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Are you properly packaging yourself?

Film AngelsI spoke at a Film Angels event, a program that matches filmmakers with venture capitalists who want to support the film industry — while making a profit. My topic was how to present, pitch, package and publicize yourself and your film.

There’s ample money out there, but not so many projects get funded. It’s not that there is a shortage of talent or great films. It’s that any project, no matter how great, has to be packaged properly for the audience it caters to. Most creative artists, authors, speakers, entrepreneurs and even experienced thought leaders, are focused on what’s important to them, and not what’s important to their audience. This fundamental shift in strategy and perspective is essential, not just to get backing for movies, but for the media.

Thinking from the perspective of your audience takes some imagination. Ask yourself, what is most important to them at this specific time, right now. What is the pain that I’m relieving, what problem am I solving for them? What would I need to do to present my information so it peaks their interest? What stories, statistics, and facts are most relevant? In what order?

These questions are also applicable to your programs and products. Lisa Sasevich, who gave a teleseminar on using preview calls for any type of launch to build a 6 or 7 figure business doing what you love, used these principles to show you how to find the right people who are a match for your products, service or cause.

The key here is you can stay true to yourself and your principles while properly packaging yourself for YOUR audience, the people you want to connect with.

What is the biggest challenge you have in properly packaging yourself?

5 Sound Bite Mistakes: That Could Crucify Your Career

In this new age of social media 2.0 the media is more often searching for experts when they have the need rather than pouring over hundreds of useless press releases that don’t have information that is relevant for their audience. So even if you haven’t sent out a press release you could get that important call from the media – if you’ve positioned yourself correctly on the Internet.

On the flip side did you know that now with YouTube and Time Machine that what you say could haunt you forever?

Once a video of you is posted or something you said shows up on the Internet there’s no way to take it back. With the advent of technology what you say will stay around in eternity and anyone can access it at any time.

This is why it makes it so important that you pay attention to what you say and how you say it — before you blast it out.

That’s right, your reputation, your credibility, your brand, your livelihood could disappear with one bad article or one TV appearance gone south. But it doesn’t need to be so.

Don’t make these five mistakes.

 WaffleSpokesperson media training to stay on message
Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds

  1. You waffle.

Many people I media train waffle. They meander off into a tangent or blurt out a thought that just came into their head in the heat of the moment, instead of carefully planning their messages and delivering them.

A while back I saw the movie Fair Game about the Valerie Plame story. When Plame spoke to one of her contacts overseas from whom she wanted information she was firm as a mountain, soft as breeze, fluid as water. She was never harsh, but she got her way. She knew her facts so when she spoke to one of her own team members or someone whose cooperation she wanted she quietly, but firmly repeated her request.

You can do the same when someone asks you a question. You calmly assert your pre-rehearsed answer no matter how many different ways a reporter or host ask you a question to elicit a different response. Know what you want to say and stick to it. Stay firm as a mountain, soft as a breeze, fluid as water.

zoomMedia coaching for branding
Photo Credit: DeeAshley

  1. You don’t quote industry leaders or competitors

It might sound counter-intuitive to quote your competition or other high-stature people in your field, but it shows that you are on top of what’s happening in your industry.

In an article titled 10 Tips for Giving an Important Speech by Alyssa Danigelis, anthropologist, filmmaker, and National Geographic explorer Elizabeth Lindsey said, “The more we talk about the things that matter to us, and less about our achievements, people breathe a collective sigh of relief.”

When we focus on what’s important to us in a sincere way it translates to our audience. They get it. Quote people you admire whose philosophy resonates with your own to help get your ideas across in a novel way.

They often say things that give a different point of view given we are all entangled in our own perspective. It’s a way of broadening our own views and the views of our audience.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 10.14.39 AMMedia coaching for radio interviews
Photo Credit: Rishibando

  1. You don’t tell how you’ve helped people.

The most potent way to persuade people to buy or buy into you or your ideas isn’t for you to talk about your achievements but to tell a story about a person you’ve helped. I recently media coached a client who said he wasn’t a good storyteller. As a doctor he preferred to medical facts so he would be more authoritative. But the human warm fuzzy factor was a bit lacking. It’s important to use facts and stories to build trust. Facts alone aren’t enough. When using facts make sure to put them in their human context so you combine feeling with fact. It’s also necessary to tell stories that reveal our effectiveness human to human.

Facts show you have knowledge. Personal and professional stories illustrate your understanding – how you do what you do and how well your methods work. I suggested that he tell dramatic or funny stories about people who came into his office with an acute problem whom he helped recover quickly using both his doctorly intuition and the product he was promoting.

In our next media coaching session he did this beautifully in preparation for his NPR interview. Giving your audience a story about how you helped another person is the closest thing to giving them an actual experience of you.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 9.59.11 AMYour vulnerability is your greatest strength
Photo Credit: Pulpolux !!!

  1. You don’t transform your wounds into wisdom

Your hardships are the mistakes that others don’t need to make. Your wounds make you loveable. We all have an Achilles Heel. Don’t hide it, highlight it. Comedian Craig Ferguson said, “I think that sometimes fear is God’s way of saying, paying attention to this could be fun. I’ve learned from people who are braver than I that fear is necessary, failure is necessary. When I talk to people and they tell me how well they are or how well they are doing I think they’re crazy and they’re failing. And when I talk to people and who are telling me how they feel—I’m not saying that misery is more authentic than joy, I don’t mean that. But I do think that sometimes self-promotion can be tiresome as I sit here talkin’ about my book. Which is available reasonably priced from all good outlets.”

What I love about Ferguson is that he doesn’t wallow in any sentiment. He moves into the wound and the moves out of it with humor. And aren’t you interested in his book just from reading this one quote? I was. leaders give opinions and perspective
Photo Credit: Andrey Popov

  1. You don’t have your opinion ready.

Thought leaders have opinions. They back their opinions with evidence or piggyback them with humor to soften a tough point of view. Have your opinion ready.

To become a respected thought leader spend some time every week thinking about the issues in your industry. Consider some of the trends that are happening. Formulate your thoughts. Concretize them in writing on your blog, Facebook, or in an article.

When a reporter who had interviewed me before called and asked me my opinion of the new Conan O’Brien Show I told her I hadn’t seen it, but I still had an opinion about it. We laughed. Then I transitioned from what I didn’t know into what I did know – which was Jon Stewart. I watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart regularly and think he’s hilarious, smart and self-deprecating.

Even though he’s super smart he’s not a snob about it. She really wanted my comments about the future of the talk show format so I talked about that in relation to Jon Stewart. I got a paragraph at the end of her article – without knowing a thing about the topic of her piece – Conan O’Brien.

The important thing is to transition to what you know and make the connection so you are serving the reporter and her audience. 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.

So in the spirit of securing your sound bites you’re invited to a FREE training called: Speak in Sound Bites: 5 Surefire Strategies to Get More Clients, Customers, and Sales.

Every body needs to speak in sound bites. They aren’t just for politicians, talking heads, or movie stars. Even if you’re not preparing for a media interview, the information on this FREE webinar can  help you be a better parent, leader, succinct speaker, dazzling party guest, run an effective meeting, close a deal or get venture capital. Jump in on it now.

Have you had a sound bite success (on TV, during a meeting, in your own living room with your kids?) Please share it!

PR Viagra: Strategies to Long Lasting Publicity

2 PR Approaches: Organic vs. Manufactured

I was reading the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times at my parents’ house on Easter Sunday and was struck by two articles on two different approaches to PR. That of Lauren Conrad, the 15 second scrabbler attempting to manufacture fame, and Eckhart Tolle, who embodies the dignified organic approach. Conrad is the MTV reality star of “The Hills” who is scuttling to build a brand around her image. So far, not many people are buying her credibility or her products.

Build a Loyal Following

Best-selling author of The Power of Now and A New Earth, Tolle, on the other hand, built his following slowly and naturally when people began asking how they could find the same kind of peace he appeared to have. Oprah and Tolle are teaching a webinar together on the principles of A New Earth, and over 2 million people have attended these weekly workshops—attesting to the power of now vs. grasping at the illusion of the glitzy future.

The New York Times calls Tolle “the most popular spiritual author in the nation.” His book holds the #1 position on Oprah’s Book Club selection, as well as the #1 and #2 spots on the New York Times bestseller list for paperback advice. According the New World Library, Tolle’s first publisher, The Power of Now has sold over 5 million copies.

Famous for Divulging Their Private Lives

Conversely, Conrad, whose fame is based on cameras trolling with her to nightclubs and interning at a fashion magazine, has a handbag line with Linea Pelle that’s sold a few hundred bags. Pretty paltry. She and other celebrity hopefuls are attempting to follow in the footsteps of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen who managed to parlay their TV sitcom roles into a multimillion-dollar empire that includes books, videos, films and frocks. They are chasing fame as fast as their designer clad feet will let them.

These glam chasers are leading the way into what I call “peep show fame.” Those “stars” have gained fame by allowing cameras into their private lives and most intimate moments. Instead of eschewing the paparazzi like true Hollywood celebs, they court the cameras and even help them to get the best possible pictures, all in the name of fame.

15 Seconds of Fame

The perplexing thing about all this hubbub is that there is no there there. The same old thing “happens” in the Conrads of the world’s lives. They shop, they date, they drink, they chat on their cell phones, and they forget to wear underwear. This is an exemplary life? Why does the American public waste it’s time reading/watching this drivel? Have we become a nation that worships insta-celebs? See some more commentary here on what has become quick-fix celebrityism—15 seconds of fame: Rise of the Insta-Celeb so you’ll know how to avoid it.

A Life Worth Following

Tolle is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Attempts by reporters to pump his people about his personal life turn up zilch. He circulates one sole story about his past that is relentlessly repeated on his audio recordings, in his books and in the media.

It’s simply this: He was depressed and suicidal, and one day, at age 29, awoke hearing the words “resist nothing” and saw the world as if for the first time. He wandered about homeless for a few years in London, living in parks blissed out, until people began to take notice and ask him to teach them whatever he learned that afforded him such deep peace and joy.

In the years that followed, he did so to larger and larger crowds. Then the Oprah Effect hit. But before Oprah, Tolle had already been discovered by a loyal following who could easily understand his message, and felt his sincerity and lack of ego.

Keep Your Privacy and Your Dignity

Imagine this, Tolle declined to be interviewed by the New York Times. Not since J.D. Salinger have we seen such secrecy. And is this selectivity hurting him? Quite the opposite. He has cache. There is an aura of respectability around this man who refuses to fuel any gossip or speculation about his life. You can get a sense of Tolle here: Eckhart Tolle

My Life is My Message

I have always advised my clients not to bare their breasts, buttocks or private lives. In this era of tell all-show all, I’m more adamant than ever that this is the path to powerful long lasting PR. Keep some mystery, offer something that people deeply need, and heed Gandhi’s words, “My life is my message.” And while it may take you longer than 15 seconds to gain fame, it will be well worth the time.

Soundbite Blunders to Avoid

1. Use a General Bio.

Soundbiting starts even before you appear on a TV or radio show.Soundbiting starts even before you appear on a TV or radio show. Your bio is the first introduction to you and it’s your first soundbite–even though you’re not the one to say it. Most people leave this introduction up to the TV or radio host and that’s their first mistake. Controlling the public’s perception of you begins with the bio. Even if you have hired a publicist, this job is still yours as your publicist won’t have the time for this level of detail.