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How to Promote Live Events Mindfully With Gorgeosity With Clare Barry

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How to Promote Live Events Mindfully With Gorgeosity With Clare Barry

Welcome everyone to the Be a Media Darling Podcast. My guest today is Clare Barry. She is a London writer and the founder of Urban Curiosity. That is creativity and wellness brand that helps busy people like all of us, slow down and spark ideas. You can find her at

I met Clare when we were both on a retreat in Bali with Andrea Scher and Juna Mustad Milano. I fell in love with her immediately. I was intrigued by her and her vivacious personality. She has a great combination. You do, Clare, have such a great combination of being both bubbly and grounded. I love that aspect of you, indeed. I invited her and we just then discussed what we could talk together about on a podcast which is how to promote live events mindfully and with gorgeosity.

Here we are. Thank you for having me.

Let’s start off with your Urban Curiosity. When I opened your website, I wanted to go because that’s a fascinating tour of London. Since this is a podcast focused on publicity, let us talk about what your event is and how you get publicity for that event.

Urban Curiosity Walkshops came about because I was a city slicker running around living life at 100 miles an hour. I was working hard climbing the career ladder, not sleeping very much, socializing, and traveling, living life fully. At the same time my lumbar spine decided that it did not like this pace of living. It was trying to tell me for a number of years that I needed to slow down. I ignored it. I stuffed medication in my mouth, I had physical therapy, I spent days laid out flat. I had epidurals and all sorts of treatment but fundamentally the thing that I needed to do, which I did not do, was to stop.

Eventually, we know where the story ends, eventually my body did that for me. I ended up having a major back surgery. While I was recovering, my rock star neurologist told me that I needed to take a daily walk. So I did. For the first time, in really the longest time, I walked slowly, less hurriedly at that point. I walked without a smart phone in my hand. I walked without my mind filled with thoughts about the future, or thoughts about the past, I begun to notice things that I walked past every single day in my journeys around the neighborhood and around this city, London, my native city.

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Urban Curiosity "walk"-shops around London.

I got really excited about the details that I saw in the architecture, the cityscape, the colors and the patterns. It helped me make connections and it sparked ideas. I came rushing home, as fast home as you can do when coming back from back surgery, because I wanted to get my pen and my paper and start writing. I had been a fiction writer. I wrote a couple of contemporary women’s novels during this time of living at this full tilt. I wanted to get back to that sense of feeling creative that I had enjoyed as a young child and as a young adult that had been abandoned for a number of years while I was climbing the career ladder. In some way I was satisfied with my fiction writing but I was not totally satisfied by that outlet.

At a certain point I realized that I was missing something. This way of walking slowly, breathing deeply and noticing what is around was something that I needed to share with other people. It helped me reignite my creativity. So I created Urban Curiosity Workshops with a number of routes throughout London with different themes. I guide people on these two hour walking, creativity, mindfulness, and digital detox sessions. They are fun. We would love to have you come on one.

I want to. I love this digital detox. I really respond to what you are talking about, getting back to the tactile universe. The digital world takes us away in way puts us in our heads and we forget about our bodies and the beautiful smells and the visual treats that we get when we walk. I walk every day and I meet puppies, old dogs, and children. Sometimes I know more about the name of the dogs than the people. But being able to sniff the flowers and take the time to enjoy and pick the kumquats in the trees. I think there is really a craving for a digital detox.

I think so. It’s not necessarily about being creative but allowing a space in your day for thoughts to occur. For instance, for years while I was working in my old corporate life I suffered from insomnia, because I crammed every waking moment of my day with stimulation and information. And so, when I collapsed into bed exhausted at the end of the day, really desperate to fall asleep because I am physically tired, my brain was wired.

It is really not surprising to me now that I was unable to sleep in those times. I did not allow the thoughts that bubbled up when I was trying to go to sleep to be processed throughout the day because I was standing in the coffee queue looking at my smart phone or I was standing at the platform waiting for my train on my smart phone.

I was afraid of being with my thoughts, afraid of letting myself daydream, to let my mind wander and make a connection. To make a connection, maybe have a space to make eye contact with that barista and say, "Hi, good morning." To have a moment to make a meaningful exchange. Which is something that is parallel to the creative piece, which is equally as important, if not more so.

To have a time for those thoughts to occur, as you've said, is so important in the creative process. It is also really important when you think about how you want to publicize and market what you've got because often times it's not about - well yes, sit down and write a marketing plan. But it is then in those relaxations when you are like taking a shower or eating your lunch while actually enjoying it, that there is this space for those thoughts and creativity to occur.

For those ideas to occur is indeed fantastic light bulb moments just like when you are in the shower. This is because, for most of us, the shower is the last place where we get to go without our smart phone.

Yes, they don't make them waterproof!

I'm sure there is a case out there that does that job. But yes, is the world going to stop turning because for a few minutes you are not online?

I was in Hawaii, and I saw someone who was in the ocean with a smart phone. I wanted to like tackle the guy. I do not want to hear you talking on your smart phone on the beach in Hawaii in the water! It is insane.

It is insane. I do have one thing I want to make clear, my life had been changed for the better because of mobile technology. I think this technology that we have is fantastic. It is allowing us to speak today even though you are in the west coast of the US and I am in London. This is fantastic as it allows us to work in different ways as well as connect with each other in different ways. That is positive. I don’t really even like the term detox in digital detox, but I prefer digital mindfulness because to suggest that my smart phone is toxic is not true. This is perfectly good and a helpful piece of technology. It is how I allow myself to interact with it that can become not positive to me if I'm not deliberate about it.

If I'm mindlessly scrolling through my Twitter feed right before bedtime, well what's that all about? I'm searching for something, I'm craving for something. It's like the same as when I open the kitchen cupboard and I'm looking for cookies, that are still not there because they weren't there the last time I looked. That's a kind of boredom, a desire, a want in me in that moment. It has nothing to do with what Twitter is going to tell me. It's about being in tune with your body and your mind, and that's a long answer to why I'm not crazy about the detox in the term digital detox.

Yeah, and I know you are going to be running these online events but right now you are running these live events. I think you've kind of answered that question why you run live events, but let's chat about that for a minute on how to promote live events mindfully.

Yes and let me expand on that, I started them with a little experiment. I felt like if it helped me it might help somebody else. It got me so excited that I decided to leave my old corporate life and embark on one of creative entrepreneurship and writing. That is partly because I reached a point in my life where I needed to be fulfilled differently. I wanted greater flexibility with the way I worked. I had had this terrible shock in my physical self and I also had family tragedies that clarified what it was that I wanted to do each day.

This experiment was not terribly strategic at first. In essence I got excited about these certain neighborhoods, I decided to make things thematic according to where I was and what was coming up for me, and what was intriguing to me. I created these routes, and I had a blend of quotes. For instance researchers at Stanford University found that walking boosts your creativity exponentially. That's not just walking outside in a lovely location. You can even just be in a basement gym and walk on a treadmill and stare at a blank wall, and still be creative. They found that for those people creativity was boosted as much as 60%.

Wow, that is amazing. I wouldn't think I would be as creative on a treadmill as walking in nature or in a neighborhood.

Exactly, and that is what I thought, but their research suggests otherwise. The first thing that I did was I find the right platform here in the UK in order to put my event on the listing and get it out in the world. I happened to use this Eventbrite site, which is a big resource of events here. I was really lucky, but also I was smart; I chose a good title for my event, and I decided that curiosity had to be in the title of all of these events. I liked the idea of it being urban, because I think that we can’t all escape to the country or the coast to get a little hit of Zen.

But if we are deliberate and mindful of how we move about in the city, we can find it here. London, in particular, is even a very green city when you search that out. The workshops are about finding everyday moments of beauty and interest and curiosity, so that it's less about being somewhere that is exquisitely scenic, per say.

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Titles are so important when it comes to being able to promote live events mindfully.

How did you come up with your title? Because I think that titles are so important for events as well as press releases or whatever. Do you have a process for that?

No, I don’t. I think it is quite instinctive. I wanted it to have either the word or the essence of curiosity. I liked it to be called Urban something. The workshop twist seems cool for me, it was a walk-shop. It stuck. One of my first routes was in East London. East London is really popular and there are lots of graffiti walking tours, lots of historical walking tours and contemporary walking tours, so the title I chose was East End Urban Curiosity Workshop. My event got picked up by the Eventbrite people and it got on their calendar. It got some exposure just by virtue of me, maybe not very strategically, picking the title that I picked. It is really crucial that you consider carefully the title that you choose.

But also that it came to you, whether it was your walking, or it came to you in one of those flashes that you really love that. It does not necessarily need to be a process. It is part of something that you are doing that allows this space for those thoughts to emerge.

Precisely, and then moving on from that, I made sure that I got in touch with people like from Time Out. I was then careful in looking for relevant hashtags in my social media accounts.

What types of hashtags did you use for that situation? First of all, some people might not know about Eventbrite, but it is here in the US. You also mentioned Time Out London, I guess we've got Time Outs but I'm not sure.

You used to, but you don't anymore. So a key thing, in hindsight, if I was being more strategic than I was then - I am now; but at the beginning, it was just this experiment that then just grew as I was talking to more and more people. There are key three things; get clear with what it is that you are offering, and who it is that is going to help. I feel that this is something that was manageable — a two-hour event that could really help a busy city slicker who was having a bad time and feeling a bit stressed and spread thin, and they wanted to connect themselves. Maybe this is someone who hasn’t put pen to paper for over 15 years just because their teacher told them that they are bad at writing.

I then expanded it to anybody. It doesn't have to be anybody who has particularly got a writing interest or background. It is much more about busy people wanting to feel calmer and feel more creative, and that is through the guided exercises that I have given them in the workshop. They go away at the end of the workshop with a greater sense of the time that they've perceived themselves not to have to pursue creative passions, versus the time that they do have if they are deliberate about the time that they choose to spend connecting online. That's something that people leave with.

Word of mouth has been really positive. Me being really happy to tell new people about what it is I do. A little bit at the beginning, I was quite anxious and shy and self-conscious about that. But now, it is very clear. This is what I do, though it might not appeal to everybody. The people who resonate with it are going to get excited about it.

When somebody asks you, "What do you do," what is it that you say? What is your quick elevator pitch?

My quick elevator pitch is that I am a writer who also leads Urban Curiosity walk-shops which are creativity and digital mindfulness sessions on foot around a variety of London areas. And that these target busy people who are stressed out and need to just slow down while unplugging and to spark ideas. This gives them space to do that.

You said that once people start writing in their journals, which you give them, do you actually make the journals?

I do. I was lucky enough to participate in a fantastic workshop run by my friend Rachel Hazel who is a book artist and teacher of book-binding. She taught me how to cut the paper and how to do coptic stitching, and all sorts of beautiful things. I decided to incorporate that in my offering.

We were talking about you putting the next course online. For those of us who don't live in London, you can go to, and very soon you will have one for people who like me, live in California, or live elsewhere so we can buy your book or your journal and write in something beautiful as we tour London with you.

This summer there will be something coming out like that. That website is where I will be posting my news first off to my mailing list.

Just to expand a little bit on your question on getting the word out, as I have come along this journey, I have realized how important collaboration is; that is getting to know others and going to networking events like Creating Mornings, I go to that here in London. It is meeting people in the real world, going to fantastic conferences like Alive in Berlin, going to retreats like the one we met on with Andrea Scher and Juna Mustad Milano in Bali, and all sorts of things. That makes it easier to reach out to people when you need the help in spreading the word. They are already your friend and they have already a sense of who you are because they have a human connection. I think there is great power in that. I believe in getting out, meeting people, and not just sitting behind my screens all day long.

It's things like reaching out to membership associations. For instance, I met a man who is a member of the National Association of Writers in Education here in the UK. They've got a community of people who are potentially exactly my audience. It's contacting those guys through their regular mail outs. It's things like Writing for Wellness Association here, the Romantic Novelists Association, all of these different organizations that I'm either a member of or that I follow. I've made sure to connect with the relevant people and let them know what I'm doing and how to encourage their community to benefit from what I'm offering. Where appropriate I also offer discounts to those people because they are members of those organizations or associations. I think that's really powerful.

More recently, partnerships that I have embarked on have been with Digital Magazines like Thoughtful. We got something that is coming out this summer. It is a really fantastic and relatively new magazine that this publication has. It really excited me because it is about meaningful living without compromising the coolness of a product that you might be interested in, or the people that you want to learn more about. I have being doing some interviews of really interesting people for them.

We are developing something that is coming out later this year which we will see some kind of collaboration between the publication and me offering some kind of Urban Curiosity exploration just for their readers. That has been really fun to explore and develop. I think it is also really helpful to me because that opens me up to a whole new community here in London which might not have come across me otherwise.

So that's the digital magazine online called I know you do live events in person, but do you also promote live events mindfully online?

I do. I currently have a number of social media profiles. I love, love, love Instagram, and I am there as @ClareBarryUK. I post most days, and I love that little moment of mindfulness. This is why I don't like digital detox. This is one act each day of finding that image that I want to record and capture and share with the world.

That is a mindful moment. How do I want that image to look? How does it lend itself to the words I want to share? How does it inspire me or speak to me in that moment? I am on Twitter with the same handle (@ClareBarryUK). I am also at Facebook at Urban Curiosity Events so that's a really good place to find out about things that are of interest and for me to share cool articles and curate good things from people online, and also share updates of all upcoming and past workshops and retreats.

You brought up something really interesting too, that social media can be mindful if you choose to do something you really love. I think a lot of times people think they have to do every social media, and Alex Franzen, who you and I both know and is my mentor, sort of experimented with it. She fooled around with Instagram and found that it wasn't for her. She built up a following very quickly but she didn't love it. She never was on Facebook. She did Twitter for a long time and then she gave that up and now she just does blogging. So go where you are called.

You used Instagram for a mindful moment, something that you really loved, the beauty of the image. I say go to the social media where you are called, you don't have to blast every single social media because it's really important to be consistent on one social media. If you are posting an image a day, that's really consistent so people get to know you. Maybe they are just visiting London, they don’t necessarily live there but they want to go to your workshop. I saw that you offer writers workshops too and there's an overnight one I wanted to go to as well. I was like, "Oh that sounds super fun."

Yeah I'm really excited. I've got a good group of people coming to my first couple of retreats at my house. It's going to be good.

I spent a long time figuring out how to word that particular page on the writers retreat on my website so that it appeals to the right person, gave them all the information that they needed, and was presented in a way where they can scan the page and they will pick up the right points in an easy way.

For the writers retreat?

Yes and that is

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Clare Barry's writers' retreat

You can see here that Clare has really easy to remember set of URLs, which is a really good thing when it comes to being able to promote live events mindfully. It's really important to remember to just keep things simple for when you need to say them when you are on the radio or have to write them out.

Exactly, because I did a collaboration with a friend recently, we came up with a workshop called Mouth and Mind. It combined creativity with mindfulness and a walk and food. It was a fantastic workshop and we are really excited to do it again. That's with Meredith Whitley from Food at Heart. But what we found, and we were playing with titles before we launched our workshop, we came up with a couple that looked great on paper but we couldn’t say them. If they don’t roll off my tongue easily, they don't make the cut if I can’t say it, because I have to say it lots and lots of times.

That's so important even with sound bites. Sometimes they look really great written, but they are not written, they are spoken. So you do have to have them be able to sound natural when you speak them. It's the same thing for titles, if you don't feel comfortable speaking them, then they are not for you even if they do sound really great on paper.

I know! And we were so sad to say goodbye to a couple of them, but we made the right choice in the end. I just want to jump back to what you said about Alex Franzen, I loved it when she put out those blog posts that were a reminder to people that we can spend a lot of our time on social media connecting with other people. But what kind of connection is that? It can be meaningful connection, but it can also be mindless connection. I really admire that she had the courage and the clarity to say that this doesn't work for me, and in fact business wise, I don't need to do this, so I'm not going to anymore. I think that was really fantastic.

I had a big love/hate, push/pull relationship with social media in the last couple of years. I have not used it as well, or leveraged it as well as I could have done from a business point of view. I felt that it was this time suck. I had a real mental block about it. I had been working with a fantastic woman here in London called Samantha Miller of, she is definitely someone worth checking out. She has helped me deconstruct it and see that it is something that doesn't have to be over us, it doesn't have to be a big thing that is going to be a big time suck everyday. It is a really important tool for helping me spread the word about the work that I am doing and how it can help other people.

On a very practical note, things like Hootsuite have helped be less overwhelmed by the idea of trying to figure out how I can try to push my content out and how to present it, as well as manage it. Also, crucially, how to manage the responses. There is nothing I loathe more than to respond to somebody's tweets or update and then for it to disappear into the ether and they don't acknowledge it. I love it when somebody comments or acknowledges that something they have put out into the world has touched me. Finding those tools to help you manage those things that makes it seem not overwhelming is key.

Also, don’t be everywhere. I see some websites where people have got umpteen icons. When I click through, many of them are inactive, and that is quite damaging. I think you should then do one or two things really well.

What does Samantha Miller do?

She has recently launched a business here in London which is to help small businesses and creative entrepreneurs to branch out. She helps them to be strategic in thinking what it is that they like doing, and how to grow their business in a way that is sustainable and meaningful to them as individuals.

That's at

Her name is Samantha Miller and her website is She is very interested in wellness and creativity. I think she is brilliant because she is a young woman who is ahead of her generation. She realized that we need to nourish ourselves and our bodies as well as our souls. We need to work in a way that allows us to do that, and not work and live like many people do, which is to be switched on all the time.  That's not necessarily that we are switched on online, it's that we never allow ourselves that space in the day. Like I used to not allow myself that space and then I struggled to sleep at night because my mind was filled with all the thoughts that I suppressed throughout the day.

Hello, I know that one well. I've been up since four in the morning and haven't slept since then, my mind was buzzing so I just got my little notebook out and started writing just so I could get it all out into my little notebook so that way I could fall back asleep. That didn't happen, I just had so much on my mind today.

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Promote live events mindfully with social media tools like Hootsuite.

Getting back to social media for a minute, you use Hootsuite to manage social media. Do you set up a little campaign when you’re promoting an event on social media?


How do you set up that campaign?

I think about what it is that I'm doing, I think about what problem does this solve, who is it going to help, and when am I going to run it, and where I am going to run it. I have a little template whereby there may be some obvious themes that might come up for that event. I'm always writing down interesting quotes that I hear on other people's podcasts, I really can't wait for you to launch your full suite of podcasts, before and after mine!

So I've got this running notebook with lots of different things. I pick out the quotes that I've listened to or read, and I tie them in with the theme. I'm also finding other content or articles that are interesting that are related to the theme. Then I write a number of my own tweets and status updates around this particular event that is not overwhelmingly salesy. I remind people in a variety of ways that the event is happening, that what it is going about, and this is how it might help them, and where to go next to book that ticket.

That's great, so you have collected quotes, articles, things that are about your topic that are not direct promotions about your topic to create interest around this whole thing, then you promote in between. Do you have a certain number that you do? Like three other people's stuff to your one promotion?

I am not that strategic, but I shouldn't admit that out loud on a podcast about how to promote live events mindfully. But I am very instinctive about my business. I think I get turned off by the people on social media who are trying to flog their book every other tweet, so I am acutely aware of what a turn off that is. I am interested in curation and I want to be known for curating and sharing interesting content and spreading the word about good stuff that other people are doing. But I only share it if it touched me or if it's worth it to be putting me on your radar. I don't want to waste your time, you are a busy person Susan.

So five or six is probably more realistic. It also depends also how near I am to the event and what numbers are looking like. There are times where my event tickets have sold out really quickly. There are also times around the holidays where things are a little bit slower and that time is where I might do some last minute messaging of that the last tickets that are available. It is just all about reminding the people of the scarcity of these tickets. "There's one or two left, final booking of these slots available now. Book here."

You said also something that touched me, is that you said you curate things that touched you and that you want to be known for curating those meaningful things to people. You are about meaningfulness so you are putting out meaningful images, not just because they are popular, but you are putting them out there because they've touched you in some way and have meaning for you. Whereas I think that sometimes people start sharing because other people have shared. They are not thinking, "Is this something that is really connected with me that I want to share with others?" That is not a way to promote live events mindfully with gorgeosity.

I feel very strongly about being respectful to other people. If somebody else has liked my Urban Curiosity Events Facebook page, I don’t want to bombard them with a load of crap, frankly. I don't appreciate it in the reverse, from a business point of view and being a bit tougher. I have unliked or hidden certain pages when there is a steady stream of stuff that does not resonate with me in that moment. I want to nurture my community whether they are following me on Facebook or whether they are following me on Twitter.

Each of those platforms operates in a different way and the interaction is different. I think you have to be cognizant of that and adjust. I want to share stuff that is going to have an impact and will be helpful, not just because I need to send out a tweet because it's been one hour since my last tweet.

The other thing I was thinking about when you were talking about social media, and I want to finish up with social media and then I want to ask you one more question about your international publicity. Do you use other tools for social media too? I think what you said is really important too, each medium has a different protocol and a different way to connect with people that you want to be cognizant of. It's not okay to blast people with your stuff over and over again to your community, which I know that some people do.

But by the same token, with something like Twitter, this is where you have to understand the platform because it is very fast moving. If I put in a tweet out in the morning here, but because you are in the West Coast of the US, you are going to miss that one teeny tweet in the sea of a million when you wake up, or at the point in the day when you jump onto Twitter. There is merit in making sure that you share certain messages more than once, absolutely. But it needs to be deliberate and done with intention and not in a way that is going to turn somebody off, you never want to do that.

I know someone who is a producer of a radio show that circulates the show one tweet every two hours and mixes them up on Twitter and cycles them in over and over again. I asked the person who works for him if he has unsubscribes on Twitter and she said no because he is consistently building his audience. But I bet they are hiding some too, those that see the same things over and over.

Also this comes back to, and I hesitate using this word because I think it gets thrown about too much these days, but this comes back to being authentic. So I am my business the same way that you are with yours. My integrity is really really valuable to me, and once that is gone with a prospect or a customer, I don't easily get it back, if I ever get it back. So that works for him, and that's great. For me, when I am putting something out, I am aware of what I would feel if I were the consumer. Would I be ticked off because this was the third time I saw the same salesy tweet or Instagram with a terrible image?

I am always thinking about myself as my prospect or my client, maybe that is not what the business and marketing gurus would recommend, but up to now it's worked for me and I will keep at it until the day that it no longer works for me.

I think that's great and I don’t think you need to listen to the gurus because it is important to listen to yourself for your own integrity. Also to understand what resonates with your community.


If it resonates with you it will resonate with your community. I know Andrea Scher works like that too. Other people who are the "marketing gurus" might say that is not correct, but I will disagree with them too.

Andrea's got a fantastically successful audience and her audience is very established because what she does is very good. She is really good at what she does. She has found a way for it to be authentic and meaningful for her. That is what keeps people going back to her. That's why people like us leapt at the chance to go to Bali with her and Juno.

Back to social media for a minute, do you have any other tools that you recommend other than Hootsuite?

At the moment, that is the main one. I am really late to the party on this one but that has revolutionized things for me and made it seem less overwhelming. There is a guy called Bryan Collins, he is an Irish writer, and he has a free guide to Twitter. I find it really helpful because it demystified the whole thing to me. If I just pulled off Excel all these fantastic quotes that I am collecting and just put them in to a couple of columns and just upload them to Hootsuite in a CSV file. I just upload it and schedule it through the platform. It just makes it so much easier for me. I am sure that there are a lot of other tools out there, but those are the ones that I am using for the moment.

While it's really important to get the word out and social media is one strand of that for me, and I have to be very careful to not allow it to be a time suck, which is what put me off getting involved in the first place. Now I feel not so [apprehensive] about it, I know what I'm doing when I jump on. I am on for a fixed amount of time and then I get off. It's working for me.

Can you upload images to Hootsuite?

Yes, everything. It really made it less frightening and overwhelming. I felt frightened by the sense of overwhelm that I had with, "Oh my God I need to be on social media." I wanted to do what Alex Franzen's done, but by the same token, she was able to do that because her business is much more established. She already has a solid client base, which is fantastic and well deserved. I am much earlier on in my journey, I can’t afford to not embrace the power of social media at this point in my business. Maybe at some future point I may pull back. By the same token, it's allowed me to maintain contact with some fantastic people that I meet along the way and I am enjoying that.

I also know that Alex built up her following through her blog posts, then that fanned out to social media. Obviously for any social media, you want to drive people back to your website to connect with them more deeply.

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I was also curious about national publicity. I remember when I was a publicist and I did publicity for a hair salon and art gallery called Architects and Heroes. I did national publicity for them in Vogue, Bazaar, all the big fashion magazines like InStyle. The reason why we did it is that is people from all over the world when they came to San Francisco, would book an appointment. So even though you've got something local for Urban Curiosity Walk-shops, have you done any national publicity or is that something that you have not considered yet?

This is something that I am working on right now. I am doing a soft launch of a new speaker event that I am hosting this week in Notting Hill, London. Next month, I will have a launch whereby I invite along some media from the glossy magazines, so Psychologist Magazine, Harpers, and Tattler, those kinds of guys and the people from Wellness Magazine. I would like those people to receive my lovely invitation which will be a handcrafted invitation.

My speaker is going to be book artist, Rachel Hazel, who is fantastic. She is going to come along and speak to us about the tension between living - she lives partly on Iona, this tiny island on the west coast of Scotland and partly in Edinburgh. The rest of the time she's traveling the world and making fantastic art, and books, and teaching people like me how to make our own books.

She is going to teach the audience how to make a tiny book after I've grilled her on stage. I'm really excited about that. I am really hoping that the time is going to pay off for me because here, all of the journalists are running around doing Christmas in July. They taste the minced pies in the heat of summer because they are working on their editions that you and I buy in November, December, and January.

So you are doing this well in advance is what you are saying. You understand the editorial calendar of journalists and that they need three to six months depending on what they are working on.

They do. One option that I have not explored yet, but I am about to, is looking at those more niche magazines where there are overlaps. It might be the executive magazine that is handed out in business class on one of the major airlines. It might be one of the more niche craft journals that come out quarterly. I am doing research which is code for buying lots of fantastic magazines. I love magazines and journals. There are so many fantastic ones out there.

We love paper and tactile things. Will you share some of those? Even though you are in the UK, we would love to have some of those.

Yes, and they are not all UK based, there's lots from Australia, Germany, and the United States too. I'll fish those out.

That would be great for people like us who love books, journals, and all those tactile things.

She literally just arrived back from Squam and arrived back in the UK today.

Did you say Squam? I've never heard of that.

Yes, so I'm sure I'm going to get this a little wrong, but they do live retreats and online retreats. They are based out of the east coast of New Hampshire but don't quote me on that. It's a female community and many of the people who are interested in knitting and crocheting, very tactile crafts.

I thought it was a place! I was like, "Here's another place that I don't know about in the world."

Yes, it's held near Nantucket. She's definitely one to check out.

What you've just said I want to repeat, because some people really want to go for the big national media, that they ignore the niche market and the trade magazines. The market where your people are could be very niche markets. There is still a lot of competition there, but you can do a very targeted campaign that is very specific to what you do that really reaches those people. What I'm saying is it doesn't necessarily matter the size.  You might get a better response from a small niche magazine than you do from a big national one because it's right for you.

An example of that is my client, Lionel Bissoon who does something called mesotherapy. It's natural vitamins, minerals, and homeopathy under the skin with tiny pin pricks that rejuvenate your face, or get into the place where it is hard for you to lose fat, things like that. So his business used to be mainly women and star celebrities all would go to him if they wanted to look great before an event. He did one placement in a magazine that targeted CEOs in the New York area because he is in New York City and his whole business shifted because these men wanted testosterone therapy.

It's so competitive in New York to look young, you want to feel great, you want to get the young women, and you want to get ahead in business. His whole business shifted because of that one small, but very targeted publication which was for CEOs who could afford his testosterone therapy. I'm saying that the power of a small niche can shift your small business into growing one particular part of it or shifting the whole thing.

And in unexpected ways. If your business model is one that allows you to be agile, and allows you to pivot when these opportunities present themselves, then that is fantastic. Go for it.

So remember that you can go to or Tell us about your next big project and your plan to entice big prospects into it and promote live events mindfully. 

BAMD0026 | Promote Live Events Mindfully

Promote live events mindfully with Clare Barry

Something I have been working over the summer is this mentorship community called Thrive. This is set to launch in the autumn or fall and it is going to be for the busy person, for men and women who want to find those moments of pause throughout their day. Maybe they need a little help through inspirational essays, whether it's through a webinar with interesting guest speakers sharing their expertise on wellness, on quirky more specific topics like the work Rachel does on papermaking and handwriting. It's also things like keeping an eye on your physical health.

So I write these days and I can easily spend all day sitting down behind the computer screen and write. These are some of the topics that I am currently working on at the moment and how to package them in a way that is really appealing to my prospects.

I am feeling excited and more confident about the marketing options out there. This is a digital product. This is a membership community. It is going to stretch me to market my product in a very different way from the marketing that I have done to date. I am looking forward to hearing all of your juicy tips from your other guests on your podcasts. I am looking at what other people are doing and what is working. I am a big believer in deconstructing what is working for somebody else.

A piece of advice that I got when I was writing fiction was to take a favorite novel and deconstruct it. Look at the framework and the techniques. Don’t read it as a reader who is sucked into this fantastic story. Break it down into its component parts so that you can analyze how the author has managed to create this fantastically compelling story that has sucked you in. I did just that with two of my favorite authors. I just got stuck two chapters in because they were such good storytellers that they sucked me into the story and I stopped seeing the architecture and the framework of how they wrote it. That is what I have done in figuring out sales copies.

I have looked at what other people have done that has enticed me to buy something from them online. What compelled me to buy that course? What compelled me to sign up to Andrea and Juna's fantastic retreat in Bali? Deconstructing their sales page, I can see how it appealed to me and I can see that they are clearly telling me what they are going to be offering me. Taking that same model of deconstructing, I am looking at what other people are doing at their launches online and figuring out a plan with two or three months lead time as to how I could launch that community to my audience. I will come back to speak and will let you know how I've been getting along.

That is something that I do too, regularly. I know that for some people that doesn't necessarily come naturally. I am writing a YA novel, and I don't know anything about those kinds of novels so I just started reading them like crazy and deconstructing them like you did.

Like you, I learned to write sales copy from people like Joe Vitale. He made me want to buy every single thing even though I don’t need it. I thought, "I do not need this, but why do I want it so bad?" I call it reverse engineering, because it is the same way I create sound bites, is I listen to how people speak naturally. I listen to all the great people on radio and on TV and in print, then I reverse engineer it.

What did they do that other people could do too? That is what you are saying to do, and I think it is so valuable because you need to know what is out there in the market place, it's your own homework. You also need to know what if there are ten other people who are doing walks in London?

There are lots of people who are doing versions of what I do, but they are not me. It has taken me some time to reach this point where I got the confidence to say that there might be similarities, there might be overlap with our audience, but this is the differentiating factor: it is me. This is what has attracted me to the products and services that I bought, it's the person behind it. It is part of their story and how they have conveyed their story. I will be tapping into all of those things as I develop this marketing strategy for my new community project.

I am thinking of the idea of also doing vlogging which I am slightly trepidacious about. Not because I am afraid of the recording part because I'm kind of overcome that anxiety because I've been doing some recording for some other things. What I am anxious about is the actual technology, I am a tech dolt, I am not very clever when it comes to the fancy stuff that makes these things work. I know I will get there but sometimes I find it quite difficult to get my head around how to make some stuff work. I'm looking at vlogging like, "Oh gosh, I'm going to have to figure out how to edit, and upload, this, that, and the other and hope that this is not potentially just another big time suck.”

However, I really love when my favorite people online post stuff that is live. Maybe it's not live, but I get to see them and see how their face is animated when they are excited and telling me about the service or the products that they want to sell me or the information they want to share with me that is going to help me learn and help me grow my business. So I am toying with the idea of doing some kind of vlogging because I think there is something powerful about it that helps you connect with your prospects quicker and more easily than just written words or through audio. It is just another complimentary mode.

I think this is true because to not get caught up in the technical aspect, you can hire people to do that. The most important thing is you and you being yourself. Which, by the way, you are the one who's created this fabulous walk and created the idea of making that tiny book for people which is so appealing, it's so much about you and that's part of your personality that is coming through in what you do and what you leave people with. Not only in you leaving them with your great spirit, but you are leaving them with a book that they are not going to forget which is tactile and beautiful. It now has things in it that they have written and that are important to them and they will associate that with you.

That's my plan, thank you Susan for saying that.

Thank you so much for joining us, Clare Barry. I and Clare are not feeling very well, but we still managed to give this episode on how to promote live events mindfully with lots of spirit. Sometimes things happen like this during a media interview. Suddenly the day of your interview, whether it's the Today Show, Good Morning America, or Oprah, or whatever it is, something horrible happens.  Sometimes it's something minor - your kid is sick at school, but sometimes it is major. One time one woman told me that her father was dying. Sometimes it can be as little as a cold or as big as impending death. And yet, we are still able to bring, and it's so much of what we talked about so much today on how to promote live events mindfully, it's bringing that mindfulness to the moment from where you are despite the way you feel, even if you are not feeling 100%. How often are we really at 100%?

We have been talking about the stuff that gets us to be excited. I love talking about this stuff. An hour ago, I was not feeling too hot. Right now, I am feeling fantastic. That is the thing. Telling your story and spreading the word is exciting because I am passionate about what I am doing. I want to tell this to more people because I can help more people. It is about bringing that enthusiasm in the moment whether you are feeling tip top before you start recording or not.

Thank you so much Clare, it’s been a joy to talk to you on how to promote live events mindfully.

It’s been fun. Thank you for having me Susan.

About Clare Barry

Clare Barry is a London writer and the founder of Urban Curiosity. That is creativity and wellness brand that helps busy people like all of us, slow down and spark ideas. Her writing workshops, retreats, and monthly speakers’ events focus on creativity and human connection in a digital world, in London, the real one. She went from frazzled office worker whose creativity was in a puddle at the bottom of the career ladder to a thriving writer and a creative entrepreneur when she slowed down long enough to breathe. Now she helps writers reclaim time and head space for what really matters. You can find her at


Take a marvelous mindful walk with Clare

Go on gorgeous, lush + delicious writing retreats (Oh the food!)

Connect with Clare on Twitter

Follow along on some adventures with Clare on Instagram

Media Training Tips for CEOs

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

Are you enjoying the Podcast? Then I invite you to hop on over to iTunes to subscribe, rate + review it. Here’s a quick video on how to do a podcast review on iTunes. (It’s simple if you follow these directions). Note: It can take up to 24 hours to show up on my Podcast. You're welcome to send this to anyone you think it would delight. May good fortune always follow you!

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.

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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


Let Your Work Carry You Via Milan Rai

Are you enjoying the Podcast? Then I invite you to hop on over to iTunes to subscribe, rate + review it. Here’s a quick video on how to do a podcast review on iTunes. (It’s simple if you follow these directions). Note: It can take up to 24 hours to show up on my Podcast. You're welcome to send this to anyone you think it would delight. May good fortune always follow you!

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.)

Let Your Work Carry You Via Milan Rai

This is a story about Milan Rai who's an artist living in Katmandu, Nepal. He was pondering a very complex project. He wanted it to shock his audience. As he was pondering, a small white butterfly landed on his paintbrush. He said, “I forgot what I was doing and became happy. The little butterfly was teaching me so much.”

So he created these butterflies and he started putting up these little white butterflies in public spaces in the city and on billboards and on trees. And they drew people's attention taking them out of their daily routines for a moment, and he said, “And bringing them some simple poetry from an unexpected place.”

And then people started writing to him. The butterflies have gone to 41 countries and he considers them a message of love and hope and peace. And of course he didn't plan that, it happened very organically and spontaneously from that day that the little butterfly flew onto his paintbrush.

Then, a woman asked if she could make her own butterfly and write the name of her daughter on its wings. And he said that at the time many companies were asking to collaborate and make money on the butterfly, turning it into a logo or some kind of business that would make money. And he didn't want to mix the commerce with his art and what the butterfly represented. But he relented because he'd asked her why she wanted to write the name on the butterfly and she said, “Tomorrow is the six year anniversary of my daughter's death and I want to write her name on a butterfly and put it on a tree.” That touched him and he gave her permission to do this.

follow your passion

Follow your heart

Then other people started asking if they could do the same. So after all these people put butterflies there was a tree and it was covered with these beautiful white butterflies with the names of people's loved ones.

And that just happened by itself. That happened so organically. I love the way it began with this inspiration of trying to do something, trying to put a piece of work out in the world in a certain way and then being led in another direction. So it's let your work carry you.

Then something else happened that led Milan Rai in another direction. Because after the earthquake happened, there were lots of people there but they didn't have toilets. There were only four. So he took this on as a project. He really wanted to preserve people's both health and their dignity. He said girls had told him, “We have to wait until dark to relieve ourselves.” One girl was even refusing to eat because she knew that she would then have to go to the bathroom and use the toilet.

So he went to Facebook and Twitter and in one hour people starting coming out of their homes carrying all these tools. By 7 PM that night they had built 47 toilets. He said, “He was first known as the butterfly man and now he's also known as the toilet man.” And he says “But it doesn't matter to me whether I am the butterfly man or the toilet man. I’ve always wanted to become a great artist but now I want to become a good human being.”

And I love that story. I love it for a couple reasons. Number one, that sometimes we intend something or we want it out in the world in a certain way and we’re taken in another direction. And number two, I love that he followed his impulses in both of these instances that led him in a direction that brought him through emotion and other people chiming into a project that he didn't have a vision of how it would evolve and it evolved organically on its own.

This is the best kind of publicity. This is the best way that our work can get out in the world without forcing it into a certain shape or way that it needs to be. And to let it take a life of its own. And then to be able to expand our horizons. Maybe he didn't want to become known as the toilet man too, but what a great thing that he did for the community that he could bring both beauty, the butterflies and practicality, the toilets to his community.

So I say, let yourself be carried in the direction that you’re led and allow those kind of influences that move you to bring your gift into the world.


Creative ways to reach out to the media to get noticed + known

The 100 Word Email That Can Get The Media To Call You. (It's free!)

Secrets to Getting Top TV Talk Show Producers to Book You as Their Guest

Can't Figure Out Publicity?

How Do I Get Publicity?


Are you enjoying the Podcast? Then I invite you to hop on over to iTunes to subscribe, rate + review it. Here’s a quick video on how to do a podcast review on iTunes. (It’s simple if you follow these directions). Note: It can take up to 24 hours to show up on my Podcast. You're welcome to send this to anyone you think it would delight. May good fortune always follow you!

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
Subscribe to Be A Media Darling Podcast on Stitcher
Subscribe to Be A Media Darling Podcast on Google Play

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


The $20K Facebook Post

By Nancy Marmolejo

I was chatting with my colleague Nancy Marmolejo about how she was getting so much traction of Facebook. If you offer high-ticket programs or services this is something you’ll want to consider as it’s a “new” and innovative Facebook Marketing strategy. I’m just going to copy the post here with a few of my edits… read it… then if you want to reach out directly to Nancy to talk to her about this, simply go here.

Facebook Marketing with Nancy Marmolejo

Facebook Marketing with Nancy Marmolejo

The public is on to you. They’re sensing something isn’t entirely real when you post in social media. It’s all gotten SO contrived. Your carefully crafted photos, status updates, and strategically planned posts — come across like you phoned them in. It’s not the real you. And people see that. I see that. We all see that…we’re not buying it…literally.

Simply put, these overly “airbrushed” posts is not the kind of engagement that results in revenue.

Look, let me share this with you. Do you know what it’s like to post something that speaks from the heart and then have someone — a total stranger who isn’t even on your list — hire you for $20K? I do. It’s awesome. Sure beats doing a launch, paying JV partners or forking out thousands of dollars for Facebook ads.

Have people ever private messaged you asking how they can work with you?

And I’m not talking low level work, but high-level, high priced work that’s gratifying and profitable and amazing.

People who are ready to take action and don’t want to jump through your funnel to get to you. They want you NOW. 

What if posting about your dog on Facebook could fill your programs? That resulted in getting a bunch of newclients just for talking about something you love? Or what if sharing about your favorite juice bar could get a person to invest in your highest level offer?

No selling. No posing. No B.S. Just you being you. All while you’re still “on brand” and authentic.

Welcome to the world of real engagement… that converts.

For close to a decade, social media has been “my thing” to get clients.

People have been asking me for YEARS how I have successfully mastered social media engagement and Facebook marketing. “How do you get all these comments on your posts? How did you get so-and-so in on that conversation? How come you get clients — high-end ones — from social media and I don’t?”

What if Posting About Your Dog on Facebook Could Fill Your Programs?

What if Posting About Your Dog on Facebook Could Fill Your Programs?

For example, one woman, who regularly signs up 5 figure clients into her high-end program, put out a video to invite people to it. But it got zero traction. No engagement. No one watching it. Once I worked with her to change the wording in the Facebook post her engagement went wild! She has over 1000 views and counting and has converted a number of her ideal clients into her program.

It’s an ART. But like any art form, it can be taught. What’s cool is it will become YOUR art. Your voice. Your magic.

I can teach you how. But I want to do it right, so here’s how it’ll get YOU the best results.

I’m inviting 10 people to do this with me. I will teach exactly what I do, why I do it, how I do it, and how to customize it to YOU so you find your irresistible social media voice. (Hint: you don’t have to be anyone but yourself to do this. But you can’t see yourself the way I see you… that’s why mentoring for this is so important!)

Tell me why this would be valuable to you. I’m offering a small number of free consults to anyone interested in doing this work with me. Tell me about your challenges and what you’d love to see happen here.

Nancy Marmolejo has been in business since 2003,and has won numerous awards in business innovation and achievement, been featured in 5 books (and counting!), has over 100 media credits to her name, and maintains a great reputation in her industry as a thought leader. Her own Talent and Genius draw from a fascinating upbringing in a family business, a first career as an inner city school teacher, and an insatiable curiosity that drives her. She’s a genius at finding yours.

Escape the Time for Money Trap by Launching Your First (or second) Product

By Guest Blogger Danny Iny

Too many of us fall into the trap of trading time for money.

You may have already launched a product—but had disappointing results. Or you may have created a product that got some traction, but didn’t get the kind of success you’d hoped. Or, you haven’t developed a product yet, but you feel pretty sure you’d like one especially since….

Coaches, consultants, speakers, freelancers… all of us are in the same boat of working for an hourly wage.

Now, for some of us, the hourly wage can be very attractive; if it’s a cage, then it’s one made of gold, and studded with diamonds.

But still, it’s a cage; if we don’t work, then we don’t earn – which means that in some ways, we never get to take a real break and get off that treadmill without a gnawing fear in the back of our minds about what our business will look like when we get back.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way…

Your First (or second) Product: The Secret to Scalable Revenue

There’s a way to escape the time for money paradigm, and it lies within your first digital product.

As freelancers, we often find ourselves daydreaming of that perfect situation where we can walk away from our business for a few days without everything falling apart.

We think about what it would be like to create something that creates huge impact, making the world a better place.

And we think about how wonderful it would be to create that something once, and how easy it would be if it worked behind the scenes, even when we weren’t there.

We dream of vacations on white sandy beaches, holding drinks with tiny umbrellas and laughing with friends as the breeze gently sweeps across the beachfront.

All the while our business hums away quietly in the background, leaving us free to enjoy life.

But as much as we dream of this lifestyle, it’s not something we know how to create.

We aren’t sure how to scale our business outside the bounds of trading more time, or possibly the same time for more money.

You may have thought about building a product, but don’t know how to balance the time you’ll take building it with the money that you won’t be making in the meantime.

It’s a vicious cycle.

What if I told you that there’s a way for you to get paid to create your first product, while virtually guaranteeing that it will be successful?

There is, and when you implement the strategy, you will build a product that scales with ease, and it may not even matter if you’re there to deliver it, once it’s automated.

But wait…

If Products Are So Great, Why Don’t More People Build Them?

It’s a legitimate question.

Up until now, product creation has been fraught with danger.

Using the standard model of product creation, an entrepreneur might spend months of their time and a serious amount of money slaving away to create what they are sure will be a groundbreaking new product.

The entrepreneur has spent enough time interacting with their audience to know exactly which of their great new ideas will be the best to build out.

They know their audience better than anyone else, after all.

But in the end, most entrepreneurs creating new products will have their offering met with a lukewarm reception, or even worse: silence.



The opportunity cost is too high for most people, and for those intrepid enough to break into product creation, failure can be painful and costly.

The problem here is that entrepreneurs base their product creation on an assumption.

And they not only start with an assumption, but they either use faulty reasoning to validate their ideas or don’t validate them at all.

So how do you avoid the assumption trap and create something that your audience really wants, and at scale?

You take a little lesson from the technology industry.

Rapid Prototyping for Training Products

Now that you know why so many others have failed before you, how can you avoid the same fate?

Start by listening to your audience, and using what they tell you to quickly and profitably validate that they want what you’re going to build.

By listening, we don’t mean just skimming over what they say, picking and choosing which pieces seem to validate the ideas you have.

It’s about meeting your client or customer’s deepest needs. You want to figure out what problems they are having, and the exact language that they use to describe that problem.

How do you find out that information?

1. Listen and Validate

The first step is to find out what your audience wants, and quickly test to see if they really want it.

There are several ways that you can listen to your audience that will help you discover what they would pay you to create for them.

  • Listen to the questions that your audience sends to you via email. What are they asking for?
  • How do they respond to your blog posts? Which posts are they sharing or talking about most on social media?
  • The same thing applies to your emails and newsletters: which emails result in a lot of enthusiastic responses or questions?
  • You can also “eavesdrop” on conversations on social media to find out which topics are the most discussed.
  • Or, you can review comments left on blog posts and forums around the web. What questions are people asking repeatedly?

2. Dig Deeper with Surveys and Interviews

To dig deeper into the problems your audience is facing, you can create a simple survey, asking what their biggest challenge is.

And then, to gather additional information, you can conduct informational interviews with members of your audience or the people who responded to your survey.

These interviews can be conducted over the phone or by video chat. During the interviews, you can go in depth about the topic and the problem they are having.

3. Analyze Your Data

When you have finished your eavesdropping, surveys, conversations and interviews, you should have gathered a lot of data.

Your next step is to analyze the information you collected, looking for patterns and repetition of problem language.

If you have enough data points, and your audience really cares, you have likely just uncovered a problem that your audience is practically begging you to teach them how to fix!

4. Sell a Pilot Version

Finally, you need to validate that your audience will take out their wallets and pay you for the solution to their problem.

The best way to validate your product is to sell a pilot version of the course.

After the pilot, you can then use the outline and student feedback to build out your full product.

The process outlined above means that you will get paid, ahead of time, for creating a scalable product for your audience.

What’s even better is that this post includes both a case study about exactly how this works, and templates that will help you to create this success for yourself!

Case Study: The Course Builder’s Laboratory

At Firepole Marketing, we used this exact model of product creation as we built our soon-to-be-launched program, Course Builder’s Laboratory.

In our case, we had audience members and students in our Audience Business Masterclass come straight out and ask us to solve a problem for them.

We looked at all of the requests that came in and found there was a real pattern.

There were different ways that our audience asked for it, but in the end everyone wanted to know how to teach effectively online, and how to sell their own digital courses.

Then, rather than taking those requests and just building the final product, we used the process we describe in this post to validate that our audience would actually pay for the course.

We ran an initial pilot program called Course Builder’s Bootcamp; these live weekly calls went over what we thought the biggest pain points in terms of building and selling online courses would be. This program lasted six weeks in total.

We received some amazing feedback from the students, and were able to make smart choices about how to build out the final product in a valuable way.

We also ran a second pilot to gain more insight: a higher end in-person weekend in Montreal called Course Builders LIVE. We decided to run the additional pilot because the eventual course we were thinking of building was going to be HUGE.


This in-person pilot was a much smaller group, and allowed for a very intensive, hands-on experience for the students.

We were able to see places in the pilot curriculum where students were asking lots of similar questions, requesting additional features, or getting stuck – so we could fix them for the final version.

Through the two pilots, we were able to really refine the course material for the ultimate product. And we made about $70,000 while we were at it.

How to Do it Yourself, Starting Today

Following the process outlined in this post, you can easily create your first product.

Start by listening to your audience, analyzing the data you gather, and validating the problem that you think they are having.

Then, sell a pilot version of the product.

When you reach out to your audience, you will want to use the same language they use to describe the problem your pilot solves.

If having sales conversations isn’t your strong suit, we have created a set of free templates that will walk you, step by step, through how to get started creating and selling your pilot.

Then, once you’ve sold your pilot, you will deliver the content and gather feedback from your students.

Afterwards, you will use the basic outline of the course material and any student feedback to create your final product.

This final product is your key to scalable revenue.

So, does it feel like it’s time to break out of the hourly wage cage?

Then let’s get started!

We just have one favor to ask of you: send us a postcard from your next vacation!

Danny Iny is the co-founder of Firepole Marketing, and creator of the Course Builder’s Laboratory. For a limited time, he’s giving away a comprehensive “Done For You” swipe kit of email templates that you can copy-and-paste to sell your own pilot course

The 10 Best Social Media Tips & Tools Posts From 2014

This is a curated list of the very best posts from top social media peeps. It’s all of THEIR best posts. So you get a giant dose of great tips, tools, strategies, and ideas to start the New Year. Enjoy!


  1. Buffer’s top 10 most-read posts of 2014
    Curious about copy that converts? Want to know the best length of everything online verified by research? You got it.

free image

  1. Top 10 Social Media Posts of 2014
    Get solid strategies from an active social media strategist who walks his talk. Good stuff.
  1. Digital Marketer’s 10 Most Popular Articles of 2014
    Small business alert — you can use the same system that Starbucks and McDonald’s do for their mega campaigns and more….


  1. Top 8 social media posts of 2013 (doesn’t look like they’ve done 2014).
    Who knows what tickles the psyche when it comes to going viral. Check out the most popular posts of last year. Prepare to be astonished. Be sure to check out the crazy Norwegian video.
  1. Top 10 Social Media Marketing Posts of 2014
    Trends, Tools, popularity, people, and marketing strategies. Lots to learn and use.
  1. 10 Types of Images to Boost Your Social Media Engagement
    You know that images boost engagement. But, I bet you don’t have all of these in your bailiwick ….
  1. 10 Best Social Media Tool Posts in 2014
    Get hyper productive with these Apps and software. Includes video marketing, Pinterest tools, and plug ins. (Plus, how to get 1000 shares on your blog) from a very reliable source I follow.
  1. Top 10 Social Media Marketing Posts: This Year in Social Media
    You’ll want to follow Social Media Examiner you’ll find consistently useful info. Want to generate leads? Create content? Understand Facebook’s metrics? It’s all there.

Social media examiner

  1. 20 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros
    These are tips and tools that got results. We want that, yes?
  2.  50 Ways to Promote and Market Your Blog PostsYou want your great posts to reach your tribe, to expand your reach. Here’s how. Jeff Bullas’ blog is a regular must read. Always relevant. One of my favs.

Bullas bullhorn

BONUS: 19 free social media analytics tools

No budget? No problem. All these tools are yours for the taking. I bet you haven’t heard of some of these terrific online helpers.

ONE CAVEAT: No matter how great your social media presence is your strategy won’t work unless your website does. You’re directing people back to your blog or your website so people who are intrigued by your social media updates can have more than a taste of your great content. Don’t disappointment them by having a website doesn’t look and feel like you, your tweets, pics, and posts. Here are 3 free highest converting home page website templates from Marisa Murgatroyd. You can choose the layout that best suits your personality and goals—so your website and social media messages are aligned.

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?


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?


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: to discuss strategy and pricing.

Interested in more tips for social media? Try these:

LinkedIn Engagement – 10 Tactics that Take Less than 10 Minutes


LinkedIn Infographic Stand OutLinkedIn Engagement – 10 Tactics that Take Less than 10 Minutes
(Rule #36 From 42 Rules for 24-hour Success on linked In)

By Chris Muccio

The goal is to help you create a sustainable participation on LinkedIn.

There are numerous ways to create engagement on LinkedIn by using your time efficiently. If you are building out a 15-minute-per-day participation plan, these tactics should fit perfectly. In this rule, we are going to discuss 10 tactics that can each be performed in well under 10 minutes. (Note: these are all online techniques. You could always integrate offline techniques like writing a note and mailing it and sending a card.)

Quickest Tactics: Each Takes Less than a Couple of Minutes

1. Start your day with a quick glance at your notifications tab
(located, as of this writing, at the top right of your page). In a couple of seconds, you can see who has most recently interacted with you. Based on that, you can respond accordingly.

2. Check your morning e-mails with group activity.
Scan to see which posts you are interested in and can comment effectively toward.

3. Open up your Google Alerts, and scan for interesting information to share with your connections.
(Note: if you haven’t already, set up Google Alerts to monitor keyword phrases that are important to you, your industry, or your target audience. Each day, Google sends you an e-mail with a list of articles related to your search. It takes less than a minute to initially set up.) Always add a sentence or two to the link you post. Just posting links without comments does not create the engagement you want people to make with you. One note of caution: be cognizant of articles that you come across that may be sitting behind a site’s paid side (i.e., paywall). Some recipients won’t be able to read these links.

LinkedIn Infographic
Click for a larger image

 4. Scan your activity stream.
Depending on how you have your filter set, this can show all the activity occurring within your network. Find items to comment on in a value-added way. Making relevant comments keeps you and your company name in people’s thoughts and reinforces the connections between you. If you can’t find something to comment on, then find something to “like.” As we discussed in Rule #24, it can still be a powerful tactic.

5. Endorse someone in your network.
Consider the points we shared in Rule #32.

Quick Tactics: Each Takes Less than Five Minutes

6. When people endorse you, thank them.
If they commented on your update, respond. If they viewed your profile, send them a message.

7. Skip the e-mail in item #2, and go directly into your key groups.
Open each one and post a comment, comment on a post, or add a “like.” Always add value to the discussion. Just do this in your main groups. Spreading yourself too thin will dilute your effectiveness.

8. Post an update on your company page.
It is a great way to engage with a highly targeted demographic.

9. Focus on one-to-one communication.
Check out specific profiles in your network. You can see the last time you’ve communicated with them via LinkedIn’s little CRM function. Take a quick second to send a short message.

10. Invite people.
Take a few minutes to find new people to add to your network. They may be people in your target industry, region, or company. Make a connection request with a personal message. Perform this wisely. Remember to connect with care and with those you have something in common with. Don’t spam invites; LinkedIn is watching

Next Steps

Take a look at these tactics. Try them. Refine them and figure out what works best for you. The goal is to help you create a sustainable participation on LinkedIn. These are quick and can be very effective tools to engage with your target audiences. Take a peek at the video Chris created from our interview on how to use sound bites on LinkedIn.

Chris is a seasoned executive who started his career with PriceWaterhouseCooper . He holds an MBA from the University of Florida, where he was named a Matherly Scholar, the highest honor awarded by the program. Throughout his corporate career, Chris has functioned as a global executive leading multiple highly successful projects, teams and multi-million dollar business functions across 28 countries on five continents. Currently he’s a sought after Chief Digital Strategist. You can get his Amazon Bestselling book and attend CR3 Digital Marketing Telesummit here:

Messy, Gorgeous Process


By Guest blogger Laurie Wagner

What if I told you that it took me ten years to understand what I was teaching? It looked like I was teaching people how to write, but what I was actually doing, I realized late in the game, was teaching writers how to peel away the layers of their story and dig for something more true, more authentic and just plain honest. And while all that digging and examining is good for writing, it’s also excellent for living. When you chip away at the façade of your story, and you lay down one true word, and then the next true word you will eventually become stripped down and naked to yourself. And when you see yourself like that, there’s no turning back. You may, as many of my students have done, begin the process of changing your life.

I’m a process person. I’m all about getting words onto a page; messy, ugly, imperfect, glorious words. And to do that you need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Laurie Wagner

For me, it’s not about what I’m writing or whether I like what I’m writing that’s important. That the pen inks like a river across the page, that I have the courage not to know what the next word is, or the word after that…that I keep going anyway. That’s the spirit, that’s what makes a sound turn into a song. I might only be able to hear bits at first – the merest sound of a refrain – but I’ll swirl it around in my mouth, taste it, roll it on my tongue and Wa La, I start singing. That’s how I make a song. The important part is not that I make a perfect song, but that I have created a channel for song sounds to come through – which means I can make more sounds and more songs.

It’s the same for writing. When I put these words on this page I didn’t know where I was going or what would come next, but if I’ve become a student of anything, it’s learning to not love what’s coming through me and to keep going anyway. That’s just part of the creative process. If I turned back every time I felt lost, or if I judged what I was doing, I wouldn’t make anything. I have to let go of perfection if I want to be a maker of things, because it’s not about the thing that I make, it’s about the making, and I want to be a maker for a long, long time.

Want to be a story maker this summer? Laurie’s 5-week e Course, Telling True Stories starts on June 17th. Laurie is an amazing teacher. Once you start telling the unadorned truth it changes everything. If you want to be a maker of things join Laurie in Telling True Stories – and watch your life change on the page, off the page.

FREE Publicity Sources

Publiseek connects their followers: technologists, computer/telecom experts, & tech companies, with members of the media looking to talk to sources for their articles.

Sourcebottle connects expert sources with journalists and bloggers in the UK, Australia, Canada & New Zealand and the US. They help journalists & bloggers find sources. They help businesses & PR pros get free publicity.

7 Ways To Increase Your Pinterest Following


Entrepreneur Magazine’s Ultimate Guide to Pinterest For BusinessExcerpted from the new book Entrepreneur Magazine’s Ultimate Guide to Pinterest For Business by Karen Leland, Sterling Marketing Group.

What pushes one person or companies Pinterest past unknown to being a star player? In short it’s your ability to curate and promote content that is meaningful, attractive, social media friendly, and on message with your brand. To build up a bigger audience on your Pinterest put these 7 strategies in place.

1. Build More Niched Boards
Take a look at the most popular players on Pinterest, and it will become clear they have a plethora of boards, usually between 50 and 100, on average. It’s also obvious that those same users have gone to great efforts to make their boards as niched as possible so they stand a better chance of being found (and followed) by a targeted audience. For example, if you’re a cookbook writer, a single board named “desserts” that features all manner of sugary goodies would work, but you might draw more followers if you took that same board and split it into four:

  • Pies and cakes
  • Cookies and bars
  • Chocolate
  • Ice creams, sorbets, and puddings

By refining your boards to be more relevant to the people who are the most interested in those specific topics, you increase your chances of getting followers.

2. Jump on the Trending Topics Bandwagon
People, places, and events that are popular at the moment make great bait for finding new followers. Topics that are trending will be getting keyword-searched on the site, and if you have a pin that fits, you stand a good chance of picking up some of that traffic. says that pins related to trending topics see an average 94-percent increase in click-throughs. So it pays to pay attention to the trending topics on Pinterest and to what’s trending on other social media sites. A few great resources include:

Post to Your Most Popular Boards
For those boards of yours that have a significantly larger following than others, post with slightly more frequency. Since more people are following these boards, your chances for a higher rate of repins—and hence new followers—is greater.

Pinterest Infographic3. Follow High-Profile and Highly Relevant People
While the criteria for whom you follow should first and foremost be the relevance of their pins to your business and brand, there’s a case to be made for having at least 10 percent of whom you choose be the big dogs in their fields. By following these power players, you increase the chances that they’ll follow you back, repin, like, and comment on your images, and give you greater exposure to their large followings.

4. Use Keywords in All Your Pins
Paying attention to SEO is a significant part of pinning. The more on target you are with the keywords you use in your boards and pin descriptions, the more likely you are to draw followers searching for and interested in those topics.

5. Promote Pinterest with Your Email Newsletter
Given the stringent no-spam requirements that exist for email marketing today, it’s a safe bet that the people already on your distribution list want to hear from you. Several ways to build your Pinterest following with a newsletter include:

  • Announcing your presence on the site in a regular newsletter you send and encouraging readers to click through and follow you.
  • Sending out a pithy, photo-heavy announcement about your Pinterest, inspiring your tribe to find out more.
  • Enticing readers to visit your Pinterest by placing a Pinterest icon that links through to your page on all email newsletter communications and featuring a “hot” pin or two you’ve recently posted.

6. Add Pinterest to Your Email Signature Line
You have the opportunity with every email you send to anyone—client, potential client, friend, colleague, stranger you just met on the airplane—to promote your Pinterest and gain followers. Simply add the dedicated URL of your Pinterest to the end of your signature line, where the links to your other social media (website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) live, and allow people to follow you with a single click.

7. Reciprocate
A good best practice is to always check out a new follower, or someone who has liked or repinned one of your images, and consider whether you want to follow them back. Some of the criteria to take into account include:

  • Are they a major player in the same space? If so, consider following them, since your audiences are likely to be the same.
  • Are they pinning interesting, beautiful, or highly informative content? If yes, they’re worth following as a regular resource for repinning.
  • Are they someone on whose radar you’d like to be? Following someone increases the chances they’ll follow you back and gives you regular opportunity to comment, like, and repin their images.

Get your 4 free bonuses here:

50 Ways to Use Pinterest For Your Business. A cheat sheet of Bronze-, Silver, and Gold-Level Tips.

Bonus Chapter 18: Pinterest in 15 Minutes a Day available online only, this chapter shows you how to make the most of Pinterest Monday – Friday, in just 15 minutes a day.

Pinterest Podcast: 14 Types of Boards Every Business Should Consider Creating with Karen Leland, author of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Ultimate Guide to Pinterest for Business and President of Sterling Marketing Group.

Pinterest Webcast: If you are new to Pinterest, or want to up your game, this short and information-packed webcast will show you the best ways to use Pinterest to promote your book, business, or product.


Karen Leland is the bestselling author of 8 business books including the recently released Entrepreneur Magazine’s Ultimate Guide to Pinterest For Business, which can be purchased at She is the president of Sterling Marketing Group, where she works with small businesses and Fortune 500 on building stronger personal and team brands. She writes the Modern Marketing Blog at

9 Steps to Be a Thought Leader — and Become a Media Darling

By Susan Harrow, media coach

So many people call themselves thought leaders now – but they aren’t. To be a thought leader takes some doing. It’s not so much about being original as it is about putting things together in an original way. Thought leadership marketing comes down to packaging your knowledge, skills, abilities, experiences, and yes, your thoughts in a way that makes you media worthy and worth listening to by your audience—a huge audience. Follow these nine steps to get going on the path to be respected, heard and reverberated out into the world.

1. Cultivate an opinion.

Thought leaders have opinions. They shape a story. They position facts in a context. They make statistics come alive by interpreting them. We value people who give us perspective on things that matter most in our culture today.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and their first woman to sit on their board, said of the differences about how men and women respond to taking credit for their success, “If you ask men why they did a good job, they’ll say, ‘I’m awesome. Obviously. Why are you even asking?’ If you ask women why they did a good job, what they’ll say is someone helped them, they got lucky, they worked really hard.”

To follow her lead take a look at your field or industry and find something that irks or inspires you and start to formulate some opinions about it. Folk singer Joan Baez said, “I’ve never had a humble opinion. If you’ve got an opinion, why be humble about it?” Thought leaders aren’t afraid to voice a strong opinion. The media seek guests who have opinions that help us ponder what’s important.

2. Make a prediction.

Can you see the future? Look into your private crystal ball and share it in a press release. Ten years ago I told my literary agent that getting on TV and grasping at fame was going to become a national obsession. I wrote up a book proposal about how to get on TV, supplied anecdotes from my own experience as a publicist and media coach, and gathered statistics to show that this was going to be a hot new trend. He pitched my idea to all the top New York publishing houses.


Alas, the traditional book industry didn’t buy it. It was too far ahead of its time. But guess what? Didn’t that prediction come true? Practically everyone is now scrabbling for his 15 seconds of fame. New reality TV shows are popping up every year. The Fishbowl Effect has become our current reality where your iPhone video can make national news.

Know that when you make a prediction you’re intrinsically ahead of your time – and most likely will get disapproval and pushback. No worries. Time will bear you out. The important thing is to stand by your word, continue to accumulate evidence and keep touting your prediction during your media appearances. Thought leadership marketing is a process, not a one time event.

3. Shape thinking.

Keep up on current events. Thought leaders can comment on national radio and TV and in print on events as they happen. They are the first people the media call to put a story in perspective, to help shape thinking. They are often the people who pose the questions to ponder. They don’t necessarily have all the answers. What they have is a point of view that helps others to consider consequences, options, and directions to difficult or perplexing problems. This type of thought leadership marketing is organic and evolves naturally as the thought leader continues to hone his thoughts and message.

Robert Reich, professor of public policy at UC Berkeley, often comments on political and social problems such as how public higher education is being starved which will result in a shrinking middle class. His clearly expressed and statistically well-supported opinions are regularly heard on MSNBC and NPR. He’s a great example of someone who is personal, energetic, and captivating. I’m particularly endeared by how he bounces up when he can’t contain his energy as he delivers his message.

Your delivery and demeanor is every bit as important as the words you speak and can influence people subconsciously. Thought leaders are aware of how they are being perceived and work on refining their inner consciousness and outer appearance. How can you start to shape a conversation that’s at the heart of your business or industry and at the same time reflect who you are and what you think?

4. Have a philosophy.

Have you noticed how many people have written a manifesto? It’s kind of becoming de rigueur. But many aren’t worth reading. They are trite or light. Your audience wants to know not only what you believe, but what you believe in. They want a philosophy that dives into their deepest longings — things that they feel that haven’t been expressed directly in a way that they can understand.

Manifestos are a sort of formalized philosophy. Wikipedia defines philosophy as “In more casual speech, by extension, ‘philosophy’ can refer to “the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group”.

I love TED favorite Brene Brown’s The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto, her leadership manifesto and my friend, photographer/writer Andrea Scher’s Superhero Manifesto. They are heartfelt, revere beauty and are holy without pretention.

Brene Brown_LI

During every media appearance you want to make sure that your philosophy comes through loud and clear in a story, vignette or example so your audience has a sense of who you are. One of my favorite sayings is by Gandhi, “My life is my message.”

When everything you do, say, are and think from your words to your website is in alignment then you’re completely congruent and your life becomes your message. This is what I have my clients and sound bite course participants put into practice before ever sending a press release out to the media. Often publicity hopefuls want to rush their offer to the media before all the pieces are in place. And that’s a big mistake. A reputation is easy to ruin and hard to regain.

In her media appearance on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, Brene Brown told a story about her daughter, Ellen. To my best recollection she said that Ellen’s teacher called her up to tell her she could tell whose daughter Ellen was by how she handled an incident in art class. As I remember it the teacher said, “You’re messy.” Ellen sat up straight and said, “No, I’m not messy. I’ve just made a mess.”

Brown told this story to illustrate a point about self-talk and not calling ourselves names or saying derogatory things about the core of us, but to focus on behavior instead of being. It shows you that Brown is walking her talk by transmitting her values and behaviors to her daughter and it gives you a sense of who she is. Your philosophy should shine through your stories in a natural way in every media appearance.

5. Spearhead a movement.

My client, journalist and author David Sheff who wrote the #1 New York Times best-selling book Beautiful Boy, just wrote his second book called Clean, Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy. The title itself is an opinion. Sheff thinks that addiction is the worst problem in the U.S. today. You can tell immediately that he’s serious about this topic and wants to make an impact on this epidemic.

On his website he has a link to sign a petition to send to President Obama to end the war on drugs and declare war on addiction. Right next to that he has a link to an organization called Brian’s Wish to pull people together into a national movement to end addiction.


Sheff believes that we’re fighting the wrong war and he is making his opinion known – backed with five years of research and facts. This is thought leader marketing at its best.

He’s just started his book tour and has already been on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, NPR’s Fresh Air and Weekend Edition to discuss his views and to shift American opinion with the facts, stories and statistics in his book, speeches, and media appearances.

I media trained him to insure that he incorporated his most important points into every interview since he especially wanted to talk about this new movement.

We also wanted to make sure he could stand firm on his controversial beliefs when challenged. We practiced worst-case scenario questions and surprise ones too so he could maintain his equanimity and stay on point during each media appearance.

The media is interested in people who have inspired a movement. It shows that the topic has enduring value and interest if a substantial number of people have joined it. Spearheading a movement is so much more interesting than just claiming you have a big following. A movement shifts thought into action to create real and lasting change.

6. Be controversial.

Another client of mine, Dr. Sara Gottfried, a Harvard trained integrative physician, science nerd, yogini and author of the New York Times best-sellers The Hormone Cure, and The Hormone Rest Diet speaks out on the overuse of pharmaceuticals for peri-menopausal and menopausal women. She says of women dealing with hormonal issues such as depression, lack of sleep, weight gain, mind fog, low sex drive, “You won’t find the answer in the bottom of a pill bottle.”

Gottfried takes a stand against the practice many physicians have to medicate their patients to appease the problem without seeking the core issue or root cause that’s the source of the complaint. Instead she advocates lifestyle shifts: “How to think, eat, move and supplement.”


Once you take a strong stance you can expect to be pitted against someone with the opposite view during your radio or TV interviews – because friction makes for good TV. Audiences love to see people who have opposing views that might even provoke a tiff, because sparks fly and unexpected things happen — which equal good ratings.

If you want to be controversial you also need to be prepared to be challenged and able to stay on message with equanimity and grace no matter how forceful or hostile the host or other guests become.

7. Play both sides.

While you can choose to be controversial, you can also choose to appoint yourself the voice of reason and examine both sides of an issue. Susan Freinkel, a journalist who wrote the book, Plastic: a Toxic Love Story, began an experiment that turned into an investigation of how plastic affects our behavior, our environment and our lives. The premise: To go one day without touching anything plastic. What she discovered? It was impossible — starting with her toothbrush and toilet.

Instead of taking one side to the story – plastic is evil. She explored how plastic is both a boon and a bane to the way we live in a New York Times Op Ed piece. In one sentence she played both sides of the topic: “In other words, plastics aren’t necessarily bad for the environment; it’s the way we tend to make and use them that’s the problem.” Op Ed pages thrive on people who take a strong stand on one side of an issue as well as those who can shed light on both sides in an intelligent, thoughtful or provocative way.

In our media coaching sessions together Freinkel and I focused on stories about how certain plastics are negatively effecting our health, children, land and seas, and also which plastics are safe and useful and help save lives.


On Fresh Air, she discussed both sides of this fiery debate with a level head. In other media appearances she backed up her findings with solid statistics and also by moving fascinating facts into the conversation like: “The average person is never more than three feet from something made of plastic.” And, “In 1960, the average American consumed 30 pounds of plastics a year. Today, just 50 years later, Americans consume on average 300 pounds a year.” Here is something a bit startling: “Just because a plastic is made of plants doesn’t make it ‘green.’”

By moderating the positives and negatives, by sharing information not widely known and educating us, and by using stories and statistics, you can become a trusted neutral source for change.

8. Coin a term.

During her appearance on The Ricki Lake show Dr. Sara Gottfried reached into her prop basket and pulled out a gleaming diamond Tiara, put it on her head and offered it to Lake, who said she didn’t want to take it off. Gottfried called taking uninterrupted time for yourself, Tiara Time.™ It’s catchy and easy to remember. Can’t you just imagine saying to your BFF, “I need some Tiara Time™ right NOW.”

9. Declare your vision.

Your vision is how you see the world in the future. It’s what you’re aspiring to in the big picture. It incorporates how you are going to serve. For example, I’d like to see Aikido, a type of Japanese Martial Arts, which I’ve been training in for five years, incorporated into every school in the world.


The principles of Aikido, The Way of Harmony, work as a way to polish the spirit, to turn lead into gold. The founder, Morihei Ueshiba says, “True victory is self-victory; let that day arrive quickly!” I believe that, through this practice we can eradicate bullying and practice respect, compassion, and self-mastery on a daily basis in our hearts, homes, schools, and communities. My dream is to combine physical self mastery with verbal and emotional mastery so every child in the world can: Speak your mind. Stand your ground. Sing your song(tm).

Declaring your vision during a media interview moves it out in a big way into the public eye. Not only have you taken a stand but you give thousands or millions of people a chance to take a stand with you. That in itself creates powerful change.

The point of being a thought leader isn’t just to get more media appearances, more sales, more followers, or more money. It’s an opportunity to make great shifts inside yourself and out in the world. So if you aspire to taking yourself and your business forward in small or big ways, then focus on these nine things. And even if it isn’t in your nature to be on national TV or to gain an international platform, just pondering these points will give you clarity for your business as you grow and change.