a slide that I show in my speeches when I give speeches on branding and marketing, I show this slide. I was once looking for a source on HARO and somebody wrote me back and they said, basically, I'm paraphrasing now, “But you better get in touch with me quickly because my new book just came out and it’s really a hot topic. I'm not going to be available for long.”

It took me less than a quarter of a second to delete that email. Reporters hate that. They hate that. They hate entitlement and arrogance. I don’t ever think it’s a good idea, but if you are Steve Jobs, you probably get a pass on entitlement and arrogance with the press. Unless you're that level, you should cut the attitude.

Also, never pressure reporters like that, “You better hurry up and get in touch with me.”

No. They don’t care. There are a million sources they can use.

What’s something that people should do to get the media to call you? We’re talking about some of the biggest branding mistakes also that small businesses and entrepreneurs make that impact their relationship with the media. Are there other things that they do that are total no-no’s?

I think you know this from the work that you do. I think when people are not really clear about the points they want to make with the media then if they’re doing anything on radio or on camera, it really ends up being a problem.

For example, I never practice a speech. I never rehearse or learn a script when I'm going to be on radio or TV. But you can bet, I know my 5 talking points or 4 talking points or all the points that I want to make and the stories that I want to tell. They are in my head completely. Then I'm free to just be myself and be natural.

I think the lack of preparation and really understanding what their main points are is one of the big problems people have when they're doing live media, like radio or television.

It’s about planning, preparing and practicing your sound bites so you can be free to be spontaneous.

Exactly.

You're right. A lot of people don’t have those down. They can be spontaneous but they're trying to remember what they're points are and the interviews and are not going to be structured tightly to help you actually get business from your media interviews. That’s the difference.

For somebody like Karen, Karen’s obviously experienced doing media interviews so she’s got all of her points down. She knows exactly what she wants to speak about for each particular topic and how she can twist each topic and use points for different angles. That’s something else to be prepared for.

BAMD0021 | Get the media to call you

Knowing your talking points in and out will set you one step ahead when you get the media to call you to be their expert resource.

Have we covered all the biggest mistakes, biggest branding mistakes? That’s an interesting way to look at it. I wouldn’t have considered that branding but I think it is because that’s how you're perceived live. Does that match your website and your social media, the feel, the tone?

I think it absolutely is branding. I would say the only other mistake I would highlight is that people tend to get this fear of missing out and they think they have to be doing everything. I've got to be on Instagram, I've got to be on Twitter, I've got to be doing videos, I've got to be podcasting, I've got to be going to conferences, I've got to be speaking, I've got to be blogging.

The truth is that what you have to do is pick one or two. People always think I'm nutty when I say that but it’s really true. One or two things and do them very, very, very well and very consistently. If you do that, one or two of those channels can be enough to build your brand.

You and I have talked about this, and I have the advantage of being a trained journalist and a writer. Writing is something I can do, it’s natural to me. I've basically built my business, my branding and marketing business on writing. On blogging, on writing articles, on writing books. That’s mostly the strategy that I've used.

In terms of social media, a blog was the biggest strategy that I used. My second strategy was speaking because the other thing I can do, as you know, Susan, is talk. No problem with that one.

The great thing is that you’ve deep dived into both of those. You have so much content on your blog and on your website. Obviously, with the nine books that you’ve written and then you're always speaking at conferences all over the world. You're getting clients that way but it’s also a way that you're consistently talking about this topic.

I also blog for other people. I blog for Forbes, I blog for Entrepreneur, I blog for AllBusiness, I've written articles for lots and lots of other people. It was a way to get myself out there. As you know, I just recently started doing the Branding Blowout Podcast. I started podcasting because that’s just more talking.

Exactly. Which we both love to do.

Which we both love to do, which is probably why we’re friends. We both love to eat and talk. I think the point of this is that I think one of the biggest branding mistakes people make is this feel this pull in all these different directions and then they do a lot of stuff, and none of it very well. That’s to me, a huge branding mistake. As opposed to doing a deep dive on one or two branding tactics and really being awesome at those and excellent at those.

I'm totally in agreement with you. Go where you're pulled. Like Karen said, it’s natural for her to speak and it’s natural for her to write and she’s really good at both of those things. Go where you're pulled and the media will see that and it will get the media to call you.

My friend Andrea who we just had on, Andrea Scher who we’ve just had on as well, is a photographer. I know Karen’s a photographer too. Andrea uses Instagram. She posts at least one image a day because it’s a visual medium and she’s all about joy and photography and beauty. Those things are in sync with her brand. She’s doing photography naturally, every single day. She pops those up on Facebook. She’s also a writer. Her deep dives are Facebook, Instagram and blogging. She started her following with blogging. She’s a beautiful writer. She’s got a very devoted following. Her followers also follow her on those other two mediums for the visual content.

You know you can just do visual content. I always use as an example, my friend Dewitt Jones who’s a former National Geographic photographer. He has a visual blog called Celebrate What’s Right With The World. He was a former National Geographic photographer all over the world so you can imagine how good he is. He, once a week, posts a photo that he’s taken with a quote. I think in two years he’s built it up to something like 17,000 followers. It’s basically all visual content.

What is it called? You’ll pass us that link?

Sure. It’s called Celebrate What’s Right With The World. It’s free and it’s really beautiful and inspirational and wonderful. It’s a great example of using visual content alone to drive a brand.

Are there other ways to drive interest and get the media to call you besides … Obviously, since he’s a photographer, that is very natural for him. You can take a look at his feed and see what he’s done.

You don’t have to be a photographer to do this. I love to take pictures too. I don’t even have a good camera, I do it on my iPhone. I do love that. I love taking pictures. I haven’t been posting those much because it takes so long. I'm going to hire somebody to do that because I actually love taking pictures. If you don’t love part of the process, contract it out.

By the way, I just have to disagree with you. You said, “I don’t have a good camera. I take it on my iPhone.” First of all, the best camera is the camera you have with you. That’s the first thing. The other is that, the iPhone right now is 10, 12 megapixels. The iPhone is an extraordinary camera right now. I basically use my iPhone more than I use my Canon at this point. I know a lot of photographers, including Dewitt Jones, he uses other equipment as well and who consistently use their iPhone.

If you like taking photographs, the iPhone has become an extraordinary tool for taking photographs, for placing on Instagram. Especially with all the apps that there now for fooling round with the images after you’ve done them. There’s an amazing amount of stuff you can do. I think the iPhone is one of the best tools people do have for actually starting to brand in a visual sense. Because it’s always with them if you use an iPhone, or if you use a Galaxy, basically a camera phone.

What kinds of things can they do to use their iPhone to help brand them that would be attractive to the media? What kinds of things can someone put on their website or on their social media that would get the media to call you?

For example, you can use Periscope now which is an app that lets you take really short little videos and post them to Facebook. Anybody that’s got a phone camera can do that. That’s one thing. There’s also Facebook Live where people can do that. That’s one way people can use the camera. They can also use it to take pictures and then …

Sometimes I take a picture and the picture inspires me to write about something. I’ll say, it’s very personal, I’ll say, “I was walking down the street and I saw this, blah, blah, blah.” I’ll make it into some story about branding or some blog about branding.

I just think that the ability to make your own media today with cameras that are embedded, with the cameras, the videos, the recorders that are imbedded in phones and then to instantly be able to publish them is an extraordinary way to start to build your brand in a spontaneous way. You need a planned way, but that’s the more spontaneous way.

That’s great. That’s a great point too, that there is the whatever is in the moment kind of publicity, as long as it’s well thought out and curated as well as the thoughtful plan for your social media, including blogging or podcasting or blogging or whatever that is.

Are there certain kinds of images though that the media, would be more media-genic for people on their feeds? Not that I want people to start just doing that, but to be able to put it in the mix. You do things that pull you or that draw you or that interest you or that inspire you to write a blog and then you can put that on their blog post or whatever medium you're using.

Are there certain things that the media might look for that they can either use or that attracts them or that says, “Wow, this is really interesting. This is an interesting person, I love their brand.”

Content wise, I think the answer to that is no, with two exceptions. You have to stay away from anything pornographic and you have to stay away from anything violent or illegal. Taking those three things out of the mix. I think other than those three things, anything really goes.

With this criteria, it has to be an interesting or well-taken or artistic photograph. It’s really the quality of the photograph or the interestingness of the photograph or what the photograph is communicating is what makes the difference, rather than it being a particular subject.

As you know from taking photographs and as I know from being a photographer and doing a lot of photography, every photographer, just like every artist, just like every writer, has their own voice. The more you develop your voice as a photographer, the more that your photographs will have a certain feel and look based on who you are. That is something that can start to also brand you because your photographs now have a voice. Just like your writing has a voice.

That’s a very good point by the way because I see some actually very well-known people’s Instagram feed that’s just a mess. I just think, “Wow, that’s so not in sync with what I saw in their brand or the quality of their brand.” Even though you're taking photographs, what Karen is saying is that they still have to be of high quality, high visual quality or be interesting and beautiful.

Because I've seen some that I find shocking where I was like, “I really like the website but it looks nothing like the Instagram feed.” Their photographic ability or whatever they're choosing is not in sync with what they're representing. I like that you could have your own photographic style that is as distinctive as your writing style.

You can. That’s something I have to say, I give Dewitt Jones a lot of credit for teaching me that. I came to photography fairly late in life. I was a printer and a painter and I had done all that for a long time, 20 plus years. Dewitt asked me if I wanted to learn photography. I was like, “No, I suck at photography.” He’s like, “No, really. I’ll teach you.”

He did and I think he really did teach me how to find my own voice as a photographer. It’s not only given me a lot of joy but I think … In my new website that I'm doing, I'm actually having a photography section. Not because I'm looking or anyone to hire me as a photographer but because I think it adds to the brand of who I am to say, “This is the creative side of me,” because there is a voice to my photography.

BAMD0021 | Get the media to call you

Showing your personal brand that blends with your business brand is another tactic to get the media to call you. Image from Karen's photography site.

There is. I've seen some of your photographs from India and from elsewhere that are just extraordinary. Just extraordinary moments. They don’t have anything to do with branding in that sense, but it has to do with that you love to travel worldwide.

It has to do with the personal part of my brand rather than the business part of my brand.

Exactly. What are the best ways that business owners can create buzz for their brand and get media attention?

First of all, we talked a little bit about keywords. Keywords really are important. Again, I find that for all the yapping that goes on about keywords and search engine optimization, a lot of businesses do not know their keywords. It’s really pretty simple.

One of the first things is, you got to know what your keywords and your keyword phrases are. If let’s say you’ve got ten phrases that get searched, or five, doesn’t matter, or thirty. I have a silo of thirty words that I know get searched for what I do. I start at the top of the list and I do a piece of content with that keyword in it, based on that keyword. I go to the second one then I go to the third one. When I'm all the way to the bottom of the list, I start all over again at the top of the list.

You just keep cycling them, of your thirty in your silo?

I just keep cycling those thirty through using those keywords and phrases one at a time.

If somebody doesn’t know how to get their keyword phrases, because the Google keyword tool is now gone, is there another way that they can find what their keywords are? Looking at their competitors …

There are pieces of software that people can get. I can't think of any from off the top of my head but you can Google them. There is software you can get that allow you to do that. SEMrush is one piece of software that people can use to do that. You can also hire people like me or other people who can help you figure that out. You can do it yourself by using some software or you can hire somebody. Those are the two basic ways to do it.

It’s not something so easy that you could do yourself.

It’s not that easy to do yourself unless you're a branding and a marketing expert and you can really know how to do that research. It’s not the easiest thing to do for yourself.

Great. SEO words and have about thirty. That seems like a lot.

No, I said I have thirty. Anybody might have between five and thirty. I have thirty keyword phrases that I use. Remember, my keyword phrases include the whole spectrum of what I do. Thought leadership is one of my keyword phrases, personal branding is one of my keyword phrases, CEO branding is one of my phrases. I have a variety of things that I write about that all are part of the mix of what I do and what I offer. Depending on what you do, what you offer, it’s going to be between five and thirty keywords and keyword phrases. That’s one thing people have to, the place people have to start.

The other way to build brand and buzz is to really come up with a content marketing strategy. Again, it could be visual, it could be written, it could be podcasts, it could be video, doesn’t matter. What is the content marketing strategy you're going to use to get out into the world what you do in a way that creates value for other people? Most businesses do not have that.

Therefore, they're not going to show up in that first page of Google when media is searching for them?

They're not going to show up in that first page of Google, but also when their clients go to look for them, there’s not really enough. If somebody does a search on you or me, a lot of stuff comes up that people can read that we’ve written, that has been written about us. People used to say to me, “Tell me about what you do.” Half the time now, when I say, “Do you want me to tell you what I do?” They go, “No, no. I already Googled you and looked it all up.”

They already know because there’s enough stuff that I've written and enough stuff written about me that’s out there now overtime that it’s created that brand. That’s why people need to have a content marketing strategy because otherwise they can't really get stuff out there.

That’s super important when it comes to being able to get the media to call you. What do you tell the people who are not the writers in terms of a content marketing strategy? Does podcasting count as content?

Absolutely. No question about it. Podcasting completely counts.

It doesn’t have to be writing. It could be video.

It could be visual.

It could be visual and it could be podcasting. It could be any of the other media when we say content. Lots of times when you say content, people think words on a page.

No. Content is content. It could be visual, it could be podcasting, it could be video, it could be written. Dewitt is all pictures, so no, it could be anything that is content. It could be tweeting. I know one person, his whole entire content marketing strategy is just literally 140 character tweets. High quality, consistently done. He drives all his traffic to his website from his Twitter. He converts people on his website for purchasing.

Could you say who the person is so they can take a look?

I can't.

Of course not. No worries. That would be great for people to be able to see what happens. I just want to emphasize one of the key things that you said, which is that driving people back to your website. A lot of times, when people are on Twitter, they don’t drive people back to their website. The whole point is to get people on your list.

The whole point is to get engaged with people so that you know who they are. I think the statistics are it takes something like an average of 6 points of contact before someone buys from you.

It’s actually now up to 10.

Up to 10.

It’s up to 10. It’s about 7 to 10 touches now. One of the things that we’re talking about is with your friend who, darn, you're not allowed to say his name because now I'm curious.  

Sorry. Non-disclosure agreements.

I got it. I love the idea that it’s just one strategy but he’s creating engagement. I didn’t mean to just say drive it back to your website like that. The point is that you're taking somebody to your website to get more than the 140 characters because they're intrigued by your content. That gives them the opportunity to get on a list and then to convert them to a sale if they're the right kind of person who’s interested in whatever it is that he’s promoting.

Precisely.

That’s great. Was there anything that we haven’t covered that you wanted to touch on about how to get the media to call you?

No, I think we’ve covered a lot. I wanted to say, the book is out but also I have started this new podcast, The Branding Blowout. It’s going to be up very soon. I'm interviewing an interesting person every week about the topics of branding and marketing and leadership and business.

Wonderful. Karen’s podcast is the Branding Blowout. You could also reach her at SterlingMarketingGroup.com. On there, you’ll be able to see her products and particularly if you're interested in how to get the media to call you and how to approach a reporter via HARO, that’s an excellent guide. Is your whole branding course available?

My whole branding course is available online.

I should say that it’s an entire course and it’s also available by module. If people don’t want to buy the whole course and they just want to know about the LinkedIn piece, they can just buy the LinkedIn piece or just buy the reporter piece. They can either buy the whole thing or they can just buy modules.

That’s terrific. If you do know what your content marketing strategy is and it’s just one of those, you can purchase just one module. If you don’t have those seven elements yet of the brand so you can get ready for the media and get the media to call you, it would be a great idea to go through the whole entire course. Karen and I have done some private branding things at Cavallo Point Spa.

By the pool, in our robes.

By the pool, in our robes, next to a roaring fire.

That’s where we do our branding sessions. I want to say, that’s actually a really important point that we didn’t point that we didn’t make today that we should. You're one of the best at what you do in your industry and you're an expert at branding and marketing. I'm really good at what I do in branding and marketing. Whenever you are trying to do some branding for yourself, you come to me. Whenever I'm trying to do some branding or marketing for myself, I come to you.

The point being that I think it’s super hard to do this stuff for yourself, even if you're an expert at it. If you're not an expert at it, it’s really hard to do this for yourself. I think people sometimes get into this mindset of, “I should be able to do this for myself,” when the reality is even the people that are experts, like you and I, we can't even do it for ourselves. We have to go to someone like each other to help us. I think that’s a really important point to make.

It’s a totally important point. I hired a media coach for my book tour for Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul. I couldn’t do that myself. You and I do that exchange, that I media train you and you help me with branding. It’s really hard to discover your own genius in what you do. I think that to take a look and see what’s hard for you and hire people for that and do what’s easy for you, that works and go with that.

Absolutely, something like this, no, I could not do it for myself. Either sound bites or branding. That was really helpful to have our session by … I was going to say session by the sea, but session by the pool. Delicious food and fabulous things at Cavallo Point. Karen Leland, thank you so much for being our guest today. I can't wait to actually read your book on how to get the media to call you, which I'm going to be getting in the next couple days.

You're going to be getting it when we go to Cavallo Point next week.

I can't wait. Thanks so much.

Thank you.

About Karen Leland

Karen Leland is the CEO of Sterling Marketing Group, which is a branding and marketing strategy and implementation firm, helping CEOs, businesses and teams develop stronger personal and business brands. Clients include AT&T, American Express, Marriot Hotels, Apple Computer, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She’s the bestselling author of nine books. She writes regularly for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. The most recent book, is The Brand Mapping Strategy, Design, Build and Accelerate Your Brand. She’s spoken for Harvard, Stanford, YPO, the AMA and been interviewed on the Today’s Show, CNN, CNBC and Oprah. To reach her, go to SterlingMarketingGroup.com

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Media Training Tips for CEOs

Media Training Tips for Entrepreneurs, Authors, Coaches, Consultants, CEOs

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Podcast Reviews
  • A geniune way to build your business
    August 26, 2016 by Siriusjane from United States

    Loved this podcast. I found it very helpful and informative. Susan has a very open, friendly, riveting approach to promoting one's business and self. Her sharp insights and her real-life examples and guests can really help a business going from a start-up to a viral presence. I recommend this highly if you want to get your message out there with a genuine approach. Even the poetry speaks to the importants of our words. Check out all the episodes.

  • Invigorate Your Message!
    August 24, 2016 by Michele L. Plunkett from United States

    Winsome wisdom evokes and embodies the expertise of Susan Harrow; ensuring enlivening opportunities and outcomes through her podcasts and programs! Grow your business and income with the stellar style of Susan's endearing and enriching coaching! Susan Harrow Media Coaching and Marketing Strategies provide vitalizing results to invigorate your message when you implement her training!

  • Excited!
    August 24, 2016 by Delia McCabe from Australia

    Love Susan's work - her book and emails and short eBooks are all filled with enthusiasm and sparkle! So excited to be able to listen to her too now!

  • Susan makes publicity doable, authentic, + fun! !
    August 15, 2016 by SherryBelul from United States

    I'm thrilled to see that Susan Harrow is doing this podcast! I've taken a number of Susan's courses and I just love how warm, accessible, and doable her work is. Susan is an amazing trainer who is knowledgable about *all* aspects of publicity and media training, but she never overwhelms us with too much at once. She makes everything bite sized. (Sound-bite sized!) This podcast is no exception. You'll love the stories she tells to illustrate he points because they help make the information memorable. And she gives simple things to practice with. If you want to grow your business, I highly recommend this podcast. Not only will you love the training, I know you will love Susan's generous heart + authentic teaching style.

Search Podcasts

 


Be a Possibilian


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Be a Possibilian

For my first podcast I want to say to you to be a possibilian. To imagine that anything is possible. My parents raised me to go after what I wanted until I got it and it wasn’t always easy.  In fact most of the time like things like loving a man, getting a book deal, getting my black belt in Aikido, those things came equal part heartache, hard work, and joyful effortlessness.  And rarely is something I think purely pleasurable over an extended period of time.

So I think there’s a myth that when you get something, whether it be an award or whatever that it is for you, you think that it’s going to like suddenly the bird of blue bird of happiness is going to come and land on your shoulder and that will be the end of it. I just don’t think it works like that.

David Eagleman Be a possibilian

Be a possibilian

However one way that it does work is what I saw in an episode of scandal. I’m a little bit behind on the episodes. But it was the show where Olivia Pope tells Edison why she won’t marry him. She says,  “I don’t want normal, and easy and simple.  I want painful, difficult, devastating, life-changing extraordinary love.”

What I think she’s really saying there too is that she wants the relationship to be interesting.  I thought that their relationship was so boring. The relationship that she has with the president is interesting. It’s also fraught.

But going back to being a possibilian.  I heard on the radio a story about a man named Dr. David Eagleman. He’s a neuroscientist and he thought that the definition of religion was just too narrow. That the Atheists on one side and the religious right on the other monopolized the conversation. And that there was a lot more room on the spectrum for different ideas. He talks about that there are lots of different types of beliefs and thoughts that describe the world.

So he called himself a possibilian on an NPR show. I just made little notes to for this particular episode that you hear. I didn’t know that they would be crinkling so loudly.

But anyway in his lab after the show he went back to his computer and his email box was bursting with hundreds of emails from people saying claiming that they too are possibilians. That they too embrace this word, this new way of thinking, this expanded way of thinking.

David Eagleman did three things that you might want to consider — and this is part of being a thought leader — and you don’t even have to be a thought leader to do this. But just think about these three things.

1. He expressed his heartfelt hope for a better world.

This is something that thought leaders do. They don’t necessarily solve problems as much as they suggest possibilities. They challenge the status quo.

2. He found a way to bring people together and to get them talking. 

He began a movement. When people are moved into action they find other people of like minds and suddenly there’s a massive amount of people who want to be a part of the same thing. This is the most effective kind of PR on the planet when something happens because it’s organic.  Or because it gets us thinking and it resonates with it resonates with people. It just happens naturally.

3. He bought the domain. 

This is your practical side. He bought the domain possibilian even though he had no idea what he was going to do with it. But when an idea has legs and people respond to it you need to act fast and do whatever you need to do to jump into action. I call this following your gypsy spirit. When you’re moved into action you want to go with it and take action, boop! like right away.

How to be a possibilian

Possibilian movement

So be a possibilian. And when in a media interview or giving a talk feel free to state the future dream of yours. Express what it is you feel strongly about. Don’t hold back. Don’t hesitate to discuss what moves you.

You’re already a possibilian and I can’t wait to hear all of the other ways that you are going to be a possibilian

Feel free to use my speak pipe and tell me how you’re a possibilian. I’d love to hear about it.

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Can't Figure Out Publicity?

How Do I Get Publicity?

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Want to know how to subscribe on your phone? Watch this video.

Want to be a guest on my Podcast? Jet me an email with your topic and a link to your bio here.

Send Susan a Voice Message!

Click below to send me your voice message with a question or topic you’d like to hear more about in my upcoming podcasts! I will answer the most pressing and popular ones in a future episode. (I’ll mention your first name ONLY to protect your privacy.)

Susan Harrow Podcast

I'm here to give you everything you need to get you ready for the media spotlight so you can live the life you dream of. Let’s begin together with the Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul Membership Club to get you set for your time to shine.

Subscribe to Podcast

Subscribe to Be A Media Darling Podcast on iTunes
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Podcast Reviews
  • A geniune way to build your business
    August 26, 2016 by Siriusjane from United States

    Loved this podcast. I found it very helpful and informative. Susan has a very open, friendly, riveting approach to promoting one's business and self. Her sharp insights and her real-life examples and guests can really help a business going from a start-up to a viral presence. I recommend this highly if you want to get your message out there with a genuine approach. Even the poetry speaks to the importants of our words. Check out all the episodes.

  • Invigorate Your Message!
    August 24, 2016 by Michele L. Plunkett from United States

    Winsome wisdom evokes and embodies the expertise of Susan Harrow; ensuring enlivening opportunities and outcomes through her podcasts and programs! Grow your business and income with the stellar style of Susan's endearing and enriching coaching! Susan Harrow Media Coaching and Marketing Strategies provide vitalizing results to invigorate your message when you implement her training!

  • Excited!
    August 24, 2016 by Delia McCabe from Australia

    Love Susan's work - her book and emails and short eBooks are all filled with enthusiasm and sparkle! So excited to be able to listen to her too now!

  • Susan makes publicity doable, authentic, + fun! !
    August 15, 2016 by SherryBelul from United States

    I'm thrilled to see that Susan Harrow is doing this podcast! I've taken a number of Susan's courses and I just love how warm, accessible, and doable her work is. Susan is an amazing trainer who is knowledgable about *all* aspects of publicity and media training, but she never overwhelms us with too much at once. She makes everything bite sized. (Sound-bite sized!) This podcast is no exception. You'll love the stories she tells to illustrate he points because they help make the information memorable. And she gives simple things to practice with. If you want to grow your business, I highly recommend this podcast. Not only will you love the training, I know you will love Susan's generous heart + authentic teaching style.

Search Podcasts

 


3 Gifts Hidden Inside Every Pang of Jealousy

Sunita (name changed) walked into the dojo, confident, regal and self-possessed to begin practicing Aikido.

For some people — including me — studying Aikido (The Japanese Martial Art, called The Way of Harmony that works as a way to polish the spirit, to turn lead into gold) is a slow, awkward, and arduous process. It can take years — decades, even — to master the intricate movements and achieve a level of skill and grace that would be considered “masterful.”

I’ve been practicing this martial art for almost six years. Even though I’ll be taking my black belt test in a few weeks, much of the time I still feel like a hulking Clydesdale, tromping around inelegantly.

Which is why I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy (OK, more than just a “twinge”) watching Sunita, the “new girl” at the dojo, pick up all of the basic moves so quickly — and effortlessly.

As a former gymnast, Sunita already has a great deal of physical intelligence, balance, coordination, and the ability to memorize patterns and dance-like movements quickly. Oh, and did I mention that she’s also drop-dead gorgeous and mesmerizing to watch?

Yeah.

It was hard not to feel jealous.

Girl dancing dark autumn_Lies Thru a Lens

Self-Esteem for women Photo Credit: Lies Thru a Lens

Jealousy is a funny emotion. I’ve found that — no matter how “evolved” you think you are, and no matter how fiercely you try to deny that it’s happening (“Nope! I’m not jealous, no, not at all…”) it has a way of creeping back into your body and taking over — if you allow it.

I see this happen with my clients all the time, and unfortunately, it can be detrimental to their success.

Just a few weeks back, a woman in my monthly training program confessed that she’s been hesitating on moving forward with a crucial piece of her publicity plan because she feels like one of her “business heroes” is “so much better” than her, so much “farther along” with her business, with a more attractive website and legions of online fans, and polished programs — so what’s the point of even trying? She feels like, “Why even bother? I ought to just give up now, because I’ll never be able to measure up!”

I probably don’t have to spell out why that kind of thinking is so harmful.

Imagine if J.K. Rowling had said to herself, “Oh, plenty of other people have written stories about wizards. J.R.R. Tolkien already wrote a whole bunch of wizard-y books, years ago, and he’s a much better writer than me. He already has tons of adoring fans. I have none. Plus, 12 publishers have rejected my manuscript for Harry Potter. I’ll just quit now.”

When jealousy turns into creative-paralysis — freezing you in place, holding you back from doing the work you feel called to do — nobody benefits. The world is left bereft, with a “gap” where your finest contribution ought to go.

On some level, I’m guessing you already know this. You get that jealousy can be a harmful emotion if it’s left untamed and undirected. The question on your mind might be, “So, if I’m feeling jealous of someone — say, a business competitor, peer, athlete, or even a good friend — what can I do about that?”

Here are three acts of “emotional alchemy” (that is, transforming one emotional state into another) that I recommend trying. Or, to word it differently, three “gifts” or “opportunities” that are hidden inside of every twinge of jealousy…

1. Turn jealousy into an opportunity to “steal the technique.”

Watching Sunita’s graceful movements, I found myself thinking, “I want my body to move like that. I want my mind to be more still.”

When there’s something I want, I’ve trained myself to shift out of “jealous lurker mode” and into “student mode.” I began to study her more closely, picking up cues, copying her subtle movements, learning through imitation, asking that I can absorb her qualities and make them mine.

Aikido braid B&W_Øystein Alsaker

Aikido Martial Arts Training Photo Credit: Øystein Alsaker

Later, even though I was advising her, since I’m her “sempei” or senior (though based on years and experience that doesn’t necessarily mean superior in skill), I could feel her technique and that, in itself taught me. I noticed myself improving. Just by being near her I felt myself becoming more calm.

In Aikido we call this “stealing the technique.” Actually, I’m not just jealous of Sunita. I’m jealous of everyone in the dojo. Every single person who trains at Bay Marin Aikido has a quality or movement I envy.

In fact, I’ve written down those qualities and techniques and consciously practice them on the mat. I have a list that I review before going to training and take one per night to focus on. This is a variation on what Saito Sensei, who trained directly with O’Sensei advised.

My sensei (teacher) Hans Goto Sensei explained it this way: “Work on one thing and then you’ll get it. That’s yours. And then you can work on another one thing. That’s what Saito Sensei said. He said, ‘You can try and work on too many things each class you’ll get zero. 30 days of zero still equal zero. But if you only try to get one thing out of each class after 30 days you have 30 things.’ This is huge.”

Jealousy doesn’t have to “freeze” you. It can be turned into motivational fuel, inspiring you to study and train more precisely, more intensely. Or perhaps, simply try something new to achieve the result that you want. It can be an opportunity to “steal the technique” and learn from the best.

2. Turn jealousy into an opportunity to return to the present and rejoice in the success of others.

When I feel my mind spinning into intense jealousy, it’s usually a signal that I have “left” the present moment. Instead of focusing on the Aikido technique that I’m trying to master, or the blog post I’m trying to write, or the webinar that I’m trying to deliver, or the client I am trying to coach, my mind has gone somewhere else.

My mind is caught up in what other people are doing and how they are doing it better. That kind of mental departure leads to distracted, fragmented work. It’s hard to do your best work when you’re not fully engaged in the present moment and it just doesn’t feel good either.

When I sense that happening, I take a few deep breaths to center myself back in my body, back in the present moment. Sometimes I say silently, “OK, I’m back here now.” Everything feels better once I’m “back,” and in that more centered place, I let go of the envious feelings and focus on what I’m working on in the moment.

Ginny Breeland Sensei says, “The Breath provides a bridge to subtle energies that can nourish. It is the connection for the Mind to the Body and the Here to the Now. On the mat it allows us to go from tension to relaxation, from confusion to a clarity, from irregular motion to coordinated ease.

In life it can quell a sense of separation and allow us to find that comforting sense of interconnection. It can take us beyond ourselves.

Let attention allow us see ourselves with a new reverence.

Study the Breath. The most profound things lie close at hand.”

So the breath can connect us to the very person we envy thus dissolving the separation between us. It brings us closer to what we want and who we want to be and gives us the chance to “see ourselves with new reverence.”

Aikido B&W girl throw_Øystein Alsaker

How to turn jealousy into an asset Photo Credit: Øystein Alsaker

Another way to look at this is that whenever jealous feelings arise for me I’m being pulled off center. One of the key principles of Aikido is to keep your center and take your attacker’s center, to get them off balance so they are light and easy to throw. It’s often said that someone asked O’Sensei, the founder of Aikido, “How is it you never get pulled off center?” And he replied that, just like everyone else, he does get pulled off center but he has trained himself to get back to center so quickly you can’t see it. So the more you practice pulling yourself back to center the faster you’ll be able to do it. And soon, like O’Sensei, your process will be “invisible” and incorporated into how you handle jealousy, and ultimately, self-acceptance.

3. Turn jealousy into an opportunity to reflect on your own strengths, skills, desirable assets, and “swallow the world in one gulp.”

Curly haired women long for smooth locks. Straight-haired women spend hours trying to add curls and waves.

Skinny women yearn for Marilyn Monroe-esque curves. Curvy girls wish they could slim down and look like a runway model.

A struggling yoga studio owner might long for more money, more influence, or a big team to manage. A successful CEO might wistfully yearn for quiet days filled with minimal responsibilities, no meetings, and plenty of time to practice yoga.

So many of us crave the opposite of what we have! It’s almost comedic.

I admire Sunita’s instant, effortless grace on the Aikido mat. One day, in the dressing room, she mentioned that she found me a patient teacher who didn’t condescend. Who knew? Another woman in the dojo startled me by saying she was studying my conversational skills. I know I’m much more fluent verbally than physically, but had no idea that someone would study what comes naturally to me.

We all have skills and strengths that other people find enviable. Sometimes, though, caught up in a whirlwind of jealousy, we can’t see our own gloriousness.

Samurai Sword_Alex Masters

The Neuroscience of happiness Photo Credit: Alex Masters

Not surprisingly, self-acceptance is a key happiness factor.

Christopher Bergland, a world-class endurance athlete, coach, author, and political activist noted, “A 2014 survey by psychologists who study happiness identified ‘ten keys to happier living’ including daily habits that make people genuinely happy. In an unexpected finding, the psychologists at the University of Hertfordshire who performed the survey found that the habit which corresponded most closely with being happy — and satisfied with overall life — is self-acceptance.”

Unfortunately, self-acceptance was also the “happiness habit” that participants in the survey practiced the least. The new study is titled “Self-Acceptance Could Be the Key to a Happier Life, Yet It’s the Happy Habit Many People Practice the Least.””

Dr. Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness, said: “Our society puts huge pressure on us to be successful and to constantly compare ourselves with others. This causes a great deal of unhappiness and anxiety.”

An antidote to comparing ourselves to others is a Buddhist practice that asks, “Can you be happy for their (the person you are jealous of) success?” You notice your jealous feelings. Stop. Take a breath and simply ask this question. You can do this anywhere, anytime. Can you be happy for this person’s success? Even rejoice in it? At the heart of this practice is the realization that it’s actually changing you. It’s not just for Karma points. You are getting something from engaging in the very act of transforming your feelings from envy into good will toward another person.

Reverse the negative thought by giving a blessing

Reverse the negative thought by giving a blessing

We may even be able to extend this same practice to ourselves in a direct way by doing what Dr. Mark Williamson recommends, “Ask a trusted friend or colleague to tell you what your strengths are or what they value about you.”

But don’t stop there, because as psychologist Rick Hanson, author of the best-selling Buddha’s Brain says, “The mind is like Velcro for negative experiences, and Teflon for positive ones.”

He references John Gottman’s study that found in important relationships “a negative interaction in an important relationship is five times more powerful than a positive interaction.”

To counteract this “negativity bias” effect, Hanson recommends that we really savor a person’s positive words. “The way to remember something is to make it intense, felt in the body, and lasting. That’s how we give those neurons lots and lots of time to fire together so they start wiring together. So rather than noticing it and feeling good for a couple of seconds, stay with it. Relish it, enjoy it, for 10, 20, or 30 seconds, so it really starts developing neural structure.”

And lastly, “Sense and intend that this positive experience is sinking into you and becoming a part of you. In other words, it’s becoming woven into the fabric of your brain and yourself.”

When our body and mind are so full of our own happiness it leaves less room for jealousy and makes it easier to be happier for others.

Another way to counteract jealousy is to consider that that moment of “outward longing” might be your cue to pause and turn your gaze inward. Ask yourself, “What are some of the qualities that I possess that others might find desirable, enviable, or beautiful?”

Maybe you have tremendous poise, perseverance, a sense of balance, a wry sense of humor, mental grit, physical endurance, playfulness, seriousness, graciousness, an uncanny ability to say just the right thing at just the right time, or the ability to know when to listen and say nothing at all.

Return to the qualities that make you… you. Make a mental list or write them down.

Refer back to your list when feelings of jealousy are starting to feel overwhelming.

Remember who you are, beneath the noise. Remember what you add to the world.

Aikdo Sword Kyoto_Alex Masters

Neuroscience how to train your brain Photo Credit: Alex Masters

The stark reality is that there will always be people who are more seasoned, more experienced, and more popular than you. 

You might feel like you will “never catch up” with them, and you are quite right.

You will never “catch up” with people that you admire deeply, because you are not them. You are you.

You have your own stories to tell, books to write, products to launch, projects to bring forth into the world. In the end, who knows? You might become bewilderingly successful — in the conventional, making-millions-of-dollars sense of the term — beyond your wildest dreams, surpassing all of your personal heroes as you skyrocket ever-upwards.

Or, instead of making millions you might move millions with your words, your deeds, your presence.

Or you might achieve success on a far humbler, though no less meaningful, scale. Who knows?

One thing is certain:

True success is not about being “as good” or “better” than somebody else.

It’s about using all that you have been given to the fullest and maxing out your potential. 

That’s the person that your clients, your customers, your fellow martial arts students, and media audiences all want to meet.

As O’Sensei says, “Never become stagnant. Train your body, forge your spirit, and swallow the world in one gulp! Stand boldly, with confidence, wherever you find yourself. Make use of all your innate power and you can accomplish anything.”

On that note, it’s time for me to finish this up, head to the dojo and swallow the world in one gulp.

Dear Jealousy:

Domo arigato gozaimashita.

(Thank you very much for what you have taught me.)


Love Beads and Bergamot

My sweetie and I were sitting in a booth at Chevy’s in Richmond, right after visiting Annie’s Annuals to get some of her incredible plants (cappuccino sunflowers, dahlias, violas, hollyhocks). As we sloppily ate the fire-roasted salsa (my fav) I noticed the guy across from me with his amazing array of super colorful bracelets and necklace — kinda like you’d wear when you were a kid. I wanted to take a photo of him, and Will encouraged me as I felt a bit shy about asking. But I did it. We asked if he made the jewelry and he said some. Others had been given to him. And explained that he went to parties where they exchanged the jewelry with each other.

080815-1

Brand you

As he left he came to our table and asked me if I wanted a bracelet. He put it on my wrist and said, “But first, I’ll teach you what we do when we give it.” He held up his hand in a peace sign and I did the same and we held our fingers together. Next was love, our hand in a C. Then was respect, palm to palm. Last was… unity and we laced our fingers together. Peace. Love. Respect. Unity. I did a short video re-enactment so I could remember it.

080815_video

branding management

I’m wearing the bracelet now as I write this about to continue to work on my new website and realized that one of my hopes is that… my website conveys these things.

For a long time, my website hasn’t felt like me, and that pained me deeply. I’d outgrown the design and feel. So it has felt out of alignment. I had to wait 9 months to get Paul Jarvis the web designer I wanted (it was SO worth it!). We started in February. Completed the design in March. And a team of us have been working madly transferring and editing the content as we populate it.

It’s been both a purifying and maddening process. Maddening for so many little details and decisions. Purifying, for letting go of what no longer represents who I am or what I do. Since I like to see things happen fast so this has been a huge exercise in patience and endurance. There have been many moments of little temper tantrums and crying in the kitchen.

To help calm myself I read The Art of Stillness: Adventures in going nowhere by Pico Iyer. I’ve put Ed Sheeran (who I’m kinda in love with) on the CD player and lit a Sydney Hale Co bergamot and black tea candle. I’ve gone to Aikido even when exhausted and crabby. I’ve immersed myself in the garden too. I figure pleasuring the senses will help neutralize frustration and fatigue.

To give you a little tour of my new website I’ve highlighted a number of new gifts and guides that I made for you can enjoy.

I’m particularly proud of this. As it’s been 15 years in the making.

To purification,

Susan

P.S. Want to be my podcast guest?

I’ll be starting a Podcast soon and I’m looking to interview you if you got featured in the media. Jet me a quick email and tell me a bit about your experience (and be sure to include your website). If I think your story is a good match I’ll ping you right back to set up a time to talk. If you’re chosen you’ll get in front of an audience of hundreds of thousands and, of course, we will so our best promote you and your expertise gracefully integrated into the Podcast interview using the same principles we teach in the Your Signature Sound Bites course.

P.P.S. If you find any glitches or irritations in the new website please let us know!

P.P.P.S. I’m moving away from Facebook onto Instagram to share my “behind the scenes” life. So follow me (and maybe “like” some pics that appeal) over there where you’ll find a photo that won me a Sydney Hale Co. candle! So thrilled.

P.P.P.P.S. Live in the San Francisco Bay Area? Come to a coaching salon in the garden! I’d love to meet you in person.

For You

Looking to go far fast? Ultra Super Saver Bundle (All my creations – minus the ones I’m no longer proud of) for a hefty 75%+ off.

Curious about the Sound bite and Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul E-course combo? Try it for $1. (30 day guarantee).

Want to work together. Here are the many wonderful ways. (Choose your delight).

Haven’t found your JoySpot, the place where joy and profit meet? (Book a session now.)

Think you can’t afford me? You can! Get group coaching every month in the Q&A in the Membership Club (+ fab lessons).

Want eye and heart candy? Quote-Poems to inspire you. (Perfect for social media engagement + happy-making).

Need a media list? 50 Top Media Contacts. (Right on the home page).

Yearning to learn? Masterclass trainings here. (Fun and fast).

Seeking the latest blueprints, PR and tech tools? Look no further. (What I use).

Aaaaaand, more free reports

Aching for a reading binge? Hop on over to the blog. (See the ENTIRE list of posts + get more PDF downloads).

That’s it for the lalapalooza!


Snap. Post. Kaching: 4 Ways to Get Engagement and Sales on Instagram

Guest post by Melissa Camilleri

As long as you haven’t been living under a rock the past couple years, you’ll know that Instagram should be a key component to your online marketing strategy, especially as a service-based business, where the competition often believes Instagram will not work for them. Newsflash: it can and it will. With over 300 million+ active users, it’s pretty certain your people are on Instagram. So, it behooves you to show up there, too.

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Likely, you already have a presence on Instagram. If you’re anything like I was when I first started using the platform, your growth has been slow going and your reach not quite multiplying in the way you see it happening for other businesses. It’s frustrating to be in this space. In fact, I know that feeling well.

It took me one full year to grow my following on Instagram to 1000. But I was determined and focused. I observed and took action. I put in place some key strategies that took my Instagram (@shopcompliment) from 1000 to 17,000 the following year. These days, I’m adding an average of 1500 new followers per month and get 70% of my website traffic and conversions from Instagram. I’m selling multiple five-figures month after month, and my Instagram strategy is a large part of that.

 

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 11.00.35 AMI have no special photography or tech training under my belt. Just sheer will + an iPhone + a pretty good sense about people. There are some key things you can do to make sure your efforts on Instagram are giving you a solid ROI for your time– no matter your business model.

Here are my Instagram marketing tips –  four things you can start doing today to give you the foundation to start actually making money on Instagram:

1. Show up consistently.

It is essential that if you have an Instagram account, you are posting at least once a day to maintain a part of the conversation. Posting consistently will keep you top of mind in your customer’s heads. Did you know that studies show that a potential customer has to interact with a brand a minimum of 7 times before ever taking action? The more you post, the quicker this will happen. I do suggest posting no more than 3 times per day, with your posts at least 3-4 hours between posts. Anything more frequent will just clog your followers’ feeds and get annoying.

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2. Get social.

Interact with the people who comment on your photos. @Mention them back. Ask them questions. Share your gratitude. And don’t be afraid to leave comments on other people’s pictures, too. Be generous with your likes. Follow back people who are consistently interacting with you. It’s called a social network for a reason! Let people get to know you, and seek ways to get to know your followers.

3. Post with your ideal customer in mind.

What does she like about your brand? What is on her mind at the time of the day you’re posting? What does she talk about with her friends? Where is she when she buys from you? What are her dreams? What are her problems and how does your product solve them? When you write the captions of your photos, keep her in mind. Write directly to her. You’ll find that your engagement will grow authentically with people who are excited about what you’re putting out into the world.

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4. Understand that your numbers are less important than engagement.

Don’t get me wrong, the number of followers you have is definitely important. Followers act like little votes of confidence and give your brand credibility. And because people do what they see other people do, the more followers you have, the more followers you will get.

But, what good is a bunch of followers who don’t ever book your services? (I’ll give you a hint: NO GOOD AT ALL.) Numbers aren’t everything. Authentic engagement is what matters most. You build engagement by building relationships. By putting some key strategies into place (like the ones listed above), you can make sure that you are building trust and turning the followers you do have into raving fans and eventual customers.

 

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Melissa Camilleri is the Founder + Creative Director of Compliment– a gift brand she launched in 2011 while she was a full-time high school English and AVID teacher. She credits Instagram for helping her grow her business from a production line on her dining room table to the socially-responsible corporation it is now. At the urging of her business-owner friends who wanted to replicate her marketing success. Tens of thousands have attended her virtual courses, participated in her workshops, and studied under her guidance. She believes we rise by lifting others. She lives and loves in Northern California.

Say hello to Melissa on Instagram @shopcompliment.

Want more ways to leverage Instagram for your service or product-based business?

Register now for FREE webinar with Melissa Camilleri


The Top 7 Tips to Getting on TV

By Guest Blogger Gina Rubinstein

Every time you turn on the radio or TV, you see a so-called expert being interviewed. The Today Show, CNN, Talk Radio, local morning shows and all the rest rely on these experts to give background and insight on the hot topics of the day.  For these experts, the result of being on TV or radio is that their BOOK SALES SOAR, they become an IN-DEMAND SPEAKERS, and one media booking leads to more.

This can be you.

As a TV producer, I can tell you from experience that we are always on the hunt for guests and experts who shine.  Actually, we are desperate to find smart and funny people.

In my career, I’ve cast thousands of people for talk shows and other types of reality TV, and said “No” to many thousands more.  I’ve coached many authors and speakers who were looking to promote themselves and their products on TV so they could do the best job possible.  As the one you must get past, the one who says “Yes” or “No,” I can tell you what you need to get booked AND THE MISTAKES THAT CAN TORPEDO OPPORTUNITIES.

Here are the top 7 tips to getting booked on TV:

1. Be authentic: So many people try to be what they think is “right” and come across stilted and rehearsed instead.  I coached my client Judy Carter on how to be authentic and within 30 seconds of being on TV with Marie Osmond, Marie sat on her lap because she liked her so much.

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2. Connect your expertise to a current hot topic.  In order to get the attention of mass media, you need to build a bridge from your expertise to what’s hot in the news. A client of mine who wrote a book on parenting got onto a show about legalizing marijuana because she had advice for parents who want to say “yes” to pot for themselves and “no” to pot for their kids.

3.  Have a compelling elevator pitch – In three or four sentences I need to know who you are, why I should listen to you, what problem you’re going to solve, how if affects me and what fresh ideas you have as solutions. A client of mine found herself in an elevator with a radio producer, gave her pitch, and by the time the elevator got to her floor she was booked on the producer’s show.

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4. Talk in sound bites: In our ADD, double latte culture, no one has the time or interest to listen to someone who rambles on or goes off on tangents. In order to be media presence you need to express yourself concisely, in a few short, punchy sentences.

5. Make your points using compelling stories: Your stories give your message the one thing that facts can’t — heart. You need to emotionally connect with audiences and these stories are the way.

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6. Work in your best credentials in a clever way: Nothing is more boring that an arrogant name-dropper. But, it’s important for the audience to know your credentials. I teach my clients to reveal their credentials in anecdotes that enhance who they are in a natural, unforced way.

 7. Have a hot sizzle reel:  90% of the sizzle reels I see have bad audio, are too long, and don’t showcase the expert’s personality immediately. A sizzle reel should be short (3 minutes max, and shorter is better), and should present you as an attractive person who’s an expert in their field and can reach people’s hearts as well as minds. I’ve produced several sizzle reels for clients and all have gotten TV and radio appearances as a result.

Gina Rubinstein is a Los Angeles-based media coach who helps her clients grow their business through the media. For more info go to here. For a free evaluation, please fill out this short questionnaire.


8 Website Conversion Trends Could Transform Your Business in 2015

By Guest Blogger Marisa Murgatroyd

Blink your eyes three times.

That’s 1 second — the amount of time it takes for 10 new websites to hit the internet. (That’s 86,400 new sites each day!)

Holy Christmas! How do you compete against that?

It’s actually easy.

  1. First, stop following the latest & greatest “web design” trend articles that get put out every year. Web designers can tell you what’s new & what looks good, but they’re rarely experts in what works to CONVERT traffic into results online.
  2. Second, implement these 8 new conversion trends I’ve identified. (By sticking to whatconverts, you’re guaranteed that you’ll get a return on your investment.)

Here they are, starting with the MOST important one of all. The one trend to rule them all.

1. The World Has Gone Mobile.

Last year, mobile, cell & tablet internet usage surpassed desktop for the first time — up to 67% of people are now visiting you with a small(er) screen.

So what”, you ask? Well – think about it this way young Padawan.

If YOUR site looks craptastic on smaller screens, what do you think up to 67% of your visitors are going to do?

That’s right — they’re going to hit the back button as fast as their fat fingers can find it.

Without a great mobile experience, all of the hard work you’ve done up until now (and money you’ve spent) will be for nothing because you could be losing up to 67% of your traffic INSTANTLY.

No, I’m not trying to make you feel bad here right off that bat. On the contrary. Take this as a great opportunity to get out ahead of this huge trend and bring in a bunch of new business that are currently visiting you on their tablets from their couch.

Quick plug: I’ve got more information about how to do just that in my upcoming trainings on Jan 14 and 15. It’s free to attend and you can get more info here.

OK – so moving on to the next trends.

2. Big, gorgeous, full-width graphics and videos!

Global internet speeds have increased 2-3x in the last few years, bringing with it demand for more episodes of The Walking Dead, along with demand for more “eye candy”.

This means designers are now featuring large photos, graphics and videos that stretch full-width across a web page – expanding to fill an extra large monitor or shrinking down to fit a small handheld device.

The upside for you is that these large image areas grab your visitor’s full attention helping them focus on the thing you want them to do.

3. Modular Organization of Pages

It’s easier to scroll down a page on mobile devices then it is to click a small button. Web pages are getting longer and making greater use of full-width graphics and backgrounds to organize the page into “modules” that focus visitor’s attention on one concept at a time.

In case you’re wondering, your “So What” factor is this…

Many of us were taught to think about websites one page at a time. But website structure is evolving along with the technology, and we need to start thinking about them one section or module at a time.

(More on that in my upcoming free webinar! Woot!)

4. Sticky Nav. (AKA navigation…)

As pages are getting longer, it takes more time to scroll from the top to the bottom of the page, where the site navigation is usually featured.

Enter the “sticky nav”.

By minimizing the top navigation and allowing it to “stick” to the top of the page as a visitor scrolls, they now have access to the most important pages on your site at any moment in time.

5. Modals, pop-ups & “microinteractions.”

As we’ve already seen, pages are getting longer while attention is getting shorter.

This means it’s become more important to direct your visitors to thet one single action you want them to take at any given time — such as signing up for your email list or scheduling a free call.

For example, a single extra large button in your top banner launches a modal or pop-over focusing your visitors attention exclusively on inputting their name and email address.

Or a well-timed pop-up directs your audience to do the same.

6. Less text, bolder type

Just like it’s predecessor, the newspaper, people scan rather than read when they’re online, often consuming 30% or less of the text on any given page.

Up until now, smart designers have made use of bullet points, numbered lists, headlines, short paragraphs and other ways to chop text up into smaller and smaller pieces.

Now designers are using typography itself to draw attention to the handful of headlines & content that’s truly important.

Google Fonts plus low-to-no-cost type libraries are allowing businesses to craft custom font palettes that allow them to treat content like design – grabbing attention and pulling the reader in – while reducing the amount of text on a page for greater consumption.

7. Cleaner, fresher, flatter, simpler

Websites used to be jammed pixel-by-pixel with textures, graphics, tables and animations.

But the 80s are gone and these dense designs don’t convert well for seamless browsing on smaller screens.

The best sites coming online today make use of the full length (vertical scrolling) and width of the page (full page-width graphics & backgrounds) to create more spacious, modular designs that work on every screen and device.

They’re also making greater use of space and color to create cleaner, fresher designs.

8. Live chat

Only scammers still bury their contact information — social media has created a culture of transparency and accessibility where people demand conversations with businesses before making a purchasing decision.

Easy live chat technology now allows and encourages visitors to interact with business owners the exact moment they have a question, which skyrockets conversion.

MORE GOODIES:

Download Marisa’s 3 Highest Converting Home Pages (Yours Free!) 

PLUS: Jan 14 and 15 Marisa will give a live training on how to apply the ideas above and more to YOUR website.

Join Marisa free to learn the details, plus she’ll show you how you can actually have other people do all the work for you, leaving you free to concentrate on what you do best. (How cool is that?)

(Sign up for her webinar on January 14-15 and download your website templates now)


3 Tips to Avoid Social Media Madness

 

Social Media Tips

Social Media Tips
Photo by: deapeajay

Sometimes I’m totally obsessed with pinning, tweeting, and blogging. Then I catch myself….Whhhhaaaaat am I doing? This isn’t work.

Or is it?

Dunno. I go back and forth.

Is sharing this pic good for my brand because I think it’s funny—or cute?

Maybe.

Some things to think about BEFORE you post something on social media.

1. Does this link really represent a great article that will help my further my business or brand?

I admit I ALWAYS click through and read any article before I share because some people are fabulous at writing headlines/titles, but don’t deliver on content. Are you curating your content closely to make sure that you don’t send something that is potentially offensive or worthless? Don’t be in a super hurry to promote things just because others think it’s great. I’m not always of the same opinion.

3 Tips to Avoid Social Media Madness

Best times for social media posts
Photo by: Fey Illyas

2. Should I schedule my posts during optimal times?

Sometimes. I have discovered that, though our Sprout Social app may tell us the best times to tweet and post to Facebook, it doesn’t always predict who is online in the wee hours. I’ve had tons of favorites and retweets when I’m skimming for content ideas on those nights I can’t sleep.

Surprised? Yes, so was I. So don’t always believe the stats as when your tribe is or isn’t tweeting or Facebooking. Learn from your own experience. Those tools are great, but they aren’t God. They are algorithms, not people. The only way to find out what’s piquing your tribe is to choose things that please you or have already piqued others. (Though, neither is a guarantee). Lady luck plays a huge part in viralocity. As does timing and the tenor of the times.

3. Should I hire a social media manager?

Depends…

You want a social media manager who understands you and your brand and can sift through content quickly and make recommendations for posts, articles, pics and respond to people in your network in your voice. Sometimes this takes a bit of training – once you have the right person in that role.

Most of the time I leave all the social media stuff up to my social media manager Kayli Schattner to help me choose and post things I think you would like and share. That said, I send her things i want her to schedule AND I still want to approve most of the content before it gets posted. My VA Kelly has chastised me about this, saying it’s a waste of my precious time. But I’m super particular about my reputation. So that’s your own personal call.

For example, if someone makes a request that Kayli doesn’t know how to answer or feels uncomfortable answering, she’ll jet me and email so I can write up a response. We’ve created a bank of responses for the most frequently asked questions that she can tailor them to any request. That way I ensure that my followers are being handled in the way that matches my conversational style and integrity. And it saves a ton of time for all of us.

And, you’re in for a treat because…

Kayli has a few openings for a new client.

3 Tips to Avoid Social Media Madness

Social Media Marketing

Kayli is the most positive and optimistic person I know. She is always willing to help—and will tell you honestly when she doesn’t know something —or what doesn’t suit her strengths. I depend on her to handle all my social media and the administration of my blog. She’s a gem. Best to be fast. I scooped her up within an hour of interviewing her as she shined far above all the other candidates.

Here’s what she’s looking for:

Are you a creative entrepreneur or blogger looking to refine your web presence and generate leads through the power of social media? Find yourself craving more time to focus on what makes your soul happy rather than community building and small-talk? Social Media Strategist and Web Presence Consultant, Kayli Schattner, is taking on a couple of extra clients and would love to discuss how she can help you and your business. If you’d like a creative, upbeat and dedicated Social Media Manager for your business, be sure to jet her an email at: hello@thepassionpunch.com to discuss strategy and pricing.

Interested in more tips for social media? Try these: