Ways To Work With Influencers So You See A ROI

In this episode of Become a Media Maven, I speak with Angela Ledford. Angela knows everything about working with influencers – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

She talks about how you can impress brands if you’re an up and coming influencer and how to see an ROI if you’re a brand looking to work with influencers to reach more people.

Angela and I met in a Facebook group for media bloggers – people who work in the media and blog as well. We see both sides of the media industry – traditional and new.

In the eighth episode of Become a Media Maven, Angela (who is also the Today Show Social Media Star for Beauty Vlogging) is going to share some stories about up and coming influencers, true influencers, and what PR agencies are paying attention to determine who they want to work with.

In this episode, you’ll learn ways to work with influencers so you see a ROI.

Here is a list of resources mentioned in this episode:

Please subscribe to this podcast and leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

For more on the episode, click here to download it and listen or read what’s below!

Ways To Work With Influencers So You See A ROI

Ways To Work With Influencers So You See A ROI

I was so excited to talk to Angela Ledford on the Become a Media Maven podcast. Angela is the manager or Public Relations and Communications at Discover the Palm Beaches. She knows a lot about working with influencers and influencer marketing.

The mistake businesses make when working with influencers  

There are so many misconceptions and so many people doing it wrong, including really big brands that make billions of dollars a year. Even they’re not doing this right and Angela can see that online.

“I think part of the problem is that it is very time consuming to do your research, to learn the digital space, and that’s something that I have focused a lot of my attention on so I don’t know if I’d call myself an expert, but I know both sides, both the public relations side and the digital influencer side, which I think gave me a better perspective,” Angela said.

Offline, we talk a lot about this topic and I feel like we’re the only ones who really care if an influencer is influential. But, before we get into all of that, I want to explain what makes Angela an expert.

“Working in public relations for a tourism organization, we are basically trying to attract people to come visit Palm Beach County… and not only that, we’re also trying to convince Palm Beach County residents, the people like Christina and me who live here, to visit within the county.

Her day to day life is traditional media, which is television and radio, but mostly newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc.

Why influencer marketing works

If I tell you, “Hey, I had a great vacation in Boca Raton”, you would pay attention to me because I’m your friend. You would listen to what I have to say because I’m a real person who’s really telling you I had a great time in this city.

It’s using people who are on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook who are sharing content naturally and organically.

“We’re using their content and sharing it on our platforms and in our advertisements to say, “Look, we’re not paying models to go and say they’re having a good time on the beach. These are real people who are actually on the beach having a good time and we’re sharing their content.”

So, Angela’s day to day job is working in the traditional space as well as the new media space and kind of breaking new ground.

Influencer marketing looks like a referral because it’s somebody else telling you to come visit Palm Beach because it’s great. It’s not necessarily Palm Beach telling you Palm Beach is great… and this is why media relations and public relations over the last few years has changed a lot. Now, we’re mixing traditional media with the new media.

If you want to be in the media, work with people in the media

Before we really dive into influencer marketing, I want to shout Angela out for being a fellow TV newser (is that word?) like me. Because of this, Angela brings in some amazing media hits. I honestly believe that some of the best people in PR are people who used to be in the media because you’ve seen both sides of it.

I use the analogy: If you were going to hire a criminal, (which you shouldn’t hire a criminal for anything) but say you want to hire a criminal to commit a crime. Would you want that criminal to be a career criminal or that criminal to be a former police officer? I always say you would want them to be a former police officer because they know what the police are looking for, so they know how to get away with the crime.

That’s like us. We know how to get media because we used to be the media and have experience on the other side. 

When Angela first started in TV news, she was a producer and an anchor in a small market in her hometown in Monroe, Louisiana. For five years, she produced the morning show, which was two hours. She learned the morning news space – which is different than the evening news. It’s more light coverage with fluffy feel-good stories.

Then, she became an education reporter in a larger media market – Shreveport, Louisiana. After that, she went to WPTV – the NBC station in West Palm Beach, where she currently lives.

“That’s what really strengthened my pitching skills because that was a station where you had to sell a story.”

Angela left TV and went to the Palm Beach Zoo where she became the PR manager. She did a lot of fun stuff and learned about tourism because that’s a tourist attraction.

“I would 100% agree that my background in TV and journalism helped me understand how to tell a good story and how to speak the language that media speaks, Angela said. “Whenever I tell somebody I’m working with, “Hey, I come from journalism too”, It’s like they breathe a sigh of relief because they’re like – She understands a deadline. She understands the pressure that I’m under. She also understands that I’m not going to respond to her email all the time because I got 500 emails today.”

So, we get the stress that they’re under and we also know how to roll out the red carpet which is what Angela tries to do in her role with Discover the Palm Beaches. She tries to hand the information to a journalist on a silver platter.

Angela understands they don’t have time to do the research. They are not a subject matter expert about tourism in the Palm Beaches, like she is.

Her job is to know why they’re the best place in the world to the visit. Working in journalism, in any capacity, really does strengthen your ability to be a better PR manager and do better work “on the other side” or the dark side. (When you’re in news and you go to PR, they say the dark side, haha.)

Thanks for creating influencer marketing Kim Kardashian

Let’s all thank Kim Kardashian for inventing influencer marketing. What used to be just pitching traditional media is now pitching influencers to get your brand out there.

There are influencers who charge. There are influencers who don’t charge. There are influencers who should charge. There are influencers who shouldn’t charge.

There really is a wide variety of how to work with influencers… many are wrong.

Angela touched on how influencer marketing is like a referral from a friend. It’s a friend saying, “Hey, come here. Visit this place.”

If you want to know how to work with an influencer to get more attention on your brand OR if you want to become an influencer in your space, (as a business owner, you should want both), keep reading!

“It’s super important to work with influencers because it is the new way people are getting their information,” Angela said. “If you’re a millennial, are you really watching the 6:00 evening news? If you are, you’re a rarity.”

We have to face the reality that people are getting their information online now.

“I love going on Facebook a million times a day. I’m on Twitter. I’m on Instagram,” Angela said. “That is the new way. Even people who are in the traditional demographic or like traditional journalism, like newspapers and magazines, are now moving to the digital space as well.”

We have to stay abreast of that trend and to ignore it would be to bury your head in the sand. I don’t think that’s a good idea.

So, looking at that as a business owner, I would definitely recommend you take a look at what the digital space can mean for you and how it can help you grow your business.

Why businesses don’t work with influencers

Whenever I pitch any kind of media relations package to a Media Maven client, it includes both traditional media and new media because people are getting content in different places at different times.

You should be earning coverage in a variety of places, but I had a client recently tell me, “We don’t want to do the influencer thing. Just traditional media” and their audience is very much on social media, but they did not want to do the “influencer thing” as they call it.

Angela thinks there are two reasons for this:

1. They don’t understand the value of influencer marketing.

2. Unfortunately, some digital influencers can have a bad reputation.

Angela and I have had a lot of offline conversations about good bloggers and bad bloggers. Bad bloggers give the rest a bad name because they are either just too grabby and looking for freebies or they have fake followers.

They’re not really giving you a return on your investment, or ROI.

“I’ve been burned and look back and I’m like, “Oh my goodness! That person really didn’t have the following that they said they did or they didn’t work as hard as they said they would,” Angela explained.

When they have a campaign that’s a paid advertisement with a business, it’s up to the blogger to execute it. If you’re a news reporter, you have an editor or producer or an assignment manager standing over your shoulder like, “Hey, turn in your story on time.”

When Angela and I started talking about this, it brought back terrible memories of working with several influencers.

It was actually more than a dozen, who were supposed to visit a client’s restaurant… and the client was not wanting to work with influencers – didn’t understand it. I was so excited about this group because they were true influencers. I mean they didn’t just have the numbers, but they had the engagement. I was really excited about getting them in there. They all went in. They all ate. The table was set amazingly and I thought, “Okay, this is going to turn the client. They’re going to see the value after this.”

Not one of those influencers posted. They came, they ate, they drank, they had fun, and not one of them posted anything.

It happens a lot. So, if you’ve taken on the role as an in influencer, be professional and don’t act like that.

What to look at before working with an influencer

If you’re a business owner, working with influencers is something you should consider. Picking the right one(s) takes a little skill. You’ll need to ensure the person you’re bringing in will write a blog post or share something on Instagram. How do you do your homework and vet these people to ensure it’s not going to turn into a negative experience?

“There are several things that I do to prevent what happened to you from happening to me because it has happened to me several times when I’ve hosted influencers and they did not deliver at all,” Angela said. “They would go eat and did not do any social media, which again, I do consider stealing.”

1. Set Expectations

Whenever Angela works with an influencer, she says, “Listen, I’ve hosted somebody and he went and ate at this restaurant, had a great experience, and still didn’t post. I need to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Can you do me a favor and guarantee that if you have a good time and you really do enjoy the food, you will give me a tweet… or you will give me an Instagram post… or whatever?”

Angela specifically says this is her expectation.

“I really want to make sure that it’s authentic,” she said. “If your server messed up your food and it was burned, don’t tell a lie, but if you have a good experience, can I count on you to do that for me?”

2. Call the Shots and Be Direct Because You’re Advertising

Angela has become so transparent with her expectations. She used to tip-toe around and hesitate to ask influencers to share stats or engagement. She used to consider it private, but now she doesn’t beat around the bush.

If you’re working with influencers, you’re most likely paying them money or providing them with a product or a service. It is an advertisement.

Ask for screenshots of analytics, like how many people saw an Instagram story, for example.

“As a business owner, what I would recommend is to be upfront with your expectations. Like – Hey, I’m hosting this blogger event and I’m not requiring you to post, but what I really would like to see is a permanent Instagram or Snapchat post.”

Angela says to let them know what they are getting and what you would like in return. Be direct.

In traditional media, you know what you are going to get. A 30 second pre-recorded commercial on TV or a printed ad in the local newspaper… but with digital influencers, you can never be certain.   

For instance, Angela says, “You know this blogger has 10,000 followers on Twitter and 50,000 followers on Instagram but for whatever reason, they decide to post a Snapchat, instead of a permanent Instagram post. You’d much rather have the Instagram post, so you ask for it.”

That’s why, she says, laying out expectations is super crucial.

3. Choose The Right Influencer

Now that you and your client have determined you want to work with influencers, how do you know which ones to choose? You need to make sure the influencers you do choose will give you your best ROI. Angela says this is when you really need to pay attention.

“I am about to explode the lid off the blogging world because I’m going to tell on myself as well. Basically, you can’t fake followers but you CAN buy followers.”

So, what does this mean?  Bloggers can rack up the numbers on their social media through giveaways. For instance, Angela has a side job as a beauty blogger. She advertised a free makeup giveaway. Naturally, people wanted to win so they followed her.  

“Unfortunately, a lot of my followers on Instagram are not as engaged with me because they followed me only after I posted about a free giveaway. They wanted to win something free so they followed me.”

Angela says bloggers can also easily buy 100,000 followers, like nothing. She believes if PR people had more time to dig into the influencers they plan to work with, they would have a better idea who to choose, but that takes time… and lots of it!  

Angela says there are other ways to dig without going insane. There are websites like She says it only takes a few minutes, “Go on there, put the person’s username for whatever platform – YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and you will see a graph. It shows how their website or following has grown… and a large jump of followers tells a story.”

She says you want to see a slow steady incline. That means their followers are likely organic.

Influencers working together

The great basketball player Michael Jordan once said, “There’s no “I” in team but there is in win.” That brings us to how influencers sometimes work together to win.

Angela says there is something in the blogging world known as “comment pods”. It’s when a group of local bloggers agree to comment on each other’s Instagram posts. Angela says this is important because it gives influencers posts the appearance they are superstars. She says it’s obvious when “comment pods“ are happening.

“If somebody has 6,000 followers on Instagram and they do a post, then within minutes they get a thousand likes on a photo? Come on, you’re not Kim Kardashian. No one gets that unless you’re a Kardashian.”

But she says, even if a blogger isn’t a high-level influencer, they could still be good for your business. Angela says she looks at previous posts too. 

“I look at the quality of the post. Is the content good? Is the photography beautiful? Is the topic interesting and compelling?”

If all of those are a yes, she will work with that blogger because she knows they will work hard to deliver their message and she will get an ROI within their engaged following.

Again, that’s because she takes the time to dive deep and look into potential influencers. A lot of mistakes get made when PR professionals don’t have the know-how, time, and patience to check out the source.

Angela says until social media website truly cracks down on bots you’ve got to be careful about who you work with, the dollars you put out and the expectations you relate beforehand.

Ways to vet social media influencers

As a PR professional, you know collaborating on projects can go both ways. You reach out to them or they reach out to you. If you’ve reached out to them, hopefully, you’ve done a bit of research, but when a blogger contacts you because you have a service or product they are interested in, ask them to show you previous posts.

Angela tells them, “Give me some previous content examples. I want to show my boss what you can do. I want to bring you here and get you a nice hotel stay. However, can you show me hotel blog posts that you’ve done in the past?” (And it needs to be recent, not five years ago!)

Angela says if they send her a lot of links, she will share them with her boss, so he can see the potential in working with the blogger. Some of the things she passes along are:

1. The blogger’s engagement

2. The blog posts comments

3. The original photography

4. Promotions on Twitter and other platforms

Angela admits she gets very detailed about how to work with influencers, but she says, “There are so many steps to check mark that I think that’s why a lot of PR people don’t even bother.  

“Just because a blogger has 60,000 followers on Instagram, doesn’t mean they can deliver for YOU.”

Microinfluencers and their worth

We’ve been talking about what to look for in a good blogger and how to protect yourself from the “bad bloggers”, but I also shared a story about a blogger I worked with who had 3,000 followers.

Her name is Jade, and she is at @_badassfoodie on Instagram.

“Jade got over 300 likes on a post with over a hundred comments… and they aren’t bot posts. You click on the comments and they are all in direct relation to this image she posted.”

So why is this important to mention? I’ve been pitched by influencers with 50,000 followers who don’t get near half of these likes or comments and they want my clients to pay them hundreds of dollars for a post when they’re not getting any quality likes or comments.

Not only does Jade have good engagement with her followers, but she will send you links to the posts after. She says it just goes to show you that it’s not all about the numbers.                            

Influencers vs. Reporters

Working with influencers can be downright draining according to Angela.

“I feel like they take a lot more attention and time than working with traditional journalists.” She says, “If a television news reporter calls me at the beginning of the day and tells me they are going to do a story on breaking record tourism in the palm beaches. I’m like, okay, I know this is going to take two hours with my time and then I’m going to be done.”

But she says working with an influencer you’ve got to continue that conversation over and over and over. First the pitch, then follow up, then the back and forth conversation about what you can offer, your expectations and then before you know it, two weeks have gone by and they’re not even visiting you yet.

Angela says she doesn’t want to give influencers a bad name. She says there have been tons of times she has had a great experience.

“Some people are so worth your while and every now and then you hit upon those gold mines and then you’re like, well that person really gave me ROI.”   

Anyone who has worked with digital influencers likely has good stories and bad. Just as digital influencers who have reached out to PR professionals have their good and bad stories too.

It’s just the industry we work in so we are more attuned to it. If you are a business owner, whether you’re spending money on influencers or your trading product or service, that still is money. Products cost money. Services cost money. So, you just need to do your due diligence.

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In this episode of Become a Media Maven, I speak with Lisa Simone Richards. Lisa is not only a publicity expert, but a profit expert. She is very strategic and understands the ins and outs of PR and money.

She also talks about how you can use specific branding to charge premium prices and dives deep on how one of her clients did this with lots of success.

Lisa and I met in a Facebook group and clicked because we do exactly the same thing. Some women don’t like to get close to women who may be considered their competition, but Lisa and I collaborate so much and it only helps us grow our businesses.

In the seventh episode of Become a Media Maven, Lisa talks about how to use the media you’ve earned to earn even more media. So many people think that once they’ve earned coverage, their business is going to blow up. That’s not going to happen if you don’t know how to leverage your exposure.

In this episode, you’ll learn how to measure public relations effectiveness by turning publicity into profit.

Here is a list of resources mentioned in this episode:

Please subscribe to this podcast and leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

For more on the episode, click here to download it and listen or read what’s below!

Measuring Public Relations Effectiveness by Turning Publicity Into Profit
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How To Promote Yourself On Social Media To Actually Make Money

How To Promote Yourself On Social Media To Actually Make Money

In this episode of Become a Media Maven, I speak with Michelle Dempsey. Michelle is a dear friend of mine and fellow mompreneur who hustles hard… and her hustle translates into dollars.

I call Michelle the queen of self-promotion. She began her career as a teacher, then she started writing for various publications and fell in love with creating content. She was doing it and promoting it so well for herself, that soon to be clients started contacting her. That’s how she started her business, Very Well Written.

In the sixth episode of Become a Media Maven, Michelle talks about how many times her content was rejected and what she did with those rejections to turn it into dollars.

Michelle is also sharing her networking secrets – a form of lead generation many people hate doing, but she has learned to love it and see an ROI from all of those local networking events.

Here is a list of resources mentioned in this episode:

Please subscribe to this podcast and leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

For more on the episode, click here to download it and listen or read what’s below!

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How To Promote Yourself On Social Media To Actually Make Money

I call Michelle Dempsey the queen of self-promotion and when I started my podcast, I knew I was going to have Michelle on.

I met Michelle right after she decided to start her own business. She was just leaving teaching because she was just desperately wanting to be home with her eight month old who she had put in daycare.

“I knew I wanted to be home with her because it was just killing me,” she said. “I was a teacher and had this whole thing about having to be with other people’s kids while mine was at home or in daycare, being cared for by somebody else.”

How to Start Freelancing

That’s when Michelle started freelancing. She had already developed a mommy blog, was writing for Huff Post, Scary Mommy, Mind Body Green, and a bunch of other publications that really put her on the map as a writer.

Her friends and friends of family with businesses started asking for help with written tasks such as new website content or adding a blog to their website. So right around the time when we first met, she had just secured her first paying client to write a blog.

“I met you when you were speaking at a blogger event and I remember being so inspired by you and your way of putting yourself out there, Michelle said about me. “So I just realized there was a community of women doing that. It was okay to just move forth and go for the gold.”

How to Start Contributing to Outlets like Scary Mommy

I feel like so many people want to write for those big, impressive publications like Michelle, so I asked her how she got into that and how she started writing for those bigger outlets in addition to your own?

“I just started submitting my work, she said. “I would stay up late at night Googling ‘how to submit articles to publications’ and anytime I would find a submit email address, I would submit or upload to their platform. I would upload and I got rejected.”

Scary Mommy rejected her about 19 times before they published one of her posts and when they did publish it, it was their main posts of the day. When you went to their website, they got so much engagement in responses, backlash, and all.

There are so many places to get your content seen these days. You just have to do the work and really look into where you want your content to be featured… and just keep trying. There are people behind these publications that actually do sit and read these articles. They are making money off of us giving them content for free. And so it’s really to your benefit to at least try and not give up.

Now, I played devils advocate and said, “A lot of people don’t want to spend time writing all of these articles for nothing if nobody picks them up.”

Michelle reminded me it’s not for nothing. If nobody’s picking it up, you put it on your own website and you link people back to there. At least it’s giving you do website traffic. It’s not for nothing and if it can be on your website and nobody else’s and there are links back to it. It’s out there. It’s in cyberspace. It will get shared eventually by somebody.

“My first foray into having work published was because I kept publishing my own blog content. Somebody shared it and a Motherhood magazine contacted me and asked if they could publish it, so you can’t be afraid to just consistently put yourself out there.”

That leads to why Michelle is the queen of self-promotion because if you throw enough sh*t at the wall, it’s going to stick. You have to be willing to try. Nobody got famous by going to one audition and being denied a role in saying, “Okay, well forget it.” They just kept trying.

Building a Team as a Business Owners

Michelle and I have both discussed this offline because we both have agencies with have team members and when it comes to growing a team, it is so hard to find people who are dedicated and have a good work ethic and that’s why I wanted to ask her about people saying, “Oh, but what if we’re writing for nothing? Then we’re working for nothing.” I feel like that’s so many people’s mindset today.

“I just got off a call with actually one of my team members right before you and I started this podcast and I was complaining to her about how hard it’s been to find team members that take initiative,” Michelle said. I am always taking the initiative, whether it’s even within the realm of what my clients are paying me for that particular month or what I even have the bandwidth to do for myself or that day.”

Whether you think you have the time or you don’t like it, you have to put yourself out there or to try new things to be seen or have the next big, viral posts. It takes initiative and it takes finding people who understand that if you’re going to have a theme, it’s definitely not easy,

I think it’s the hardest part of building a business, especially if you have an agency model like Michelle and I do. But back to putting yourself out there, Michelle started getting some stuff published and then she promoted what was being published. She didn’t just rely on Scary Mommy to share it with their audience. She told your audience, “Look at me, I’m in Scary Mommy,” and she did it over and over and over again.

“I did it over and over and over again to the point where I could feel the eye rolls and I could feel the unfollow buttons,” she said. “And you know, at that point I really didn’t care. Desperate Times call for desperate measures. I was married at the time to my ex-husband. He had just lost his job. It was a struggle. He was looking for something. He was still unemployed. I at that point was home with my daughter making $50 a blog post for other publications and I knew I needed to make money. So I said, screw it. I don’t care what people think. I don’t care if I’m being spammy or annoying. I’m going to put myself out there until I can make a living. I knew my writing was good. Other bloggers, who are now huge big name bloggers in the industry, were reaching out to me like, “Hey, how do I start a blog?”

Michelle can take credit for helping them and now they are some of the biggest Scary Mommy writers.

How to Network Like a Boss

She kept going with it until it stuck… until people were calling to hire her. Apart from that, she was going to networking events – with no business model and only a website, She had Microsoft word and was like, “Okay, I can write for your business” and was meeting business owners and selling them on the benefits of blogging, because at that point, we knew it was essential for SEO and Google rankings, She started landing clients (and pretty big ones).

Now, her business Very Well Written has been able to grow from just blogging to actual content marketing with strategy and social media and brand development. It’s amazing to see how she’s evolved just in learning about what the need is and being committed to learning and growing – consistent self promotion on every level.

I hate networking, so I don’t do it much. I put myself out there enough online that I don’t need to do it, but networking is a huge lead generator and I feel like people who don’t like it, like me, are either lazy or they just don’t do it right. Michelle it right. So, I asked Michelle to tell us a couple of stories on how she went to a networking event, what she did, what she said, and how it turned into dollars.

“I started going to networking events because I was lucky enough to have friends who were in business who belong to different organizations,” Michelle said. “I was meeting people, giving out my business card, etc. Turning that into dollars is going home, sending an email and following up saying, “It was so great meeting you. I’d love to talk about what I do can benefit your business, whether you’re interested or not. Let’s just grab a cup of coffee and connect.”

Taking the pressure off of making somebody hire me really helped. We all hate when we’re at a networking event and the next day we get an email and are already subscribed to somebody’s email list about why we need to buy their health insurance that we don’t like.

Michelle has had more coffee dates with people who didn’t hire her, but she gave them tips. When they had a friend who was able to hire her, they shared her name.

If you put yourself out there enough and help enough people, your name will eventually end up on somebody’s list who wants to pay you and that’s how it’s happened for me.

How to Start Speaking at Local Events

Michelle started noticing that she would go to events and there would be speakers who really had nothing worthwhile to share.

‘If I’m going to go to these events, I want to share what I know,” she said. “Not only am I here meeting people – people get to see that I am educated in this field.”

Most don’t just go to some bad salmon. They get some tips. So, Michelle started hitting up the heads of all these networking groups in her area and offering to speak.

That’s how I started speaking, by saying “Hey, I want to share with your group the best ways women can brand themselves, or best marketing tips for dermatologists, or whatever the case may be.”

Michelle was going there to tell the world, “Hey, I’m a subject matter expert.” That’s why I’m speaking – to make further connections with the people in this group to have this group. Then follow up with me and asked me questions about my speech and to be able to promote on social media that I’m a speaker now. It’s another reason for you to hire me because I know what I’m doing.

“People want to hear from me, so I just took this real aggressive route to making myself seen and heard. That’s what I think people are so impressed with,” Michelle said. “It’s just second nature for me at this point and I feel I owe it to myself. I’m selling people on hiring my company to market them and make them present and seen. I got to do it for myself too.”

What Will People Think of You?

“I know there’s plenty of people who are like, “Oh my God, that Michelle Dempsey. She’s everywhere and it’s enough.” But you know, I’ve evolved past the point of caring simply because I’m doing my thing. I’m growing, I’m supporting my daughter on my own and you know, there’s gonna be plenty of people who hate it or don’t like the what I have to say, but you get to a certain point where you don’t care and you realize how people feel about you is just a reflection of them.”

So much of what we hear from women is – Can I really say that? I don’t want to bother anyone?

Who actually cares who you’re bothering! This is your path. If that person is bothered, it’s because there’s something within them that you know it’s not your job to fix or deal with.

“I hate the whole, “I don’t want to bother anyone” thing and I get that a lot so you know, you can either take my lead and put yourself out there or don’t, but know that if you don’t, you’re not going to grow.”

You can’t control how people feel. Trying to worry about how people feel will sink you into the ground very fast because it’s consuming and it’s useless. It’s like worrying about what’s going to happen tomorrow. You don’t know. You can’t change it. You also can’t change how people feel ever.

“You rubbed somebody the wrong way once. It doesn’t matter what you do after that to get on their good side, they already don’t like you. So move on,” Michelle suggests.”

The #1 Way to Waste Time as a Business Owner

Now, let’s talk about wasting time. I get numerous emails, numerous messages on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. People want to work with me, and I did waste a lot of my time – not necessarily on people who didn’t want to spend money with me, but people who just had no clue. I would talk to anybody and everybody who wanted to talk to me – even building them proposals if they wanted one.

At the end of the day, I was not doing a good job qualifying these people. These were people who had no idea what my industry was like. They also were not at a stage in their business where they had money to spend or they were not committed enough in growing their business to want to spend money or they didn’t want to do the work they would have to do after hiring someone like me as a mentor.

So, I was wasting my time getting on the phone with anybody and everybody who sent me a message. Now, I’ll tell you what I do now so I don’t waste my time on the tire kickers. But what does Michelle do to filter leads to ensure she’s not talking to people all day every day?

“I want to be a value to people so that I stay at the top of their list for referrals, but I also have a lot to get through. I’m a single mom and I really only have till 3:00 every day when my daughter gets out of school to make sure things are in order and clients are happy,” Michelle said. “It came a point where I couldn’t meet with everybody. When people do inquire, my first questions are,

1.) what kind of business do you have?

2.) Where are you with marketing your business?

3.) Have you thought about hiring somebody yet? If right away they’re like, well, I’m not, I don’t really have the budget to hire anyone. Then I’ll say, “Why don’t you join my Facebook group? I have started my own Facebook group for Solopreneurs.

It’s really for the ones who can’t afford a marketing team so that they can learn the tips and tricks. It’s called Mind Your Own Business Marketing for Solopreneurs. I’ll direct them there, but if they are on the fence about hiring somebody, what I do is I send them all of my information, pricing, and everything upfront and I say, “Give me your email, let me send you information about how we work, how our prices are structured and what you can expect from working with us.”

I was getting to the point where I was upset that I was wasting people’s time by talking to them about working together when really they had no intention of working with me. It was a waste of my time and a waste of their time.

I now have a Google Doc that I have people fill out and you have to tell me where you’re at in your business along with what you’re ready and willing to do. If you do not fill this Google Doc out, I will not get on a call with you because I cannot spend all day, everyday talking to people who are not interested.

Work ON Your Business, Not IN Your Business

“Christina, you gave me the best advice a few months ago. Work on my business, not in my business,” Michelle said. “That’s been my focus every day now because of you.”

That takes almost more effort if not more than actually doing the physical work because when you’re doing the physical work, you worried about one thing at a time when you’re working on your business, you’re worried about the entire thing all the time. So, it’s a lot.

I told Michelle I said that to her because I knew she was at the point where she shouldn’t be in it. She has a team.

Can I Pick your Brain = the Worst Question Ever

I also want to talk about one other thing that Michelle mentioned and it was “picking my brain”. Now looking back, I am so embarrassed that when I started my business, I would ask people if I could pick their brain. It was so rude and stupid of me to do.

First of all, you cannot get all of the answers you want over lunch or over coffee. Picking somebody’s brain like, “How can I do this and be successful?” Oh yes, that’s just a 30 minute conversation. (sarcasm)

It doesn’t work that way and that’s why Michelle is glad that I said you now charge for that,  She started charging for that probably about a year and a half ago.

“If you want to sit down and you want to talk, that’s my time that I could actually be working on my business or I’m making money or looking for a speaking gig or something, so yes, you have to pay for my time,” Michelle said. “If I’m offering value and I do the same thing that you do, if you’re not ready to pay, then there are tons of free resources that I can guide you to on my website and on my blog.”

To sit down with somebody for an hour and spill the beans?I I’ve been played that way before, Michelle said.

“I had a client who fired me two days after they asked to sit down and let me show them how MailChimp worked, In case they want to send something out. Then two days later, they fired me, tried to get back their retainer money, and I was like, “Oh honey, now refer to page two of the contract.”

In her two and a half years, Michelle has never messaged somebody who she never met in person and try to get them to buy into what she do. She will always put herself out there on Instagram and Facebook and say, “You know, today was sh*t. Iwas in the middle of a meeting and got a call from my daughter’s school and I was still able to get her down for a nap and do XYZ.”

So I’m, I’m always showing my effort and my involvement in things and I think that’s a lot different and it’s a much more passive aggressive way, smarter way to show your strength as a business owner and a businessperson and whatever it is that you do, than directly just telling people, hire me, hire me, hire me. Because it becomes white noise,

People do business with people and you can have five people who do the exact same thing, but they do it all a little differently and at the end of the day you’re going to do business with that person who resonates with you more.

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How To Become A Paid Influencer On Instagram

How To Become A Paid Influencer On Instagram

In this episode of Become a Media Maven, I speak with Scott Eddy, a man who gets paid to travel the world and post images of his experiences on Instagram. Seriously. That’s his job.

It all started with one tweet that turned into a relationship launching a reach of well over one million people on social media with opportunities and trips that involve the best food, hotels, resorts, and experiences most people would trade an arm and leg for.

In the fifth episode of Become a Media Maven, Scott talks about what he does to impress brands looking to work with influencers and what they need to do on their end to get him to say, “Yes!”

Scott is also sharing his secrets on how using Twitter starts and builds worldwide relationships that continue to take his brand to the next level.

Here is a list of resources mentioned in this episode:

Please subscribe to this podcast and leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

For more on the episode, click here to download it!

How To Become A Paid Influencer On Instagram with Scott Eddy

Scott Eddy is always traveling because that is his job.

The Travel Bug

Scott came from a family of police officers. He thought that his life was mapped out. All he needed to do was finish high school, join the Police Academy, become a police officer, and start a family.

Three weeks before he graduated from high school, his father was killed in the line of duty. When this happened, his life turned upside down. He didn’t know what he wanted to do, but he knew two things: He hated school and he did not want to be a police officer.

Scott was a stockbroker for 10 years in the 90’s, which he believes gave him a great foundation of selling the most difficult product in the world on the phone. Now, he can sell anything to anybody.

At the end of the 90’s, the firm that he was working for was sold. That’s when he flew to Bangkok to meet a friend. He discovered the place had the nicest people in the world.

As opportunities knocked at his door, he called his mom to send his things and said, “I’m never coming back to the US.” He ended up living in Europe and Asia for 17 years, 11 of it in Bangkok.

He didn’t do anything professionally for the first year and a half. Not until one of his friends encouraged him to start a digital agency. He was reluctant at first because he doesn’t understand how it would work. After exchanging discussions with his friend, he finally decided to try it.

So, he rolled out the dice, set up a company, rented a small office, and hired a couple of people. Within six months, it became the biggest digital agency in Southeast Asia. After five years, he closed it up and started to bounce around different countries.

Becoming a Travel Influencer on Twitter

With his new venture, he focused on building relationships around the world via his Twitter account. He made Twitter his weapon of choice.

He pushed out non-stop content full of information. It always went back to luxury travel.

When he visited new countries, he connected with the most active people on Twitter who lived there by following those people and engaging with them. Then, he would try to meet them in real life. He did that for many years, especially when he moved to Asia and Europe.

Becoming a Travel Influencer on Instagram

When Instagram launched, he started taking screenshots of his six-picture grid on his Instagram account and asked people on Twitter if they were following him on Instagram.

He did this at random times during the day, different days of the week. He also conducted loads of research for content and hashtags while engaging with people who looked like they had the possibility of following and engaging back.

In January 2015, he got a tweet from Jason Will, the CEO for Zipkick – a food and wine app out of San Francisco built of food bloggers and wine bloggers around the world. Scott was invited by Jason to visit to San Francisco, become a global brand ambassador, and build the brand together.

Working with Brands as an Influencer

Scott has NEVER pitched a brand. Ever.

“I’ve never pitched anybody in my life,” he said. “If I ever was asked to put together a proposal, I would literally reply – I don’t know how to do that. I’m sorry because the more active I am on social, the more incoming comes in. I would genuinely say that it used to be 95 percent of my business, even higher.”

People who wanted to work with Scott would find him on Twitter. If you search his name in Google, he dominates the first four pages without ever spending a dollar on any kind of advertising. That is because of Twitter and Google search having a strong relationship for news.

According to Scott, the media world needs Twitter. Every PR company in the world is on Twitter and “Google search is basically like a news source, so if you think about it, it kind of makes sense,” he said.

Today, Scott gets most of his business from about eight PR agencies he works with on a consistent basis. He also works with a lot of the vineyards and wineries in Napa and Sonoma. He also works with a lot of hotels as well.

Once the relationship is established, a lot of these brands will just reach out to him directly.

Standing out to Brands as an Influencer

With Scott’s established credibility and the way he delivers an outstanding client experience, people are coming back to him.

“If you ever want to know how good an influencer is, look to see how many repeat clients they have,” Scott said. “How many times have they been to the same destination multiple times? I’m sitting at 69 countries right now. I’m dying to tick off that 70th country.”

Scott is a people person and wants to feel a friendship right away. He tries to figure out what people want.

Scott is also keen on providing personalized content that is unique to the social media platform being used.

“You should not just push one post automation to three different platforms,” Scott said. “Each platform has its own unique personality. You wouldn’t want to bore your audience, right?”

He is not also a believer in scheduling content like most people do. In fact, two of the biggest scheduling platforms have reached out to him and are trying to get him as a brand ambassador, but he doesn’t want to do it.

He built his business on being real-time and won’t change that for anything. There’s no amount of money they can pay him.

Standing out to Influencers as a Brand

If you want to reach out to someone like Scott, come from an educated standpoint.

Send an email and introduce yourself. Be yourself and explain what you do and what you want from the influencer by sharing your ideas so both of you can work together.

Nine times out of 10, Scott tries to hop on a call as soon as possible. If what you do doesn’t interest him, but he thinks you’re a good person, he’ll introduce you to some good people in the business.

Brands need to do a lot of research on the person they potentially want to hire.

“There are some brands not doing any research on who they hire,” Scott said. “They need to know what the influencer likes to post and what their audience is like.”

He also believes some are doing influencer marketing just because society says they need to do influencer marketing. On both sides, whether you’re an influencer or a brand, you need to keep your marketing goals in sight and try not to get distracted by everything else happening online.

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How To Use YouTube To Grow Your Business with Amy Landino

How To Use YouTube To Grow Your Business with Amy Landino

In this episode of Become a Media Maven, I speak with Amy Landino, a YouTube queen.

Like many YouTubers, Amy fell into video and YouTube for fun, but has since been able to turn that fun into a thriving, international business. She travels the world to speak on stages, is an accomplished author, and runs a video production company with her husband.

She has leveraged her network to reach more people and make more money and is giving us tips on how we can do the same.

In the fourth episode of Become a Media Maven, Amy talks about the importance of getting in front of the camera to talk about your expertise. If it doesn’t feel comfortable at first, it will. (Trust.)

Amy is also sharing her secrets on how she tripled her YouTube subscriptions in less than a year bringing in 100,000 subscribers in 100 days!

Here is a list of resources mentioned in this episode:

Please subscribe to this podcast and leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

For more on the episode, click here to download it or read what’s below!

YouTube To Grow Your Business

How to Use YouTube to Grow Your Business

Amy Landino started created videos before she was on YouTube. She wanted to be the coolest bridesmaid ever, so she put together a little something that would blow everyone’s socks off.

Then, she turned it into a brand. An international brand.

When Amy made that video for her friend, she found out she had a creative outlet that she never had before. On YouTube, she started watching people thought it was crazy how people would just post videos of trips to Target. She was fascinated. She wanted in on it. 

“I wanted to make video and I wasn’t excited about being on camera but I just loved the medium,” Amy told me.

That was around 2008 when Amy was playing around with a camera and not really taking it that seriously, but wanting to so badly.

Video Marketing

In 2009 and in 2010, she started to discover that she was actually learning a lot about something that businesses call marketing because she was building a presence on an online format and was marketing herself to them. Businesses needed to learn how to do that!

At the time, they were more worried about the Facebooks and the Twitters of the world but were hearing that they needed to do this. They didn’t have the bandwidth and they didn’t have the budget for it.

Amy started to understand that she was learning about marketing while she was playing in her little creative space, so that’s what started her consultancy in 2010. By 2011, she left her full-time job and really dove into that big time, which is where the existing channel she has really started.

“I knew I needed a different channel,” Amy said after going all in. “I needed a new channel that was going to represent me in this new business. If I was going to take the risk and go all in and do it, I needed to have that platform where people could really get to know me and my skill set and trust me so they would want to work with me.”

Fast forward a number of years and the YouTube channel has taken a lot of different forms from a financial perspective. There’s everything from building two different businesses. She has the original one, Vlog Boss Studios, and now Aftermarq, which she co-founded with her husband. These two innovations cater to different types of clients and the channel does help grow that clientele.

How to Start Using YouTube

The channel also makes money in a lot of different ways. There’s affiliate marketing, her own product sales, books, other product sales, and sponsorship. There’s also Google Adsense.

So, how did Amy start getting corporate clients? By creating videos on YouTube.

“I knew that the best thing possible would be for me to give away the information that I was learning. I didn’t go to school for marketing. I used to think it was a dirty word. I didn’t like it,” Amy said. “As I was starting to navigate this space, every time I would learn something new, I would jump on camera and talk about it. So, that could mean anything – especially during like 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. There were so many social networks popping up and so many new features. There was always something to talk about!”

So, Amy would get on camera. One ended up getting picked up by a few publications and syndicated.

When Siri came out, I wanted to be able to tweet from Siri but you couldn’t do it. Amy figured out how to do it because you could tweet to a phone number if you didn’t have a smartphone. So, if you sent a text to that phone number, it was tweeted. She made a video about talking to Siri and telling her to text Twitter. You would just name Twitter in your phone with a phone number that’s designated to your account and read a tweet to it. Then, it will be tweeted.

“These little hacks and things I would just find, and it may or may not have been super beneficial for businesses all the time, but it showed that I was an expert in what I was doing, which was a very unknown space for businesses at the time,” Amy said. “At any time, you can just get on camera and tell people what you know. Blogging has been great, but video really gives you that touchpoint that they get to know, like, and trust you very quickly.”

Using Video to Get Leads

If you can hang out and have a conversation on camera, that’s a fast way to build trust. It’s different than writing bullet points on a blog post. Amy brought a new perspective on any business hack or social hack to an audience on camera consistently for this reason.

Amy’s following was also growing on social media because she had started a personal brand and a lot of people were following her since those first videos. Some started following her on Twitter and then started seeing her videos pop up.

She would always tell people to watch her content if she thought there was something useful for them to look at. In marketing today, we’re always looking for the shortcut and we forget that if you want the network, remember that you already have a network. How do you leverage that? That’s everything.

YouTube SEO

It is no secret that YouTube is the adopted child of Google. Google and YouTube work really, really well together and you can get traffic from people who are inquisitive about something.

By Amy offering these strategies, she was formulating the headline of the videos to be something that somebody might pop in the search bar.

“They’re not going to know who I am and they’re not going to care who I am, but they’re going to want the answer to their question,” Amy said. “If you really focus your content marketing on the content, not just your marketing, you really can attract people.”

Here’s an example. Amy did a tutorial on how to embed a YouTube video into a Powerpoint presentation because there were just no really good resources. It’s hard. They make it impossible and the tutorials were terrible.

How do I get a YouTube video into my Powerpoint presentation?

Speakers and students have to do that. People within organizations have to do presentations. Amy thought this was useful to people and use as an example in the YouTube world.

“You really need to be in three different categories with your content,” Amy said. “You’re never going to be in all of them at the same time or, or ideally you wouldn’t because every video needs to have a purpose.”

Those three areas are hub, hero, and help.

Hub is really focusing on what your core audience, who already loves me, wants. You’re going to do this just for them. You’re going to have videos that are just for them.

Hero is when you’re like, “You know what, I want to go broader here. I want this to be great for my audience, but I think it’s going to help more people than that.”

Help is SEO driven and really helps somebody by answering their question. That’s the purpose of the video.

You could probably be in two camps at the same time, but knowing which one is the biggest is super important.

The Powerpoint video is an example of hero and help.

“I answered a question. I specifically dove into the tutorial in that video and answered it for anyone who would find that video based on searching the exact words “How to embed a YouTube video into a Powerpoint presentation” or other versions of that search query,” Amy said. “It ended up being a hero piece for me because there were so many people that needed that help and that was the huge, huge viral success of my channel for probably three years, which is the amazing thing about YouTube.”

You can make a piece of content on Youtube, publish that video, and it can work for you for the life of your channel… if you stay consistent. This is not true in a lot of other places.

If you want to talk about Facebook video, good luck!

You don’t find things the same way on Facebook that you do on YouTube, so the longevity is just insane.

“I have one video right now about waking up early that I did earlier this year and it just goes in waves,” Amy explained. “It’s getting 25,000 views in the last 48 hours just because there’s trending search activity or trending viewership. People are getting ready to go back to school, so they have to learn to wake up early again. It fell flat for the summer a little bit, but in the spring it was at 50,000 in 48 hours.”

You really have to understand the amazing capacity of search. Search is also driven by suggested results. A lot of traffic Amy gets from discovery is search and suggested results, so SEO is a very, very important thing on YouTube.

If you want it to be found, you have to help other people find it. YouTube is not just going to be like, “Super, thanks for this resource. Let’s get it out to the whole world.” They need to see that you’re as invested as they are in their platform.

Getting More YouTube Views

The biggest tip that I have is you can’t grow the network unless you realize you already have one. Whenever you publish something, it is your mission in life to get eyeballs on it.

“I like to tell people when they’re first getting started, you have friends and you have a family. You need to tell them, “Hey! I’m launching a social presence. It happens to be on YouTube. One of the things that I really need is attention on every video when it comes out. I need likes and I need comments and so I’d really love it if I could pop this into a Facebook group or send you an email whenever I have a video coming out and just say: Hey, can you just get on here and watch it all the way through and like it and comment on it?”

If you bring traffic to YouTube, YouTube brings traffic to you and what they look for is peaking activity in your channel. If you have zero subscribers, but you’re getting 100 views for some reason, that’s peaking activity, like, “Something interesting is happening here. Maybe we should pay attention to this.” They’re gonna continue to watch.

If your statistics go up, you’re going to be doing a lot of that work right off the bat, but it doesn’t mean that the videos that you first published can’t be discovered later as long as you put in the work that needs to be there for each individual upload.

“I don’t recommend publishing more than one at a time or more than one in a day,” Amy said. “You really want to spend time promoting that piece of content.”

Promotion of that video is super important, so find your task force and ask people to do you a solid for the first couple of months of your channel and just pop into your videos. You post them once a week and that’s no big deal to a lot of people. They’ll happily do you the favor if you ask and you’re more likely to see YouTube, send you some traffic.

How Creating Video Led to Speaking Gigs for Amy Landino

Amy was just talking to a camera alone in a room and she started getting inquiries for speaking engagements.

“I had never expressed interest in doing it and I hadn’t applied for anything,” Amy said. “I was just talking about what I knew, but organizers were seeing the ability I had to talk and they needed that and they needed a video.”

They needed certain social networks to be represented on their stages because they needed to communicate these things to other businesses that were coming to their events. So that’s how Amy started speaking.

“I was getting emails from people saying, “I saw your YouTube channel. We don’t have a huge budget, but we would really love for you to come speak. Can you do that?”

So, Amy gave it a try. What she realized was a fear of speaking she had before had a lot to do with not knowing the material. When you really know something, it’s extremely helpful for learning how to speak and speaking has become one of her main revenue streams.

“It’s exciting for me to do something I feel a lot of people don’t do and I think YouTube and speaking fall into that camp,” Amy said. “I want to be able to walk on stage and enlighten someone because it was a keynote speaker that enlightened me at my first digital marketing conference to leave my job and I feel like that position is so powerful and so incredible. All I’m ever trying to do is leave that impact on people. Christina, I got into this because I like to see the look on people’s faces. That’s why I made the first video. I made the first video for Stephanie because I wanted to see her face when she saw what we had done for her. It’s the same thing for speaking. I love to see people had the epiphany. I love to see the result of my content hitting someone and making them realize what they have the power to do.”

It’s very different to speak to a camera than it is a room full of hundreds or even thousands of people, so right off the bat, Amy was nervous.

She didn’t have any experience speaking and all she could think about was speech class in high school and how terribly that went for her, but again, if you know what you’re talking about, you really believe in it, and you’re extremely passionate about it, it lifts you up so much.

She just knew what she was saying and a lot of practice on camera has helped her with that. Knowing your stuff gives you the most confidence.

As Amy’s YouTube channel grows, her speaking opportunities increase. They’re pretty consistent because the industry has much overlap.

“Everyone’s always saying “it’s the year of video” and “we need more video” and “we need more women speaking” so there’s a lot of reasons why I am a great option.

At the same time, it’s also nice to have social proof because that’s what helps the dollars increase. Ultimately, if you can put butts in seats, you’re more valuable.

100,000 Subscribers in 100 Days

Amy’s channel hit 80,000 subscribers by the end of 2017. It took Amy six years to get to 80,000 subscribers.

Everything from the beginning of 2018 changed. Amy had a new name, a new channel, and a new set because she moved. She wanted to approach her content a bit differently. So once that started, it just went gangbusters.

“I think it’s because the content is a little bit more hero as I talked about before,” Amy said. “It just took off. 20,000 subscribers in the first two months of the year. Then another 100,000 subscribers in 100 days. Now, I’m at almost 250,000.

This is an example of the algorithms working. I know people have a hard time hearing that because they go and they post YouTube and they’re like – nothing’s working. But, when you figure out what you’re all about, they love promoting it because it keeps people on their platform. It keeps people watching. It makes them more money.

It’s not that they’re trying to get you to fail. They just need you to find your niche and once you do, YouTube gives you attention, especially if people are loving what you’re doing and you’re getting a lot of positive trajectory.

If you do not lean into that activity and do it again, it’s just going to be a viral sensation for five seconds. The goal is: If this particular piece of content is taking off for some reason and if these people became subscribers, then they’re expecting to see more of that in the future.

“The reason it was 100,000 subscribers in 100 days is because I didn’t ignore a trend. I looked at a trend and I said, “Holy crap. This is making a massive difference (or even if it’s just a small uptick for you) they liked this, then do more of that! That’s really what the algorithms are doing,” Amy said. “They’re trying to help you come to that conclusion of finding your sweet spot of what people want to see from you so that you will be more consistent with that one thing.”

Vlog Like A Boss

Vlog Like A Boss came out in early 2017.

Walking off stage, everyone would come up to Amy and ask her where her book was.

“Here’s the thing. I make YouTube videos. So like, why don’t you just go watch my YouTube channel,” she would answer.

The fact that people want a manual for something or they want a resource for something they can hold in their hand is different than the video experience. So she realized she was holding herself back as a speaker without a book.

vlog like a boss amy landino

So, she went to her audience and said she was putting together something designed for you to flow through and actually be able to follow my advice in the order that I would prescribe it to you if you are my client.

A lot of her colleagues came to her and said, “You’re not going to sell anything. It’s okay. Just have the book. It’s a great business card.”

Her audience bought that book.

“I mean, it was really, really awesome to see how much they wanted that next step,” Amy said. “I think that’s something I took for granted is knowing to lean into the things that are working, but also considering that in the different mediums. They really, really wanted to support me in that way and to have the resource for themselves. The book has just been going fantastically the last year, year and a half.”

As a self-published author, it’s pretty tough to get into stores. Amy wanted to have her book signing at the Book Loft in German Village in Columbus, Ohio.

“I love my city and I’m involved in the community, so to have the signing here is not the same as a conference that hires me or some event that I coordinate somewhere because my audience lives in mostly that area. It was home.”

You can also purchase Vlog Like A Boss: How to kill it online with video blogging on her website and on Amazon.

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How to Make Money Podcasting with Pat Flynn

How to Make Money Podcasting with Pat Flynn

In this episode of Become a Media Maven, I speak with the podcast master himself, Pat Flynn.

Pat has taught me everything to get my podcast up and running… so no pressure having him on, right?!

I’ve known Pat for a couple of years now and he surprised me with some things we talked about in this episode. Did you know he was an extra in a movie? Or that he’s making thousands of dollars in passive income helping… food truckers?

In the third episode of Become a Media Maven, Pat is sharing how his business didn’t start with podcasting, but he credits the Smart Passive Income Podcast to his success and business growth in affiliate marketing, speaking, authoring multiple books, and more.

Listen to find out more about how you can build an audience to grow your brand to help more people and make more money.

Here is a list of resources mentioned in this episode:

Please subscribe to this podcast and leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

For more on the episode, click here to download it and listen or read what’s below!

How To Make Money Podcasting with Pat Flynn

Power Up Podcasting

I belong to his program Power Up Podcasting, which taught me exactly how to build a podcast through modules that take you step-by-step. You really can’t start one thing until you finish the thing before. It really forces you to take action because if you don’t, moving forward in the online course would be useless to you. Power Up Podcasting shows you ‘this plugs into this and this is where you drag your mouse’ so that it’s really simple to do and as long as you follow the steps, you’ll get it done.

Pat created and outlined everything in a way so that you can walk away with valuable content on:

  • how helping people will grow your business,
  • creating a podcast, and
  • the benefits to doing so by having multiple income streams, creating passive income, and so much more.

How Pat Flynn Got Started in Online Business

On my podcast, Become A Media Maven, first I wanted to talk to Pat about his podcasting life and how it all got started because that’s valuable for those of you wanting to start a podcast or to start a business.

He started his online business by first taking the LEED exam, which is an exam that architects, designers, and people in the construction industry take about green buildings or environmental design.

Pat grew up wanting to be an architect, he went to school for architecture, and got a great job coming out of college in the architecture world. Then, he was laid off in 2008 (like a lot of other people) and decided to start an online business helping people pass the architectural LEED exam… and that business took off.

It was actually a podcast that helped him discover this world of online business. He took a lot of their advice and used their training and courses to build a website.

Then, a lot of his friends and colleagues were asking how he built this business. How did he build this website? How did he turn it into a business?

The business was good and the money was great,” Pat said. “I was making two and a half times more than I was making as an architect, but more than that, the coolest thing about this was the fact that I was getting these thank you notes and letters and I was getting recognized for this.”

Pat worked so hard as an architect and didn’t get the recognition he deserved with architects. (It’s just how it is.)

“If I were to ask you who built your home, or who designed your home, or who designed the building that you work in all day, nobody knows that answer,” Pat pointed out. “But, here I was helping people pass the exam and people were sending me handwritten notes saying, ‘Thank you for helping me pass this exam. I got a raise and a promotion because of it. My family is better off because of it. Pat, I owe you. I’m a big fan.’ I’m like, really? This is kind of crazy!

That’s when Pat discovered that if you help people and you serve people, you will be rewarded for it and people will share you as a result.

From there, Pat decided to always implement that in all of his businesses… and his next foray online was to create a blog to show people how all this was done AND to just be fully transparent be sharing everything that was done, everything to do to build new businesses, everything that was done right, everything that was done wrong, how much money was being made, where it was all coming from, and learning why the income increased this month or it went down this month.

Why a Starting a Podcast Could be Great for Your Business

Pat’s blog was started in 2008. Then in 2009, he started a YouTube channel that had tutorials to show people how to do some things that were more easily done with visuals, like video, versus just written texts on a blog.

In July 2010, he published his first episode of the Smart Passive Income podcast.

I can’t listen to that first episode anymore because it was just so bad,” Pat said. “I’m thankful I did it because now, 300+ episodes, plus a thousand episodes of other podcasts combined later, it has definitely become the primary way that people discover me and that my information gets shared. More than that, it’s the primary method that I built a relationship with my audience.

Podcasting is also a great way to collaborate and communicate and build a relationship with other influencers in the space. Having a podcast gives you an amazing asset to leverage to invite people on and have a conversation with them. 

“A lot of my best friends now are a result of having them featured on my podcast or me featured on theirs. It’s just an amazing tool that has been really helpful,” Pat said. “That’s why I’m all in on podcasting, and even though I still do YouTube and I still blog… if you were to force me to just choose one, it would be podcasting for sure.”

Doing it Bad the First Time is the Best, First Step

Pat recorded his first episode three times because he claimed to have no idea what he was doing. First, he winged it, then he wrote down every single, scripted word, then he worked with bullet points. That’s what worked.

My good buddy John Lee Dumas says, you have to be a disaster before you become the master,” Pat said.

What Pat described reminds me of when I was doing my first live shots on TV. I remember the first couple of ones I tried to write out everything I was going to say, word for word, and memorize it (because when we’re live in the field we don’t have a teleprompter).

After the first two times, I realized this is terrible because if I say but instead of and or vice-versa then I was totally thrown off and I messed up the whole thing. From then on, I just reminded myself that ‘I know what I’m talking about, so I’m just going to do bullet points’ and I’ve done thousands of live shots since then following that same guide.

TIP: Don’t memorize what you’re going to stay. Just have your bullet points and you’re good.

Three Reasons to Have a Podcast OR Be a Guest on a Podcast

There’s blogging, having a YouTube channel, a podcast, and so many other options. What is it about having a podcast that draws a bigger audience?

According to Pat, podcasting has a lot of benefits for several different reasons:

  • People consume podcasts for much longer.

Therefore, your message/your voice is in their ears for much longer. The more time you can get in front of people to insert yourself, your message, and your brand into people’s lives for much longer, you’re able to drive home those call to actions more often.

  • You’re able to build a deeper relationship with your listeners.

People begin to build a habit of listening to your show because it’s so much easier to listen to a podcast than it is to watch videos. For instance, when a person is on a commute, on a walk, or at the gym, you’re able to get in front of people and places that they wouldn’t normally be able to consume your content if they’re just watching videos or reading your blog posts.

  • You have the ability to connect with other influencers, who then will mention your podcasts because there’s a lot of cross-promotion in the podcasting space… and it helps the algorithm.

This is Pat’s story about how his podcast first took off and started gaining popularity and more followers.

I remember specifically being featured on a Yaro Starak podcast The Entrepreneur’s Journey. When Yaro heard my story, he invited me on his show,” Pat said. “His podcast had already been in existence for a while and he had several thousand subscribers, so when he featured me, I’m telling my story and I mentioned that I also had a podcast.”

Those listeners were already listening to that podcast so it’s very simple for them to go and find Pat’s on that platform and subscribe. Now, Apple will see people who listen to this also listen to that.

Pat gets some cross-promotion in that way too, when he can connect with these other people, but that was the first one that really put him on the map and he started to notice really large spikes in his podcast downloads as a result of getting featured on another person’s podcast.

So I went, ‘Okay, I want to share my story on another person’s podcast, what can I do?’ Then, I was featured on Darren Rouse’s podcast over at ProBlogger and that one was even an even bigger spike,” Pat said. “He had hundreds of thousands of subscribers there and that exposure combined with people now listening to me and hearing about my message for much longer all added up to growth because, in addition to the podcast itself, I’m now building a relationship, almost a friendship, with my audience.

How to Give Your Audience What They’re Asking For

When Pat started his podcast, he was only recording every other week because that’s all he had time for. He was blogging three times a week (whoa!) and inserting YouTube videos randomly.

Then an amazing thing happened.

He went to a conference shortly after his podcast was starting to gain exposure… and that’s all everyone wanted to talk about. The podcast.

But what about my blog?” he asked.

He spent most of his time blogging.

Can somebody please talk about the blog?”

Then he started to really think about it.

Maybe I should take some time away from the blog and put it into the podcast.

The podcast was then recorded weekly and things excelled even faster.

When you know you’re really serving your audience and helping them, this is the type of feedback you start to receive like Pat did:

“It’s just so cool to see how much it’s really affected people’s lives more than anything.

I use the podcast as a platform to a build a relationship and then take those people back to my website so they can download a lead magnet, get involved with my programs, or discover other things that I have going on so that I can better serve them from there.

It’s so funny because when I go to conferences now, people come up to me and they talk about the show. They’re talking to me like we’ve been friends forever when I’ve just met that person.

Sometimes I have to catch myself and go, ‘I know we’ve been talking for like 15 minutes, but what is your name again? I can’t remember.’ But, we just have this vibe and it’s funny because they remember stories that I tell on the show.

There are these little connections that people are making and that’s how you build these big brands in the online space, especially personal ones where now people are considering you to be like a friend, and even though you’ve never met them and they’ve never met you in person, they feel like they have because they’re listening to your voice.

Five Doors That Open Because you Have a Podcast

Having a podcast is a great segment of your business, but it also allows new opportunities to come into your life because of the connections you make or the audience you create.

Here are a few ways Pat has leveraged his Smart Passive Income podcast:

  • Making money from affiliate marketing

If you have a blog or business already, you’re probably doing affiliate marketing by recommending other people’s products and earning a commission as a result of that.

You may or may not be making a significant amount of money from that, but having a podcast increases the trust, know, and like factor – especially when you have the founders of these companies that you’re promoting on the show.

The tough part of affiliate marketing is that it’s not your own products. That’s also the benefit. It’s not your own product, so you can easily promote something today without having to create something, but at the same time, you have to work a little bit harder to help a person trust that product that’s not even yours.

  • Speaking Engagements

Having a podcast shows people you can hold a conversation on a platform like a stage.

A podcast is essentially a stage that you have. It’s just so much easier to work with because you don’t have to travel anywhere, but it definitely also helps with your confidence in your presentation style and communication.

There were many doors that opened for Pat after the success of his podcast, but his first speaking gig was thanks to Philip Taylor, or PPI Team Money as he’s known in the in the financial industry.

Back in 2011, he was invited to speak at his Financial Blogger Conference which had about 350 attendees. He was assigned to speak at a breakout session for about 50 people which he reluctantly said yes to.

He was so nervous that he did what he had done with the podcast, which was scripted out – every single word. It actually worked out really well and he was able to talk about his podcast on stage and even get more people to come to listen. That opened up even more opportunities.

  • Publishing a Book

Having a podcast allows you to have conversations with book publishers and/or agents.

  • Connects You With People in Hollywood

Podcasting is more closely aligned with TV, movies, and media, so you start to meet people in those similar industries.

Fun Fact: Pat was an extra in a movie (and got to check off the life-long goal of his). He also did some social media for an independent movie that was a result of a person discovering his podcast through iTunes.

  • Connects You With Influencers

Pat was able to meet major influencers like Tim Ferriss and Gary Vaynerchuk because of his show.

How More Connections From the Podcast Lead to Even More Opportunities

Pat was able to utilize the relationships he made on the movie set as an extra, several years later for a presentation in Vegas in 2015.

He wanted to come on stage in a Delorean. It was the 30 year anniversary of Back to the Future, so he wanted to show a short video prior to his arrival on stage, that had him going into a Delorean, disappearing, and reappearing live there in person.

He reached out to his connections within Hollywood and was able to film a short film, with a crew of 30 people that was then played at this event. It was literally filmed on the same parking lot that Back to the Future was filmed on.

It was just such an amazing childhood dream come true… and I got to drive a Delorean in that movie and then drive one at this presentation and that wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for this podcast that this person found,” Pat said. “It’s just kind of crazy.

It’s funny because when I was probably in elementary or middle school, my grandfather had an old-fashioned car museum with hundreds of old-fashioned cars… and he had two Deloreans.

For Pat, I’m going to find out where the Deloreans were sold to.

When I told this to Pat, he joked, “So there’s another example of how a connection on this podcast might open another opportunity.”

Multiple Podcasts, Multiple Income Streams

Besides Smart Passive Income, Pat also has Ask Pat, Food Truckr School, and he just launched a podcast with his son called All Of Your Beeswax, which is currently in production for season two.

I thought it was an interesting concept to do it in seasons and not episode by episode, and Pat said it’s because that format works better for their lifestyle since he is recording with his child. They record all at once, batch edit, and release it almost like a Netflix show.

Other options for podcasts are to come out weekly, bi-weekly, or once every three months (but is usually a four-hour episode). The cool thing about a podcast is you can do it in any way you want. It’s your show. And so it’s up to you.

His other show is Food Truckr School which is a podcast for food truck owners, or potential food truck owners, to help them with marketing their business.

He doesn’t own a food truck but got very interested in the food truck space in 2010, which led to his second go-around to building a niche website.

The first time it was about the security guard training industry. He created a website which still ranks number one in the security guard training rankings on Google.

There was an opportunity in his research where he saw a lot of people looking for this information. So, he built a website teaching people how to become security guards and it did very well. That helped inspire a lot of people, so he did the second round, teaching people how to start food truck businesses.

Back to security guard training… after doing research, he realized there isn’t great information out there so he decided to create the top resource for people looking to become a security guard.

He built that in three months and it became number one in Google and it’s still generating $1,000 – $2,000 every single month, mostly through advertising. (Pat hasn’t touched it in six years.)

The food truck website is a separate one which is a little bit more involved. He hired a team to continue to write. It provides him a few thousand dollars every single month through some products sold there.

The podcast supports that website, which only has 29 episodes. It was a series of episodes done over one year.

Pat hasn’t even created a new episode in four years, yet the podcast still gets 3,000 downloads per month. Every month, he is still able to passively help these people, and then, introduce them to his evergreen products.

How to Position Yourself as an Expert

Now you might be asking yourself, how is he even positioning this? He’s not even a food truck owner!

It was a website and a resource that was written by him and his team. They did research exactly as if they wanted to create a food truck website or start a food truck business, so one day they would know exactly how to do it.

Pat is very honest on the website that he’s not a food truck owner, but may want to be one day… which is still true.

The positioning was to go and talk to as many food truck owners as possible to discover exactly how to do this, and then they can follow along on how to do these things, too.

Most food truck owners are so busy every day and they don’t necessarily have the time to read, but they absolutely have the time to listen while they’re prepping their food.

The download numbers are insane considering how little time is spent with it and that’s how it’s driving more sales,” Pat said. “If you look up a food truck business plan and other keywords in the industry, you’ll see that they rank right at the top there.”

Pat even said that business is an asset that people want to buy it from him, but the passive income is just so great for how little work he puts in, that he’s keeping it for now.

If the offer is big enough, he might just sell it, because it was just an experiment that has gone very well, like many of his other things. He wanted it to be there to show people how it’s done.

It is updated regularly by his team as regulations change, but the evergreen content is there: the cost, the way to do customer service, the way a food truck is built, the things you need in the truck, etc.

His most popular article, which was actually the first blog post published on that website, is about 50 food truck owners speaking out about the number one thing they wished they known about before they started their food truck.

So, I reached out to 250 food truck owners around the US,” Pat said. “I emailed them, I got four responses back of this question: What’s one thing you wish you knew?”

Pat pitched it like this:

Hey, I’m creating this website. I’m looking to put together a resource to help food truck owners. I’d love for you to be a part of it. Please, please answer this one question. I’ll feature it in the blog post.

Again, he got four responses.

A week later, he reached back out to the 246 people that didn’t respond and got 46 more replies.

So, just by the nature of following up, he got 50 people total and packed that all into one blog post and just listed their food truck and what they wish they had done.

That went viral.

On Reddit, there are around 2,500 comments on it… and that’s still providing a lot of traffic to the website.

Its simple articles like that that are very useful can do very, very, good.

Years later it’s still a top resource in the food truck industry because you get to know from real food truck owners what they wish they knew about. Isn’t that something you’d want to know if you were an up and coming in the industry, too?

Identify the Pains and  Problems Your Market Has With Research

The secret sauce to winning in anything is really nailing down what the pains and problems are of your target market, then provide things that can help them with that.

If you can provide something that will help more people even later then that’s great, and that’s the beauty of doing business and creating platforms online. It‘s easily accessible and if it’s still useful and relevant today, then people are going to continue to share it and consume it… and Google can also help out, or YouTube, or algorithms.

By putting things out there, you’re opening up these opportunities for yourself.

Knowing whether or not you’ll need to update it for years depends on the industry that you get into. Pat was lucky with the LEED exam website because there’s only a finite amount of information needed and that doesn’t change very often.

The keyword research was the start. That’s what made him realize there was some potential. Then he needed to have conversations with food truck owners and people who were interested in food trucks to see what their pains and their problems were. That’s how he knew what to talk about on the podcast and on the blog.

It’s a lot of work. It is so much work,” Pat said. “But at the same time, that’s what’s going to separate you from people who just have dreams. You need to do the work.”

With the security guard training website, for example, Pat didn’t know the answers so he put himself in the shoes of somebody who wants to become a security guard. He guessed that someone would probably start by calling a security guard company, and asking them how to get started. He found out that in every state in the US, they have a different set of rules that you need to go through and different websites that you needed to get approved and background checks.

He called every security guard training company in every state and recorded those conversations so that he could write down all that information. Then, he put it on a website. He literally went to the source to understand what it takes and it became the top website because it had the best information.

All the answers are right there. That’s all he did. He found the answers. He didn’t know the answer, so he went and found them.

He listed it: step one, step two, step three, step four, step five, step six, etc. In some states, it was just one thing. In other states, like California, you have to take an exam and all these other things.

So, that gave him access to all of these programs that help people pass an exam. Then, he called those companies to see how they could work together and became an affiliate for some of them.

You just follow the path that you put yourself on. But unless you take action, you’re just going to sit there and do nothing.

Don’t Expect Magic to Happen

The worst thing is expecting magic to happen. Magic doesn’t happen. There’s no magic in this.

There’s hard work and creating opportunities. That’s it.

What if 10 years ago you had the idea for security guard training and did nothing, and now you see Pat Flynn with a security guard training school making passive income. You’re not making any money with it and it was your idea 10 years ago!

If you do research and you find that somebody else has already done what you’re doing, let that be a sign that you did have a good idea and there is a market out there.

Also, realize that you can create a better solution or a different solution. Sometimes different is better than just better.

The best businesses out there are the ones that take what somebody has already started, that is not so good and just make it better.

Pat wasn’t the first person to create websites about how to become a security guard, but he definitely created the best one out there – the one that was the easiest to go through and have the most uptodate information.

Then, he placed a job board on there and connected with He embedded that on his website so people could find security guard training jobs in their area.

Every time somebody connects with a potential employer, he gets two or three bucks. That has provided over $10,000 of income over the years.

So, how do you apply this to your own business? Ask yourself of the people on the website:

  • What do they need help with?
  • How can I make that happen easier and faster for them?
  • How can I make their lives more convenient?

Go all out with answering those questions and you’ll win.

Join an Accelerator Program… like I did with Pat!

I’ve known Pat for a couple of years, I’ve been on his podcast a couple of times, but now I get to see his face from across the country almost every week because I’m in his accelerator program.

This was the first go-round of him doing a high-end mastermind accelerator program, which is really funny that it’s called that because it does excel people’s businesses. The funny thing is that it’s also the decelerator program because, in order to excel, you have to slow down a little bit and focus.

An accelerator or mastermind is right for you, if

  • You’re in business already and you’re taking action and you just need a little bit of coaching to work your way through the sort of things that are going on so that you can scale and grow your business bigger and better
  • You want to connect in person on a regular basis
  • You need accountability and a long-term program
  • You’ve considered hiring a business coach
  • You’re looking for a breakthrough
  • You want to connect with other business owners and build partnerships and friendships with them

I knew there were these more advanced people who needed a different kind of training,” Pat said about the program I’m in… which by the way, I am obsessed with everybody in the accelerator program.

“I’m counting my blessings that I am able to attract all these amazing people who just seem to all have the same values as me because when you put yourself out there, you attract your tribe, and then you give your tribe opportunities to meet each other.”

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9 Ways to Turn A Mompreneur Idea Into A Success Story

9 Ways to Turn A Mompreneur Idea Into A Success Story

In this episode of Become a Media Maven, I speak with the Boss Mom herself, Dana Malstaff.

Dana is a business strategist who helps entrepreneurs figure out how they should run their business based on their goals.

We talk how and when to set your business goals, creating your ideal environment, listening to your audience, about the consistency of habits, and how something called the “20 Mile March” is a great lesson in business… and why some thrive while others fail.

We also get specific on creating action plans that produce results and how to stop doing busy work and start doing real work.

In this episode, Dana gives mompreneurs a step-by-step roadmap to business success!

Dana is also the host of the successful Boss Mom, and now Boss Dad, podcasts.

She is hosting the third Boss Mom Retreat in San Diego where I will be a facilitator and speaker in September.

Here is a list of resources mentioned in this episode:

Please subscribe to this podcast and leave an honest review. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

For more on the episode, click here to download it and listen or read what’s below!

Turning Mompreneur Ideas Into Success Stories

9 Ways to Turn A Mompreneur Idea Into A Success Story

Dana Malstaff, from Boss Mom, and I had a conversation two months ago. I told her I really wanted to have a podcast someday.

I wanted to do these other things first and she told me, “No, no, no. You need to do a podcast now and make it part of your marketing strategy. It is not something that you do after this and that and the other. You need to start it now.”

You see, Dana is a business strategist and helps mompreneurs turn their businesses into success stories. She has some amazing advice and is great at helping people understand how they should be running their business.

I recently spoke to her on my podcast, Become A Media Maven, and these are the nine lessons outlined from our conversation.

1. Start Now and Don’t Set Your Business Goals in the Future

In our own lives, we fail to see how our talents can be best leveraged. We try to make really good decisions, but we also need friends, mentors, and colleagues around us to help us see through the forest.

Go to your friends who are going to challenge you because those are the best kinds of friends… or the friends who will tell you “No. Why are you doing it that way?”

Dana told me, “You literally were an anchor on the news. You have a great voice. We know you can speak well. You’ve got great things to say. You have a good message in an exploding market, so there’s absolutely no reason why a podcast wouldn’t be your place to funnel people into your world.”

(I mean, duh Christina!)

Dana said it is a really great avenue to go down and podcasting is only getting bigger, starting to outpace blogging.

Having a personal brand is important and we have to be marketing ourselves. So, what better way to get people to know, like, and trust you, than by being in their little earbuds on their way to work and in the gym?

You want them to hear your voice and to hear you. You want them to know your tone – your humor, the nuances of how you say things, the phrasing that you say things, and the quirky aspects about you. Those are the things that people begin to feel like they know you for and those are the things that people start to fall in love with you for… and they will buy what you have.

Podcasting can truly solidify a brand if done right.

One way Dana makes sure she started off on an organized foot is with Trello, a free project management and organizational tool. She is a Trello queen and the fact that she knows exactly where everything is at all times contributes to her mom success.

“I believe that using Trello helps retain clients because there is clear communication, your clients love the process, and it shows you are organized,” Dana said. “I recommend that you integrate your payment system with Trello, through Zapier, so that when you make a sale it automatically lands in your Trello board, tagged, and with all the info you need, plus a checklist so you know you are getting everything right. This process has cut my delivery time in half!”

If you want to learn how to use Trello from the master herself, click here!

2. Create Your Ideal Environment to Map Your Plan for the Future

A few years ago, Dana found herself in this position where she wanted to be a mom and an entrepreneur… and be amazing at both. She felt very isolated and very alone.

“I felt like maybe I was doing something wrong. I felt maybe I was crazy. That’s how people made me feel,” Dana said. “I had in-laws that would say: Gosh, why don’t you just get a job? Like, why wouldn’t you do that?”

Dana moved out to California where her parents were because she wanted to be closer to her… and this beautiful brilliant thing happened. All of a sudden, everybody she met was an entrepreneur and there were tons of moms or working moms who had businesses and there was conference after conference and there were meet-ups and there were all these things and it took away that alone feeling.

It’s recognizing to put yourself in the right environment or get yourself out of an environment, so you can be where you are, pursuing what you love, and what you want in life.

That’s when Dana just started connecting with people and ended up getting into a mastermind with a gentleman named Azul (who helped Pat Flynn, who is also a guest on the Become A Media Maven podcast). His experience helped me write the Boss Mom book. We were in a mastermind and he said if anybody wants to write a book, I’ll give you a massive discount.

3. Listen to Your Audience

Dana always wanted to write a book because she was a journalism major. So, her and Azul sat down. She thought she was going to write a book about content strategy, but ended up writing a book about mom guilt and about this idea.

What was born was BossMom, which is not a title she picked. They two hired a copywriter to help brainstorm 25 titles to the book. Then, they picked out three.

It originally was Mom Boss, then flipped it to Boss Mom. It was Dana’s least favorite, but everybody loved it. Then she had design covers for the book and everyone picked her least favorite, which is now the Boss Mom logo, which is a true testament because she has fallen in love with it.

Listen to your market.

From there, Dana was doing the exact same thing she had been doing for the previous two years from content strategy and business strategy without making really consistent income… at all to exploding. If you get it right, those things can solidify a brand that shoots you to the top.

“I tell people to start a podcast before you write a book, 100 percent, because you can,” Dana said.

One of the beautiful things about a book is it gives you clarity on your brand, on your message, and on what you want to say. It’s an amazing experience, but a podcast can do that too, and a podcast allows you to bring experts on that will potentially be clients, collaborators, or influencers.

So, you’re getting on their shows and getting invited to speak at their events. These relationships allow you to share your message, and unlike a book that is a stagnant message that isn’t ever changed, it becomes a calling card.

Your podcast can be new information – you can constantly promote new things and do new things and those stay around forever so you can call people back to old episodes. It’s so much more rich in its content and those things start picking up SEO in the show notes for those topics.

4. Allow Your Business to Evolve Over Time

The Boss Mom podcast is very successful and Dana has great guests talking about business and motherhood, so she started one for dads too!

Dana wanted to claim it before somebody else did.

Dana said there were just so many cool guys, or husbands of women in the community, who weren’t getting support or the space to talk about not just how businesses are grown and how to do that, but how to integrate that with being a father.

“I think there’s a lot of unfairness that happens with this assumption that women do everything. There are plenty of dads out there that are amazing dads that do a ton. There are some dads that do it all. I wanted to make sure there was a place for guys to get that kind of support that I would also get to interview amazing men because I felt like with my podcast, if you’re not a parent and you’re not a woman, it’s hard to find an excuse to get you on the show.”

John Lee Dumas asks Dana when he’s going to be on the show and she tells him, “If you could grow some boobs and have some babies, that would help.”

5. Stay Authentic to your Goals to Grow

Dana has steadily, organically created a great community of Boss Moms.

She got to 10,000 in the Facebook group within a year and are past 30,000 now, but she doesn’t want it to grow too fast because she needs to be able to manage it well.

You can’t flood in people who don’t understand how the community works and Dana monitors that.

“I have somebody whose sole job is to bring people in and kick people out of the Facebook group because it is truly a community which we have to protect,” Dana said. “I’m very conscious of the way that we have grown Boss Mom to not just be about growth for the sake of growth, but, truly being a place where women’s lives are being changed because we’ve created a think tank and a support system that works.”

6. Create Confidence Around Your Decisions to Maintain Work-Life Balance

With so many so-called business coaches out there, Dana is a true business strategist, or blind spot reducer.

Dana loves challenging people and she loves being challenged. When she created the Boss Mom community, that’s what she wanted – a think tank where we could all challenge each other. It’s almost like a focus group of your ideal client to help make decisions in our business.

What keeps people from really being successful in their business is making decisions. Dana thinks we feel guilty as moms and as entrepreneurs.

When people talk about work-life balance, we worry about it because we’re not confident we’re making good decisions about where we’re spending our time and who we’re spending our time with.

When you are busy at work, you feel guilty and when you’re at home and not getting things done at work, you feel guilty. If you felt really confident about the decisions you were making, then you wouldn’t feel guilty. You would say no.

“I know I’m making conscious decisions,” Dana said. “The more that you feel in control and aware of all of your options, the easier it is to then make decisions and make conscious decisions.”

The more that you feel like you understand the environment and the pros and cons of things around you, the more equipped you feel to make decisions, therefore, guilt has no place where confidence lives.

A lot of what Dana does is help people map out what their business looks like, map out what their sales funnels look like, and what they should be doing during the day because that can be leveraged the most.

When it really comes down to it, Dana has a ton of content with more than 20,000 people in courses – from small to big because that was where she first made money (in online courses).

She helps people make confident decisions in their business so that they can not only be successful but feel good about it.

7. Create Action Plans that Yield Results so you Stop the Busy Work and Start Doing the Real Work

Dans has a life coach that she recommends to many people because she can hear blocks people have – how they feel the world is internal, how they see the world, or how they’re portraying themselves from a brand perspective.

For example, someone will say, “Oh, well my brand is this customized one-on-one thing, so I can’t make an online course because it’s not customized or one-on-one, but I want to pay you to help me make a course.” That’s when Dana tells them that they’re never going to put a course out. They’re literally going to stall on creating it forever.

When we can use really good questions to lead people down their decision path – why they make decisions, what they actually want, where they want to go, what it looks like, and what they could do every single day to get there – you can get people into the things they need to do every single day to take action… and systematically what they need to do every single day to get results.

“I talk a little bit about how we leave corporate America and we almost shun all corporate America things because we must do it differently, have an authentic business from the heart,” Dana said. “Then you have a ton of people trying to run businesses that they’re not getting any success from because they’re not methodical and they’re not really understanding how their actions link to results.

We can try to be helpful all day long with rogue blog posts or rogue podcast topics, but if we’re not really doing things that guide people down a journey to true action, then you’re just being helpful without being impactful and then no change ever happens.

Dana talks with people to understand what they need and then she says: This is what I hear; this is what you need to do; let’s do it and let’s take some action. That’s so important. It’s what every single person who even thinks of starting a business needs because you need that outside perspective.

8. Surround Yourself with Friends, Colleagues, and Mentors That Help You Succeed

We have a really hard time continuing to recognize our true priorities because we don’t link everything we’re doing to the result that we want. I just need to be on social media; I just need to be doing this because everybody else is doing it; I just need to be doing webinars; I just need to have courses.

The fact is, not all of us need those things and most of us that are going to end up having those things need to do them in a particular order for them to be successful.

There’s a logical way to build businesses while still allowing ourselves, from a woman’s perspective, to be emotional and authentic, but come at things from a very logical, methodical, focused space. That makes all the difference because you can totally waste your entire life trying to build a business and be online and never, ever get anywhere.

There’s a big difference in doing what you want to do and doing what you need to do. And lots of people, they want to do the fun stuff – the branding, the photo shoots, and the pretty website. They think all of that will eventually lead to money when really you have to be making sales, getting on phone calls, going to networking events. It’s not fun, but that’s what you have to do to grow a business. The other stuff is just extra stuff that will help you along.

9. Create Consistency of Habits

One of Dana’s favorite examples is something called the 20-mile march. There were two groups that were trekking up a mountain.

One had the methodology that when they were tired they rested and when they were energetic they would go until they couldn’t go anymore. So they would do 40 miles a day and then everybody would be tired and they would rest. So there’s a lot of inconsistency.

The other one did 20 miles every single day. If they were tired, they did 20 miles. If they felt like they could do more than 20 miles, they still stopped at 20 miles every single day, rain or shine, sick or healthy, every single day.

At the end of the track, half of the people on the inconsistent team died and everybody on the other one reached the summit.

Consistency always wins. It’s a consistency of habit, not a consistency of content. The consistency of habit always wins.

They’re called performance metrics or performance goals. Sit down and say, “What are three things I can do five days a week, every single day, that are just three tasks that are going to actually move my business forward?”

Dana writes one promotion email every single day; she does two outreaches every single day; she has two follow-ups every single day, that might be a follow-up to a proposal or a follow-up to a connection for the podcast, for example.

Those three things help her establish her business.

“I’ve had people say how Pinterest is going to be the thing for me,” Dana said as an example. “How about every single day you just make one Pinterest image that leads to a blog post or leads to your opt-ins. Just one every single day.”

If you created a consistency of habit for things and the small tasks that you knew would drive your business forward, you would create a consistent habit that leads to success.

That’s what we don’t do enough as entrepreneurs – we just don’t create a consistency of habit. And you can see the people who are really successful have done that and they do it well… and they stick to it.

Boss Mom Retreat 2018

In September, I will be speaking and facilitation at the Boss Mom Retreat in San Diego.

It’s all about collectively leveraging our strengths to solve problems on a system-wide level. It’s not just about moving our businesses forward. We’re doing things that collectively move mom entrepreneurs forward.

Dana’s goal is for everybody to cry once, laugh once, walk away with an inside joke, walk away with a client, and walk away hiring somebody. Eighty percent of the women who leave Dana’s events say they’ve gotten tangible business.

Can’t make the retreat? You can still benefit from other meetups!

“We’re going to continue doing one-day workshops,” Dana said. “We’ll do four of them next year on the four corners of the nation. I want to be able to give myself space to explore other events that are strictly appreciative inquiry-based, which is just something that I’m passionate about.”

To get tickets to the Boss Mom Retreat, click here.

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Become A Media Maven. It's My New Podcast!

Become A Media Maven. It’s My New Podcast!

Welcome to the first episode of Become a Media Maven, a podcast by TV veteran Christina Nicholson… ME!

It’s for small business owners who need a little help with their marketing strategy to earn big-time publicity. In this episode, I share my view of public relations from both sides of the camera.

I’m going to tell you why I started this podcast and go straight into some media mentoring. I want to tell you how to start getting media coverage NOW.

I’m going to share strategies you can implement today and take you behind the scenes of how I’ve earned coverage for a few clients and go through how I did it, step-by-step.

Here is a list of resources mentioned in this episode:

Please subscribe to this podcast and leave an honest review. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

For more on the episode, click here to download it and listen or read what’s below!

Become a Media Maven with Christina Nicholson

I am starting a podcast.

I’m super excited to bring you my very first episode of Become a Media Maven.

Starting a podcast has been on my list of things to do for a couple of years now… but, I was going to wait. My plan was to get some things done and out of the way first, but I was talking to a friend about this a couple of months ago.

That friend is Dana Malstaff from the Boss Mom Podcast. I told her it was on my list of things to do because she was asking me, “Why don’t you have a podcast yet?” I told her it was coming and she said, “No, no, no. You need to do this NOW.” She reminded me how valuable it would be for my business and how many people I could help.

When I was on Dana’s podcast, it was an amazing experience. It grew our relationship and I got to meet a lot of people who reached out to me after hearing me on her podcast, so I understood what she was saying.

I’m in the media, so I’m all about pitching and earning coverage… and I do that on podcasts, so I told Dana I was just going to continue to do that. That’s when she said, “Keep on doing that but have your own too.”

When she told me that I could not only be a guest on others podcasts but also use a podcast as a lead generation strategy instead of looking at it as “a thing to do later”, it clicked.

It’s a great strategy to add to my marketing plan… another tool to add to the toolbox.

What have I been waiting for? I don’t need to wait to get these other things done. I need to make this part of my strategy, of my business. Not just marketing, but business.

Power Up Podcasting

I also work with Pat Flynn. I am currently in his Accelerator Mastermind program, so I said, “Pat, Dana said I should start a podcast. What do you think?” Of course, he agreed ad started helping me right away through his Power Up Podcasting course.

Power Up Podcasting is an insanely valuable resource if you’re starting a podcast, especially when it comes to all the tech stuff, the recording, buying the right microphone, and more.

So, I started going through Power Up Podcasting and I decide… I’m kind of liking this thing.

My Podcast, Become a Media Maven

The entire point of Become a Media Maven is to share so much value that you will be able to reach people in the quickest amount of time… and you won’t be just reaching anybody. You’re going to be reaching your ideal audience and you’re going to be reaching hundreds, thousands, or even millions without spending any money on advertising.

That’s probably what you can expect in most episodes, but with that comes a whole lot of other things.

Today, the media industry is constantly changing, and it’s changing fast, so there’s so much overlapping.

There’s your own media, there’s paid media, and there’s earned media… and they all kind of worked together. If one is terrible, the other two aren’t going to be great. If one is great, the other two can get even better.

In this episode, I want to tell you what to expect, but I’m not just going to tell you what’s coming up. I’m actually going to do a little media mentoring with you.

This is for you, if you are a business owner – if you’re an established business owner making millions, this is going to help you; if you are a new business owner, maybe making as little as a few bucks a month, this is going to help you too; if you’re thinking of starting a business and you don’t know where to start, this is probably a good place to start because people can’t do business with you if they don’t know you.

This podcast is about getting you known. It’s about making you more visible and if you are already in business and you’re doing just a few bucks a month, maybe you’re doing millions, you could do more if more people knew about you. People do business with people they know, like and trust. The whole idea behind Become a Media Maven is to get you known, liked, and trusted.

How to Get Media Coverage

1. Earned Media

I’m going to start with earned media. Obviously, this is my favorite form of media just because it is where you’re going to get, I would say the biggest bang for your buck, but it’s earned so you’re not paying for it. So, I’m gonna say it’s worth going to get the biggest bang for your time.

When I say earned media, it is exactly what it sounds like. It is media that you earn. It is getting coverage on TV, having somebody mention you in a newspaper article, being featured as a guest on a podcast, etc.

You’re not paying for this coverage. A person who works for or contributes to that media outlet thinks you are worthy of time, space, and airwaves. Whatever the platform is, they are giving you that platform to share your message.

Two Ways to Earn Media Coverage

There are a couple of reasons this is so valuable. First, I want to talk about the two ways you can start earning coverage.

There are basically two different kinds of pitches. The first one is pitching yourself as an expert in your industry and the second one is pitching your service or your product… and you need to be doing both of these.

1. Establish Yourself as an Expert

Many times people want to stay behind the scenes and they don’t want to pitch themselves. They just want to pitch their service or their products, but they don’t want to be the face of their brand. That’s not going work because people do business with people. They don’t do business with businesses. Establishing yourself as an expert in your industry and pitching yourself as that expert is your low hanging fruit. That’s what you’re going to get the most exposure for.

I want to give you a couple of specific examples and explain how I have done this for clients.

A few years ago, I worked with a client named Martin who created a baby product called the Beebo. It’s a pretty cool product – something you throw over your shoulder, put a bottle into it, and move it around so you can feed your baby and be hands-free. He created this product because his son was having a hard time eating. He needed to be distracted. When he read to him while he was feeding him, he would drink his bottle, but it’s hard to feed a baby, hold a baby, and hold a book at the same time. So, this basically gave him a free hand. He solved his problem!

I started working with him a few months before he appeared on Shark Tank. He made a deal with Laurie Greiner and Ashton Kutcher. It’s my favorite episode because me and my son are on the packaging of the Beebo. (I’m just kidding. That’s not why it’s my favorite.)

I earned coverage in Entrepreneur Magazine, then Business Insider Magazine picked up the article. So you’re probably wondering, “How do you get him in Entrepreneur in Business Insider if this guy is selling a baby product?” Entrepreneur doesn’t write about baby products. Neither does Business Insider.

We pitched Martin’s story as a dadpreneur. It’s business-focused, so we were pitching to business-focused outlets.

We also did this around Father’s Day. That’s another tip. It was timely. If I would have pitched this in the fall, it probably wouldn’t have worked as well.

I went into it with a Father’s Day angle about a dad starting a business. It’s a dad focused business, so we told his story of how he was at home, saw a need that didn’t have a solution, and started a business. He created the solution… and that is Martin earning coverage as an expert in his industry.

While we’re hearing about Martin and his entrepreneur story, or his dadpreneur story, we’re also talking about his product, so his product is still getting coverage, but it’s not obvious coverage.

It’s coverage earned in a roundabout way… and most of the coverage that you’re going to earn is going to look like that. It’s not going to be an obvious promotion because people don’t want to see that. They don’t respond to that. That’s why advertising doesn’t work the way it used to.

So, that’s how you establish yourself as an expert. You pitch your expertise.

2. Pitch Your Product or Service

The second way to pitch is by promoting your service or product.

I’m going to use the same client with a different example. I earned the Beebo coverage on the Rachael Ray Show. Now, you may be thinking, “Okay, the Rachel Ray Show is about food and you’re pitching a baby product?” That’s right. Who watches the Rachael Ray Show?

Moms. It’s all moms watching the Rachael Ray Show. After we pitched, we never heard anything… for a couple of month. We didn’t hear anything.

In the meantime, we got the Beebo some media hits and other places. One of them I remember was a website called Trendhunter. It shared a bunch of cool, unique gadgets on the website.

Then, one day Martin calls me and he says, “We were just on the Rachael Ray Show.” And I was like, “Martin, if you were on the Rachael Ray Show, I think I would know because I’m your publicist.”

Clearly, he would know if the product he created was on national TV, so I called the producer and he apologized for not reaching out to tell me. This is another lesson. Most of the time, people are not going to tell you when they’re going to use you, your quote, your product, or tell others about your service because they’re just too busy. So he said, “Oh yeah, I’m sorry. I saw your pitch a few months ago and I totally forgot about it.”

He put it on the back burner, then saw the Beebo mentioned somewhere else and it reminded him of the product and thought it was a great fit for an upcoming segment with a couple of moms who were testing some baby products.

That is how you can promote a product and pitch a product.

No Media Coverage is Too Small

This is also an important lesson that no media hit is too small. I’ve gotten hits for clients, and I’m sure maybe you yourself have earned media hits and you’re thinking, “Oh, it’s not that great. It’s not Forbes, so whatever.”

You never know who is looking at those small blogs or those small local newspapers – what they’re reading, what they’re seeing, who they know, who’s talking about it, and who’s passing it along to friends and family.

If I did not earn the Beebo a hit in all of these other places, it probably never would have made it to the Rachel Ray Show because the producer saw it in another place after I pitched him.

So, those are just a few things to keep in mind:

1. Be pitching yourself as an expert in your industry

2. Be pitching your service or your product

Remember, you don’t want to pitch in a promotional way, but in a way that helps a journalist do his or her job. Again, you’re only trying to help the journalists do their job. Stop trying to promote yourself. 

Now, stop and think for a minute. I just gave you three examples of coverage in Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and the Rachael Ray Show. Those three specific media hits did not cost Martin a dime.

It’s the quickest way for him to reach the most amount of people in the shortest amount of time without spending any money.

This is the value of earned media. If he would have paid for that coverage, that would have cost tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, earned media is where you’re going to get the biggest bang for your time, but it will not work alone.

2. Owned Media

Your media needs to look good to earn media.

Imagine I pitched the Beebo and these journalists, bookers, and editors went back to the website and the website was a hot mess… or maybe the social media looked terrible. If that were the case, there’s no way they would have given him or his product the time of day. So, your media needs to look good.

I’m going to give you another example. This one is not a success story. This one is a fail story. (I’m just keeping it real.)

I had a client who was so close to getting on Good Morning America. Very close. For months before this, I was telling her, “You know, we really need to update your website. It doesn’t look good. It looks very amateur. It doesn’t look polished.”

I gave her some tips, recommendations, and even some referrals to people that I knew. At the end of the day, she didn’t want to spend the time or money updating it. She tried to do a couple things herself and it helped a little bit, but not enough because Good Morning America said they could not put her on-air and send their viewers to a website that looked like hers did.

It just didn’t look credible. It didn’t look like this person was an authority in her industry. For that reason, GMA said, “No.”

GMA is the number one morning show in the country… and because a website was not up to par, was not branded the way it should have been, national coverage was lost. It could have been business changing… life changing, and it wasn’t working out because of the website.

That’s just one example of how your own media can affect earning media.

3. Paid Media

Then, there’s paid media… or advertising. It has a time and a place depending on your industry and depending on how you’re using it.

I think my favorite, most recent story of paid media, that’s very 2018. When people think of advertising, they think of commercials on TV or in the newspaper. Now, let me tell you how advertising works today. It works through Facebook ads, influencer marketing… or should I say “influencer” marketing.

Yes, so-called influencers are tricking you right. Left and center. I see big brands making huge mistakes and just wasting money paying “influencers” for exposure. These so-called influencers know the tricks and how to get paid or get a whole bunch of free stuff. That’s one way of advertising, and it does work, you just have to do your homework. We will get into this topic of influencers in later episodes of the Become a Media Maven podcast, but I digress.

If there are any Bachelorette fans listening, a recent episode of the Bachelorette was filmed in Richmond, Virginia. If you watch The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, you know they go on all of these trips to different places. They do these different things and if you’re wondering how they choose where to go and what to do, it’s through advertising.

The folks who handle tourism for Virginia paid ABC $536,000 to shoot an episode in Richmond, Virginia. Part of the contract said that the show had to mention “Virginia is for Lovers”. Yes, they paid over half a million dollars for that. FYI, the show draws an average of six million viewers.

That’s the way advertising is today… and that’s because people don’t pay attention to commercials. It used to be that you would pay for a commercial during the Bachelorette and that’s how people would find out about your brand. Now, it needs to be part of the programming because people have started ignoring commercials and obvious advertising.

That’s why influencer marketing is so popular. It’s because people are ignoring the obviously sponsored posts. So, you get it in the post with #ad and more people pay attention. That’s why that’s working so well now. Again, we’ll get into that, but the point I’m trying to make here is if you’re paying for the media, you’re driving people somewhere, right?

You’re either driving them to your website or you’re driving them to your brick and mortar store – wherever it is, you need that to look good so it converts because if it doesn’t convert, you’ve wasted money on the advertising.

So many people do this with Facebook ads too, right? They think they have a great Facebook ad and people are responding, but then they’re not making any money because they’re putting all of their eggs in the Facebook ad basket that they forget where they’re driving people. That destination has got to be set up for conversions because if it’s not, then you’re just throwing your money away. 

What Will Get You Media Coverage

So, you can see how all of these things work together – earned media, owned media, and paid media.

Like I said, we will talk about earned media a lot. We’ll go over:

  • who to pitch,
  • where to find them,
  • what to pitch them,
  • how to pitch them,
  • when, and
  • how to follow up.

Fun Fact: Most of the earned coverage I’ve gotten clients, most of the earned coverage that you will get for yourself, is going to be on the follow-up.

Journalists have hundreds of emails in their inbox and you need to stand out. It’s hard to stand out, but if you keep following up and you do it in a non-annoying way, which we will talk about, you will start to earn media coverage. You need to know how to do these things to stand out in this very competitive space.

When you do get the TV gig, or the magazine interview, or that podcast booking, you need to know how to ace it and build a relationship with the people you’ve worked with in the media to turn that coverage into more coverage.

So many people make the mistake of earning coverage and sharing it once… and that’s it. You need to be constantly sharing the same thing over and over again while tagging the outlet, the reporter, the booker, or the editor.

Social media is a crazy fast-moving feed of information. Depending on the algorithm, when you sign in, and when something’s posted, you’re probably missing a lot of stuff. If you didn’t miss it and you see it again in a couple of weeks, you’ve probably forgotten all about it because you’ve seen so much since then.

Leveraging Media… for MORE Media

We will also talk about how to turn one piece of earned media into more and how it kind of starts to snowball and when you get to that point, you don’t even need to pitch anymore because the media is coming to you! You’re getting emails, phone calls, and being invited to interviews so it makes your job so much easier… and it’s not just the media coming to you at that point.

At that point, it’s leads! It’s people who want to work with you, who want to buy your product, who want to pay for your service. That’s the really important part about earned media. It’s like a third party endorsement.

I can tell you I’m great. I can pay other people to tell you I’m great, but when you hear other people tell you I’m great and you know I’m not paying them to say it, it means so much more. That’s why you want and need earned media. Earned media is proven to be worth at least three times what advertising is.

We are going to talk about everything in between because there is such an overlap with the way the media industry works today. Everything touches your social media, your SEO, video, influencer marketing… really, just about everything under the marketing umbrella overlaps with each other.

Your Host, Christina Nicholson

Now, I want to take this time to explain why you should listen to me, subscribe to my podcast, and come back for more.

Before that, I want to invite you to a free, five-day email course with proven results. People have reached out to me right after going through this email course to tell me they’ve earned coverage. One was on TV and in the newspaper. The other was on TV. The person actually did a live shot with a chicken. (How cool is that?) I call it Master Your PR and it is a crash course on earning coverage.

Like I gave you those examples of my client, Martin and the Beebo, this will be super helpful and I’m walking you through steps day by day – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday on how you can start earning media coverage and no time.

So, why me?

Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be in the media. My uncle recently texted me a video of me reporting on the scene of him preparing to go skydiving. My mom was shooting a video and I was in front of the camera saying, “This is Christina Sens and we’re at the airport…” and then everybody kept telling me to get away so I really didn’t get to finish my report, but I was trying.

Then in the eighth grade in Marion, Ohio, (a little town about an hour north of Columbus) it was career day and we got to go somewhere and learn about what we would do when we grew up if we followed our dreams. Marion didn’t have a TV station, so I went to a local cable station, which I think more of a local church channel. I stood at a podium and I read the announcements.

I went to The Ohio State University and while I was there I interned at the ABC/FOX station. From there I worked at News 12, the Bronx, in Beaumont, Texas, in Fort Myers, Florida, and my last market was the Miami/Fort Lauderdale market where I was a reporter and anchor for about four years.

The TV news business is a tough business to work in. It is cutthroat. It is heartless. It is a 24/seven operation. If you are anchoring the morning newscast, you’re up at 2:00 am. If you’re doing the evening news, you don’t get back to the station at midnight, which means sometimes you don’t get home till 1:00 am. When breaking news happens, nobody cares if you’re sick, if you are celebrating Christmas, or if you’re out of town because you have to cover it.

Moving from TV to PR

After having two kids, it wasn’t the most family-friendly job for me to be in anymore, so I got into PR because I figured I’ve been receiving pitches for over 10 years now from publicists and business owners who clearly have no idea how the media industry works. These people wanted TV time and they thought terrible emails, press releases, and random pitches were going to get coverage. They clearly have no clue.

So, I figured when I was getting out of the business, I’d just do that. I think I know how to pitch a reporter at this point.

I worked at a PR agency for six months before starting my own… and I can happily and proudly say after three years I’ve grown my public relations agency, Media Maven, to a multiple six-figure business.

When I started on my own, my goal was to just be a professional freelancer. (That’s what I called it.) The plan was to take some jobs from other PR agencies, but one thing led to another. I started getting super busy and I didn’t want to work 24/seven, so I started building a team.

We were doing a pretty good job so we were getting some referrals and I was doing PR on myself. I was treating myself as a client. So the leads started coming in and that is how I get most of my leads. I don’t network. I don’t make cold calls. I just treat myself as a client and I pitched myself to the media.

I make sure my media, my website, and my social media, is running like a well-oiled machine. In addition to that, I have my own PR that I’m earning. I advertise very little. The only advertising I do is on Facebook when I am promoting my media mentoring program.

Working on BOTH Sides of the Media

I can also happily say I still am a member of the media. You can see me hosting segments on Lifetime TVs morning show The Balancing Act. I host monthly segments here on the number one station in Florida. I’ve also contributed to Inc., Fast Company, Huff Post, Buzzfeed, and most recently Medium’s Authority Magazine.

So, I definitely come with a different point of view than most people in the PR industry because I have not only been on both sides, but I still am on both sides.

If you are looking for more visibility, you want to grow, you want more people to know who you are so you get more leads and make more money, the Become a Media Maven podcast is for you.

It’s going to give you so much value – whether or not you’re handling PR yourself, you’re at the point where you’re ready to hire an agency, or maybe you already have an agency or even a publicist on your team. We’re going to talk about everything good, bad, and ugly under the media and marketing umbrella.

I would love to tell you stories about:

  • how I got two guys with a side hustle on the Today Show,
  • how I earned the owner of a daycare a feature in Forbes – not just a mention, but a feature in Forbes,
  • how I got two personal trainers on TV in a top 10 market to talk about exercising and running,
  • how I’ve landed restaurants cooking segments on different TV stations days apart, and
  • how my number one strategy for building an email list is being a guest on podcasts like this one.
  • The list goes on.

I am going to be bringing on some amazing guests. I am so excited to continue to bring you value here on Become a Media Maven.

Please subscribe to the Become a Media Maven podcast.

Right click here and save as to download this episode to your computer.

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shopify seo expert

How to improve SEO on Shopify

For those who have a penchant for selling goods online, Shopify is your go-to e-commerce website. It enables you to create an online store that you can customize to attract prospective buyers.

As a rule of thumb, you need to pay attention to your SEO strategies such as adding tags, title, and descriptions to increase online visibility. Implementing an effective SEO strategy can impact your website ranking, which is a good indicator of business success in the e-commerce industry.

How to improve SEO on Shopify

However, there are instances when Shopify impacts SEO negatively. This is when this e-commerce website becomes problematic.

Here are some examples of how to improve SEO on Shopify.

shopify seo expert

1. Product Tags

Tags are used to enable customers to filter the items they are looking for. Considering there are thousands of items listed, not using product tags will result in putting yourself in a needle-in-a-haystack situation. Product tags help you search efficiently using filtering systems.

If you are searching for a specific product, the filtering system will return search results based on product tags.

Yes, it does make online shoppers’ lives easier, but what is it about these product tags that make them bad for SEO?

Tags hurt SEO when a new tag page is created. A new page means a new URL. These new pages need a unique product title and description to avoid duplicate content. When Google crawls through these pages and discovers heaps of product tag pages, Google detects these tags as a duplicate page. Google hates duplicate content as it goes against the requirements of Google Panda’s algorithms.

Although canonical redirects are useful when it comes to informing Google to only target a specific page, Shopify does not have the option to edit tags. For this reason, tagged pages are indexed in search engines, hence the duplicate page issue.

2. Broken Links/Bad Links

The Google algorithm is also searching for quality backlinks. They are considered to be a big factor in ranking higher in search engines.

Broken links, however, can hurt your website ranking. Although these links are unavoidable especially when your content expands, it is important to replace them before Google detects them.

Google appreciates it if you build links to your site. Link backs are essential to having strong SEO. Good links add value to your website. They can either be something related to the product or service you offer or a link to other pages. Make sure these links are relevant.

Bad links refer to links that are not relevant to your website. Aside from avoiding bad links, don’t attempt to create too many dummy website pages as it prevents Google from driving traffic to your website. This mistake can also hurt your rankings.

3. Missing Keywords or Keyword Stuffing

Keyword density is also essential in SEO. Having the right amount of keywords prevents Google from penalizing your Shopify store.

Your website is ranked based on your keywords – taking your title, tag, and article into consideration. The keywords you choose must be relevant to the product or service you are offering. You can get better rankings if you use quality keywords.

Keyword stuffing, on the other hand, makes your content less valuable. Instead, write actionable content that will draw readers’ attention.

4. Locked Robots.txt

These terms may be foreign to non-web developers. However, if you have a Shopify store, it is important to know its impact on your search engine rankings.

Sometimes, page extensions are not indexed properly. Shopify keeps a lock on these extensions, making it difficult to edit tags and leaving you with the option to add meta robots to the tag pages.

5. URL Structure

You will also need to be mindful of your URL structure. While this may not be a common SEO problem, forced URL structure can hurt SEO. Once stored in a folder, the page you create cannot be modified.


Don’t let these tactics hurt your SEO

Shopify store owners do not have the luxury of time at their disposal to do extensive research on SEO techniques. Their time is mostly spent on researching the basics — the market, the website, the product… the list goes on. SEO has to take a backseat when you are exhausted with all the responsibilities that creating an online store entails.

Shopify store owners don’t give importance to SEO until their website gets penalized or is not driving traffic. After discovering that the website is not receiving enough traffic, it becomes evident to store owners that there is a need to learn more about SEO.

Instances like these could be avoided, as long as owners prepare their SEO tactics ahead of time. SEO, in the e-commerce industry, forms the building blocks that drive great traffic to your website.

Shopify SEO Tips

Learning the SEO ropes takes time. You need to be patient with getting desirable results. Think about figuring out the SEO you need.

If your objective is to convert leads into sales, you need to bank on a good title tag, meta description, and long-tail keyword. Invest time in doing keyword research. The right keywords can drive traffic to your website and your pages will thank you for that. Also, don’t forget linkbacks!

You may ask, “Why do I have little sales when I have a solid SEO plan?” The problem lies in driving the wrong traffic to your website. There are several factors detrimental to your website.

Utilize your e-commerce platform while keeping SEO principles in mind and you will be on the right track. If you detect problems, make sure you take necessary action before they get out of hand. Google can be unforgiving when it comes to SEO mistakes.

Become a Shopify SEO Expert

Just like other platforms, Shopify has its own limitations. As a Shopify store owner, you often put your best foot forward to maintain high website rankings on Google. However, some Shopify problems may get in the way and affect your rankings.

Before you implement any tactic to build your brand, make sure that it conforms to the SEO norm. Doing too little or too much can hurt your SEO efforts.


This is a guest post by Daniel Ross. Daniel is part of the marketing team at Roubler — a scheduling and time and attendance system founded in Australia. Its mission is to change the way the world manages its workforces.

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How to write a professional email

How to write a professional email in 7 steps

Although many experts claimed that email is dying and will cease to exist before 2020, reality shows email is alive and well, and will continue to be around for a very long time.

How to write a professional email in 7 steps

So, let’s learn how to write a professional email in seven steps. These will make your email correspondence more effective and help you avoid the pitfalls and mistakes.

1. Set a concise goal

What results are you expecting from your email? This is a typical email writing mistake, but it’s a step that you don’t want to miss. It allows you to structure your email better and identify key points to be covered.

There are also some questions that will help you identify a goal of your email. Ask yourself,

  • Who’s the receiver of your email? or Who is your target audience?
  • What value does the content of your email carry?
  • If you were a receiver of this email, would you appreciate it?

By answering these questions you’ll be able to figure out specific needs of your target audience, which will help you identify the general goal of your email.

2. Pay attention to the subject line

Let’s take a look at a couple of subject lines from two different emails:

“Get this! Open this email and get $100”

“Discover the latest features of our iconic product (register to win $100)”

The first subject line sounds very spammy, thus it will be definitely rejected by the recipient or will end up in the “Spam” folder, whereas the second subject line has more chances to be opened and actually read.

Why second and not first? The second subject line has a specific point, it sounds catchy, and at the same time, it doesn’t fool the recipient, but also offers some benefits. 

3. Be careful with your email opening

Personalizing everything, including emails. That’s why every company, from professional essay writing services to huge multinational corporations choose to address each recipient by name or using the following email opening phrases:

  • Dear [job position of a recipient];
  • Dear [name of the department];
  • Dear Sir or Madam [in more formal emails]

You can also write “to whom it may concern” but it sounds too impersonal and careless, however, it’s also a correct way to address the recipient.


4. Make a list of the most crucial points

Lengthy emails are among other reasons why people ignore the messages in their email inbox. So the rule is simple: keep everything you want to say short and concise.

No one likes long boring emails, so it’s important to make the list of the main points you want to accentuate and make a bullet-pointed list of them in your email.

5. Don’t overcommunicate

In other words, don’t be spammy. This either means that you should pay attention to the tone of your email and make sure that it doesn’t look or sound like a spam message, or make sure you don’t resend the same message to the same receiver.

It’s possible to presume that spam was the reason why people think email is dying. So if you want to get what you want through an email, try to make the structure of your email more persuasive but do not overwhelm the receiver.

How to write a professional email

6. Pay close attention to your email closing

How you close your article says a lot about you. There are certain rules you must provide in an email closing that will actually make your email more effective.

When creating an email closing, consider mentioning the following:

[Best Wishes] or [Best Regards] (choose what’s appropriate)

[Your name]

[Your job position]

[Your office phone number]

[Your work email]

If you’re writing an email for your work, try not to provide your personal information so that you don’t get disturbed during non-office hours.

7. Always proofread

Nothing is more intimidating than making embarrassing grammatical, spelling, or punctuation mistakes and discovering them when you’ve already sent the email. So it’s crucial to proofread every time before you press the “Send” button.

There are plenty of online proofreading tools like Grammarly or Hemingway App to help you do it faster and more effectively. These platforms also have specific tools to adjust the style of your emails and make them more appropriate.

Wrapping up

To conclude our list of hacks for writing a better email, it’s also important to remind you to be polite and respectful. Don’t be demanding. Instead, point out how important it is to you to get an answer and how appreciative you are to have an opportunity to communicate with your receiver. Use these tips and you’ll be able to write effective emails successfully each time.


This is a guest post by Tom Jager. He is a professional blogger and works at A-writer.  He has a degree in Law and English literature. Tom has written numerous articles/online journals. You can reach him at G+  or  Facebook.

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