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

Guest post by Victoria Green

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

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

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

Start with Google

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

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

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

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

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

Weird ways to get media attention. source: pexels

Take a lesson From Tinder

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

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

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

Powerful subject lines for an opening email are:

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

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

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

Play it cool

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

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

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

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

Send them a video

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

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

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

Be willing to let it go

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

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

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

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

Go bananas

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

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

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


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

Got any other great ideas? Let us know!

Victoria GreeneVictoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer.

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

8 Things Donald Trump Can Teach Us About Courting Publicity

Guest Post By Victoria Greene

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

PR is rooted in positive relationships

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

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

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

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

Sometimes you need to take an unconventional approach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You must be willing to listen to advice

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

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

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

The celebrity phenomenon

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

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

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

He tells it like (he thinks) it is

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

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

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

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

Pick an enemy (or several)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Publicity Strategy: You Don’t Need to Be Brash or Loud

I just read a woman’s special report that disparaged one of my colleague’s tag lines saying, “I feel bad for those who’ve built a brand around this message.” (My colleague is a wonderful AND successful person by the way. And her brand is working just fine.). This is a poor publicity strategy.

This gal’s special report blasted me with her loud clothes, wildly colored hair, and audacious language. She made it a point to shock me. Granted, that’s HER brand, and people who resonate with in-your-face brashness will be her perfect clients.

But please don’t think you have to imitate this way of being to get media coverage, fans, followers or clients. And please never disparage anyone’s brand to promote your own. I once had a client who said she chose me over another colleague precisely because I wasn’t as “slick and sound bitey.”

There is a place for everyone, no matter how shy or small you feel. No matter how big and bold you are. No matter if you’re quiet and thoughtful. No matter your race, ethnicity or point of view. We need us all.

Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken. ~Oscar Wilde

And know that often the loud ones get attention more quickly, because, well, they are jumping up and down, blowing a bullhorn and calling attention to themselves, while you made be sitting, listening, pondering and seeking to understand others. As long as you’re sitting tall and centered in your own way of being that’s fine. Sometimes, quieting your voice makes it easier to be heard.

And, if you wish you were other, or want to shift your life in a big way before taking center stage – in the media or online, heed the advice of my dear friend Sherry who shows you how to live the life you want in the now — just as you are.

You might also like:

How to Use Storytelling For Leadership and PR With Dave Ursillo

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How to Use Storytelling For Leadership and PR With Dave Ursillo

Welcome everyone. Our topic today is how to use storytelling for leadership and PR. Our guest is Dave Ursillo. He's a teacher of writing, creativity, yoga and all things self-expression. He's a former politico who once walked in the west wing of the White House and aspired to become a presidential speech writer, which is so fascinating. We were just talking about how to frame questions properly that you learned from being in politics. Then in 2009, disillusioned with the state of politics and questioning his role in the system, Dave quit his job and abandoned his career in public service to live a life of personal leadership, using writing as his vessel for change. That's so beautifully written too, Dave.

Thank you.

I'm obviously reading your bio. It's a story in itself, right?


Your bio is even your very first story. We'll talk about that in a minute. When Dave is not writing, he loves to travel abroad. He's been to India twice. He considers coffee an act of artistry. Oh my God, we didn't talk about Bulletproof Coffee, which we'll have to do, which I've had my first cup this morning.

There you go.

He wants to help humans love one another. Find Dave and his 400, Dave, wow, published pieces of writing at Gosh Dave, I forgot to ask you one of the cardinal rules. Did I pronounce your name right?

You did. You pronounced it phenomenally. It roughly translates to mean small bear.

But you're a big bear, aren't you? Because you look like you're like 6'8" or something.

I wish. I'm like only 5'9 1/2".


I'm trying to stretch out that 5'9 1/2" to 5'10".

Oh my God, I thought you were like a giant, honestly. I thought you were at least 6'5" from all your pictures. That must be just …

The beauty of working online is that you can feign extreme height and size and Tony Robbins' stature. No, I'm just a humble 5'10"-ish. I can throw down. I don't do much throwing down but I can throw it down if I need to. At least, I'd like to think so.

BAMD0041 | Storytelling for leadership

Dave Ursillo shares how to use storytelling for leadership and PR.

Good for you. I just want to say to our listeners too, one of the things, if you have a difficult name or anything to pronounce, tell the person ahead of time if they don't ask. I forgot to ask. I usually ask. I assumed I knew how to say it. But then as I was saying it, I'm like, oh my God, I'm hoping that I'm saying it right. If I didn't, that you as the listener should correct me in an instant because there's no shame in that.

Absolutely. You nailed it. I'm glad I didn't have to correct you. I do the same thing too. This is another little tip for listeners, because I do some interviewing myself with different people. Without a fail, if I do butcher something or have to ask them again to pronounce their name correctly, my go to little self-deprecating humor is that with a name like Ursillo, you'd expect me to be better at pronouncing everybody else's name because I would hope that they pronounce it better myself. It breaks the ice when I have that faux pas myself and butcher a name. It does happen.

That's great. We're talking about storytelling for leadership and PR. Storytelling is so hot right now. It's always been hot because it's the way that we pass on tradition from one to another. Oral storytelling. It's had a comeback. I see now, everybody's a storytelling coach. You've been one for quite a while. You've told me that how somebody tells her story or tells his story is someone's first and perhaps best source of PR. I'm curious as to how and also how did you use story to get where you are today?

Absolutely, Susan. It's a great question. Thank you for asking it. It's so true. You've led in by saying that everybody's kind of a storytelling coach nowadays. It's making a big comeback. What I really like to make clear, and I tell this to myself all the time, is I don't, deep in my heart, consider myself to be a storyteller. I consider myself to be a writer and someone who naturally, years ago, gravitated to the art form of story to not only change my life but quite literally save it from ...

You mentioned in my back story, being disillusioned with politics and public service. I was also quite depressed at the time, at this point in my life when I was really, a total crisis of identity. I was young at the time but I was living in this phase of everything that I expected the world to be and my career to be and my life to be was exactly the opposite of what I had hoped. As a result, going through a breakup at the time, nothing was going right.

Somehow, tragically, nothing was wrong. I had a job. This was in 2009, just following the housing crisis and credit crisis. The world was in pretty rough shape economically. I had a job and I had possibilities. I was in a position of privilege and dreading that my life wasn't as good as I had hoped. The crisis was more of the spiritual one. This is where the storytelling came into play, where I knew that, deep in my heart, I was not living the story that I wanted to be telling.

Sometimes that phrase can seem like, the life is meant to be told or witnessed in a shallow sense. Truly, it was more that my soul was so craving purpose and depth and experience that was not being experienced as it was in my life. I decided to leave my job relying upon that the tool that I felt so close to, which was writing, as my own personal means of not only knowing myself but sharing myself.

I believe that writing could be my tool for giving to the world in ways that could make an impact starting today, whereas the world that I was living in, the world that I was leaving in politics and public service, which you could relate to really any industry on a corporate level or just something that doesn't completely jive your heart and soul.

That world was telling me that I needed to wait to make a difference, which was ironic because it's public service. It's supposed to be serving the public and helping people. But I was told that I needed to wait to earn my keep. I was told that I needed to do more to deserve to help people. In my heart, I said, "I'm not going to save the world all on my own but I can't help but feel like I could help one person today." If that's with a blog post then I was intent on doing that.

I left my job, my career and I started to ... Before I really knew it Susan, I was sharing my story because it just seemed so natural for me to be telling other people who may be in the position similar to me that there was hope and that there was a chance and that there was choice.

The circumstances that, whether there was a job that they didn't find fulfilling or there was other circumstances of hardship, like depression or disillusionment, or whatever the circumstances were almost didn't matter. If there was a sense or a source of suffering within that person, I wanted them to know that there's a possibility for change.

BAMD0041 | Storytelling for leadership

Blogging can be an outlet of storytelling for leadership and PR.

On the merit of telling my story and exposing myself and my own beliefs and also my struggles, before I really knew it, I was becoming a storyteller and I was using my story to start to cultivate the life that I wanted to live. In turn, helping others change the story of their lives.

These years later, now over seven years later, I find myself doing what we would call business storytelling work or professional storytelling work. Sometimes people use the term storytelling to mean that they get on stage and they have rehearsed different various stories that they performed.

For me, I get very intimate into the voice and the values that somebody lives by. I help them express where they've been, but more importantly, where they're going or where they wish to go and what they wish to create with others hand in hand to co-create a future that is brighter and healthier and more unified and loving. That's the storytelling that I do now.

Almost by accident Susan, I started to become a storyteller just out of pure necessity. That's the essence that I really want to give to people, is that storytelling isn't necessarily an art form that ought to be mastered before you start telling yours. Story is the most human fundamental art form that has ever existed. It's psychological too.

We tell stories just to make sense of the world, to explain how we began this phone call or the commute into work this morning or how to make the perfect cup of coffee. It's all story because story is just context, it's relevance, it's creating some meaning, it's assigning relevance to otherwise random facts and details.

We're all telling stories all the time. We're telling stories in our head and out loud. When you start to at least just understand how many stories we live and share and experience in marketing and PR and advertising and so on, then I believe it really starts to open your world to the possibility that exists to re-story yourself or to story yourself all over again in the ways that you desire. It's something just as simple as using your words can help you open the door and walk through it.

I think you said you weren't living the story you wanted to live. By using your voice and values and what you want to create for yourself and others, you can change the direction of your life.


You also were saying that you can re-story yourself by telling the new future, the stories. Is that what you're saying too? You can say, "Okay, this was the story that I was," like you were in the west wing of the White House and that was not serving you. Now, you're going to tell a new story and then tell the story first and then live into it?

Absolutely. It's two fold, Susan. Exactly right. If you look at yourself in the present moment, you can take a journal, take some paper or just sit in thought and meditation and reflect on what are the stories that I'm living right now? What are the stories, when I wake up, I hear in my head? Is it a story of anxiety, of nervousness? If I have to do more, I have to rush, I have to do this XYZ. Is it a story that I'm living my purpose? Is it a story that I'm fractured and I'm un-whole, that I don't feel like I'm living my authentic truth?

These are the things, the narratives, the quiet narratives that we hear in our head. The ego, the narration that we always hear and that affects our physical bodies, that affects the direction, the quality of the decisions that we make, the quality of our relationships. Here and now, in the present moment, you can start to look at the stories that are dictating your reality.

That's what I was doing over seven and a half years ago when I said ... I kind of had this out of body experience, this awakening moment when I realized that I didn't want to keep living the story of, "I'm depressed." I was that thing but I also didn't want to continue to live the story of, "I am depressed and I hate my job and I have to wait five years to start to make a difference."

That was the impetus for me. Quitting my job was small in comparison to the decision to start to change the story. Quitting my job was a facet of how I physically adjusted my life to change the story that I would be living in the future. From that point, when I found the space and the freedom, having quit my job. Not everybody needs to, but whenever you cultivate the physical circumstances to help you create the space, it's almost like you're opening a new journal page and you're saying, "How do I want to fill this space now?"

To me, through a process of deep and long reflections over months and months of just writing for myself and for no one in particular, I started to realize all these pieces that I had been living throughout my life which were, "I'm here to make a difference in some way. I'm here to lead with or without followers. That I don't need politics and public service to validate a calling of leadership within me," but just by writing, starting a blog, starting to publish some of those 400 essays and blog posts.

That's a lot.

BAMD0041 | Storytelling for leadership

By blogging over 400 essays, Dave found how to use storytelling for leadership and PR.

I can start to make a small difference. The co-creative power is once you've made peace with the past, you're starting to adjust the things that have led you to where you are here now today, then you have the freedom, the choice, the creative ability to say, "How do I want to live and what do I want to bring other people into relationship with me and what does that look like, what does it feel like?"

That's what we all do all the time. When we're doing the work that we do, whether it's purely independently as a self-employed creative or an entrepreneur or a coach or if it's being a part of a bigger entity. We're still considering what is our relationship to the future that we're creating.

Story, just literally writing it out or talking it out, is a way where it starts to become less ephemeral and intangible and starts to feel more real. I believe in the power of that. Just by putting words onto paper, something truly magical begins to happen. For me, it's like the universe starts to birth this reality along with you when you start to take action to make it real in your life.

I love the phrase, "Change your writing, change your life." That's a book, right?


When I train people, media train, typically we do it orally and I write it down because they don't necessarily ... It's such a different process, writing down a story than it is speaking a story. It's using a different part of the brain. Both are completely valid. Is your process on storytelling for leadership and PR when you say ... I'm going to ask you a couple of questions about this. The first one, is the process for you and how you teach, to write the story first? Because you're so prolific in that regard.

It's a great question. I actually have used it with my storytelling for leadership clients. My story clients I work with both in partnership with a storytelling company and on my own. Just so you have some background, you mentioned the kind of people I work with, conscientious creatives but very driven professionals, very high achieving professionals who are on the cutting edge of innovation and doing something very new and different that doesn't have a name.

Also, coaches who are living their leadership. They've been in a certain place in their life and now they're trying to take where they've been and share that with others to help those in a similar position. I actually have used both sides of the approach Susan, where sometimes I'll prompt people into writing their story first as a benchmark.

Sometimes we start with just a purely oral conversation. Lately, it's been the oral conversation is what starts and then we complement the oral exploration with writing and writing to finesse things out. There's quite literally a back and forth between spoken and written. We have this dual approach to get the story just right.

Ultimately, when we're working online and we're dealing with different bios, we're mostly dealing with ... Although the Internet more and more has different mediums of experiencing, from audio to video. I always find that written is the passive evergreen source of developing relationships with people.

The about me page, for example. It's great to have some audio or video on there. To me, the written word is such an intimate form of experiencing one's soul and it's so chosen, which is why I really fell in love with written word. I don't want to get too far off from your question here.

But to consider, just for a moment as you listen, you the listener, the difference of being spoken at in video or audio form or even just by someone in person, versus the medium of willfully choosing to engage and entertain the ideas in written form on a piece of paper.

The reason that I first gravitated to writing when I was younger, I was in junior high and high school, was that I always felt, as a natural introvert, I felt very almost repressed when somebody spoke at me in a way that I couldn't choose to avoid. Conversely, written word was a purely invitational form of dialogue. I felt expansive when I wrote and when I read. When I was with random authority issues that I had as a kid and still to this day ...

We can talk about that.

Being spoken at or commanded or told to do something or respond to something, I really disengaged from it. That's why I had this admitted bias towards written word. To answer your question, I really believe that in conversation, you can stumble upon things because you're in a relationship to the story in this collaborative, constructive way with one another.

In writing, that's more of an intimate form. It's more you enable someone, you empower somebody to fall into their story in a way that's like a communion with self and with spirit and with source energy. There's two beautiful ways of getting deeper into the truth of what the story is. I believe that both forms really help you get there.

It's so interesting because you're right, they're so different. I like that you mentioned that it's an invitation. Somebody chooses to read it. It's their choice whether they want to continue or not as they're reading it. They're feeling you through those words on paper, which is completely different sometimes. It shouldn't be, but oftentimes there's a disconnect between someone reading you on paper, in your bio or your about me, and then what they feel or what they get when you're either speaking or on video and making those things a congruent.

Absolutely. I think that there's room for both of them. Nowadays, everything is trending towards video. I don't have any statistics off the top of my head but the world is all going video. Facebook's algorithm rewards you for using video.

Now, there's Facebook live where you're recording videos live. All the mediums that we're using in PR and in marketing nowadays are gearing towards video especially. Podcasting is getting bigger and bigger than ever.

I hope you're not going to knock that since we're on one.

BAMD0041 | Storytelling for leadership

Storytelling for leadership and PR can be accomplished by podcasting.

Absolutely not. In fact, I'm playing with the idea of starting my own. I use video for my different E-courses and for my writers group. I believe in really mixing up the mediums. I love engaging people in different ways. To me, I'll always have that special place writing has in my heart. Like you said, I think the perfect way to put is as these mediums change and become more popular and more effective for attention spans and the ways that trends work, I still believe that there's a very important place for the writing.

Like you said, for it to be congruent with everything else that's being conveyed in audio and video form is very special because it speaks to a certain segment of potential customers and clients who require perhaps maybe a longer term relationship based approach. Building that emotional trust and emotional rapport.

It's like chicken and the egg where am I partial to writing stories for my clients because it's effective in its own way or because my clients tend to be these types of people who all share similar values, which is that it takes a lot of trust and patience and very low pressure form of developing a business relationship?

For example, just this past week, I landed a new member of my online writers group, the Literati Writers, who has been on my waiting list and considering joining for probably sixteen months. I don't gear all of my marketing towards converting someone who's going to be on my waiting list for sixteen months.

But it's an interesting example of even though the world is moving so fast, I think there's still a place for the slow and for the slow to be very effective in cultivating profound change. Ideally, right Susan. Ideally, the work that we do can last a lifetime.

I think people, maybe they're interested in you at that time but they're not ready.

Exactly, you never know.

They need to be cultivated along. Maybe they need to read your 400 pieces before they realize that they too can, before they join your Literati Writers

I don't think we can second guess people's internal process or what happens. Part of the importance of that and the importance of what you're saying is giving them the opportunity to go at their own pace in storytelling for leadership.

Whether it's reading you're writing or writing their own writing and finding their own rhythm for that. Maybe somebody reads one piece of yours and wants join your LiteratiWriters.comAnother one, this guy, this person has sixteen months of doing whatever's that internal process.

I want to let everybody know, you can read some of Dave's 400 published pieces at and join his group. The home of his positivity infused online writers group.

BAMD0041 | Storytelling for leadership

Storytelling for leadership and PR involves a change in your mindset.

The other question I wanted to ask you that you mentioned, which I think is so important in terms of storytelling for leadership and PR. I know that the popular term is mindset. What you're calling the stories that are dictating your reality that you have in your head. How do you go about shifting those negative stories that people have in every aspect of their life? Whether it's holding them back from one obstacle or holding them back from a whole career.

For you, you said you were depressed and then you started locating the stories that you were telling yourself to say, "One of my stories is I've got to wait five years to make a difference. But no, I don't think that's true." How do you start to locate those stories that are holding you back and then how do you shift them into a new story?

Fantastic question. For me, this is where the ability to write the stories out and to see them being birthed by your hand into physical form becomes so powerful. For me Susan, when I had quit my job, I was trying to make sense of everything. There's only so much that I think your brain, that your mindset as you termed, that your awareness can hold the space for at one given time. When you have too many stories and narratives ...

Just think for a moment, if you will, of all the different titles, for example, that we might come by on any given day. All the different labels that we own or that are assigned to us by other's expectations and assumptions. From being human, male or female or both, gender association to race and religion to what is your job title, are you a mother or a father, are you a partner or a wife or a husband, are you a child or a son, do you have children?

This is actually an exercise that I do in my storytelling for leadership workshops. You can run upwards of 80 to 100 on any given day of all the different titles that you assign to yourself and that are assigned to you. When you start by looking at the number of titles that are assigned to you, all those different titles can hold maybe one to five different stories to them of how you came to be this and what is it right now and what is the potential for it in the future.

I say that just to say the number of stories that we're expecting to hold and maintain in our poor little brains is enormous. The act of examining which stories are dominating your thoughts and your mindset and your heart space, I think is really important. Meditation and things like this are beautiful but they still reside in the mind. The ability to just reflect on that in written form is where I believe you begin to develop a relationship to see how malleable the stories ultimately are.

Although they feel very much dictated to us a lot of the time, there's a lot of stories we feel like we can't escape, when you do put pen to paper ... You don't have to be a writer. You don't have to be a member of my writers group just to say, "This is the story that I'm feeling or experiencing. I am depressed but do I really have to be?" Then you realize that the stories in our heads and in our hearts are just as malleable or editable, if you will, as when we write them on paper or we type them out on the computer.

Ultimately, a story is a choice. When you sit down to start to examine and say maybe the three stories that are really dictating how you feel everyday and how you perceive yourself, this is where you start. If you never expressed it then you have nothing to build upon or to edit or to change.

Just the act of writing them and observing them, you can literally put a match to that paper and light it on fire and say, "I'm starting over." Or you can start to take a red pen and start to edit, speaking metaphorically now. Or you could literally light something on fire if you really want to. I wouldn't stop you as long as you're being safe about it.

I can't believe you added that.

Just for the sake of liability. Just observing the stories in written form physically affirms to you that you have the ability to change them. If you are in a space of writing or creative self-expression or coaching, start to notice where you find your stories, oral or written, going. Do you find yourself continually going back to a story of a few years ago?

I will never forget this one conversation I had Susan, where I asked somebody, this was a few years ago. I just had met somebody who was a friend of a friend. We were sitting down for coffee. It was like a meet and greet sort of thing. I said, "Tell me about yourself. What are you doing these days that's getting you really excited?" She said, "Two years ago, I had this really bad breakup." She went on for about 40 minutes talking about two years ago. I stopped her after the 40 minutes. I was really waiting for her to bring it home for those 40 minutes.

I just very gently said, "Do you realize that the question was, what's exciting you nowadays? In other words, what are you looking forward to? What are you co-creating for your future, your short term future with the people with whom you work and other people around you?"

Her instinct was to go back to two years. She had to set the stage for right now two years prior. That told me, as a writer and as a storyteller and as a story coach, that there was still a lot of her own story that she could not yet rationalize. She hadn't brought it up to speed. I encouraged her to sit down on her own and to work all of these out as much as she could so that when somebody asked her again, "What are you doing right now?" she didn't need to preface it with a two year run up.

That's the type of thing where we're in a space of service or giving, that we need to be extra cognizant and extra aware of where our heads are and where our hearts are. Because if we're still working out things in the recent past or the distant past, which is completely fine and completely normal, it risks bogging others down whom we're trying to serve and help.

That's just an added caveat of presumably if you're in PR, you're doing something, you're creating something, you're helping others do that and bringing people along to help create a future and do something special in the here and now. It's just a matter of being extra cognizant of where your mind is and where your heart is and where the stories are holding you back from. If they are holding you back then you're not living as much as you can in the moment and doing as much as you can with the time that you have.

I think that's so true. That woman's story from two years ago was so fresh that it was dominating, what you're saying is that it was dominating her complete reality. She couldn't even get to the happiness part without telling you all of the sadness that was holding her down. It sounds like the happiness part, what was really juicing her, wasn't really even available at that moment for her to articulate.

BAMD0041 | Storytelling for leadership

Consider which part of the storytelling for leadership and PR is karmic, a past story orientation; and which is dharmic or future story orientation

It's all based on the story. A lot of the story work that I do and the story work that I've done for myself ... I break it down, the yogi in me breaks it down, as which part of the story is karmic or is it a past story orientation, and which is dharmic or future story orientation? In the philosophy of yoga, as well as in Hinduism, as well as Buddhism, all the new age-y stuff that we latch onto and also apply to our own lives today, regardless of religious denomination ...

Wait. Which part of the story is karmic, which is past? Which part is dharmic?

The philosophy of karma is that it's things that you're carrying from the past or things that you need to learn to heal yourself. Healing yourself of the past stuff so that you can be fully healed here and now. Dharmic or dharma is another belief around your destiny, your faith, your purpose in this lifetime. These things are independent from one another but they're also really entwined when you think about it.

For the example of this woman who I'd asked basically what is the dharmic story that she's living right now. What is her purpose? What is her passion? What's lighting her up? What is she doing these days? She instantly went back into, "These are my wounds that I'm still trying to heal and overcome." It was almost like she was telling me passively that she couldn't be fully in her mission because she was still holding on to wounds and pains of her past.

A lot of the storytelling for leadership and PR work that I'll do is simply noticing, when I have a new client, where does their instinct take them? Does it go into their future story orientation of, I see a vision where people who are young mothers, they've just given birth to their children, their young child, they want to get back on the health track but they're feeling really bogged down by expectations, by this presumption that they're going to have to be not only very tired but look tired and not have time for themselves.

Not only be tired but look tired.

Right. The coach says, "I want to change that by giving them the resources that they need to find fifteen minutes of healthful living so that they can ... yada, yada, yada." I'm just literally making this up off the top of my head. That's a future story orientation. I can see, this person has a very vested stake in creating a future for ideal clients.

Then I can go into clients ... Let's call her Samantha. "Samantha, why do you care so much about this person?" Chances are very good that she has lived a similar story. I take her back into her past story orientation, her karmic story. Chances are very good, not always necessarily, but there's a good chance that she's lived this story herself or she's experienced it firsthand.

That's really where we get the meat and potatoes of the story to complement what vision she has for somebody, which is to say, "I want this for you because I've lived it myself. These are things that I've experienced and so on and so forth." These two sides of the story really interplay quite a bit. It comes down to being your own story as your own form of PR is to examine your relationship between past and future story orientation.

It can feel a little bit like a seesaw. Some days you're living in the past, some days the future. It's all about just finding the threads that you can pull into the center where you are here and now so that you can keep doing what you do so well and sharing where you've been, what you've done and also what your vision is for the future for people, for your ideal clients, your ideal customers, your readers, etc. So that you can just keep living here and now and doing the best work that you can.

It can feel, at times, overwhelming. It's really just about asking yourself, "Where do I want to move forward with my ideal people and how can I bring some of those threads of the past with me to help people understand it and resonate with it and learn from it?" It all ties itself together in the here and now where you can tell a very short story ... 

What you Susan, read for me to introduce me, of dreaming of being a presidential speech writer someday. You can see the roots of my writing passion and also the vision that I used to have for myself but feeling disillusioned and now I added depressed. It was the impetus for me to leave and to try to do my own thing and be a leader in my own life using writing as my tool and vessel.

Just in a few sentences, you who's listening, can have a pretty healthy little understanding. If you did some digging, you did some exploring around those concepts, you can probably figure out that I'm pretty service minded, service oriented. That I'm independent, that I also would want to take it upon myself to create something.

These are all little clues and things that we can use through our language to help us understand when we're resonating with somebody, if they're one of your "people", someone in your tribe or if they're living a different mindset or mentality.

What you're saying too, when you're examining your past and you're pulling these threads through, some people want to discard those painful pasts. What you're saying is that that's informing your future and to keep that in there and make the connection between what your pain or what you've left behind to where you are today. Because that's the whole story.

There's a big movement, "Be vulnerable and show your pain." There's, I think, a graceful way to do it where you're not miring someone in your pain and you're just showing it to them and saying, "Here's where we connect." Do you know what I mean? I think there's a real different between bringing somebody down from the pain of your story versus showing it to them, opening yourself up to show it to them to say, "We're really the same inside and here's why and here's how far I've come and you can too."

Absolutely. It's all about how you tell it. Here's how I can tell, when I'm reading somebody's bio or about me page, I can tell what they've done wrong. Wrong, relatively speaking, like you're saying, you don't want somebody visiting your about me page for example and feeling like they're being pulled into the dark hole from whence you have emerged years prior.

When people use language like saying, "I'm still a work in progress." That doesn't need to be said. That's a disclaimer around somebody's imperfections that is spoken from a place of guilt or shame. It's subtly plants a seed of doubt in the person who's reading it. It's one of those things that I try to encourage people to avoid saying.

You don't need to air out your guilt and your shame and your fear. But you can show someone a very deliberate path from which you have emerged and express it from a place of confidence so that the story of pain or suffering no longer has power over you.

When I talk about depression, I don't want someone to feel depressed when they're reading my story. I want them to know how much the depression was an impetus that sprung me to new heights, that challenged me to go forward. I still would want them to know, this is what depression feels like. If someone's reading it who, for example, is suffering from depression, I'll write in a different way of saying, "I know what you're going through, here's how I can imagine your feeling."

The point is, you can use the suffering, the hardships, the trials, the questions, the doubts to frame up why. Why you are where you are today. When you can explain to somebody why you have a personal stake in what you're doing, what you're trying to do, what you're striving for and what you believe, you don't need any other explanation. Frankly, you don't need many other credentials to validate what you're striving to do.

I had no credentials in doing what I was striving to do. I was a 23-year-old aspiring author who had mediocre writing skills but was hell-bent on doing something with them to serve people. The story that I told then was a lot different from the story that I tell now because I've had seven plus years of experience writing and rewriting and rewriting and also just living. The story changes as we change. It's always a very malleable and changing thing, the stories that we live and the stories that we tell.

I knew that if I shared how much I cared about what I cared about, that people who validated that, the underbelly of passion and consideration and determination, that those are the people I wanted to work with anyway.

Those are the people that I wanted to be my tribe. I didn't want people to look at my subscriber account and my Facebook likes and to take that as validation for what I had to say. I wanted them to feel just how emotionally invested I was, how much I was bleeding into my computer screen for them to feel cared for.

If I can make them feel that, then nothing else mattered. I knew that I was developing trust with them. That's what I value most. That's how I live and that's how I try to tell stories and how I try to create work, where people feel so cared for through the impersonal medium of as I flick my computer.

The computer, this medium which does bring us together but is not human. I think our biology is very confused by the contrast of connecting two people through such an impersonal medium like technology. That's something that's accessible to everybody.

You can't feign how much you care. When you package that and share it in your own unique ways and with poise and grace and confidence, then you have enough at your fingertips, I believe. I've lived it so I can I guess prove it in one limited case study, to say that that's enough for you to start to garnish your own PR and to get attention in all the right ways that honor you and what you believe.

BAMD0041 | Storytelling for leadership

Dave Ursillo guides people on storytelling for leadership and PR through his Literati Writers group.

I like that you say you can't feign how much you care. It's also not about stating it. It's about how you're telling your story. I also like what you said about the validation isn't how many people you have in your Facebook page. It's really when they're looking to someone like you help them tell their story, it is about how much you care and how you've helped others to get to the place that you got to yourself.

Absolutely. I completely believe that, Susan. In a digital world that we keep our faces in, which is such an amazing tool for doing more of the work that we love to do. I have clients who have ranged from the Philippines and Australia and New Zealand to Northern Europe to South Africa and everywhere in between. It's absolutely amazing. I would never be able to do it otherwise.

I think it's really important to remember that even though we're in this digital world of numbers and conversion rates and funnels and marketing, that you can still bring a ton of heart into it. One of my friends, Jacob Sokol, who's a life coach and just an awesome guy, says, "Follow your heart but bring your head with you." There's space for you to bring an abundance of passion and care and consideration and also to have the mental aspect of how do I make this work. It's important to have these two in relationship with one another.

Bring all the care that you can when you're making that evergreen funnel. Bring the amount of passion that another human being deserves when you're telling them a story of overcoming and not just trying to get them to sign up for your newsletter. There's a really beautiful space to finesse ... You mentioned I said coffee is an artistry to me.

Make this an artful thing, whatever it is that you're creating and however you're trying to serve. Make it artful so that it honors you, so that it feels good. So that the journey that you're on right now doesn't feel excruciating, like you're just striving for an outcome or an end goal.

You're in the experience. A cycle of vinyasa, as we would say in yoga, of really intentionally placing things, from words to products to Skype calls, and really making it rewarding. That will have a broader effect. It's the stuff of loving relationships. It's the stuff of bringing communities together. Even though you may be playing in Mail Chimp or in Gmail, it does have an effect that's broader because I believe that how you do anything is how do everything.

Making room for the heart space to market yourself and to reach out to people and to serve people will be necessarily how you carry yourself in everyday life. When you're driving in rush hour or ordering your coffee from your local café or raising your kids or whatever the case may be.

I think that's really true. I think you've expressed it in the word, infused. That as you're writing and as you're going through all of this daily process, whether it's your storytelling or what you're offering somebody, that you are, in part of that process, then you are infusing it with your good intentions and your care for the other person. Not just for yourself, the outcome of the funnel and that sort of thing.

Let me get back for one minute to examining the three stories that are driving you. Because I think that's really an important point in being able to move forward with your future vision. I know for myself, an example, I'm training in Aikido and I'm really a dork. Very awkward and clumsy on the mat.

One of my values is to be graceful and elegant. To have me not do that on the mat and be so awkward is very painful. I remember walking out the door and then I say, "I'm off to dork out on the mat." My sweetie saying, "I don't think that language is helpful to you."

Just to be able to examine that myself, I thought in that moment, I said, "I am continuing to practice to be graceful and proficient on the mat." Now, I'm a black belt. I'm still not graceful. Now, I'm starting to teach Aikido to the beginners. That's a whole new experience that's not yet graceful either, that's very awkward. I'm at the beginning of something, at this age of 59. Beginning at something like that is really challenging too because it's a different type of teaching.

To start to frame that, like when I came last night after teaching, it's like, "How did it go?" I'm like, "Well, it went okay. I really learned from the senior teacher after me how to break things down even more specifically and more understandably. That, I'm going to take to my next teaching." Instead of beating myself up like, "Oh my God, I did an awful job." Do you know what I mean?

Absolutely. You will believe the stories that you tell yourself and the stories that you tell others. If you tell yourself, "I'm not a good yoga teacher." Why wouldn't some part of you, subconscious, your soul, be listening to that and start to abide by it? If you tell friends in passing, "I'm undateable. I'll never find a relationship." How open will you be to possibility when somebody walks into your life if you're constantly telling yourself that this thing cannot happen?

It's so basic. It's so simple. That's why it takes so much discipline Susan, to observe the stories that we're telling ourselves. There's so many different options for how to get into ... For me, things like movement and writing, movement as in yoga, help disrupt the stories, the ongoing narratives. What we call in yoga, Samsara or Samskara, which are mental grooves of the mind.

I haven't heard of Samskara. Is that a real word? Samskara versus Samsara?

It's a variation of how you pronounce the same word.

That's really funny. Like you're scarring yourself with your past.

Yeah, basically. It translates to mean mental grooves of the mind or mental grooves. Tracks of the mind that basically, the groves that you imprint upon yourself based on your thoughts. Giving yourself the opportunity in writing or journaling, in yoga, running, walking, being outside, being in nature, doing something that you love, is a great way to disrupt these ongoing tracks of the mind.

Once you disrupt them, then you see the potential for rewriting the story, for telling yourself a different story. For you Susan, it was your partner who was able to reflect back to you, "I don't think that that's a good story that you want to be telling yourself." The ability to just be cognizant and aware creates this world of potential. All that you really need to do is start listening to the stories.

Listen to the ones that you're repeating to yourself. That was a common one for me on the mat. I'm so awkward. I remember something super painful. I'll never forget this, that one of the guys, we were sitting, standing around sensei's desk. I was trying to get a little shot glass out of a cardboard, the cardboard thing that held it. I ripped it by accident. This one guy said to me, "Just like your Aikido." I was stunned and hurt. I've ripped this, not gotten it out gracefully, just like my Aikido.

How you do anything is how you do everything. We're expressing the same stories in different unique ways all the time. The more that you can thread your awareness of them into just knowing that it's all you ...

Not to let others reinforce that, that's what I'm saying. That reinforced my own story about my own Aikido. I just have to say, even though I don't know that I've let that go, it's something that burned into my mind. On the other hand, I'm continually training to what we call Shugyo, which disciplined training toward enlightenment, no matter how far off it is. That continual training is what you're saying in examining your mind and then putting it down in writing and refining it. Putting it into your future on paper.

BAMD0041 | Storytelling for leadership

Storytelling for leadership and PR is a story journey, much like learning yoga or Aikido.

It's all a process and it's all one of refinement. The journey that we're on, let alone the story journey, is not linear. It's cyclical. It's repeating. It's a journey of depth, of getting deeper into the truth and to the essence of what we want to be living and how we want to be living it. Basically, just about everything in their life can reflect the stories.

Like you mentioned Susan, there's other people who reinforce those stories to you. You might have an old friend who tells you that you're the one who's undateable just based on ha-ha or this is what we've always joked about. You have to be aware of the stories that others impress upon you as well and question if you want those stories in your life at all. Because your energy, it's your story. You have permission to cut out what doesn't serve you and to welcome in what does.

I think that's true. You also mentioned using movement to shift the story. Using yogic movement or any kind of movement. Aikido is the same thing. We're using movement to move the energy but also to move the stories and to create new neural pathways, when you were talking about those mental grooves. I think yoga, any kind of physical movement, is instrumental in shifting those grooves.

Absolutely, because movement, as you mentioned, shifts energy. When we shift energy, transformation occurs. On the mental plane, when we're shifting energy and moving energy as we move our bodies, we're disrupting, like I was talking about, the Samsara, the Samskara. The mental grooves of the mind, the narratives that the ego is entrenched in and doesn't see any other way around because it's so comfortable in those stories.

Our minds get very comfortable with what is known. That's the scary part of changing your story, is that the mind, the human mind, we call it the lizard brain or the monkey mind or all these different terms that are given to this lower state, the animal state of acknowledging ourselves. The mind is always going to feel more comfortable with what is known than what is unknown.

What's unknown is always going to feel uncomfortable or threatening or vulnerable. Even if we know in our conscious minds that where we want to go is good and healthy and positive, it's still unknown and it still intimidates us and scares us. The mind is really good at keeping this semblance of harmony with what is simply known and comfortable and certain.

Even something small, like going to a yoga class or going for a walk, being in nature, gardening as we were talking about before we started our interview Susan, just communing with tags that make you very present and physical and embodied, in your body or embodied. You give yourself a window of opportunity to see the truth and feel the truth beyond that your mind is telling you is comfortable and safe because it is known and certain.

You can shift. Sometimes if I'm crabby, I'll just go out and sniff flowers or cut off the dead leaves just to be out in nature and the hear the birds, just do things like that. I have a blue jay that comes when I call to get his peanut. It's so fun. He'll sit on the tree, "Hey, where's my peanut?" It's just sometimes that five minutes or even 30 minutes can shift your mindset. Just doing something a little bit different and then come back and just shift that.

You got to give yourself the chance. Give yourself the chance to just think anew and feel anew and be renewed. Suddenly, you discover all this room of possibility that's always been there. You just got to risk yourself into it, I guess.

We've been talking about a lot of great story telling things and ways to tell your story and how to get the negative stories out of your head. What about some of the things that people may be doing wrong with their storytelling for leadership and PR that they don't know? We mentioned one thing, which was don't say, "I'm a work in progress," because we know that. Or don't blurt out, "I'm being vulnerable here."

That's to me, one of the worst things you can do. It's like saying, "Honestly or I'm being honest now or I'm telling you the truth now." It's like, what have you been doing before? What other kinds of things do people typically do incorrectly in their storytelling that they could shift so the tell a story that really reflects them and really inspires other people to connect with them and co-create with them?

Right off the top of my head Susan, there's either not committing yourself to labels or titles. That's a very common one. We know that you're an enlightened yogi, new age philosopher and you don't subscribe to the fact that your soul can be contained within a title, like writer or coach. But for your reader, it's ever important for them to be able to place who you are and what you're claiming to be and what you're trying to do instantly upon meeting you.

It's just one of those things where I was joking and being efficacious. If somebody really feels uncomfortable with assigning a label to themselves because they're like, "I'm not just these things. I'm not just a PR coach. I'm not just in marketing." We know that. Like you were mentioning Susan, you don't need to disclaim that you're more than these things. We can assume it.

Just as when you're meeting somebody for the first time and somebody says, "What do you do?" You give them some nuggets of information that they can chew on to understand and start to place you.

Oftentimes, when people feel really reluctant to give themselves their titles, it makes the readers feel uncommitted to you because they feel like you're not committing to them, you're not giving them the trust that they deserve to know more about who you are and what you do.

On the other hand, there is another trend, which people in a self-help or personal development or coaching space do. It's tongue and cheek but I also find that it's really unhelpful if have limited real estate for describing yourself. I usually use two to three titles to help a reader triangulate who you are and what you do.

I can use some variation of writer or author. I'll mention being a yogi or a yoga teacher and I'll mention either running an online writers group or being a business storyteller so that people have this triangulation around me. They see that I write, that some of the work that I do involves business storytelling and that I also happen to be a yogi or a yoga teacher.

There's an understanding that there's a holistic approach to the ways in which I do things or there's some essence of spirituality or whatever you define yoga as. The other way of doing that is creating a title like happiness lover or joy-ologist or catalyst.

I like joy-ologist.

It's nice, it's really nice but unless you're really onboard with that ...

Do you mind if I take that? Because that's one of core values too, is to spread joy. I haven't thought about calling myself a joy-ologist but I love that.

It's fine and it can reflect what you do, but I would rather Susan, rather than saying you're a joy-ologist, say some of the relatable tiles that I understand and then to say, "Susan is XYZ who is intent on spreading joy to people through her work." Almost you can just shift, you can get away from the title maybe isn't so self-explanatory and using the economy of your language in such a way where you can reflect more deliberately and also ...

I can use it in the triangle ... Not all by itself. It's like, "I work with people to double or triple their business using soundbites effectively in publicity, and in that process I'm a joy-ologist."

But you have to explain that too.

I do it with joy because sometimes people think it's such a painful process to move from private to public person.

BAMD0041 | Storytelling for leadership

Moving from private to public storytelling for leadership and PR can be a difficult shift.

See, I love how you just explained it. That's perfect. That's why I almost askew people away from using titles that they know what they mean but others don't. It's fun but it's one of those questions where your reader, your perspective client or customer, how are they interpreting that and what does it mean to them?

One of the greatest adages in all of communications is, it's not what you say that matters, it's what people hear. Ultimately, that's what we're trying to do. It's difficult because you don't know how people are defining these different words and phrases. We're trying to give people the best semblance of bridging what we're saying to what they're hearing. Those are a couple of things with titles. It can be tricky but it can also be a lot of fun when you nerd out about it like you and I do. Like we are doing right here and now.

It was fun just to play with it, to shift that. I think it's different saying it versus writing it too. In that kind of conversation, I can transition or I can say use the startle. Joy-ologist is like, "Wait a minute. I don't know what that means." Just to shift the attention. You're like, "Wait a minute, what does that mean?" Then you can have the conversation, "What it means is ..." Shifting that pain to pleasure, blah blah blah. I think this different. That was really fun to just play with that. Is there anything I haven't asked you that you wanted to add?

No, I think we've covered a lot of ground. I certainly hope for you, the listener, that's it been helpful and engaging. We've given you plenty to chew on and different things to try out. Just remember, it is a journey. You shouldn't know everything based on the extent of this one call. I trust that these things that I've told you are things that I wish that I had learned a little bit more quickly. I learned them mostly on my own, out of my own stubbornness, trying to figure it out on my own for way too long. If I had had them early on, I think it would have been much a great help.

I also would like to extend that I'm more than available to chat with you if you do have any questions. You can find me, as Susan mentioned, at My online writers group is the Literati Writers, which you can find at if you'd like to get into a three month expansive, spacious, creative experience that is lately guided, mostly self-guided, but includes premium writing prompts.

It's basically an online space that is protected for you to explore your self-expression to write more, to learn how to write better through some yogic principles and a chakra guided E-course. Also more importantly, non-judgments, no criticism, no fear of trolling or anything. It's a place where you can express yourself and feel safe.

Do you jump into that place? You jump in and then ...

Yeah, I write myself.

You have group calls and things like that in there?


That's and where you can connect with Dave and share in his enthusiasm and creating your different stories and maybe get some good yogic tips about shifting your Samsara.

There you go. Exactly right.

Thank you so much for being our guest today, Dave. This is great information on storytelling for leadership. A totally different view on storytelling I think, really from deep inside. To not just crafting a story but getting to the essence of your past and really envisioning your future. Right?

Yeah, absolutely. That's exactly right. A story is a soulful process. To me and to those of you who want to be experiencing a soulful rewarding journey through your work and how you're creating change, then story is one way to start to tap into that and to really keep yourself authentic and aligned to the values that are motivating the actions and the work and how you show up in the world.

Thank you so much. I so appreciate that. Thank you, Dave.

Thank you, Susan. Appreciate the time.

About Dave Ursillo

Dave Ursillo is a teacher of writing, creativity, yoga and all things self-expression. He's a former politico who once walked in the west wing of the White House and aspired to become a presidential speech writer. Then in 2009, disillusioned with the state of politics and questioning his role in the system, Dave quit his job and abandoned his career in public service to live a life of personal leadership, using writing as his vessel for change. Today, Dave works with conscientious creatives, innovative professionals, heart centered self-starters and everyday yogis who wish to live, serve and thrive at the crossroads of self-knowledge and self-expression. He's published five books and been published six more. He's led writing, creativity and yoga workshops in eight countries.

He's the founder of the Literati Writers, a private membership writing community, which teaches writers of all levels how to stop struggling and start loving their writing at, that's the home of his positivity infused online writing group. When Dave is not writing, he loves to travel abroad. He's been to India twice. He considers coffee an act of artistry and wants to help humans love one another. Find Dave and his 400 published pieces of writing at


Take Dave’s Literati Writer’s E-Course to explore your self-expression to write more and better through yogic principles and a chakra guidance.

Media Training Tips for CEOs

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

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  • 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.

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Leverage Your Glamability Before a TV Show Even Airs With Shannon Walbran

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Leverage Your Glamability Before a TV Show Even Airs With Shannon Walbran

Our guest today is Shannon Walbran who is known as South Africa’s top psychic. Her main message is, “You are guided.” Even though she guides you and she loves to teach people how to get their messages themselves … I love that Shannon, that, “You are guided.” You are guided by yourself, as well as by you, is that what you meant by that?

Thanks, Susan. Yeah. That’s really my sound bite. It was you who taught me how to make really brief sound bites. “You are guided,” is one of my best sound bites because I really want to put the power back interview people’s hands so that they don’t feel or believe that they have to pay an intermediary to get their messages.

I really love that. Although it is really wonderful to get the intermediary because I was just listening to your podcast and you're so fast and incisive.

It was absolutely fascinating. People were asking all types of questions. At the end of our interview, because we’re going to be talking about publicity today, but at the end of our interview, I'm going to get to ask you three questions. Wait until the end of this podcast to find out what Shannon’s going to discover for me. I'm really super excited about that. Also, Shannon’s website is

What we’re going to talk about today is something that’s really interesting that Shannon has done, which is she has gotten publicity for a Ukrainian reality TV show that is not going to be translated into English and yet she’s been able to get publicity for it. We, in the English-speaking world, are never going to be able to get to see that. Is it called the World’s Top Psychic? Is that the name of it, Shannon?

It’s called International Psychic Challenge.

Got it. You’ve already taped it?

Yes, I taped it in July of this year.

Before you even taped it though, you’ve started thinking about, “How can I get publicity for this?” that you're going to be on this show in Ukraine. What did you do first?

Susan, I have to give you a lot of credit here because I was part of your Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul membership club. You were throwing out a lot of ideas and the other people in the group were throwing out lots of ideas about media coverage. I was practicing even before I got the invitation to go Ukraine. I did a few things.

I had some professional photographs taken. I was really, really pleased with them. I thought they looked really cool. I worked on my sound bites. In addition to, “You are guided,” I have some other sound bites. I really honed them. Another one is, “I want to work myself out of a job.” That relates to what we were discussing about, I want other people to do this work, I want to teach people how to do the work that I do.

BAMD0029 | Leverage your glamability

Leverage your glamability by crafting your own newspaper worthy press releases.

Joining the Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul membership club showed me how to craft a press release that sounded exactly like a news story. I got invited pretty much out of the blue to participate in this International Psychic Challenge, like world’s top psychics, like an Idols program, in Ukraine. The first thing that I did was I wrote a press release, “Shannon Walbran has been selected to represent South Africa in this international challenge.” That’s how I crafted the press release. I wrote it exactly as if it were a news story that you would see in the news section, in the "A" part of the paper.

That’s really brilliant. To do that, to write it as a news story because by doing that, producers or editors, the job is already done for them. You’ve crafted the story, you’ve shaped the story. I like that you put it … It’s not about you. It’s not about, “Oh, Shannon Walbran, this and that.” It’s like, “Shannon Walbran represents South Africa.” That’s the bigger story.

One of the mistakes that people often make is it’s just about me, me, me, and not about how it relates to the audience or why it’s important out in the world. By crafting that as a news story, that puts it in a different dimension and that makes it really considered as something important and for people to know. I love that you did that.

I also love that you said you did this and you were practicing even before you got that invitation. I think that that kind of mental preparation and then bringing it down to the physical world, and you really know about both of those worlds, is so important. There is a phrase that I love, which is, “Write it down, make it happen.” Even that much, taking the action, but you were actually practicing verbally your sound bites too, right, as well as writing down the press release?

Absolutely. I can add in that the tagline that I practiced for myself, which is South Africa’s Top Psychic, I crafted it after reading your material and working with you. By South Africa’s Top Psychic, I actually mean I have the highest listenership. I'm on a really popular radio station. That radio station’s program, the morning show, has 8 million people listening to it every day. I'm not on it every day, I'm on it once a month. But that means that 8 million people are listening to me. There are other good psychics in the world, there are other good psychics in South Africa. There are other very accurate and helpful psychics in the world.

By saying, “I'm South Africa’s top psychic,” I just gave myself a tagline that is true and that works. It’s also, as you say, what makes it relevant to the audience. I want to represent this country. It’s not my country at first. I am American, but I live here and I'm going to live here for a long while. I'm raising my child here. South Africa is a good place to be right now. I'm very happy to be here. It all ties together.

That is really a great point. That your moniker, what you name yourself, really needs to be true. Because there are a lot of people who are calling themselves America’s top this and America’s  top that and there’s no basis behind it. Before you give yourself a name, you do have to have the gravitas and the statistics or whatever the experience behind it. You did, and you just proved that, that you have the highest listenership. You’ve also worked with over 20,000 people. That gives you a huge amount of credibility.

I remember one of my clients, when she first was starting out. By the way, now she’s a New York Times Bestselling author. At the time, she had written a self-published book and she said it was a bestseller. I said, "An Amazon best seller?" I said, “How many copies has it sold?” It was like 20. I said, you cannot call … yourself a bestseller because you sold 20 copies on Amazon. I said, “You just can't do that.”

I don’t know what the amount is to become a REAL bestseller because for the New York Times it can be many different things based on the other books that are published at that time, but it’s typically a minimum of 20,000 [books sold]. That’s not really even considered a bestseller at that. I love that you have the gravitas and you back that up. Do you think that giving yourself that tagline … How then did the reality TV show find you? How did they find you?

I talked to the producers about how they found me. I talked to them while they were in the process. They said that they were Googling and they were Googling to look for people in vastly different countries. Australia, Scotland. They were looking all over the place and for people who speak different languages. They had somebody from Mexico and they had somebody from Turkey. I think that because I put “South Africa’s Top Psychic,” I'm pretty sure that that helped them find me.

That’s great. What was the interview process like in order to vet you to be on the show?

It was that they made me make a video of myself because they wanted to see that I was lively and talkative and could string a sentence together. They had me describe what my special skills were. I sent in my video. There were more than 100 candidates from many different countries. If they were from neighboring countries, they were given train tickets. We were all flown to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, in the beginning of July. The filming went on for six months.

The thing is, is that I told them that since I have a small child, I would only be able to be there for a maximum of three weeks. I was with them for three weeks. I made it to the top 10, which is fantastic and I was really thrilled. But because I was only there for three weeks,I was seriously filming about 16 hours a day. It was so intense. In the long run, when I'm watching the show now, they chose to edit out my segments because I couldn’t complete their story arc because I couldn't stay the whole six months.

The people who are still there … Actually, I believe it’s finished now. I believe it’s finished this month. They were the people who could stay. They were people who didn’t have the same family obligations that I did. When I talked to you before the filming and I said, "Look, I'm leveraging all of this publicity before I go,” you said, “That’s great because we don’t know how it’s going to turn out anyway.”

Here’s the thing, even though I did make it into the top 10, they chose not to use the footage because of my limited time. Thank goodness I did all of that leveraging beforehand.

You never do know how much you're going to be actually in any kind of storyline that has extensive footage or even has footage for a top show by the way. One of my other clients, he’s a regular on a reality TV show. He said the same thing, that they do film quite a lot of segments but he’s not sure necessarily which ones are going to air.

Because they have to craft the story after the fact and then they piece it together so that it makes sense. The people who win in the end, then they [the producers] go back to the beginning and they find all of the footage of those people and really put a lot of them in  at the beginning.

This is the same in a reality TV show as it is with any kind of extended news show or even sometimes a four-minute segment. You were talking about creating an arc. There is an arc to a story, to the entire story with all the people involved. There are also story arcs or arcs for each of the people too.

Like in Game of Thrones. There’s a story arc for each character and a story arc for each season. For a little while, I was a documentary film producer. I was working on a documentary that was made by some really famous people in the UK about kids behind bars in Brazil. I was one of the translators. I played a really minor role in producing the film.

One of the kids was 9 years old when he first went into jail. He was 14 years old when he was released from jail but he looks so different from 9 to 14 because of the changes that he’d gone through while he was in prison. They almost couldn’t use the footage, if you know what I mean. The audience would not have been able to identify him as the same person.

That’s interesting, that’s fascinating. That’s another way to connect because that could be an advantage too. “Look what happened.”

That’s what they decided. They did a split screen with his name on it. They said before and after. They had a choice. They had many different child candidates to show. They preferred to show the ones that it was really easy to identify. I'm sure you coach your clients on this also. When I was a child actor, I was a child actor for like 1 season one a TV show. Really. I decided to cut my hair, I cut my hair really short without consulting the director. She said, “What have you done? Now there’s no continuity at all. We’re going to have to make you wear a baseball cap for the rest of the show.”

Wow. You don’t think about those kinds of things.

I was 11, I didn’t think about that.

Because it’s not something that …

My hair was blonde by choice. I thought a lot about the way I looked. I like the way that I look, but I'm glad that I liked the way that I look because I'm going to need to look like this for a long time now.

That’s interesting. Keep that consistency of image so people recognize you. That’s something that’s really interesting. I'm talking to a woman about branding right now. She’s talking about if she wants to wear the same clothes over and over again. These are branding choices about how you look and how you want to be perceived and creating a consistency. They're really there sinking deeply, even something about your hair color and your hairstyle, about keeping that really consistent. Let’s go back to how else you’ve maximized your publicity when the show did air and now you're not even in it.

Before I went, I got covered in national newspapers. That was really important to me because I'm holding seminars, teaching seminars not only in Johannesburg, where I'm based, but also in Durban and Cape Town which are the other main cities in South Africa. The story was picked up by a Durban newspaper. In that article it said, “She’s going to Ukraine and she’s going to represent South Africa,” and then said, “She will be giving seminars when she returns.” I did, I came back and then I gave the seminars. They were sold out. I was thrilled about that.

Wonderful. When you said national newspaper, it was in the Durban newspapers, was it picked up by other newspapers? What did you say, Cape Town and Johannesburg?

Right. The news was spread via a national news service which is called News 24. That was a syndicated news. It was picked up, but more on a personal basis, and I’ll get to that in a second, by the features editor of the Durban Newspaper which is called The Mercury. It was also in the Saturday Star I believe and also in the Johannesburg papers.

I hired a publicist even though maybe I didn’t need to. I don’t have a healthy up to date list of the names and numbers of the journalists and the editors that I wanted to send this to. I hired her basically just for her email list. Because I had crafted the press release by myself, the news press release, and because I had really good high res photographs that I was really proud of, all she had to do was hit send.

Wonderful. I just want to recap what you did and what the effect was. What you had said first was that photographs are super important today, especially in our visual age where a photograph can make a story. You look really beautiful, you've got your blonde hair. You've got some other photographs where you’re more full body and face. Sometimes even action photos are really helpful, certainly on the Internet.

BAMD0029 | Leverage your glamability

Leverage your glamability like Shannon did to appear in many different media outlets.

You also did local publicity which went national in Durban, Cape Town, and Johannesburg that then got syndicated. You never know when a story is going to get syndicated when it’s interesting, but obviously yours is interesting enough to get picked up and circulated and then to make it into local papers which then helped you fill up and sell out your seminars. Which was the goal, right?

Totally. One thing I want to say is after it went syndicated and after it made it to the other town’s newspapers, then individual journalists called me to do individual interviews. I don’t know if they were more or less interesting than the original news story, but they had a question and answer format which some people like better and it’s a little bit more engaging and talkative.

Nice. I just want to say also, sometimes people, because we’re in a digital age, sometimes people are really discounting newspapers and magazines. But they're actually a super powerful way to get publicity. The most powerful strategy is to use those digital and offline media. Now, because it’s becomes so crowded online, actually offline, if you can do it … Shannon is really experienced and obviously you’ve had a lot of other experience too that really made this effective, just the fact that you know what a good story is from doing documentary films. These are the kinds of things that play into a background and that also are impressive to the media.

The other thing that I wanted to point out is that they needed to know you were mediagenic. When you were applying for that Ukraine reality TV show, your video was of the essence in order to pass the producers’ test to even get on the show. Every one of you, if you're looking to do TV, you have to have a little demo video of at least two minutes that imitate … If you haven’t been on a local TV show, it’s what imitates a real TV interview in order for the producers to know that you're mediagenic and that you can handle yourself on TV.

You did all of these things right. It sounded like the results were really great for you in terms of filling up your seminars. Were there also other results that came from that? Your immediate plan was to fill up your seminars, are there other benefits that happened?

Sure. I'm looking to host my own television program and/or to be a guest on a regular television program. I already got radio down. I'd like to transfer my skills and my availability and the help that I can get people to TV. Working on the Ukraine TV show and even just talking about that I worked on the Ukraine TV show, boosts my possibilities of making TV here.

You're absolutely right that I think the demo video, which I then put in my YouTube channel obviously, really elevated my profile. Also, I decided then, even before I went to Ukraine, now I'm going to film everything that I do. When I have these seminars with 50 women in a room and then giving each of them an answer, now I film it with their permission. Each woman comes up to the front, sits in the chair next to me, kind of like Oprah. I give her her answers and then everybody claps and we’re filming it. It’s like having a TV show. It is that. It’s almost “fake it till you make it” but it’s “create what you want and show people what it could look like.”

That is so brilliant. That follows along the lines of what the Mormons do by the way when the Mormons need to go out and convert people. Each Mormon needs to do that. They practice in a real studio of a real living room. They're going to go into people’s living rooms. They have a studio with a real living room and they sit down and they do role-play with people as if they're sitting in their living rooms because that’s enacting the real scenario that they're being sent out to do in order to convert people to Mormonism.

We have friends who are running podcasts even like this one. We have friends who have radio shows or blog talk radio or whatever, we can get interviewed on those radio shows and we could offer them content and value that will be useful to their audiences. It’s just creating a huge body of evidence and proof that we are mediagenic, as you say, and that it's useful and helpful and should we have more than what we have been given, we can multiply.

I love that. I love that you said it’s a body of evidence, a future reality. By you doing filming every single time you do a seminar where you said it’s like having a TV show, you actually are creating your reality. You're putting this out into the world and showing that you can do it. By doing it, the actual act of doing it, actually puts you closer to your goal as well.

Absolutely. Both in, as you say, both in the world above and the world below. In the practical sense, figuring out how to do it, figuring out the timing, figuring out the lighting, figuring out the logistics. Do I have the person come up? Do I have them stay in the audience? Which works better? It’s amazing practice.

It is. I love that you mentioned the logistics because I think a lot of people don’t realize how much work there is in the logistics and that that’s really an important part of making the whole thing flow, both energetically and visually. You’ve been experimenting with having some women come up, having women sit down and other things. Have you experimented with other things as well? What other things are involved in the logistics?

I'm coming here from the side of psychology. I have a friend who is a practicing real psychologist, a licensed psychologist. She and I talk a lot about the container. Whether you're doing coaching, which you do a lot of, or therapy or helping people in any way or hosting a TV show, there’s such a thing as a container, which is letting people know how long it’s going to go for, giving them a beginning point and an end point, benchmarking them, “How stressed are you? You're stressed 9 out of 10? Oh my goodness, we’ll be addressing that in this session.”

Doing the work and then recapping, which you're also very good at, and then benchmarking them again, “How’s your stress level now? It’s down to a 3, fantastic. Are you clear about what you're going to do going forward? Okay. Thanks very much for coming up and giving your answer. You go back to your seat and we’ll be ready for our next client.

That container, which works so well in psychology because a person who’s going to a therapist wants to know, how much is this going to cost, how long is this going to take me, am I going to feel better? It works very well in coaching and works very well in TV. You can see that they're all related.

BAMD0029 | Leverage your glamability

Leverage your glamability by creating a consistent structure for your audience.

What you're talking about is creating a consistent structure and also a way of setting expectations both for the audience and the people involved live. That also creates a safety. The safety-ness and the comfortableness both with the people involved and also in the audience themselves. If you notice, all TV shows and all news shows, they have a format, a consistent format that you can expect.

It’s even the same thing in a book. Books have a certain structure so we can feel comfortable as we move through that structure. That creates an underlying comfort level in both your participants and the viewers to understand what to expect.

I think what you were talking about in terms of also showing what your results are. For you, results are a really important aspect of your work. Also, anyone who’s doing media, when you want to actually do media appearances and have them result in actual sales and clients and experiences and real things happening in the world, it’s super important then to structure your sound bites in such a way that people really get your experience and that they get that you're effective.

It doesn’t even matter if you have clients or not, or you're selling something. It’s about creating that confidence in you and being fascinating at the same time. That draws people to you. I think it’s the fascination, it’s the proof of your experience and it’s the trust. You and I, Shannon, were talking at the very beginning that now trust is established in 1/10th of a second. Believability, not in 3 seconds, in 1/10th of a second. You actually said that this is like the vibration reaching us even before, almost before we see a person, that we've already got the vibe, right?

I do think so. I think that we should trust that vibe more often about who we partner with, whether it’s romantically or professionally. I think we should really trust that vibe which is what what Sonia Choquette says all the time. Really trust that intuition and follow it. Don’t cross everybody off of your list just because you have not a very good first impression of them. But, at least give them the benefit of the doubt for a little while. But also pay attention to that and take them with a grain of salt. If it comes true that they aren’t really the person for you … Then, I really see a lot of that with my clients, that they have a hard time disengaging with someone with whom they’ve invested time or money. That’s romantically and in business.

Actually, if it’s not working, it’s not working. If you’ve tried to change it and it hasn’t worked, then it’s up to us. It’s up to us to have the authority to say I need better for my life, and I need to clear that out and go forward. It happened to me with another publicist. I told you about that one publicist that I hired. But my friend who works in radio with me was insistent that I work with her publicist. I said, “Okay, I’ll take both of them on and I’ll see what happens.” Have you ever done that, hired two people at the same time to do a job?

I have.

Just to see what happens, to see who does better. I did. The one that I told you about worked brilliantly. She had sent, and she also done follow up with me and she followed up with the journalists. She was really friendly and really nice. The other one, she said she had sent and she said she sent it to 35 people. I never ever got anything from any of the people that were on her list. I don’t know why that happened. My first impression of her was, “This isn't a fit for me.” I went ahead and did it anyway as a favor to my friend. I paid her, but there was no results whatsoever. Interesting, isn't it?

Very interesting. Obviously, I think that there are two parts to that too, that when you do hire a publicist, that you go by your first impression then you do your due diligence. You look at their past experience. You also can tell, like you said, your publicist that you felt good about was friendly and you trusted her to hit send and feed back the results of her hitting send so you knew that she had done it. The other one, it doesn’t even sound like you had any evidence that she actually done it.

I think she did do it but I don’t know why it didn’t work. It doesn’t matter. In fact, I'd like to say that this whole process … I'm going to say thanks to you again. Thanks to you and thanks to being part of your Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul group membership club. It was an incredibly low cost campaign. Really, really do it yourself, really low cost. I don’t think I spent more than $1,000 doing this whole thing.

Wow. That’s really wonderful. That’s kind of unusual because typically publicists in the US are much more expensive than that unless you go pay for placement. That’s pretty unusual. But you did a really targeted local campaign. You weren’t doing national publicity. Were you doing national publicity in South Africa?

Our prices are different from South Africa to America. I converted the money in my head right now to dollars. I had professional photographs taken. I did all of the writing. I said that I would follow up with all of the journalists. All I wanted her to do was hit send. She really didn’t have to do anything else. She agreed to do that for a price that was really low because it was our first feel. She wanted to see whether it would work. I wanted to see whether it would work. I was really satisfied with that. I will use her again for my next project.

That’s really wonderful. I love it. Also, I do want to say that in the Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul membership club, you did all the assignments. Obviously, that’s why you had success. You came to the Q&A calls every month. We’re now moving on to 12 modules. You did all of the modules and you actually put that into action and followed it through.

You hired a publicist, you’ve gotten your sound bites down, you did your video for the Ukraine show, you put your videos now up on YouTube. You're a psychic. You deal in the other world but you're also very grounded and you’ve dealt with this world too.

There are two parts of that equation. It’s not about like what some people interpret the secret as, that you choose whatever you want from a catalog in the universe and you sit in your desk and wait for it to happen. I don’t think it works like that. You choose what you want from the catalog of the universe and then you work your butt off to make it happen.

Luckily I can say that it was super fun. I can say that the homework assignments were really helpful for my own self-development. Because as I defined myself more clearly and more closely and I was able to describe myself and what I wanted and what I was selling and what I was offering, I felt better about it. It was an upward feedback loop that got easier and easier every time I did it.

I like that, an upward feedback loop. In this feedback loop, one of the things that was necessary for you to do in order to even create your video was to create your sound bites. You said you had worked on those. You had four that you always included in your press release.

My tagline, “South Africa’s top psychic” is what I would consider one of them because it’s a short sharp phrase that defines, so I consider that a primary one. The next one is, “You are guided,” which I really believe is the soul of my work. The other one is, “Everyone has an angel.” I never want people to feel left out. I never want people to feel like only some people have angels and some people don’t. It doesn’t matter what religion you are, it doesn’t matter if you're an atheist. There is a divine intelligence and it’s working for you.

Another one is use is, “Life is for you.” Meaning, life is on your behalf, life is not working against you. You don’t have bad karma. There’s not exactly such a thing as having bad karma. The last one is, “I want to work myself out of a job.” Meaning that I want other people to be able to do this. A lot of my work is, “This is what your angels and guide would sound like if you wanted to hear them every day.”

I only allow myself to have one session with a client per year. That’s a 10 question session with a lot of follow-up questions. All of the information that she would need for the whole year, I do it in one session. Then I say, “Please don’t call me for the next 12 months.” I don’t have a business plan where she can call me in a week or that she’s keeping me on retainer. I really don’t have that.

That’s shocking.

Yeah, it is.

I had an acupuncturist like that, Dr. Ou She would say she didn’t want you to make an appointment after you’ve just finished an appointment. She says, “We’ll see what happens, you call me when it's necessary.” That’s a very unusual business model because I think a lot of people are taught, especially coaches, that you want someone to stay invested for as long as possible with you. Your model is about creating independence in that client right away. You don’t have repeat business unless, it’s once a year. You want to work yourself out of a job.

That’s the kinds of things that you express that I think tell people that you're both trustworthy and that you believe in all of those things that you just said. That we can each speak to our angels individually but you are a facilitator and once we understand … I think you give us that capacity or that container to understand that this is possible and then how to get those answers for ourselves because we’re not used to getting them.

What I like with what you do is that in your sound bites, you're talking about what you want for yourself and your clients in the future, not just now. Talking about your future business or your future daydream is a really important part of moving that into the conversation of your sound bite. You can be supported in not just where you are now, but supported in your future.

What a cool observation. I hadn’t actually noticed that angle, but I think you're right. I do my radio shows weekly as community service. I do say, “You can call in to one of my radio shows any time you want. You can always have one question and it can be anonymous. If you get stuck six months from now and you don’t know whether to take job A or job B, please feel free to call in for free.” I do offer them that. The thing is, it’s really hard to get through to my radio show because there are so many people who call.

I also say that they're allowed to come to a seminar and ask just one question as long as it’s a fresh question. I don’t know if you know this about people who visit psychics, it’s in one of my articles that I've written, it’s," 7 Things Not To Do When You're Visiting A Psychic." I also have one like, "5 Things Bad Psychics Do." They're related, the two articles. One of them is bad psychics ask you for a lot of background information and then just tell you what they heard. “Oh, you're a specialist, huh? I see you working with TV and newspapers.” Duh, you just told her that. There’s no point in going to somebody who’s going to take your information and give it back to you.

BAMD0029 | Leverage your glamability

Shannon's weekly radio show where listeners can call in to ask their Spirit Guides a question.

A lot of people I think would be baffled about your business model. You're turning people away, you're giving them a couple of different ways that they might engage with you but it’s really hard to get through on your radio show, it’s like, “I need Shannon now.”

Because I don’t want them to need Shannon now, I want them to need themselves now. Go away. That’s my business model, go away. Go swim.

I think that’s a great sound bite too.

It sounds actually much harsher than how I actually feel. What I really want to do is teach them how to do it themselves so then they don’t need me. Because that’s kind of an addiction also. People get addicted to their healers and to their psychic. “Shannon can solve my problems. I must go see Shannon.” I'm like, “No, dude. I'm not here to solve your problems. You are here to solve your problems. This is what solving your problems sounds like and looks like. Okay, now, you can do it, go swim.”

Talk about how you have a thriving business from not taking people on.

I do. I have long lines of people waiting to see me. People come back year after year. I have an assistant and we used to send annual reminders. “It is time. You had a session last November, now it’s time for your annual session.” Now I notice that people just remind themselves. Sometimes, if their session last year was in November, then they schedule for October. I don’t care, that’s fine. 11 months and 12 months, no big deal.

When you also do your sound bites, do you have other sound bites that talk about other situations that you’ve helped people in? I know you work with anyone or anything. Do you have sound bites about stories that you tell when you're being interviewed or do you always just take on questions or people actually asking you about your work?

Susan, I think that’s a real area of development for me. I really have been looking a lot at the way that you do that and the way that other people who do things that you do talk about their clients and how their clients came to great success. There are some of my restrictions though. It’s anonymous and it’s really confidential, my work. Also, when people come back year after year, they might tell me and they do tell me, “Yeah, I got married. Yeah, I had that kid. Yes, I have joined that company and yes, I'm really successful.”

I don’t usually ask them for a lot of information. I think you can see why, because I try not to take information. I try to just give the messages that their angels are giving them. I would say that that’s a weak point in my whole PR strategy. I do have a good story. Can I tell you a good story?


This is when I was still seeing people really face to face. Now, I do mostly phone and Skype and my VIP face-to-face sessions are much, much more expensive. When I was seeing people face to face all the time, a woman came to me and said, “You saw my boyfriend about three months ago,” and immediately I was very put off. I said, “Look, you can't ask about other people. I don’t know who your boyfriend was.” I was a little bit dismissive. She said, “No, you don’t understand. He’s dead.” I said, “He’s dead? He died?” She said, “Yes. You told him that he was in trouble.” I said, “Okay, you better come in and sit down.”

She told me that three months before, there was a man. Then when she pieced it together, I remembered who it was. He was 35, he was an executive, he was burning the candle at both ends, really driving himself crazy. He was starting to get very distracted in his life. His angel said, “Hey, you could have a car accident. You're texting and driving and trying to work and do all of these things at the same time. This is really dangerous for you.” He said, “Whatever, whatever. What about my girlfriend?” The message was, “No, she’s not the right person for you. Please let her go.” He was only 35, he died of a heart attack a week after my session.

She comes and finds me three months later, tells me the whole story and then she says, “One of the last things he said to me was, “Shannon said, we should get married,” which was a big lie! He had used the session to try to convince her to marry him even though I had said, “No, you guys aren’t a good match.” I said, “What did you think about that? I'm sorry, did you want to marry him?” She said, “No, I didn’t think we were a good match at all.” What a story, huh?

What a story. That’s really wild. How people can use it against …

There are a lot of things messed up in this, huh? He didn’t listen to the advice about working too hard. I didn’t know how he was going to die. I was saying I thought he was going to have a car accident. I hoped he wouldn’t die, obviously. Heart attack at 35, pretty weird. The woman saying, “Yes, he said that we should get married.” I said, “No, actually I had said exactly the opposite.” She was so relieved because she was thinking, “Oh, really? Did I just lose the man that would have been my husband?” No, she didn’t.

Interesting. I have an idea for you about how to collect these stories. What about if you just have people call into your free conference line and if they choose to use that story, that they can put as many details as they want into the story. Invite people, anybody who wants to tell about what … I would invite even your radio audience. “If you would like to tell about the success of your, or how this worked out, no matter what time, call into this line and leave a message. You can do it either anonymously or you can leave all of your information.”

Oh my gosh, that is so perfect. There was a woman who was called in to my radio show not that long ago. She said, “Remember me, I'm the one who lost my sense of smell?” I said, “Certainly I remember you. That was quite a dramatic problem.” She said, “It’s 3 weeks and I regained my sense of smell because you told me to inhale those essential oils. I hadn’t had a sense of smell for a whole year and all of my food tasted like sand.”

That’s wonderful. That’s a beautiful story to tell. I love that it is so short and it’s so sweet and it’s really visual because the essential oils and the sand. Those are really super great details. I hope that people listening will listen to the way that Shannon tells stories because it’s really very engaging. Part of the reason why it’s so engaging is not only the way that she uses her voice, because you have these intonations that’s riveting. In the way that you use pauses, in the way that you elongate certain words or emphasize certain words.

The other thing that’s so interesting is that you use very descriptive details that put us in that situation. We really are feeling what you're saying. Obviously that’s one of your gifts because you feel other people. You have the gift then of allowing other people to feel as well. The gift is going both ways for you. I just want to point that out to people.

I had never noticed that before. I have the gift of being an impasse, which really is kind of a troublesome gift, right?

Yes, it is.

Because I can feel other people’s stuff all the time. I have to work really hard on my boundaries to decide when I'm going to allow myself to feel other people’s symptoms. Also, I feel sick all the time.

The gift is that too, that you can describe things in such a way that makes other people feel too. The gift is going both ways. Just listening to you, I'm riveted by all of those stories that you’ve told.

It’s kind of you to observe that because I had really never noticed that before. Thanks because you're on the receiving end so you're really getting it. Cool.

Exactly. Any other things that I didn’t ask you? I guess I want to know also about how you're leveraging your glamability and all the publicity that you’ve already gotten? If there’s another way that you're continuing to keep the ball rolling?

You’ve filled up your seminars. Your radio shows, there’s a waiting list. You don’t allow people to come to you for more than one session a year, although they can attend your seminars or they can call in on the radio show.

What else are you doing, if anything, to keep all of that energy, all of that great energy moving forward for your next level? I think you said your next level was, were you going to teach people to do what you do? Or you just want people to be independent? You want to have your own TV show?

I do want to be on TV. I'm working on another book. I'm talking to Hay House about that now. If I get Hay House, that would be really the perfect platform for me. I would be rubbing elbows on the stages with Mike Dooley and Deepak Chopra and all of those other things. People that I've read their books for years and years. I would very much love that. I think that would be perfect.

One of the things that you could do to, or one of the things that you put in the book, as you know is endorsements. One way that you can get endorsements from people like Mike Dooley and Deepak Chopra is to offer to do a session with them.

I could, you're right.

Sure. You can always talk to their assistant because you can always also get into that by offering it to the assistant as well. A lot of people discount people’s assistants but they're the gatekeepers to people and they're your helpers. They're the people who you want on your side. I'm not saying that just to be nice to people to get something. I'm saying of course you should always be nice to everyone and consider everyone your friend and helper. They are one of the best helpers. This is the same for producers by the way. People often give gifts to the hosts and they forget the producers. The producer has done all of the work. The host gets all of the glory.

The producers are the ones who call and the producers are the ones who know who I am. When I show up at the radio station, it’s often the producers who greet me by name. The host is drinking coffee and looks at me, squinting and saying, “Yeah, you're that psychic.”

Exactly. It’s about treating those producers and the people who are doing all of the work, rewarding them with a lovely gift and showering your attention and just being grateful for the work that they’ve done and not just the person who’s in the front getting the glory. All of those people who are helping behind the scenes. That’s just one thing that you can do. Just pop in. That would be an easy way for you to get endorsements from some of those people which will elevate your book proposal and also elevate the status of your book when you have those quotes on the back.

That’s really helpful. That’s great. Keeping the good energy flowing, as you were asking about, I'm in touch with the journalists and with the radio producers and the other people who interviewed me. I was really, really happy to get one on our top radio station here, a top talk radio, which is called 702 and it simulcasts in Cape Town. The woman who called me was the producer. She said, “This presenter really wants to talk to you but she’s really pretty skeptical. She wants to do a reading with you privately but she’s going to videotape it. If you're accurate, she will broadcast the video and she will have you on her radio show. If you're not accurate, she won’t and she may even say something bad about you.”

I thought, "Oh no, what kind of pressure is this?" I think I'm 85% accurate but I'm not 100% accurate. 85 is better than 0 but it’s not as good as 100. I went there and she videoed me. It was before, it was three hours before her radio show was going to go on. It’s the worst kind of thing for me actually. She said, “I have an injury on my body. Where is it?” I don’t like it when it’s that confrontational. I like it when people say, “How can I get back together with my baby daddy?” We work on strategies together. It feels more collaborative.

Luckily, instantly I felt the pain in my right shoulder. It felt like band-aid as pain over my shoulder. I described that to her. She said, “Actually that is exactly where it is.” She said, “What I've done is I've put these little …” I don’t know if you’ve seen this. Kinesiology tapes right there on the part that looked like a blue band aid actually.” That’s what I was feeling in my arm as I was talking to her, right in my shoulder. She broadcasted the video, thank God.

Yay. What else are you doing …

Keeping it going. I don’t have a good newsletter. I have a subscription list of about 5,000 and I don’t have a newsletter and I don’t have a capture on my webpage. All of these things are tools that I need to get going. I need to do the free report, gifts, those kinds of things. There’s a lot more that I could do, really. I'm so not done yet.

I think those are really important things to leverage your glamability. For people who don’t know, she’s talking about an opt in box or an incentive for some sort of special report or a video or something to give someone in order to get them their name and email address so she can continue to contact them on there via a newsletter. You already have 5,000 people that you’ve connected with.

One thing you might be to do to yes, connect to those people, and to talk about your dream of getting your own TV show. Just putting it out there, that you also have this new telephone line where they can call and get to conference line and leave a message. If you use that conference line all time, you want to get another line specifically for that where they can leave a message of their results. Just a newsletter could be something super simple. Telling about the Ukraine experience, telling them when this contest is up, that they can look into this contest.

BAMD0029 | Leverage your glamability

Shannon is able to offer many different ways to get a session with her.

Also, just talking a little bit about your news. Tell them about your big dream that you want to get a TV show. Because you have no idea who’s on that list. They may be able to help you realize your dream. You don’t know.

One of the best ways in South Africa, I don’t know how it is in the States right now, but before I can get a TV show, I really need an anchor sponsor. Someone who’s big. As big as Kroger or Macy’s, a really big sponsor. That’s how TV shows are made here right now. I can talk about that and ask for that and put it out there and see what happens.

Absolutely. I love that. Was there anything else that I haven’t asked you that you wanted to add?

No. We could talk for hours. Let’s get down to helping you with a session. Let’s do a mini session for you.

Great. I have three questions. Number one is, what is the next book that I haven’t written yet that I have to write?

Before I go into that, I would like to turn myself on. I would like to switch on and ask permission to be able to do your work. I don’t walk around switched on all the time. Just like a dentist wouldn’t walk around looking at people’s teeth. What I'm going to do is say a short prayer that will ask for permission for me to serve as your translator. The prayer sounds like this, “Dear God. Please allow me to serve as Susan’s translator. Please give her your divine guidance and allowing her to your path. Amen.” Susan, sorry to make you repeat, could you please say your question one more time?

Sure. What is the next book that I haven’t written yet that I have to write?

They're saying it’s a quick book. It’s going to be really easy for you to write. It’s going to be fun and it isn't really directly related to the field that I know that you do. It’s related to something else. It’s a guide or a handbook. It’s a how to. It can be made available digitally. What they're saying is that it’s local, local, local to you. What it could be, the thing that’s coming to my mind is … What is the name of the town where you live right now?

San Rafael.

What is it?

San Rafael. San Rafael, California.

San Rafael. Thank you. It could be a guide to the art deco architecture of this place. A guide to the local foraging foliage of this place. A guide to the … I don't know. They're coming up with the astrology of this place. I don’t know that means. Oh, may lines. A guide to the geopathic stress and places of this place. Do you remember the concept of genius loci?


Which means the spirit of a place. Sometimes it’s spelled genius, like a very intelligent person. Loci, sometime spelled with a double I. It has to do with the Deva or the deity or the overarching angel or spirit of that particular place where you are. I don't know anything about the place where you live. I've never been there. Your angels are saying that you yourself, Susan, have a very special connection to that place. Connecting and talking to the Deva of your place will reveal something wonderful and beautiful about your town and about its … not actually it’s history. It’s not who was mayor or who discovered it or when the Spanish left. It’s not about that but something very special that people can walk around with. It will have a map.

That’s what I get. The idea of it would be you are really multi-talented. You don’t have to stick with one area of expertise. Writing is just a joy for you. It’s just fun. This actually could be a moneymaker. There could be a little app attached to it that could be connected to the tourism and the spirituality of your place. Susan, that’s your answer.

That’s totally wild. I had no idea.

It could be a little bit weird. Maybe you can let it simmer because it certainly doesn’t have to be done by tomorrow afternoon.

Does it have to do with Aikido? Can you tune in to that? Because the geopathic stress or foraging foliage, that’s not something I have any knowledge of but is it something ...

Or even have any interest in. Aikido, that’s what you are writing a book about?


We were going for the next one that you hadn’t written yet. What would you like to ask about your Aikido book?

I have another question about my other books that wasn’t the Aikido book. I'm not sure what the question would be about the Aikido book. Let’s ask about my verbal self-defense guide for girls. What would be the best strategy and methodology for getting my girl’s self-defense book into organizations and schools?

They want you to go with the Girl Scouts, the actual Girl Scouts that sell cookies. Verbal self-defense. They're saying it would be a real winner and that your chapters make a fantastic poster. “The 10 ways to defend yourself verbally.” It makes a poster that you would print and you would distribute it to all of the Girl’s Scouts. They’re talking about nationally, contacting the national organization of Girl Scouts.

Great. Anywhere else?

The way your angels are telling it to me is that it’s perfect for 11 year olds. What’s your target audience?

Probably 15 to 25. Are you talking about defending oneself from being cat called, for example?


Your angels would like to point out that that’s happening younger than it happened for us. They would really, really like you to frame the language in a way that an 11 to 15 year old could understand. This happened to me when I was a kid. I was probably 12. I was walking down the street and two boys were walking towards me. I wasn’t wearing a bra and my breasts were just starting to develop so they were poking through the little jersey that I was wearing, the little sweater.

These two boys, from about 20 feet away, started pointing at me and laughing at me. I didn’t know why they were doing it. As they walked towards me, they started going, “Mosquito bite, mosquito bite. They look like mosquito bites,” and then they walked passed me. To tell you the truth, I didn’t get what they were talking about until maybe five minutes later. Then I just was burning with shame. So embarrassed. I was crushed. It actually did my self-esteem some harm.

That’s the kind of scenario, of course you explained it so vividly, where a girl could respond in such a way to make sure that those boys understand that that’s not right to say. “That’s none of your business,” or “Get away from me.” Anything like that.

Maybe there are multiple audiences for your book. There is an audience that’s the 15 to 25 year old audience, a university level audience, we would say, that age, or working women. There’s also an audience that you can reframe, you can take the same content and you can make it available and useable to girls even from the age of 11, which we call tweens these days.

Great. Now I have a question that’s sort of broad but just given that I've got so many different projects …

Can I just interrupt because I'm getting a little bit of information about that?


It’s, “Talk back to,” and then there’s a blank. “Talk back to …” What’s a word that start with T that is mean? Talk back to?

To tease?

To teasing. Talk back to teasing. That’s a younger version. You're talking about more serious abuse. I'm still aiming at the younger audience.


Because the boys will way, if you confront them with it, they will say, “Are you joking? This is not sexual abuse? I was just teasing her. What’s the big deal?” Teasing is still condoned in our society, where it actually shouldn't be. That’s another possible use. Because you know that you like to take content and multiply its uses. That’s’ another way for you to look at.

Should I run by a title of you or should I ask a more general question?

Try the title. What have you got?

We’re renaming it, True Shield: Verbal Self-Defense Guide For Girls.

Why do you say ‘girls’ if you have just told me that your audience is 15 to 25?

I have another one. Verbal Self-Defense For Young Women and Girls. Geez, that’s so long and bulky. Girls, I think we have a “survival guide for girls” which means girls for our age, yours and mine. Girls can be more board than just … like “girl’s guide to wearing stilettos.” Those are the kinds of things that I think use of the word ‘girls’ is more broad.

When we’re talking about offending a woman about her sexuality, I think it would be more respectful to use the word ‘woman’ rather than ‘girl’ because ‘girl’ … I know what you're saying but when you say “a girls guide to stilettos”, it’s when you and I and are speaking to each other casually and in a fun way and we can both accept each other kind of a way. The oppressed people can always use the oppressed language among themselves. In this, “a girls guide to talking back …” True Shield. I like True Shield quite a bit.

You do? Good.

I really love true shield. Your angels are giving it a big check mark and a big yes, a big go ahead. The tag line, the subtitle needs a little bit of work around maintaining the level of respect. A true shield is super respectful, isn't it? It gives you that knight in shining armor, we are the women warriors. It could be waging a war, true shield, waging war against … and then what’s another way to say inappropriate behavior? It carries well with the true shield because it loses its power when you say the word ‘girls’ there at the end.

What about True Shield; Verbal Self Defense For Young Women And Teens?

Just say young women because as teen, I want to consider myself a young woman. I don’t really want to consider myself a teen. If I was 15, I would gladly read a book aimed at young women. Just drop ‘and teens’. Because I'm aspirationally a young woman, aren’t I?


There’s a negative around ‘girls’ in this context only.

Wonderful. Thank you. That’s really helpful. I really love that. Thank you for that.

BAMD0029 | Leverage your glamability

Shannon Walbran taps into Susan Harrow's Spirit Guides.

Your angels and guides want to tell you something about the view that you have when you're writing. I don’t know what your room looks like where you write but they're saying that they want you to have a longer view. Do you have the possibility of looking out a window that has sky and looks toward something tall, like a palm tree? Do you have that possibility?

I have no palm trees here but looking out a window or in my garden or something like that? Doing it in, writing in the garden?

Yes, you could write in the garden or you could write at a window that’s near the garden. Your angels are pointing out that you are … Of all of the kingdoms, that is the angel kingdom, the healing kingdom, the mineral kingdom, the animal kingdom and the plant kingdom, the kingdom that wants to help you the most is the plant kingdom. Plant medicine, herbal remedies, things like flower essences, essential oils. All of those things are really your allies in these chapters in writing this book.

Some people like to keep crystals around and so they're really aligned with the mineral kingdom, some people love their fish or their cat or their bird or whatever. You could love all of those things but this is a voluntary connection from the plant kingdom to you saying, “Susan, we want to work with you.”

I love that because we have a very robust garden.

You do?

Yeah. The garden is bigger than the house.

By the way the garden in the back, in the bagua, in Feng shui it’s in the romantic/love area so it’s a visionary place for us too, a creation of our relationship in the garden. Maybe that’s part of it.

What’s the tallest tree that you have? What’s the tallest thing there, in the front of your …

We do have from really tall evergreens in the back.

Right. That’s it. I just saw a waving tree so I thought maybe it’s palm trees, it’s in California. If it’s a pine tree, really those are the things that they're talking to me about. You looking at them as they’re waving in the wind, getting inspired to know that you have as much an impact of a really, really tall tree that can be seen from far. Does that make sense to you?


If you get stuck at any point writing your book, it’s to go and be with those trees and say, “Show me how to be tall, show me how to have an impact, show me how to be visible from far. This is what I want for these ideas.” Because your ideas are so helpful and useful in the world.

Thank you for that. I love that. I do sometimes go and sit beneath them. There’s a little meditation bench off the path down there. I definitely wouldn’t be looking at them but I would be in them. That’s a nice place. They're all around.

The only thing I'm hearing about the Aikido is that they keep saying this funny pun on it in my ear which is Ai-kiddo. Do you think that exists already as a brand? It seems that’s a pretty easy brand to make. Ai-Kiddo.

No. I don’t know.

Maybe it already exists. There’s something about the childlike nature of the play of Aikido, which I don’t do although I would love to start. The serious child, the wise child, the eternal child.

It is very childlike. To see the kids doing it too is really great because they don’t have any hang ups about it. They're tumbling, they're fooling round. One of the tenets of Aikido is joy, you should leave joyful and better after training that when you came in. It’s so true. Sometimes I come really crabby and I always leave happier, no matter what.

You find the childhood when you do it.

Absolutely. Our sensei Hans Goto sensei is very childlike too. He’s got that impish and childlike quality. We’re always laughing a lot at things. I'm always making gasps inappropriately, not on purpose.

That’s so delightful. That’s just mostly such a kick. I'm glad that you're doing that.

It is. It’s lovely.

Does anything come to mind about your health? Do you have questions about your health? The way that I usually clients to frame their question is not, “Am I healthy?” It would be more like, “How can I fix this headache that I usually get at 4:00 in the afternoon?” If you could think of anything specific that’s bugging you about your health, you're not quite concerned about your health, you take good care of your health, but is there anything that’s irritating you?

Yes. I'm not sure I can say it on the air. Let’s talk about some mental probable symptoms where I'm not sleeping as well or I'm pretty tired, a little tired and worn down.

Your angels’ main recommendation for that is licorice, not licorice the candy but licorice the root. You can find licorice root and you can make tea out of it. In fact, it is in an ingredient in a lot of herbal mixtures of teas that you could find, like celestial seasonings and those. If you go to your health foods store or your whole foods and you look at the ingredients of tea, it’s going to be licorice. You can find licorice in a tea. That is a hormone rebalancer. That’s what your angels are recommending for you, and this is a lot, but could you please drink three cups of that per day?


Yeah, really.

I don’t love it for sure but I can try it. Are they saying anything else?

In a mix with other teas.

It’s so strong. I don’t mind it horribly but it’s not one of my favorite things for sure.

You can take licorice capsules and then you can't taste it.

They have licorice capsules?


That might be better.

BAMD0029 | Leverage your glamability

Shannon taps into Susan's Spirit Guides and details what teas and vitamins will benefit specific health issues.

There is such a thing as de-glycerized licorice which has no effect on the blood pressure because glycerized licorice, or you could say just ordinary licorice, does cause blood pressure to rise. In fact people who have low blood pressure like to take licorice and people with high blood pressure should not take licorice because it could cause it to spike. In my mind, while I'm talking to you, I'm also talking to them so I'm on two calls. I said, “Why aren’t you recommending chaste berry?” Which is a really good hormone rebalance.

I am taking that.

They said no … Really?

I'm taking a lot of it.

They said please stop. They said it’s not appropriate for your level of estrogen.

Really? We just upped it to five capsules.

That’s not working. Also, have you noticed your symptoms getting better? No, you have not.

No, I have not.

Your angels are saying, “No, you have not.” They answered it for you actually.

We’re in sync.

Exactly. I'm going in my mind,"What about chaste berry?" They say, “No.” Then you say, “I'm taking chaste berry.” Your angels are going, “Yeah, see you're symptoms aren’t getting better so knock it off.”

What about myomin?

Is it MY?

MY, myomin. Let me ask this, is there anything else that I'm taking that I should not be taking or is there anything that I am taking that I should not be taking, like the chaste berry. We upped that.

I got it. Is there anything I'm taking that I should not be taking? No, everything else is fine. Is there anything that I'm not taking yet that I should be taking? Yes. They would like you to increase your multivitamin B. Are you already taking this?

It’s not a multi vitamin but I am taking B12 and B6 I think.

They're telling me that they want one with all of the Bs together, B1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. They want the one with all of the Bs.

1 to 10, okay.

Other than that, you’re doing really well.


And if you stop the chaste berry and if you start the licorice, your symptoms should go away within five days and you can tell me whether they do or not. Let’s see if they do. Let’s do an experiment.

We will do an experiment. Thank you.

It’s my go to also. I always use chaste berry. But they're saying not for you.

That’s really good to know, super good to know. Maybe that will help with my freezing feet.

I can't believe that you just said feet because they just showed me feet. I was looking at feet and I was looking at the skin of the feet. I wondering if the skin of the feet was healthy because I was just about to say, “Are you demonstrating symptoms of candida, by peeling skin on your feet?”

Yeah, they are peeling skin on my feet. I had no idea what that meant. I didn’t even think to ask you about that. It was just weird.

It’s a demonstration of candida and candida usually means too much sugar. I don’t think that you're a person who takes sugar. Are you having too much sweets?

I've been eating sweets lately just because I've been feeling crappy and I just … I don’t usually eat sugar and I have been eating a little bit of candy that I actually bought for someone else that I haven’t given them yet.

The best way to get rid of candida is to eliminate sugar altogether. Green tea is a nice way to not have candida.

I drink that every morning after my coffee. Absolutely.

Other than that, your health is at an 8.5 out of 10. These are tweaks.

I’d love to get to a 10. Can I get to a 10 by doing this?

No, they said if you wanted to get to a 10, you would need to run.

Are you kidding me?

They're not kidding you. They said go running.

What about my knees, people? I used to be a runner. I used to run 5 to 10 miles a day but …

In order for you to get your health at a 10, your body needs to make the gestures of running. If that’s too hard on your knees, you can do aqua running or you can do Zen running, which is having the body do they gestures of running but in a really low impact way. It looks as though you're walking at .1 miles an hour but you're doing the gestures of running.


You used to be runner?

Yeah. I do walk. I do walk a couple miles when I'm not doing Aikido. I don’t run just because …

Have you seen Zen running? Have you seen what it looks like?


It’s like slow motion, pretend running. As if someone’s filming you and you're pretending to run.


Looks weird.

I’ll take a look.

Your body loved running and when you're running, it was the healthiest that you have ever been, according to your angels, you were the healthiest than you have ever been in your entire life.

I did love running.

Did you love it? Good.

I did really love it. I got into a car accident and I couldn’t run anymore. Walking just did not give that endorphin lift that the running had.

You need to talk your body into believing that it’s running. It can release the endorphins.


Yeah. By running in slow motion.


That’s what a reading sounds like. Sounds like guessing with no background and then answers that are maybe 70% familiar and then 30% challenging.

Great. I love it. I wanted to end with you telling us a little bit about how we can get in touch with you if we want a reading or go to one of your seminars. I don’t know if you ever do any online or do them out of South Africa, but if people were listening in South Africa as well, could you tell us a little bit about how to get in touch with you and if people want to reconnect?

I am launching an online course but it will only come to fruition or come to publication in October 2016. It’s on a wonderful platform called Daily Om. It’s a great platform. That will come out next October. Even before then, I’ll probably do online courses. I'm working on the content right now. All of my stuff, my individual sessions, my seminars, my online material and my book are all available via my website,

Wonderful. Thank you so much for being our guest on how to leverage your glamability before a tv show even airs. This was entirely delightful. I love hearing about all of your experiences and I love of course getting my own reading, which was really fun too.

Cool. I think we should do it again when other interesting things crop up.

I can't wait. Thank you so much, Shannon.

Thank you.

We’ll talk to you soon.

About Shannon Walbran

Shannon Walbran, who is known as South Africa’s top psychic. Her main message is, “You are guided.” Even though she guides you and she loves to teach people how to get their messages themselves After travelling the world in her 20s and 30s, Shannon received a divine message while meditating in the Sinai Desert, which was, “Now, it’s time for you to help other people.” She gave up her career as a writer for a nonprofit and she quickly rose to the top of her field, helping over 20,000 clients directly since 2003.

What she does is she brings people instant, specific, personalized answers to their most pressing personal questions. She adds in details that nobody else knows. Currently, Shannon speaks to a radio listenership of about 8 million people and is the author of the book called Guided, which is available on Audible. She does corporate key note speaking, large group and individual consultations in person and by phone and Skype worldwide. Shannon’s website is


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  • 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.

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    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!

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    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.

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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.

BAMD0026 | Promote Live Events Mindfully

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.

BAMD0026 | Promote Live Events Mindfully

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

BAMD0026 | Promote Live Events Mindfully

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. 

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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

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Media Training Tips for CEOs

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

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  • 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.

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    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!

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    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.

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

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BAMD0021 | Get the media to call you

The Brand Mapping Strategy by Karen Leland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BAMD0021 | Get the media to call you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are those seven things?

Of course, they are in the book.

Of course.

Of course.

It’s fully explained.

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

It’s not a tag line.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How exciting, because I apparently don’t remember.

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

I don’t remember this at all!

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

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

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

That’s the same as the story of origin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Right, because it’s an inconsistent brand message.


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

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

BAMD0021 | Get the media to call you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was a national paper, a national magazine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s more like …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I knew you meant LinkedIn.

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

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

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

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

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

BAMD0021 | Get the media to call you

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

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

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

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

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

A couple thousand.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

BAMD0021 | Get the media to call you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exactly. Which we both love to do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BAMD0021 | Get the media to call you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Absolutely. No question about it. Podcasting completely counts.

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

It could be visual.

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

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

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

I can't.

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

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

It’s actually now up to 10.

Up to 10.

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

Sorry. Non-disclosure agreements.

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


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

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

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

My whole branding course is available online.

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

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

By the pool, in our robes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can't wait. Thanks so much.

Thank you.

About Karen Leland

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


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    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.

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    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.

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Be a Media Darling [My New Podcast]


This is why my Podcast took 3 years to launch:

I got waylaid.

Over and over again.

I think I resisted it because talking came so natural to me. And I did lots of other harder things first. I created webinars, special reports, ebooks, courses. I trained to get my black belt in Aikido.

I got sidetracked by pleasures too…

I took a weekly writing class. I watched long hours of Longmire and The Good Wife (delicious!). I went to Hawaii and Bali.

But, I finally hunkered down and holed up. Spent a few weeks writing, editing, recording, consulting with my VA Kelly about all the nitty gritty stuff that needed to happen in the back-end. Worked with a great team.

You’ve heard the phrase, “Better done than perfect?” It’s done for now. Far from perfect. I’ll refine it later.

So here are a few things for you that I discuss with experts (or chat about myself) in my new podcast called, Be a Media Darling: Publicity Made Easy

Use collaboration to get free publicity.

Learn what it takes to get on Dr. Oz.

Gain 15,000 new devoted Twitter folIowers in 2 months.

Handle a radio interview gone horribly awry.

Copy Jennifer Lawrence’s secrets to popularity.

Discover a wonderful wack-a-doodle way to enroll high-end clients on Facebook.

And more!

You can hear all this on my “new” Podcast (which I actually started almost 3 years ago)
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Here’s what to do.

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I hope that you hear something on my podcast that sparks an idea, gives you a laugh, intrigues and inspires you on to the greatness in you.