Podcast

freelance project manager

Adding a Freelance Project Manager to Your Team

I just hired my first project manager a few months ago and it may be one of the best decisions I’ve made in my business, if not THE best decision.

It all came about when I sat beside Natalie Gingrich days before the Boss Mom Retreat in San Diego in September of 2018. Natalie is an expert on everything project management – from hiring one for your business or for being one to help another business owner.

In this episode, Natalie will break down the signs you’re ready for a freelance project manager, how to find a project manager, and what to assign that project manager.

If you feel overwhelmed in your business or if you are great at taking overwhelm away from busy entrepreneurs, you will love this episode.

Some 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!

adding a project manager to your team

Adding a Freelance Project Manager to Your Team

I knew I needed help. I had a big list of things that I did that I didn’t want to do anymore and I kept going back and forth with, “Do I get an assistant or do I get a project manager… and what’s the difference?

It has just been a huge weight off of my shoulders having the project manager, her name is Robin, that I have now so I really wanted to bring you on to talk about what a project manager is, what they do, how you can be your own project manager and then when it’s time to hire somebody else, how to hire somebody else.

First, start off by just telling me how do you know when you need a project manager or even what is it and how do you know when you need one?

Signs you Need a Project Manager

I’m going to start with when you know that you need one. It’s really an emotional thing. I know it sounds very unstrategic to bring it up in that light, but I hear the words and the phrases all the time of overwhelm which goes without saying in entrepreneurship, everyone’s overwhelmed, but you hear the terms or the key phrases of

  • I’m juggling way too many balls.
  • Things are falling through the cracks.
  • I don’t feel good.
  • I’m contemplating not doing this anymore because I feel so bogged down and in the weeds.

So those are all really good indicators that you’re growing. So on the positive side, you’re growing, you’re making changes, and it’s time to scale. And when you get ready to scale, you always scale through people. You’re not scaling through passive products or anything like that.

When to Hire an Assistant vs. a Project Manager

I believe your first hire is almost always an assistant. It’s always that person to take over some of the lower hanging fruit that you are doing that isn’t really serving you as the business owner, and the leader, and eventually the visionary of your company.

I love making sure that assistants get the glory that they need because they truly do take off some of the weight. That gets you out of that conundrum in that hamster wheel if you will, so that’s usually the first hire.

Once things scale a little bit further and you’re starting to make some consistent revenue, you’re feeling really good about what you’re doing and you’re positioned well. Now, it’s time to expand.

The way you’re going to expand is by bringing on a little bit higher level operational or administrative type role, which is what I consider either a director of operations or an integrator (if you read the book Rocket Fuel), but ultimately they all come back to project management and project managing skills, which I believe lots of people have.

Paying a Project Manager

You don’t have to be a certified project manager to be able to help somebody in their business and you don’t need that certification to move forward, so that is kind of the feeling that you’re having as the business owner, like ‘I’m ready to throw in the towel, wave the red flag and say I need somebody here to help me to be strategic’. So that’s the differentiator of a project manager versus an assistant. You’re getting a little bit more of that strategic mindset, that strategic assistance.

So now it’s more of a right-hand person. In the corporate space, you would call this like a chief operating officer, but in our space, which is the small business space for sure entrepreneurship, but also just a micro-business.

Many of us are just one or two people and you’re not needing a CEO. You’re really meeting someone that can really assist you with the strategy.

The biggest thing of all the implementation, which is what you are sick and tired of doing by the time this person’s coming into your life.

I want you to touch on something that you said which is you always scale through people because I know for me the biggest breakthrough in my business and when it really started growing, and it’s funny because I feel like a lot of small business owners are so afraid to spend money and they’re so afraid to bring somebody else on because then you have to pay somebody and then you have to spend time training them and this and that.

But I can honestly say when I started spending money on people, even though I was giving some of that money away, I got it all back, and more, so quickly because it was strategic. So scaling through people… talk more about that and if you deal a lot with people who are just afraid of letting things go and letting go of control while letting go of money too because they’re paying somebody.

Scaling With a Project Manager

These are real issues that people talk to me and come to me with all the time, but scaling, first of all, scaling is from a project management perspective. Scaling is always through people, and I say this all the time because in the online space and in this entrepreneurial world, we hear the word scaling and we automatically go to, ‘I’m going to scale’.

Scaling is always using human capital to make your life easier, to make the business run with more ease.

You’re always going to scale through people. When you’re feeling that itch to grow, to expand, to make life easier, to save yourself some time, it’s going to be through scaling. Scaling always equates to greater overhead and more expense going out.

But just like you said, you do get it back, you’ve got to be strategic about it and I often think instead of going straight to the course model or straight to a group program or something that’s going to take a lot of marketing from you always start with people because the return is so much greater and more dependable than if you’re creating a product that you can’t predict the success of the product.

And so with people, if you’re invested in that person, you’re going to get your return really, really quick, allowing you to scale a lot faster.

Project Management 101

So tell me how, I guess step one before you’re really ready to scale, you have to be your own project manager, right? That comes first.

Yes, for sure. Assuming that a big time visionary doesn’t necessarily break things down like this, but you know, think about it in the normal sense of like managing your home and managing your children’s schedule.

Most of us have a calendar in our home that says this is what we’re doing on Monday, this is what we’re doing on the 15th, this is the commitment or the football or baseball or basketball game that we have on the weekend, so we’re using that template as a guideline for what we’re going to do on a day to day basis.

So if you’re going to do that for your own business, it does look like the project manager of your own business. They say that if you don’t have a project manager, you are the project manager for your business and what that really means is trying to keep all the wheels on the track and you’re looking at all the things, all the balls that are up in the air and you’re saying, ‘okay, for me to execute this, I’m going to have to break this down into x, y, z.’ just like recording this podcast.

There are a plethora of steps that go into making sure that I’m confirmed. Making sure that you have the headshot, the bio, that Skype is working, that I’m on Skype.

There’s a bunch of different steps that go in this and it looks seamless on the outside, but behind every single person’s business, there are multiple projects that are broken down into small tasks.

If you’re the project manager of that, of your own business, which most of us are, then you are going to be making sure that each of those deadlines get met.

First of all, that you set deadlines, but second of all that they get met or you delegate them to somebody else who can help you. Maybe an independent contractor or an assistant that’s helping you for, you know, five, 10, 20 hours a week, whatever that may be. So you’re making sure things get.

Listen to the Podcast Episode About Adding a Freelance Project Manager to Your Team

Don’t stop now, you want to click here to listen to the rest of what Natalie has to say in this episode, so be sure to download the episode because she has so much to share and we even get into specifics on my project manager hire and how you can do the same thing with success.

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smart goal setting worksheet

SMART Goal Setting

In the first Become a Media Maven podcast episode of 2019, I’m talking about goal setting. SMART goal setting.

I’m breaking down how I set my goals and break them down to ensure every last task gets put in my calendar… because if it’s not in the calendar, it’s not getting done.

If you’re here for the SMART Goal Setting Worksheet, look no further! Just sign up to get it below:

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!

SMART Goal Setting Worksheet

I’ve learned a lot about goal setting these past few years of business and one big thing that I learned is that my goals used to be very general and very vague. The more specific I got, the more they actually came to fruition and I actually achieved my goals.

SMART Goal Setting

So first, I want to talk about SMART goals. If you are Michael Hyatt or if you followed his Best Year Ever… I know a lot of people just finished up his five-day program to set your goals for your Best Year Ever. He calls them SMARTER goals because he adds something to the E and the R at the end of the SMART.

I’m going to stick with SMART goals. So if you haven’t heard of SMART, I’m going to break it down for you.

Click here for the SMART Goal Setting Worksheet

The s stands for specific.

When you set a goal, and this is something that I wasn’t doing very well when I first started my business, and a lot of people don’t do this very well, either. They say, ‘oh, I just want to make more money, or I want to work out more.’

Instead, you need to say how much money you’re gonna make. For example, I want to make an extra $2,000 a month. I want to go to the gym three days a week. That’s a little bit more specific.

And when you get more specific, it becomes more attainable.

The m stands for measurable.

How do you know if your goal is being achieved or if you’re working to achieve it if you can’t even measure it?

For example, if we’re going to go the weight loss angle, I mean everybody likes to do that this time of year, right? So we’re going to say, my goal is to lose weight. Okay? So obviously you measure that by getting on a scale and seeing how much weight you’ve lost or if it’s to build muscle, then you do that by counting your body fat. If it’s to drink more water, you are measuring the ounces of water (like I do with my FitBit) that you drink every day.

So you need to make sure that the goal that you’re setting can be measured.

The a stands for attainable.

This is just like, come on people, be realistic. Some people, they start a business and they say, ‘I want to make a million dollars this year,’ which is a lovely goal, but if you’re starting your business from scratch and you have no experience in your business and you literally are just, like hopeful, it’s all going to happen and it’s going to work out and it’s gonna be amazing and you’re going to make a million dollars in your first year in business… that’s not very attainable. It’s just not realistic.

So you want to make sure that you have access to the resources to actually attain your goal. For example, I don’t think I could ever win American Idol. That’s just not an attainable goal for me. I am not a singer.

I actually have tweaked the r. And let me just say that SMART and SMARTER goals, everybody kind of tweaks some. There’s no right or wrong way to assign a word to a letter. But with r, I have two.

The r is for relatable.

Is this goal relatable to your final outcome? So for example, something that drives me crazy is when people like to talk about how many Instagram followers they have when they reach a certain number and I’m always like, ‘well how relatable is that to your goal?’ Because like we could all have 100,000 Instagram followers. I mean, I see people on Instagram that throw these big parties when they reach a certain number of Instagram followers and then you look at who their followers are and they’re all robots out of the Middle East. And what does that do for your big goal in life?

Are you using Instagram to build your email list or are you using Instagram as a lead generator for clients? I mean, unless your avatar is a robot in the Middle East than all of those fake followers are not relatable to your big goal.

So you want to make sure it’s relatable.

The r is (also) for risky.

I put this in here because I was not risky, or what I referred to as risky, when I started my business. I didn’t want to take any risks, I didn’t want to spend any money, I didn’t want to invest anything.

I wanted to just do what I liked doing to grow my business, and then I would wonder why it wasn’t growing as fast or as successful as I wanted it to be… and that’s because I wasn’t being very strategic and I think all of these words in SMART, all equal strategy. So you have to be risky, which means you have to go outside of your comfort zone.

I think the biggest thing that I did, the first step in going outside of my comfort zone and being risky was when I put $15,000 on a credit card to hire my first business coach… and that was almost two years ago now and everybody tells me, not everybody, but a lot of people who are afraid to invest in their business, tell me, ‘I don’t have $15,000.’ Well, when I put it on a credit card, I didn’t either. That’s why I put it on a credit card and I didn’t go to the bank and take $15,000 in cash out!

But now I could do it… and I could do it now because I invested. So, that just means step outside of your comfort zone.

The t stands for timely.

You need to put a timetable on these things.

So for example, if it’s to make an extra $2,000, then when are you going to make that extra $2,000? Is it going to be in the whole year? Is it going to be in six months? Is it going to be in a month? Is it going to be this week?

You need to time this stuff.

If it’s losing weight, how much weight are you going to lose by a certain day? You’re going to go to the gym more? Great. When are you going to the gym? How many times a week are you going to the gym?

You need to be timely because when you go to measure, the m – remember m stands for measure… when you go to measure, how do you know if you’ve achieved that goal?

If it’s to lose a certain amount of weight and this month, then you’re going to measure that at the end of the month.

So all of these kinds of work together and they all equal strategy:
  • specific
  • measurable
  • attainable
  • relatable/risky
  • timely

I usually was setting goals for just my business, but I did do Michael Hyatt’s Best Year Ever and I’m in a mastermind and we are getting away from doing everything business and also doing some things personally because, let’s keep it real, your business, cannot operate without you, so you do need to take care of yourself.

And this is something that I was not very good at my first few years of business but I’m getting so much better and I am going to break down some of my goals for you so you can see how I am implementing my personal goals with my business goals and how they all kind of work together.

12 Week Year

But first, I want to talk about those 12 weeks I opened up this podcast with. I read a book last year.

I’m a big book reader. If you know me, you know, I love my man James Patterson and he comes out with a new book like every other day, so he keeps me busy.

12 Week Year basically tells you how to set goals and to plan them in a 12-week span. Lots of people want to set five-year goals or yearly goals. But honestly, like a year is so far away.

I don’t even think I could fathom… I mean, obviously I have some things planned, right? Like I am speaking at the Mom 2.0 Summit in April. That is four months away. But then in September, I’m going to Podcast Movement, so yes, that’s also far away, but I’m talking specific goals, SMART goals.

12 weeks can be short-term and it can also be long term and it can set you up for long-term so you can think about what you want to do for the year. But let’s focus really on those first 12 weeks. And this is how I do it.

Setting Business Goals

We’ll start with the business goals. So with a business goal, I’m always setting a financial goal. That’s it.

I don’t worry about Instagram followers. I don’t worry about anything else. It’s always a financial goal.

So, that financial goal then breaks down into tasks to achieve that goal. And every single task to achieve that goal will be put into my Google calendar.

So let’s talk about my Google calendar for a minute because my life could not be functional if I did not have a Google calendar telling me what to do every day. If it’s not in the calendar, it is not getting done… and my husband is slowly starting to understand this. He’s not a Google calendar kind of guy, but I will include him on things, on the Google calendar if he needs to know about them because it’s just not getting done.

I used to time block, I still time block, but I used to time block different things on different days and that’s how I knew what I was doing, but in the past month or two, I have actually… I guess we could call it day blocking.

Every day of the week has a certain theme, so for example on Mondays, those are my Media Mentoring days. Those are the days when I take calls from mentoring clients and we talk about their public relations strategy and all of that jazz.

Tuesdays are my podcasting days. I record episodes for this podcast on Tuesdays and I pitch myself to other podcasts on Tuesdays. If I can record as a guest on other podcasts on Tuesdays, then that’s my podcasting day and it makes me feel so much organized. I know going into the week what I’m doing.

I mean, obviously, some of this stuff isn’t completely set in stone. I do a lot of local and national TV hosting jobs, which I mean, they’re not going to cater to my daily schedule, but it’s pretty consistent and it makes me feel more organized and honestly it makes me get more stuff done when I go into the day knowing exactly what’s happening that day, the day before, even the week before and the month before.

Money Math for Goal Setting

So let’s break down how we can achieve a goal in a 12-week span.

I have some bloggers in my audience who listens. So I’m going to use a blogging example. If in the next 12 weeks you have set your goal to make $6,000 in your business… maybe this is a side hustle. You’re a blogger and you want more sponsored posts, so you want to make $6,000 in your business over the next 12 weeks. We’re going to break that down to $2,000 a month, right? There are three months in 12 weeks, so we’re going to break that down to $2,000 a month based on that goal.

We have to figure out what we’re going to do each month to make that $2,000. So if you want to theme your days, we could make Monday pitching day. If you are still working a full-time job and you can’t theme a day, then let’s do one hour a week to pitch, so one hour on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday to pitch.

But how many brands do you pitch? Because remember, we’re not just going to say, ‘Oh, we’ll pitch people once a day and hopefully we’ll get enough to make $2000 a month.’ That’s not specific enough. That’s not being very strategic, so this is where we’re going to get into math

So we’re going to take that income goal of $2,000 and we’re going to divide it by your rate. So let’s say hypothetically speaking that your rate is $500 for a sponsored blog post. That means you need four clients. You just need four clients at $500 a client to reach your $2,000. Now you need to look at your conversion rate.

Click here for the SMART Goal Setting Worksheet

(It includes this money math exercise!)

Finding your Conversion Rate

How many brands say yes to you when you pitch them? Now, when I started doing this, I had no freaking idea what my conversion rate is because I wasn’t keeping track.

So to be safe, we’re just going to go with 25 percent right now. So if you need four clients and you close at 25 percent, then you take that four and you divide it by 25, that’s 16. So that means you need to pitch 16 brands because 25 percent of them will say yes to you.

But guess what? 16 brands. I mean, you’re not going to get lucky that the first 16 you reach out to actually want to hear from you.

I’m on LinkedIn a lot. LinkedIn is a big lead generator for me and I have people messaging me every day… and I don’t want to have a conversation with most of them.

Using a Real Life Multiplier

So when you’re pitching a brand, they’re not going to want to have a conversation with everybody pitching them. So you’re going to need to pitch more than 16 people because remember you need to have conversations with 16 people. So we are going to use the real-life multiplier of three. So we’re gonna assume that one out of three people will agree to talk to you. That’s 48, so you need to ask 48 people to sponsor a blog post to get to that $2,000.

So we’re going to go back to your calendar and we’re going to mark off for Mondays because Monday’s pitching day or we’re going to block off an hour every day to do those reach outs. If Monday is your pitching day, you could do 12 a day, 12 a day for the month. We’ll take you to asking 48 people for that sponsored post and if you’re doing this for an hour a day, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, then you just need to pitch two to three people, two to three people a day to reach that 48 number by the end of the month.

And if you do this, if you follow this formula every single month to hit your numbers, it will work. Not only will it work, but you will get a lot of practice reaching out to people. You will learn what works and what doesn’t. So that conversion rate that is 25 percent now, that’ll move up to 30 and then 35 and then 40 and then you won’t have to ask as many people to hit your goals because you’re converting at a higher percentage.

Click here for the SMART Goal Setting Worksheet

(It includes this money math exercise!)

Happy Goal Setting!

That is how I do sales in my business, both with my Media Maven Public Relations Agency and my Media Mentoring Program. I have a financial goal and then I break that goal down into how much money I need to bring in each month. I look at my conversion rate and I look at how many people I need to ask to have a conversation to convert them into becoming a client.

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small-business-technology-needs

Small Business Technology Needs

In this episode, Heather Stafford merges two things together – strategy and technology.

She breaks down small business technology needs to help you automate your exposure. Without certain technology in your business, you will fail. Heather’s mission is to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Pulling metrics and analyzing numbers is her sweet spot. If it’s not yours, ignoring it is no longer an excuse. If you’re not good at tech, you need to start with the basics… and that’s what Heather does in this episode of the Become a Media Maven® podcast.

Her suggestion: Focus on one thing and make it organic until you hit the multiple six-figure mark.

Some 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!

 Small Business Technology Needs with Heather Stafford

Small Business Technology Needs

Tech can be scary and sometimes strategy is like, well… what is the strategy? What is my strategy? Is this working? Is it not working? And you are an expert in both of these things and you really help people automate their exposure, but in a strategic way.

I do have a fully functional agency so we do done for you technology – building websites and lead magnets and ebooks and podcasts and webinars and many other things that you use to gain leads and grow your tribe, building your exposure, creating a bigger impact.

On the other side of that we do strategic tech implementation and what that means is like a lot of business owners go, ‘okay, I had this really big vision, like I want to impact the world here.’ And then they stop and they go, ‘well how am I supposed to get there?’ And that’s the big question.

Using Technology Strategically in Your Business

It takes so many pieces and parts and so many of them are wrapped up in technology that if you’re not an MIT grad living in Silicon Valley, you’re like, ‘oh, okay, I’m, I’m out, I’m not doing this, this is not fun.’ And so business owners will shy away. They’ll say, ‘oh, well, you know, I’ll, I’ll do that later. I’m going to learn that later.’ Or they hire somebody but they don’t know what they’re hiring somebody for. ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to hire somebody to do, but I know that I need to hire somebody that that’s in tech’ and they get stuck.

So, we use basic building block strategy and implement and tech in small pieces so that a business owner can grow with their technology.

I like that. And when people come to you, like, what are they saying? They’re probably coming to you a little frustrated because nothing is more frustrating than tech that you can’t figure out.

I have a lot of clients that also have a business coach. My business coach says I need a webinar. I need to have a website. I need to have a blog and a podcast. I need to do videos.

And it’s breaking down the basics.

How important is it to use tech to be strategic in growing your business? Is it a must? Like everybody needs to be doing it.

It is the difference between failure and success. It is also a must for you to take a really big deep breath and realize that like technology’s there to it’s there to serve you. It’s there to help you and support you. It’s not there to beat you up. It is not there to be confusing. It’s not there to make things hard.

How you go about it, like taking things one step at a time really gives you the opportunity to learn how to put your technology and your strategy in place so that it grows for you.

Investing in Technology in Your Small Business

And a lot of people, they feel like they need to do this on their own. They say, ‘I’m just starting my business. I’m not making a lot of money yet, so I need to learn how to do this task and do it on top of everything else that I’m already doing’ and I know you and me, we share a business coach. We know the importance of investing in your business and spending money on things to grow your business. But when I started, I didn’t get it when you started. I’m sure you didn’t get it. It’s like people will spend three hours trying to figure something out that you could do in five minutes. What do you say to those people?

Trust the process. So I had a mentor and a coach, um, and I and in another field coaches emotional intelligence and leadership development. He looked at me often and said, ‘Trust the process and stay in your lane.

You have a zone of genius. You have something that you do that impacts the world. I absolutely believe without a shadow of a doubt that business owners need to understand the basics like you do need to know what an email marketing system is and why we have it and what function it causes in your business.

You do not need to know how to set it up. You don’t need to know how to pull metrics and analytics and numbers like no. If your next step is developing a website, you hire a web developer.

If you need to grow your email list, you probably need a higher, like a tech VA. A tech VA is about an eighth of the cost of a web developer. It is not going to cost you 20 thousand dollars to build the list. I have clients that have done it for under a thousand dollars. They’ve grown an audience to then share their message with and it’s not painful.

It’s not expensive and tech doesn’t have to be expensive. I know that Click Funnels and all of the different companies that are out there have great marketing. It’s like – get this and you can grow. You can make a million dollars online.

Sure, some people have done it but if you need the right kind of technology, so finding someone whose background is in technology and what the different software and things are used for to say, ‘hey, start with this and then grow and then moved to this and then grow.’ You should just never be growing into your technology. You should always be growing out of your technology into something new.

Understanding Your Analytics and Numbers

I like that and you talked about something that I feel like a lot of people, they don’t do this which is pulling their metrics, looking at analytics, and looking at numbers and I think there’s a couple of reasons people don’t do this.

One, it’s not fun and sexy. It’s more fun to play on Facebook and Instagram than it is to do that. Sometimes those numbers you get in those dashboards look really confusing and people, they try to look at it but they don’t know what it means. But that is like strategy 101, is it not, to see how people are reacting?

It totally is. Every piece of technology that you use in your business has a set of metrics that you can pull. You can pull a report. You’d have a report section in any dashboard.

Facebook advertising, for example, if you go into your ad manager, there’s a report on your Facebook ads. Now the numbers might not make sense necessarily. Almost every software has a little, a little key that’ll tell you like this means that that means this, this is attributed to that.

But understanding the power behind your metrics and that power behind how your metrics are going to drive what you know, what you focus on, where you change, what you tweak so that you can get your message further is so monumentally important.

You got to know the numbers, you have to take a look at it and this is something that your VA should do for you, like if you haven’t, if you’re just getting started and you haven’t hired an assistant yet, trust me and know this – your very first hire will be an assistant or somebody to help you with all the busy work so that you can continue doing your genius. That’s going to be your very first person and they will be the person that will help you sit down in a meeting and muddle through the numbers like, ‘okay, what’s working?’ Because those numbers will show you like what do people like, what are people reacting to? What are people following? And if they like that, I want to give them more of those things. It’s like having an open window to seeing what your customer needs.

And so many people I feel they just continue to do what is fun for them instead of what their numbers are telling them. Well, I don’t know what they’re telling me, but they are. If you look at the metrics, they are.

That is absolutely true. We know people get into business because they have this vision and they’re like, ‘I want to make an impact here.’ Make sure that you’re looking at your numbers and you’re reading your feedback and you’re giving people what they’re asking for. They’re telling you. All they’re asking you to do is give them more information on something you’ve already touched on.

Engagement keeps anything relevant. It doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t matter what it’s on. It could be social, it can be economical, it can be political.

The Money In Online Business

It’s all about the numbers. That’s what we’re learning here.

You see these people talking about how much money they’re making and conveniently like, let’s be real, conveniently leaving out how much money they’re spending to make that much money. Many of them do. Um, it’s not as easy as it looks.

They all leave that part out. It is not as easy as the advertisements that you see.

Building your business is about vision, like decide what you want to do. Focus is such a big part of it, like even before it gets to technology – focus on one thing. I promise you, if you stop and focus on just one thing, it will make all the difference in the world and then it’s about exposure.

We’re going to focus on one thing and we’re going to focus on organic.

Yes. Organic engagement until you hit the multiple six-figure mark.

I like this a lot because a lot of people starting out, they’re afraid to spend money.

I don’t want you spending money on media. That’s bananas, right? You’re not renting for it. You are not ready because you’re not converting on the back end.

Let’s use just one example. Let’s come up with one strategy and give us one example that we can implement that strategy using tech.

You’ve got Facebook and Instagram, right? So you have an account with both. You can use a little piece of technology. It’s an app. It’s called Later.

There’s no cost involved. The platform, the learning curve on the platform is like maybe a one. It’s super easy. It’s got a one on the learning curve. It’s so easy.

They have video tutorials, they walk you through the app to connect Instagram, you connect to Facebook and then you’re ready to go.

You can upload your Instagram stuff. You create your content and you can preschedule it. Scheduling your social media posts so that you show up online consistently is being in integrity with your media. It’s being in integrity with the message that you are that you tell people, ‘I’m here to give you a message. I’m here to create an impact for you.’ Then do it consistently.

Don’t like do a bunch of stuff and then run away from me like I was excited about the next post coming, so schedule. Schedule your Instagram posts with some great content and some awesome hashtags and then there’s this really, really fun button. It says, share to Facebook. Share your Instagram posts to Facebook and you have consistently targeted to media platforms that have different audiences.

Being Consistent on Social Media

Let’s talk about being consistent because I feel like a lot of people, they’ll try this stuff for a week, two weeks, maybe even a couple months, and they are not making six figures after posting to Facebook and Instagram, so they say, screw this. It didn’t work onto the next.

Of course, it’s not going to.

They don’t know that because they saw her ad where somebody says, ‘if you do this, it’ll work and they’ll make a bunch of money.’

Oh my goodness. I really, really wish that we could monitor the advertisements. Oh, I wish we could.

It’s about the community. Build the right community and serve it like being engaged with the people who follow you on Facebook. Like, I personally messaged people on Facebook.

It’s about being consistent, so whether or not you feel, because feelings are not facts, whether or not you feel like this isn’t making me any money, this isn’t helping. It is.

Look at the numbers. It all comes back to the numbers because if our reach has grown. If your following has grown, if your friends’ list has grown, if your page likes have grown up – your Instagram – the people liking your page has grown, people are commenting on it. You’re growing!

The thing too that I like about Facebook and Instagram is they have insights that you can see and even Later, if you use Later, also has insights and they keep numbers and I noticed personally on my Instagram that when I started posting more pictures of myself, my engagement and my following went up and when I post an object or something that was not as personal, it would go down. I get a lot more engagement with longer captions and people also like those quote cards. So I’ve started doing a lot more of that.

And when you scroll back and you look at some of those pictures where it’s just like, you know, I don’t mean I don’t think I really ever post pictures of what I eat. Like a lot of people do, but you know, if I’m at the zoo and I posted a picture of an animal, nobody cares. They’re not following me because I’m an animal expert, dear God, they’re following me for a different reason and really looking at your insights and your numbers, it tells you what to do more of. And that has helped me grow specifically on Instagram.

So that’s a good testament to what you’re saying is just look at the numbers and look at the metrics and that will help drive your strategy or even change your strategy a little bit.

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successful female entrepreneurs

Successful Female Entrepreneurs: What We Need

In this episode, Julie Ball is going to walk us through how she created and scaled a successful subscription box business just for female entrepreneurs.

Julie talks about her Shark Tank audition experience and how being a Shark Tank reject actually helped her reach more people with her business.

We also talk about progress over perfection and how it can be life changing from the very beginning.

Some 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!

successful female entrepreneurs

Successful Female Entrepreneurs: What We Need

I want to hear about how you started and how you grew, but first let’s talk about what you do It’s called Sparkle Hustle Grow, which has an amazing name and has the cutest branding and colors. I love it.

And let me tell you how I actually found out about Sparkle Hustle Grow. I am friends with Amy Landino, who is a YouTuber. She was in episode four of the podcast talking about using YouTube to grow your business and she has a book that was in your box and she shared it and I was like, ‘Whoa, Whoa, what is this box?’

Subscription Box for Female Entrepreneurs

Yes. We actually had her in a box the summer that was themed around video marketing, so just to give you your listeners some context of what the box is… It is a monthly subscription box and online community for female entrepreneurs, so every box is going to be based around a theme that’s going to help you with your business growth.

So, we include a book every month. We include access to an online training every month and then four to six items like chic office supplies, tech gadgets, stationary pens, that type of thing.

What makes us a little bit different than some of the other just typical subscription boxes of stuff is that we are super invested in personal development and just growing our knowledge base of how we run our business and then growing that community together. And so yeah, we included Amy’s book and it was a huge hit because it’s got massive amounts of great training for video blogging and just video marketing in general.

Starting a Subscription Box for Female Entrepreneurs

Back in 2011, I launched my first business called Grow Web Marketing. It was an all-female website design and development service. So, I had just left corporate America and um, I had my, my daughter McKenna, who is now seven, and I just had this mindset shift. I wanted to do my own thing.

So fast forward six years into running that business, it was very successful. We loved working with all these women entrepreneurs, but I was just getting a little bit lonely behind the screen and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was going on. I just know that I thrive in community and I didn’t feel like I had that.

I started looking for these communities online. I was finding a lot of Facebook groups and in particular, I found the Boss Mom group, which is another reason, another way, you and I got connected pretty much.

Um, so fast forward again to this moment in my career in my entrepreneurial career where I was just like, okay, ‘I’m getting bored behind the screen. I need to find something else that is going to fulfill this dichotomy, is going to create an income’. And so one, just by chance one day I was thinking about these subscription boxes because I subscribed to several subscription boxes.

I just love getting happy mail and it’s super fun because it’s this product discovery and it’s surprises. I love Stitch Fix and several others. So I, I looked around on CrateJoy. CrateJoy is this marketplace of subscription boxes. Think of like Etsy, but for subscription boxes and I’m looking for something that’s serving female entrepreneurs and I’m not really finding anything other than boxes for like self-care where there are bath bombs or sleep masks and lotions, things like that.

The Idea for Sparkle Hustle Grow

So that’s where the idea was born. I thought to myself if I put some items, some items in a box that serves the same audience that I’m already serving, this might be a good idea. I’m not sure yet, but it might be a good idea, so I literally looked back through my own finances as a woman business owner to see what I was spending my money on and I saw books, lots and lots of books, lots of online trainings probably, you know, half of which I didn’t make them all the way through because that’s what happens. And office supplies.

I’m one of those people that like to buy pretty pink bins or sparkly inspirational prints for my office. I do. I need something that’s going to inspire me. So I decided to put those three things into those three categories of items into the box, started asking colleagues about it and did a prelaunch and was able to sell.

Pre-Selling a Subscription Box for Female Entrepreneurs

I think I sold 42 in my presale, which gave me enough confidence and startup capital to really dive in and launch it as a real business.

Okay, let’s go into that. How did you prelaunch? Who did you prelaunch to? Yeah, so I pre-launched – it took me about six weeks to prelaunch where I created a one-page website, which was my landing page in exchange for giving me your email address.

You were entering to win a one-year subscription, which was a pretty big prize in hindsight. I probably didn’t need to make that large, but I wanted to, you know, go in with a bang, you know what I mean?

So I started creating my social media channels. I started talking about it genuinely in Facebook groups that had my ideal target audience because I am my target audience too. So it felt very genuine. When I would talk to people about it, I would ask my email list and my social media followers what they wanted to see in the box. They could, you know, make suggestions of books or make suggestions of items.

I would post a picture, for example, of two different items and I’d say this or that, make your vote and that type of thing… and really involving them in the decision-making process – got them emotionally invested in my business and they were primed to buy when I finally opened up that presale cart and the presale was literally just a one week sale to my followers, only to my email subscribers and it gave them first dibs.

And so that’s how I launched and that was two years ago. This month in October 2016 is when we sent our first boxes.

Driving Traffic to Presell

Now creating the landing page – once it was created, how did you drive traffic to it?

I barely used any Facebook ads. I used a few but mostly through those Facebook groups that I was part of.

I was a part of the Boss Moms group and a few others that, um, that was local and at the time that was what was driving the traffic when, because it was new. It was a new concept too. So people were really excited about it.

And it’s so funny because you know, I flashed all these pictures of beautiful office supplies or cool tech gadgets and what we found was that people joined for the stuff, but then they stick around for the community.

Building a Community of Female Entrepreneurs

So a couple months in I started putting a lot more effort into building this community around the box where we could discuss the books together as a book study. We could talk about the online trainings and they could weigh in on business decisions and that’s when it really started taking off. And that was the right around month four, I launched a referral program and really dove into building my own online community rather than relying on other communities.

And that’s when the snowball effect really came into play. And that coincidentally was the same month that I went to the first Boss Mom retreat. And I truly believed that going to in-person events and getting that face time with people. Not only your colleagues in your online friends but also your target audience are so crucial for the future success of your business.

Meeting Other Female Entrepreneurs at Events

I could not agree more and I didn’t just start going to events until I hired my first business coach, which actually came out of an event. The first event I went to was with against somebody who does something very similar to what I do. Lisa Simone Richards. I interview her in episode seven about turning PR into publicity and she said, ‘oh my business coach, her business coach is having an event in Orlando, why don’t you meet me there because she was from Canada and I’m in South Florida and I ended up hiring that person as a coach and I have gone to countless events.’

You and I first met in person at the Boss Mom retreat just this fall and I could not agree more that you definitely have to get in front of people and talk to people and you learn from them as well. I mean, you can go in thinking, ‘oh, I’m here to promote my business and you know, promote my stuff’, but you actually meet some pretty cool people that you, you want to be friends with and you actually start working together, which is awesome.

What was it about that event and other events that you think helped you build Sparkle, Hustle, Grow a little bit more?

I think a lot of it has to do with visibility. You have to show up to be seen, so when you’re out there and you’re talking to people in real life, they just get more emotionally invested in you.

I’m a really good listener in those types of environment, so I just pulled so much information from these women, like I would ask them a lot of questions and actually listen to what they were saying and then pivot my business based off of these trends that I was hearing.

Many of us run online businesses and it really removes that personal factor from it. Just getting that in-person time to actually hug someone to or to shake their hand or to support them and allow others to support you. I think that’s what it comes down to and those people that I met at that first event became subscribers, became supporters. They became guest experts where I brought them in and they were showcased for their talents and you know, I’ve purchased books off of so many of them, so I think building that in-person relationship can.

Getting in a Subscription Box as a Brand

What if you already are a successful female entrepreneur and you want to get in the box to get more visibility?

We’re always looking for new books, new trainings to feature and we have a website, SparkleHustleGrow.com. We have a form. If you go to the footer, you can submit your product or your course there and what I would suggest is for people to reach out directly to me, I’m on social media or you can follow Sparkle Hustle Grow on Facebook or Instagram and message us through the channels.

Building the relationship is the best way to do it. The people that just send us an email and say, ‘hey, I just found out about you. Can I put my x-y-z in your box?’ And it that’s, there’s nothing warm about that.

I really valued building those relationships and I believe in making collaboration’s a win-win. So if I’m going to include your book, how are you going to promote it to your audience as well? So you’ve got to make it a win/win no matter what. And that’s, that’s what I aim for with all of my collaborations.

It’s like the same thing as pitching the media, like don’t just reach out and only think about what’s in it for you, but how is it going to be a win/win.

Starting a Subscription Box Business

I’m in the service-based business, so that’s an easy thing to start. I just use my time and expertise, but when you’re in the product based business, you have like stuff and there are more expenses and in my mind, it’s a little scarier.

When I started Sparkle Hustle Grow, it was completely a side hustle and I was still using my web firm as my full-time income and I really didn’t have a budget to start Sparkle Hustle Grow.

I used my credit card to register the business and to buy my domain name and the way that you can fund a product based business, specifically a subscription box business, and you have to remember a subscription box business, for the most part, is very cyclical.

So for me, I batch ship all of my subscriber’s boxes one day of every month and then the rest of the days of the month they can. They’re either buying the current box or the next box.

So to get that upfront capital that I needed to buy my custom boxes to buy the first month products, that’s where that presale came into play. They, the people who purchased my box in that presale, we’re going to wait between 45 and 60 days to get their first product. Kind of like a Kickstarter.

Funding a Subscription Box Business

You know when you do a Kickstarter, you are preselling everything and the people know the backers. No, they’re not going to get their product until you actually launched, which might be 60 days, 90 days. So when I did that presale, they knew they were going to be waiting a little bit longer to get their product, but they were getting a better deal. They were getting a special product for being one of the founding members and through those 40 some sales I was able to generate about $1,500 in revenue before I even launched to the public.

And then I use that money to buy those products to order those custom boxes. And then while those founding members, those presale orders were waiting, I sent a handwritten card and a $5 Starbucks card saying, ‘while you’re waiting for your box, here’s coffee on me. Thank you so much for your support’. And that ended up being on social media everywhere. So that started growing my following and that was kind of like where the referrals started coming in because a lot of people don’t treat their business like that anymore on that personal level.

So that’s the way I funded my business and that’s how I coach other subscription box owners or aspiring subscription box owners to launch their business because so many of them are in the state or in the same place that you don’t have a budget to launch. I recommend a presale.

Investing in Your Subscription Box Business

I work with people who aren’t making any money and they’re so afraid to spend money because they’re not making any money. And I tell them that’s a sign you need to spend money – you need to pay for the knowledge, for the service, for the product. You need to spend money to get started sometimes.

So how hard was that for you? I know when I started with my first business coach, I put $15,000 on a credit card because I didn’t have it laying around. It’s not easy. It is scary. How did you move past that and since you are also helping other people start their own subscription boxes, how do you help them move past that fear of really getting started in investing?

I love that question because for the first six months I’d never really thought about it.

I just kept pushing forward because I knew I wanted to do it and I felt encouraged. I was scared but I was just doing it scared.

So I worked at mine. That’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to do it scared. It is scary. So.

But at one point when the money was getting a little bit larger as far as my investments in the boxes and the products, that type and the advertising, I realized I needed to do some money mindset work and it all started for me with Jen Cinsero’s book. You are a Bad Ass at Making Money. And anytime I got scared or anytime I felt that I was feeling down about it, I have it on audiobook and I have a copy of it and I’ll just, you know, just this morning I put a little bit of it on, um, on the audiobook while I was taking my shower just because it helps me get my mindset right.

I went through some exercises through some money kind of training. And just putting that time and effort into that mindset made a huge difference for me. I got past the fear. It still creeps up on me, don’t get me wrong. So that’s when I have to go back and redo some of that training.

But in the cycle that I run with the subscription box, I go into each month in debt because I’ve purchased those products 30, 60, sometimes even 90 days out before I even get a penny from my customers. And so it was crucial for me to, to get comfortable with that cycle, but also just to not fear to spend money to make money.

Books to Help With Your Money Mindset

I love that. And you, you talk about you’re a Bad Ass at Making Money. I really liked Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

Yes. My husband just bought that book. Actually, I need to dive into it.

That is another great book because you really have to deal with money mindset, not just when you’re starting a business, but like you just said, like all through it, because there is going to be a point in your business where you need to spend money to make money and it doesn’t always have to be that way, but especially when it comes to scaling, whether spending money is paying people on your team, buying more product, whatever it is. So, I’m glad you mentioned that in those two books.

A Shark Tank Fail… That Turned into a Win

I also want to talk about a fun experience for you and how you also grew a little bit just by taking people a little behind the scenes when you tried out for Shark Tank and how your Shark Tank fail was actually a win disguise.

For some reason, people just resonate when I tell them I’m a Shark Tank reject. They just love it.

So last year I tried out for Shark Tank at an open casting call in Charlotte, North Carolina and I waited in line about seven and a half hours in, on the concrete in downtown Charlotte in the Carolina sun for just about two and a half minutes with an associate producer.

And it was just emotionally exhausting and it was exhilarating at the same time because what I was doing was taking that opportunity to give people a behind the scenes look, you know. I took pictures of the big, long lines and I took pictures of me waiting and meeting new friends and you know, highlighting other people’s ideas on my social media. And while I made it to round two, I didn’t get past there. I didn’t actually make it on the show.

I was able to get people interested because I was a local gal running a small town business that was going for it.

I think people like to see other people step out of their comfort zone and you get to follow along. They just loved that.

And then what I did was while that was happening, I reached out to the local TV affiliate that aired Shark Tank and told them, ‘hey guys, I’m right down the road. And I just tried out for Shark Tank. I can’t tell you if I made it or not because I signed my life away on a contract, but I’m allowed to talk about that’.

You know that makes me so proud that you did that!

I honestly, I did not have a relationship with this TV station prior to this. I got on their website. I found the correct email to send it to and I wrote a fun email about my Shark Tank experience so far. And then I let them know that I was available to talk about it. They showed up. They said literally, can we come to your house today? I was so not prepared.

After I got off the phone and agreed to them coming to my home office, which was in my sunroom, it was not this fancy office. Um, I had to get my husband. I’m like, clean the house. I got a shower. They’re coming in three hours. And it was great and it’s so fun because um, the, the story aired that next day and I was able to share that then with my email list and I was able to promote that on my social media and it gave me almost this little bit of street cred that I didn’t have prior to and it just.

It gave me more visibility and it was easy.

It’s so much easier than people think and people think they need to have this big brand and they need to be making money to get media coverage. And really, you just had a cool story, like, we’ve all heard of Shark Tank, but we don’t know the process of it. And you did and you talked about it and you were a local person. You weren’t somebody who traveled hours to be there. So that’s pretty cool.

And if they ever wanted to do a followup, you would just call them. You would say, ‘hey, you already know me. You already did this story. Let’s do a follow up’. They would be much more interested.

Absolutely. And it’s so funny because still to this day, I mean it’s, it’s been a year, year and a half, and I still have people randomly reach out to me, say, ‘Hey, are you allowed to target talk about Shark Tank yet?’

I’m like, ‘yeah, I didn’t make it, but this is what happened’. And so people remember that type of thing.

Learning How to Start a Subscription Box Business

If people are on the fence about making a product or even a subscription box, let’s go there because subscription boxes are very trendy, they’re very popular and you actually help people start a subscription box business. So just give us a couple of tips, a couple of strategies on what they need to do to get started with a subscription box business.

Know Your Market

I coach others in SubscriptionBoxBootcamp.com and some of the things that I hear myself saying over and over again is  – you need to know your market. It is a very saturated market, but that doesn’t mean there’s not room for more.

What I mean by that is you just got to niche down, so I’ll give you a quick example. If you want to do a subscription box for coffee and tea, there are hundreds of those types of subscription boxes, but if you just niche down and say that your coffee and tea subscription boxes for new moms or it’s for teachers or a very specific audience, that is where you’re going to find success and where you can start your research.

The best place to start is either Google or CrateJoy. CrateJoy.com is that marketplace of subscription boxes so you can see what already exists and where there might be gaps in the marketplace. So that’s what I tell everyone to start searching there to kind of get a feel for the landscape.

Make Your Box More Unique

And then what I tell my coaching students is if you have an idea and it’s already been done, that’s okay. Just make yours unique. Go to your competitor’s listings or their websites, read their reviews, see what people love to see, what people didn’t love about that, and then make yours even better. Make it unique and solve their problems.

So those are some of the things that I tell them upfront. And then to start, one of the most important things again is to. You have to create that landing page so you can build your email list because if Facebook goes down tomorrow, you still have your email list and you still have a group of people that are emotionally invested in your product, they’re primed to buy and they’re yours.

And so building that email list is so super important before you launch your product. And then once it’s launched, you continue to nurture it. Just like with if you’re a service based provider. I would be saying the same things that you need to have an email list and you need to nurture them.

So those are some of the topics that we talk about in prelaunch in the boot camp, but we dive much farther into them.

Pros and Cons of Running a Subscription Box Business

PRO: Product Curation

What is the favorite part of running a subscription box business?

My favorite part is the product curation. So part of receiving a subscription box in most cases is product discovery. You are going to be exposed to products that you might not find locally, you might not even find online or that are brand new products. And so I think it is not only the most fun but the most time-consuming part of my job but is reaching out to those vendors, finding my guest experts.

I’m researching new books I’m reading, I usually I’m reading between three and four books at any given time, just vetting them for future boxes and what’s the most fun is when that vendor or that author wants to get involved and activate the feature on their end as well. And so that’s where my marketing brain just gets super excited about like where we can take this and what kind of giveaway we can do and what kind of value we can bring to our collective audience. I love that.

CON: Money Mindset

Now tell me what the worst part is.

I think the worst part is that money mindset. As I mentioned before, at this level I have around 1,300 subscribers at this point. To get that quantity of product in when I need it, I have to buy my product usually around 60 days out. Sometimes even 90, depending on where it’s coming from… and going into each month that much in the whole is very scary and again I had to do that money mindset work, but what’s fun with the way my business is run is everybody gets their boxes shipped on the same day, but everybody also renews their, their subscriptions on the same day, so on the 30th of each month renewals run. So then I know in my mind that on the 30th there’s good around the 31st or the first of the month there’s going to be money in the bank again.

And so I think that’s the worst part, but it’s just a matter of understanding and getting comfortable with it. That’s very cool. And then the box is to go month to month. It’s $39.95. And then as you buy more months at a time, you save a little bit. If you buy an annual subscription, you get an entire month for free and it is noncommittal. So if you want to skip a month you can cancel at any time.

Best Business Expense

So what I really, really think is neat and unique about Sparkle Hustle Grow is that it is truly a business expense so you can write it off. You’ve got to talk to your accountant about the right way to do that, but it’s office supplies, it’s online training, it’s books… and so we like to call it the best business expense ever.

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subscription box business

Starting a Subscription Box Business

In this episode, Jessica Principe is going to walk us through how she created a successful subscription box business – from an idea, to execution, and now scaling.

Jessica will teach you her very unique and proven system to get the business off the ground before one subscription box was even mailed out.

She talks about building a firm foundation, focusing more on keeping subscribers than anything else, and the biggest mistake she made at the beginning so you don’t make it either.

Some 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!

Subscription Box Ideas

Starting a Subscription Box Business

I am so intrigued by your business because one, it is a subscription box which is super fun and two, the brand is just super cool. You have All Girl Shave Club, so tell everybody what that is.

All Girl Shave Club is like you said, a subscription service and an online boutique where we feature really fun, unique female-focused shaving, grooming, and body products and it’s really just designed to make self-care and grooming convenient, beautiful, and fun.

Building a Business Foundation While Working Full Time

So the idea came to me kind of organically. I was working full time in a business that my mom had founded while I was in college. And so I had always had a passion for small business for entrepreneurship. All of those things like just really appealed to me. And so when I had the opportunity to come work for her, it was a great, great experience because I was able to kind of help her build the business and, and build her dream, you know, watch that kind of come to fruition.

I loved being in the environment of small business and the fast pace of entrepreneurship. I didn’t have the passion for the company itself. And what was her business, it was a vocation that trained nursing assistants and she’s a nurse and so she had all of that clinical scale, but she didn’t have the business background and that’s what I got my degree in it. So it kind of was a good natural, a natural pair there, you know.

So we built that business and it was great. But I just started feeling like I wanted something of my own, like, you know, I wanted to have a business of my own, but I just didn’t know what that was going to be and it sounds so funny, but I, you know, I knew I wanted to have a business. I didn’t know what it was, but I started saving money anyway. I knew that I wanted to be prepared for when the right opportunity came around.

For about three years, my husband and I kind of just, we’re saving money and I was exploring different opportunities and still working full time for her. And then the idea for the business just came to me.

Getting a Business Idea

So organically out of the blue, I was getting ready to shave my legs. Something that I totally did not enjoy, you know, just the process.

And I thought to myself, you know, you’re a natural problem solver here, Jessica, how can you make shaving a little bit more fun? I’m thinking to myself about all of the different ways that I could kind of make it better for myself and then it was kind of like, a vision of all of these things coming in my head at once, like, ‘oh my gosh, maybe you could do this and maybe you could do that and is this something you could build a business around our other women suffering from this same problem and you know, how could you make it better for everybody?’ And so that’s kind of where it started. And I shared the idea with my husband and he was on board and we kind of went from there.

Okay. I have a couple of questions about that.

How long ago was this?

So the idea came to me in about May of 2016.

No, my business is still very new. We are only in our second year right now.

Starting a Subscription Box Business

And now you are a product based business. You are a subscription box and I’m a service based business and product based businesses scare me because you have to have more of an investment up front and you just have, I feel like you have a lot more to deal with than you would have with a service-based business.

So tell me like your fears and your thoughts around getting started with a product based business.

So that was definitely a fear of mine too because you know, working for my mom’s company – that was a service-based business. It was education so we didn’t have a whole lot of overhead and I didn’t have any experience in product based business in e-commerce, in subscription commerce. This was completely new for me. Zero, zero, zero experience. I can’t stress that enough.

What I learned is, you know, we can go, I can, I can research for days and all of the information that you need about anything – you can literally do anything because all of the information is available to us with WiFi. So if you don’t have Wifi, go to the library, your library has WiFi, but you can literally have access to any of the information that you need to start any type of business.

Pre-Launching a Subscription Box Business Idea

But of course, there was a lot of fear around it because it was so new for me. I just kind of tread very carefully and I was, I was cautious in the decisions that I made and I ran a pre-launch before I launched the business to really test the product market fit before I invested a ton of money into it.

How did you do the prelaunch? How did that work?

It was about six months or so of research, just kind of developing my idea, developing the concept, how I wanted the business to look and take shape, and all of that. And then that’s when I started pre-launch.

What I put together was just a basic landing page. It kind of talked about what All Girl Shave Club was – the products, the service, the subscription, all of the different things that they could experience or expect to experience with All Girl Shave Club.

And it left the opportunity for them to leave their email address if they were interested. So I didn’t sell anything. I didn’t ask them to follow me on social media. It was literally just to collect email addresses. And then once I had email addresses I was able to nurture those people and find out, you know, what are they looking for, what do they like, these different products that I have in mind or were they thinking something different?

It just gave me a kind of like a, a gold mine of information of customers, potential customers so that I could really shape my business to be exactly what they’re looking for and hopefully even exceed their expectations. And also it helped to kind of like create a sense of, um, of a relationship like that know, like, and trust factor. They were kind of invested in my business because they were with me from the beginning, you know. So when we did launch, you know, I had that, that audience that I was ready to launch to.

Getting to Know Your Audience Before you Launch a Subscription-Based Business

I have two questions about that. How were you driving traffic to the landing page since you were starting from zero and how long did you nurture those people?

So a lot of people think that they can’t launch a product based business without having prior experience being a blogger or something like that. Like already having an audience. I again was not an influencer. I was not a blogger, I didn’t have any built-in audience. So I shared my landing page.

First of all, I used a platform called Kickoff Labs, and they had a share feature built in. So basically I was able to set up a reward system so it incentivized people to share the landing page and they would earn rewards for every share.

And for everybody that signed up off of their unique link, they would earn reward points and those points can be redeemed for coupons, for an extra product, for their chance to win a free three months subscription. There were a whole bunch of different levels. And so that helped to incentivize and, and then I just started sharing it like organically within my network, so within my Facebook page, my Instagram page, and then I was also part of a mom’s group. A bunch of women who all had babies around the same time on Facebook and you know, they were kind of invested in the business with me because they were there from the beginning.

I would share, you know, this is what I’m thinking of doing. When I launched my pre-launch, all of these women, there’s like 500 women in the group, they all started sharing the page too because they were excited for me and they were kind of wanting to support me. And so that kind of gave us some traction.

Testing the Product Market

When other people would share, of course, that kind of started to build the momentum of building that email list. So it was really very organic and social media really helped.

And how long were you doing this before you actually went to launch? You have the nurture part, I guess you had the testing of your market. You have the nurture part. How long did that take until you’re like, ‘okay, I’m in business. This is it’.

Yeah, that was actually one of the turning points for me was, um, when I was building that email list when I was testing that product market fit and making sure that I had a viable idea that people would actually buy into.

Um, I felt like I knew from my research that about 10 percent of our email list would convert to paying customers. And so it was my goal to get to at least a thousand email subscribers before I launched the business.

This was about October when I first started the pre-launch. I realized very shortly in about a month and that the list was growing and that people were joining that weren’t my friends and my family emails. I didn’t recognize and then they were growing faster and faster and so I really felt like once I hit that 1000 email list mark, I, I knew I had legs and that I think I thought that business definitely could, could survive a launch.

Officially Launching a Subscription Box Business

And so we launched December 28th, 2016. So it was about three months.

And then tell me what the launch looked like. Did you send everybody an email and say, ‘hey, we’re in business.’ How does that look?

Pretty much but in a little bit different fashion. Yeah, we got them really excited about the launch week. We did a countdown and so people were following us on social media and we were driving traffic at that point then to our social media accounts and we were doing a countdown. So every day for the three days leading up, know it was three, two, one. And then we granted our email subscribers early access to the launch so they were able to purchase when we launched on the 28th and then we opened it up to the public on January 1st, so they kind of got exclusive access and yeah, we just did it all by email and it was really successful.

My goal was to launch with 100 subscribers. I just wanted at least 100 and we definitely blew that out of the park. We gained way more than 100 within the first month. So it was really awesome.

What is All Girl Shave Club?

So tell me price points, how much is a subscription or a membership, for how long, and what do people get?

So we have a couple of different options, but by far our most popular option is our discovery products package. And basically, that can come with or without razorblade replenishments.

So if you know someone already has a razor that they really like or they don’t shave very often they would receive, they can elect to receive the package without razors. But basically, along with the razors, it comes with a jar of our shave butter, which is our secret and our secret superstar product.

It is amazing. It hydrates and nourishes your skin while you’re shaving, so your legs don’t feel like sticky or dry after you’re done. I really love it. And it comes in a variety of scents. So, they’ll receive a jar of that every cycle.

Our cycles are every two months. And then, in addition, they receive two to three other unique female-focused shaving, grooming, or body products. So they, they change every cycle. So it’s kind of like a surprise every cycle. But all things related to self-care and grooming.

So you launched at the end of 2016, kind of the beginning of 2017, and you were nurturing people. So how are you continuing to not just keep people who are subscribing but also get new people in?

Growing a Subscription Box Business

So once we launched, we were, we were done collecting email addresses on our landing page. We converted to our actual website and we were driving traffic to our website.

Retention obviously is a really big thing to focus on when you’re running a subscription-based business. So that was really important to me for me as a new business owner, as a new subscription owner, and as a new e-commerce owner, it was really important for me to build a firm foundation of my business before I focused really heavy on marketing.

I wanted to make sure that I was really meeting the expectations, exceeding the expectations, and delighting my customers. Um, and so that was really important. I spend a lot of time just providing exceptional customer service and really just connecting with my customers and making sure that, you know, they were, they were happy with the products and that they were having a good experience and also building up my business legs, understanding the rhythm of cash flow and the rhythm of the subscription cycles.

That’s where I really focused in the beginning, I would say the first three months, and mind you, I was also working full time so I was trying to really just kind of balance everything. Um, and then after I felt more confident in, in that and that I was meeting the needs of my customers and that, um, you know, I, I felt like I had a, a good grasp on the rhythm of the business.

Marketing a Subscription Box Business

That’s when I started to kind of introduce more marketing in the form of a referral program and working with influencers. That’s kind of what we did first.

Okay. I want to talk about that, but first I want to note something that I’m hearing and I think it’s important because I feel like a lot of people, they get so excited and they just want to do everything and they have that shiny object syndrome. But it sounds like you were super strategic and you did things slowly and you were like, ‘okay, I want to make sure this is done perfectly before I move on to the next’. Because a lot of people just go straight to marketing because that’s the last step. So tell me where that comes from.

I actually think in the beginning it kind of came out of fear to be honest. I was just a little bit afraid. I didn’t want to take on more than I could handle, but I think that it served me really well because I think I’m just more of a practical person in general. Um, and my husband also, he, he is even more practical than I am. So he really encouraged me to do that.

It’s important to make sure that we do have a firm foundation in our business is before we go crazy because we want to make sure that we can keep up with the not only the demand but also keep up with the excellent service and the experience with our customers.

And did you ever feel the need to like, ‘oh I just want to do this’ or were you ever like in a rush? I feel like a lot of people they want to rush and they want to hit a certain amount by a certain time because it makes them feel special and they can post it on Instagram. And really it’s like that’s the only thing they care about. So tell me how you really maintained a strategic and more focused outlook. So you could, I guess go slow to grow.

That’s actually important because it helped me to prepare for this goal. If I can have all of these systems in place and I can have everything, you know, really ready to go when I’m ready to scale every, the scale will be much easier for me.

I was working full time at the time so I worked full time for my mom’s company for the first eight months of my business and so juggling that and also my business and my family, it was just important to me to have everything super organized and to be able to have those processes and systems in place so that when we were ready to scale, which we started doing, you know, about nine months in, it was much easier for us to handle and much easier for us to grow.

Okay. I love that. I think that’s super important for people to know because so many times people want to go do the fun stuff.

Yeah. And it can be, you know, when you see other people especially doing this sort of similar things that you’re doing in there, you know, killing it and you’re like, ‘oh my gosh, like I should be doing that too’. And it can really like kind of take over your mind. But I think a firm foundation will always serve you well.

Products vs. Subscription Box

Why did you not just go to products? Why did you choose a subscription box?

I’m a subscription box junkie. I’ll be honest, like I subscribed to so many different boxes and so I loved the novelty of getting something in the mail that I, that I didn’t really know what it was.

It’s kind of like a gift for myself and I love the experience of unboxing it and experiencing the new products and things like that. So that was important to me to incorporate into my subscription business.

That’s really where the idea came from. You know, now we have, you know, people can just buy razors or just to shave butter, but I really wanted to pair the novelty of those really fun unique products and the discovery of new brands and products with the replenishment. So that’s kind of how I built the business.

I like it and it’s easy because you don’t have to leave your house. It just comes to you.

It is and isn’t it fun to get mail that is exciting and fun to open and it’s so unique as I feel like there’s a lot of beauty subscription boxes.

The Riches are in the Niches

I thought, in the beginning, I could cast a wide net and I could just reach anybody who shaves, but it’s really not like that. I’m finding that you have to really niche down and focus on the women who really have been shaving a long time who are tired of it, who wants to really incorporate self-care in their daily grooming routine. So I think the more niche we go, the better the better we are and the more success we could have.

Okay. I first found out about you when Dana Malstaff and I were Voxing and she must have been shaving and Voxing at the same time because she brought it up and she was saying, um, that she loves shaving now and it’s like such a fun experience and I’m like, ‘what are you talking about?’

And then I started getting angry because I was, I was telling her my story of how I’ve had laser hair removal on my legs like a million times, but I still have to shave every once in a while because it doesn’t get at all. And she goes, ‘oh my gosh, you need to have Jessica’s All Girl Shave Club subscription box sent to your house because she actually makes it like a fun, enjoyable process.

That is so funny. She’s so funny because, you know, she has actually Voxed me one time and she had this, this, this concept that was just so funny, but it was so relatable and so true. She was like, you know, ‘I have to shave every single day because it sets the tone for my day’. She’s like, ‘if I shaved my legs, you know, I feel really good and I feel really confident and I feel like I want to go to the gym and work out and if I go to the gym and I work out, then I feel like I want to eat good foods and make good choices for my body’. And she’s like, ‘and it just keeps going on and on’.

I just, I love that because, you know, I agree that as, as women, you know, we really, we really do juggle a lot of things and it’s important for us to take a few minutes a day to just kind of nurture ourselves and enjoy a few moments of like intentional self-care, whatever that means for us. So this is a great way to be able to do that.

Making Subscription Box Business Mistakes

Now, did you make any mistakes along the way?

I think the biggest mistake that I made is just kind of in the beginning, just kind of like letting fear take over and that’s, that can really hinder me. It really did hinder me for a long time.

I think I could have launched sooner. I think I probably could have been a little bit more aggressive, but I was, I was afraid and I had to learn to deal with imposter syndrome. I had to learn to deal, deal with the fact that fear is our body’s natural response to the unknown and you know, that was hard.

I was coming from a position where I was super confident in my work. I knew exactly what to do. I knew how to do it. I was leading teams. I was, you know, very confident in what I was doing.

And so switching gears and doing something completely on my own, I was responsible ultimately at the end of the day for the success or failure of the business. That felt very heavy for me. And so being able to push through it was, was very challenging for me in the beginning.

So what were you afraid of?

I was afraid of a lot of things, of failing, of being embarrassed that maybe I try something new and I don’t, I don’t do a good job or you know, wasting money that we’ve saved or you know, all of those things, you know, when you, when you run a business, especially a business like mine, there’s a lot of attention that comes with that.

I didn’t want to make any, any mistakes or make myself look bad in any way, but I realized, you know, I had to get over that.

I had to accept the fact that I’m human and that I will make mistakes and people will either understand or they won’t. And that’s not up for me to worry about.

People are afraid of failing and afraid of people seeing them fail. And then they’re also afraid of wasting money. And I do think that’s why a lot of solopreneurs or new entrepreneurs, they wait so long or they try to just soak up everything they can online for free and they’re not strategic and I think they all need to get over it. And you did.

So tell me how you got over it because it’s a lot easier to say than do.

Stop Being Afraid to Start Your Business

So I got my idea in May. It was about July, so a few months into my, my intense research, I was thinking, oh girl, you can’t do this, like who are you to do this? You know, you don’t have the experience, you don’t have the expertise.

There are very, very big competitors in the space that have lots more resources and reach than you do. Like what are you thinking? And that was this like real playing on my head over and over and over again. And it was really paralyzing me.

And so it was about that time that my husband found this event called Business Boutique and it’s run by Kristi Wright. I went down to her event in Nashville. He sent me there.

He was like, ‘you know what, you’ve got to stop this. You’re, you’re, you’re driving me nuts and we need to find a way to get you through this’. So he sent me down to Nashville and I attended her that. And it was like she was speaking directly to me.

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Everything she was saying, she was talking about imposter syndrome. I didn’t even know that was a thing. Like I didn’t know that was an actual thing, but I just felt like I was kind of alone on my own island here dealing with it. But she talked about imposter syndrome and how, you know, we, we all, we all go through this.

And fear is, like I said, our body’s natural reaction to the unknown and that, you know, even if you have to do it afraid you have to do it, you know, you just have to push through. And so that event really was a turning point for me.

I left there, really inspired, really on fire and I felt like I had given been given, you know, confidence and, and permission to just push through even if I had to do it afraid. And I did a lot of the times.

I did do things afraid, but I did it anyway.

I am in a mastermind with Dr. Shannon Irvine who also spoke at the Boss Mom Retreat where we met in person. Yes. I spoke on day one and she spoke on day three.

She is a Ph.D. She helps entrepreneurs with their mindset and she is constantly saying that when you are afraid to do something or when you just feel held back for one reason or another, that is a sign that you are supposed to do it. So if you’re afraid, then you have to switch your mindset and be like, ‘okay, I’m afraid I don’t want to ask this person this. I don’t want to post this. I don’t want to start this’. Whatever it is. If you feel that fear, you need to do a180 and say this means I’m supposed to do it, I’m going to do it.

Take Personal Emotions Out of Your Business

I also learned from my first business coach, you just have to take your feelings out of it. When you are growing your business, you have your list of things to do. Those are things you have to do.

You don’t feel them. They’re not emotional. It’s business. So when you are afraid of something like sending people to your landing page at the beginning you have to say, ‘this is just a thing on my to-do list that I have to just cross off so I just have to do it’. And you really don’t even take time to think about it, to feel emotion. If you are feeling that fear.

If we’re working for another company or not, that’s not our own. We’re not afraid to do those things because you know, we don’t have the feeling involved. It’s just our job and we have to do it, you know, when we’re working for ourselves, it kind of puts a different spin on it. So I love taking that approach and just not feeling.

Behind the Scenes of a Subscription Box Business

Let’s go like logistical here. Where do you keep it all? Like how does it actually operate behind the scenes? Because again, I’m service based, like I am a person, I have people on my team, I don’t have a bunch of staff. So how does it all work?

I am very fortunate that we have a very, very large unfinished basement in our home and so we converted that basement into our warehouse. We have industrial shelving and equipment and everything down there that we need.

I am outgrowing this space now so we’re going to be transitioning to a warehouse soon, but for me, it was really important for me to keep control of that. Like I didn’t want to outsource it to a fulfillment center, which a lot of companies do and that’s totally fine. It’s a personal preference, but for me, I really wanted to have kind of the control of that. I wanted to be able to oversee it. I wanted to make sure that the quality was always there. Um, I wanted to make sure that I could manage my inventory properly. And so for us, we, we keep it all here and I also love that I have access to, you know, my office and my work while I’m at home so I can kind of bounce between two places

I did a podcast episode on how to make money from home because everything that I do is from home and there are many people who they could have an office, they choose to have an office because they liked the look of it. But honey, we are saving money by lowering our expenses by doing this all from home.

It’s so true. And, you know, one of the reasons why I wanted to run my own business is because I wanted to have the flexibility to be here when my kids got off the bus and to send them onto the bus, like I wanted that flexibility. So I’ll be sad to be honest, the day that we have to move out because I really love having it here.

Why do you have to move out? Because you’re growing like crazy and you can’t have enough subscription boxes in the basement anymore?

Well, you know, something like that. Yeah.

That’s amazing.

Margins in a Subscription Box Business

Let’s leave people with some tips and maybe an action item on what they could do to start building a successful product based business as you have.

Knowing your margins is something that’s really important. So making sure that you’re really comfortable running the numbers and that you’re able to protect your margins.

You want to have at least a 35 to 40 percent margin on your product. So that’s one thing.

If you’re thinking of starting a subscription box business or a product based business, I have a checklist on my website that will kind of take you from dream to launch that you are able to download for free on JessicaPrincipe.com.

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holiday marketing ideas

Holiday Marketing Ideas

It’s that time of the year, so in this episode, I’m going to walk you through how to get publicity during the holidays.

Earning media exposure is all about timing. I’m going to teach you how to use the holidays to position your product or service as something newsworthy for members of the media to cover between now and the end of the year.

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!

Holiday Marketing Ideas

Today I am taking over the mic on my own podcast. I decided I’m going to do this every month instead of every quarter just because I’ve gotten some great feedback on my solo episodes and you guys tell me you want more, so I am going to give you more.

Today I am talking about a very timely topic – holiday marketing ideas. So whatever your business, whatever your brand, whether you are a product based business or a service based business, I am going to give you some great holiday marketing ideas to reach more people before the end of the year.

All right, let’s get into it – holiday marketing ideas.

So, the first tidbit that I want to share with you is making this timely because it’s the holidays. So that’s the angle we’re going to go with, right?

You have to be newsworthy. I say this to all of my clients year round and right now the newsworthiness is going to be the holiday angle. Most of that is going to be in the form of gift guides.

How to Get in Gift Guides

This time of year, I tell all of my clients that if they have a product, this is their Super Bowl because everybody is putting together gift guides. There are gift guides for travelers, gift guides for entrepreneurs, and gift guides for kid’s gifts under $100. Any kind of gift guide you can think of. One of them exists and you have great opportunities to get in them, especially this time of year.

I just did a roundup on WPTV, which is the NBC station in the West Palm Beach market, and I’m usually there every month, every other month. It’s just hosting a quick fun segment and the last segment that I did was sharing four or five different products for everybody in the family. So I did one for the cook. I did one for the expecting parent. I did one for the drinker, things like that. It worked out well.

You definitely want to start now. In fact, you should have started a couple of months ago, but you can still get in those gift guides now. Honestly, you can still get in those gift guides almost up until Christmas Eve because there are gift guides for the last minute shopper.

I’m actually hosting another segment on the NBC station in the Miami market, the one that I used to work at for about four years and we’re shooting that on December 10th, but it’s not going to air until December 21st because again, the angle is the gift guide for the last minute shopper. So, we’re going to include all gifts that you could order on the 21st and get them in time for Christmas.

Lead Times for Media Outlets

One thing to talk about is lead times for magazines, TV, and online. So obviously online content you could create the day of and it could be published the day of. (You don’t want to do that because a lot of journalists plan things in advance and they don’t want to be rushing at the last minute.) However, because of the way online media works, you could potentially put something together today and it could go live online but with TV you’re going to need a week or two of lead time. 

For example, the segment that I did in the Palm Beach market that I mentioned earlier. That was probably scheduled about two weeks before we did it. 

Another segment I’m shooting later on in December has been scheduled for a few weeks. It’s not going to shoot until the beginning to middle of December and then again it’s airing on the 21st. TV is scheduled anywhere between up until a few days to a few weeks ahead of time.

Oprah

Then there’s long lead magazine work. That stuff is three months in advance and when we’re talking gift guides, I think the most popular gift guide and the one that everybody wants to be in is Oprah’s. Her annual list of favorite things is actually collected starting in July and August. By the time September and October roll around, she is done and everything is decided on.

I can’t even imagine how many things she gets sent to her. Probably hundreds if not thousands of products, but those glossy magazines that you see when you’re at the grocery store checking out, those work at least three months in advance.

For example, for their November and December issues, they’re actually putting those together at the end of the summer, beginning of the fall. You definitely want to plan ahead for those.

But again, TV is a little shorter. Online is even shorter. So something to keep in mind, you didn’t miss out on anything this year. Don’t worry, you can still get some TV stuff or you can still get some online stuff, but for those long-lead magazines and Oprah’s favorite things, you definitely want to put something in your calendar for July or August just to remind yourself that hey, those glossy magazines are working on gift guides right about now.

Productizing Your Service

Now that we are all settled on time and when we should be preparing what we need to prepare to reach out, we need to ask ourselves–would this really make a great gift? 

I’ll give you an example. I was hosting a segment for the local TV station and one of the products that was suggested to me was a pretty cool app where you would input pictures and it would turn it into a photo album with pictures and video. Really cute idea, but it was $1.99, which is not really a gift. I mean, it’s a stretch to call that a gift when we’re talking about gift guides since we want to be able to wrap it and put under a tree. So you need to ask yourself, okay, is this really a gift?

And again, That’s where the themed gift guides really come into play. For example, if you want to reach more entrepreneurs then think about a gift guide for entrepreneurs or a gift guide for women in business, something like that.

You always want to ask yourself, okay, am I trying to promote this too much? Is this really a gift? You just have to go about it with the right angle.

So again, with that $1.99 app, a better angle than a gift guide for everybody in the family would have been gifts for app lovers or different apps that make great gifts or gifts under $5 so it can work.

You just need to be creative in a way that makes sense and think, would this product or service work as a gift and who would want it. You want to make sure you’re not earning coverage for the sake of earning coverage, but who is your gift for? Is it for entrepreneurs? Is it for moms? Is it for dads? Is it for expected parents? The more specific you can get, the better because maybe that will help you get inclusion and it’ll help you show up higher in a search. So be as specific as you can.

Finding the Right Gift Guide

Okay, so now you know when to pitch. You also know what makes your product or service a great pitch. You kind of know now what angle to go with to get that publicity.

So here’s the big question. How do you find those gift guides? There’s a couple of ways to do this.

Use Google

The first way, and probably the easiest way, is to Google search last year’s gift guides.

Let’s say your group is business owners then search ‘gift guide for business owners’. Again, the more specific you can get, the better, and you’re going to find things in that Google search.

Use Twitter

Many times when you click on an article, you will see in the byline the name of the person who put it together and how that name is linked. It’s either linked to that person’s Twitter profile or it’s linked to other work that the person did for that same outlet.

Many times you can use that name and find that person’s contact information or if it is their Twitter profile, start building a relationship with them on Twitter and just say, “Hey, I found your gift guide from last year where you did a roundup of about 15 different products or services that were a great fit for new moms. I would love to share with you my product or service if you are doing a similar gift guide this year.” Don’t just leave it at that, actually share your product or service with them.

Journalists are overworked and underpaid so they don’t want to reach out to you for more information. Instead, they want you to just give it to them.

Productize Your Service

Again, service can get tricky, so if you can productize your service, that’s going be your best bet, so include the name of your product and a short description of it. Now, don’t get crazy here – just two to three sentences about why your product is a good fit for that gift guide or for that outlet, not what you love about it or why it’s amazing – just why it’s a good fit for that audience and where they can find it. Because again, the point of this is to get a link back to your website.

Those four things are crucial:

  1. the name,
  2. the description,
  3. where you can find it,
  4. and how much it is.

Sometimes they’re going to want an image of it. Many times they’ll just go to your website and they’ll grab something that works, but if they want an image, attach an image. Otherwise, you can just link to some images or just the link to your website and say, “Hey, there are tons of images here for you to use.” That is going to be your best bet.

So Google search last year and reach out to the person who made that list.

Another idea is to find your target outlet because just about every single outlet does a gift guide.

Where are your ideal customers or clients and what are they reading? If they’re reading something like Marie Claire magazine, then go there and look for gift guides or search for somebody who writes about different products and pitch them a gift guide or say, “I don’t know if you plan on doing any gift guides, but if you are, I would love for you to consider my product.”

Another way is to pick exactly where you want to be is either look for a past gift guide there or pitch them a gift guide or pitch yourself for inclusion in a possible gift guide.

Using HARO to Land Any Media Coverage

The third is by using HARO which stands for “Help A Reporter Out”. Basically, it’s a service that a lot of journalists use where they have their story, they know what they’re going to write about, but they need help getting the information or to produce the TV segment or even to produce the podcast, whatever it is.

So you sign up for HARO to help these journalists out. When you do sign up, you will get an email every morning, afternoon, and evening and it will have about 60 different queries in it divided by topic. So if you are interested in education, you go to the education topic. If you’re interested in business, you go to the business topic. If you’re an expert in travel, you go straight to the travel section.

There’s probably about eight different topics with anywhere between four and eight different queries under each topic. I suggest looking at all topics just because your expertise could be in travel, but there could be a business question under the business section that has to do with travel. You never know where you could use your expertise to pitch a different angle that maybe you didn’t think of.

Using HARO to Land Coverage in a Gift Guide

Anyway, back to gift guides with HARO. People are constantly posting, “Hey, I’m doing a gift guide for entrepreneurs for Dads for this or for that so send me your products”. Be careful though because many people use HARO to collect free stuff and you don’t want to just be sending samples of your product to journalists or bloggers who are looking for freebies.

So if you’re going to use HARO to get gift guides, ask questions. Many times on HARO, the user needs to provide the outlet of who they are writing for. So if you see it’s a major outlet, then yeah, that sounds good.

If it says anonymous, I would kind of question why it’s anonymous. And again, if you are taking the time and spending money to send product to somebody, you have a right to ask, “what is this for? What is the publication? And when is your deadline for publishing?”

Because again, you’re not paying for this coverage, but if you’re going to be sending out different samples and different products for coverage, that is money out of your pocket. So with HARO, you want to do your homework before you spend time or money executing anything.

Pitching Gift Guides

Okay, now we know when to pitch. We know how to pitch. We know how to find the gift guides. So now we’re actually going to draft the pitch.

To start, if you used the tactic of searching for the holiday list last year, then you’re going to mention that in your pitch.

Start your pitch by saying, “Hey, I noticed you did this last year. Are you doing it again this year? If you are, here you go.” You always want to include why it makes a great gift to include but again, if you are overly promotional and you just talk about how great it is and how great you are, then it’s not going to work. You have to think of the audience and why it’s a fit for them.

Again, going back to those bloggers who are looking for freebies, if it’s something that maybe they just want to keep for themselves, ask a question or two that would make that obvious to you.

You can check that stuff online. I mean there’s plenty of websites. One that I use is called Similar Web, where you copy and paste a link to a blog, and it’ll tell you what their traffic is. For example, if their traffic is 5,000 visitors a month or less, it really won’t register anything. You just have to ask yourself if it’s worth it.

The Fortune is in the Follow Up

And then finally, the last tip that I have for you is to follow-up, and I know this is what people tell you with everything in life and everything in business, but if I had to show you what a journalist’s inbox looks like, you’ll understand why I’m telling you this. We’re talking hundreds and hundreds of emails every single day.

So when you follow up, you’re pushing yourself back up in that inbox. You’re reminding that journalist that you’re there and you’re putting a little bit more pressure on them to get back to you. Whether or not it’s a yes or a no, it’s just good to know. So you want to follow up.

I use the Boomerang Chrome extension for this and I will follow up once a week for four weeks. Your pitch should be so timely that after four weeks it does not apply; it’s no longer relevant. So I’ll follow up for four weeks and then after that it’s back to the drawing board or pitching new people.

How to Find Media Hits you Didn’t Know Existed

I will mention, especially with HARO and sometimes with the other outlets, these people will not get back to you. They will not respond, but then you know, a couple of weeks later they share a link and say, “Thank you for sending me this. Thank you for inclusion.”

Most of the time people will take it and they’ll put it in their gift guide and you won’t know that if you don’t do searches. So I suggest setting alerts up through Google for your name, your product, maybe your business name, in addition to your proper name.

I can’t tell you how many times I think I’ve captured all of my clients’ media hits. And then I’ll do a Google search and I’ll filter those searches to the last 24 hours or the last week or the last three months and I find so many other things that I missed just because either the Google alert didn’t pick it up or the journalist didn’t get back to me to tell me that it aired or it was published. So you want to make sure that you’re constantly monitoring your brand online because you don’t just want to get the publicity and leave it.

Turning Publicity into Profit

That is the biggest mistake that people make. You need to do PR on your PR and that’s where you’re going to see the profit from the publicity.

I can tell you I’ve earned myself and my client’s tons of publicity, but where we actually see that ROI is when we share that publicity on our website and repeatedly on our social media.

We’re creating a press page on our website; we’re tagging the outlet; we’re tagging the journalist; we’re sharing it on social media. Again, repeatedly, not just once because people need to see something seven times before they decide they want to buy it, so you need to be constantly reminding them that you are being featured in the media. “Hey look, I made this gift guide.” “Hey, look at this article in case you missed it, here’s a link.”

Scheduling on Social Media

Plus, there are so many different schedulers that you can use on social media that you can really just set it and forget it. I use SmarterQueue for this and I love SmarterQueue because I can share the same thing multiple times without scheduling it multiple times and I can set it to expire after a certain date.

For example, if I’m in a gift guide today, I can share that link to schedule and then I can set it to expire on Christmas Day. So it’s posting multiple times over the course of a month and a half and I’m not scheduling it multiple times.

This is a lifesaver. I remember I used to schedule social media posts. I think like every couple of weeks I would sit down and say, ‘okay, I’m going to schedule my social media posts for this week or next week’ because it’s just not realistic to be on all of them all of the time, but you definitely do want to have a presence all of the time.

Wherever your ideal customer or client is, you want to have a presence there all the time because it’s a constantly moving feed and if somebody logs in at 1:00 pm, they’re going to miss everything you post in the morning depending on the algorithms. Or maybe you go on vacation for a week and you want to unplug and those people are wondering where you went.

So it just makes it super easy. I love SmarterQueue. I won’t use anything else so make sure you check out the show notes above if you want to see how you can turn your post evergreen. It’s not just for sharing the media that you’re earning, but for anything on social media and even your own content marketing.

Use the Holiday Marketing Ideas to End the Year With a Bang

To round up what we’ve talked about –  you want to start now and you want to set a reminder for next year to start at the end of July or August, so you can start getting those long lead outlets and then you want to also ask yourself, “Okay, is this really a gift?”

If it’s not an obvious gift, what angles could you use to make it look like a gift for a gift guide for a certain audience… and then do Google searches. Look at those outlets where you want to be to get in front of your ideal customer or client and check out HARO (do your homework because anybody can post a query on there) and then draft your pitch all about the audience.

It’s not about you, it’s not about your product. It’s not even about the journalist. It’s all about that audience, and don’t forget to follow up once a week until Christmas.

I hope to see many of you in gift guides this year for your products. If you don’t have an obvious product, turn your service into a product. You could do that with a coupon code. Maybe you’re a business coach with a planner. I know I have clients who have planners.

Maybe it’s some kind of strategy session. I know I’m putting together a gift guide now about non-materialistic things, so we’re not talking necessarily about products. We’re talking more about experiences. So think outside of the box for these gift guides. If you don’t have a product, you can still earn coverage as a service.

I hope you enjoyed these holiday marketing ideas and I do hope you come back next week because I am talking to somebody who has a great product for a holiday gift guide. I’m actually going to include hers in something that I am writing about holiday gift guides and she has a subscription box business.

I’m not going to tell you what it is. I’m going to wait until next week, but it is pretty cool and it’s a great interview, so I hope to see you next week and I hope that you block off some time even if it’s just one hour a week to work on these holiday marketing ideas so you can start getting in front of a new audience for your product or your service.

And don’t forget if you want some more marketing ideas year round, not just for the holidays, no matter what your business or brand as you can always get more help in my three-day media class, “Pitch. Publicity. Profit.”, and you can access that at mediamavenandmore.com/publicity

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How to Increase Blog Traffic

How to Increase Blog Traffic with Cassidy Tuttle

In this episode of Become a Media Maven®, Cassidy Tuttle is showing us how to increase blog traffic.

What started as a photography blog quickly turned into a niche website with hundreds of thousands of people finding it organically monthly.

In the 15th episode, Cassidy is going to walk us through how she realized she was getting this traffic and how her hobby turned into a thriving business when she took a strategic shift after seeing a little bit of what was possible.

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!

Increase Blog Traffic

How to Increase Blog Traffic with Cassidy Tuttle

Cassidy Tuttle runs the website Succulents and Sunshine where she teaches people how to grow succulents.

So, how did you start doing this, what were you doing before you started this website, and when did you start this website?

From Photography Blogger to Succulents Blogger

Before I started the website, I was actually doing food and product photography, and that’s what my background is in. I have a BFA in photography and I started a photography blog because, you know – five, six years ago, that was the thing everyone was doing.

I bought a few succulents and I started posting about what I was doing with them on my photography blog, and then when I found out you could make money online or through a blog, I put analytics on the site and realized no one was coming to my photography. They’re all coming to my succulent posts, which were basically just like, ‘hey, here’s what I’m trying this week, and apparently, you can propagate these from leaves. So, I’m trying this and this’, you know – it wasn’t anything super exciting. At least not that I thought, but no one was writing about it online at the time.

So, this was about six years ago, and then I made a really conscious switch to take all of that succulent stuff and put it on its own website, because – especially at the time, it was a really big deal to have your keyword in your URL, and that still helps for search traffic. But people were spamming it, so it’s less of a ranking factor now. But I switched it all over to Succulents and Sunshine, and I cleaned up the posts and made them a little bit more instructive and more like a tutorial, and basically just haven’t looked back.

We’ve just continued to post new content and share new things. I started doing a little more, like real research and kind of some experimenting, and just documenting it all on the blog, but then also making sure I was actually following good SEO practice and all of that online business awesomeness.

And when was this?

I believe I bought the Succulents and Sunshine domain name in 2013. It was on Valentine’s Day.

How to Find Keywords to Increase Blog Traffic

So, you did this just by basically going into your Google analytics and seeing what people were responding to, and you said, ‘hey, I think I found the needle in the haystack keyword situation, so I’m going to capitalize on this’. Is that how that worked out?

Yep, exactly. So, I knew that I wanted to get organic search traffic, so when I put analytics on the site and I saw I was already getting some without trying, I knew that I could do a lot better if I actually put some more effort into it. And the keywords we were ranking for at the time were not big. I think back then, one of the keywords we were ranking for was propagating succulents, or how to propagate succulents. And it was getting two to 300 searches a month. Now it’s gone up, because succulents have taken off, and a lot more people are searching that. But it wasn’t a huge keyword, and that was the thing that actually would still be my approach now, is picking a keyword that’s smaller, because most people aren’t going to be targeting it, and then building out from there.

I don’t do as much of this as I used to because our site is big enough that we do tend to just rank for a lot of things. But right now, we’re approaching – we want to kind of branch out, and we want to start ranking for individual types of succulents. So, the actual species names – some of them that you guys might be familiar with would be Aloe Vera, which is humongous. Then string of pearls, or things like that.

Using Keywords Everywhere for better SEO and Blog Traffic

What I’ve been doing is I’ll just go do a Google search for the word that I want to rank for, and there’s a Chrome extension called Keywords Everywhere, and it is the best thing ever. It will show you how much search traffic a keyword is getting each month. And if you’re just starting out, or if you’re approaching a new topic, I usually recommend starting with a keyword that’s getting around a thousand searches a month. It’s enough that it will generate some traffic for you, but not so much that it’s going to take forever to rank for it, or that there’s going to be a lot of bigger websites trying to compete for it. 

I know a lot of people will pay attention to – there’s a competition number out there, and the cost per click number, which those are all for advertisers. So, if you were going to pay for that keyword, if you’re going to pay for an ad to show up there, that’s roughly how much you’d expect to pay. And then the competition basically tells you how many people are competing for that keyword for ads. So, I don’t feel like it’s super, super helpful. You can look at it and be like, okay, there’s a lot of people paying for ads, so it might be something that I’d want to rank for.

But basically, I’m just looking at Keywords Everywhere and finding something in that thousand, maybe up to 10,000 range. You can do lower than a thousand, but I feel like it’s not quite enough traffic to make it worth it. But if it’s 800 or 900, go for it.

And then once I have that, Keywords Everywhere will show you some related search terms. And even using the autofill on Google – a lot of people recommend using that to see what other phrases you can use. And sometimes you may need to think of synonyms for words. For example, I kept getting questions like, ‘okay, when should I re-pot my succulent’, or ‘how do I even pot a succulent?’

Finding the Right SEO Keyword for Your Blog Post

So, I started searching for ‘how to pot a succulent’. That came up with some very different articles that I would probably want to be ranking for. It kind of got stuck on ‘how to pot’. But what I realized was the phrase that people are actually searching for was ‘how to plant succulents’, and that got a lot higher search traffic.

So, make sure you’re looking at different ways of saying things, because even though they will have a similar search result if you can get it the way that most people are searching, you’re going to do a lot better.

From there, once I have that keyword, then I go and write my post. I have that keyword, and related – and keyword also being a phrase, right? ‘How to plant succulents’, would be a whole keyword. That whole thing’s a keyword. And then I would go write the blog post, keeping that keyword in mind, but not necessarily trying to stuff it in exactly.

I really write all of my content the way I talk, and in a way that flows and makes sense. And that’s my very first goal, is having a really good article that sounds normal and makes sense. Then afterward, I’ll go back, and as I’m editing, if I notice something that’s similar to my keyword, sometimes I’ll switch it. If I said, ‘if you’re looking to plant your succulents’, I might switch it to say, ‘if you want to know how to plant your succulent’. It’s just making those little tweaks to get that keyword in there. But Google’s pretty smart these days. They can usually tell if it’s close enough.

I do also use the keyword in my title, and then also in headers. So, in every blog post, we’re actually going back and updating old posts. But you want to make sure you have sub-headers and use the keyword or some variation of it in a header.

One of the posts we get the most traffic to is ‘how to water succulents’. So that’s the name of the blog post, the title. But then I have a couple of sub headers that say how to water succulents indoors and outdoors, and the subtitle still makes sense. It doesn’t feel super obnoxious, or like I’m just using that phrase over and over. And then I have another header that will be like, ‘watering succulents indoors’, or something like that. So, a little bit of a tweak, where it’s not exactly that phrase.

Use Images in Your Posts for Better SEO

And then my secret weapon, I feel like, is images. So, before you even upload a photo to your website, you want to name it with your keyword in the file name. For that watering post, the main image that we have at the top of the post will probably be named something like, how to water succulents indoors and outdoors. So, I’m getting as many of my keywords in there as I can. And then when I upload it, I copy that same information and put it into the ALT text, which – in theory – is what would show if the image doesn’t load. But Google can read it, and they can read your file name, too.

And that, for me, I think has been one of the main reasons why I’ve been able to generate so much search traffic, is because my site is so image heavy, and I think that’s something that a lot of bloggers and businesses don’t necessarily think about.

I have 10 images in a blog post, and most of those images are using some variation of the keywords that I’m looking for to rank for.

It’s kind of like a little extra credit in your SEO to have a bunch of images that are also telling Google, ‘hey, this is what this blog post is about’. And honestly, it’s really just those couple things that I’m focused on: the title, sub-headers, and then the images. And then making sure, naturally, I have the keyword somewhere in my post.

Then the other thing that is actually big now is having it be a long post. And I definitely have seen this more, where posts that are 500 words or more are definitely ranking better than shorter posts.

A lot of people will even say a thousand words or 2000+ words is going to be the best length for your post. But you also want to make sure that you’re not just writing a super-long post just to make it super long. You want to actually provide a good reading experience as well.

Keywords Everywhere is Free

Keywords Everywhere is free.

I have not paid for a keyword tool for years, and I’m doing all right with search traffic. I love Keywords Everywhere because it is free, and it honestly provides as much information as you need to know for the most part to make a good post or article that’s SEO friendly.

And I like how you write content the way you talk. Coming from TV news, that’s how we would write our stories. It’s all the way you talk. And that’s the way you Google things, too. You Google things the way you talk.

Increase Traffic to Your Blog with Longer Posts

You also touched on how Google is liking the long posts. Before, it was post at least 300 words, and do it more frequently. But now, it’s just, post something good and we’re going to go with – maybe if it’s longer, it’s better, because there’s more information in it.

So, they’re liking the long posts, and for that reason, I’ve started taking these podcast interviews. I get them transcribed, I give them to my assistant, and she turns that transcription into a blog post with those subheaders and getting a keyword in the title.

The only thing that I really need to step up – and you’re reminding me – is getting that extra credit. Which, I like how you put that: extra credit in your SEO by getting more and more pictures there.

Now you are in a very visual space. You’re talking about succulents. But what if there is somebody who isn’t in a very visual space – what would you advise they do to get those pictures with keywords in their blog posts?

It doesn’t technically have to be a photograph. Using screenshots, you know – if you’re uploading that, that’s going to be an image. Really just any sort of relevant visual that you can add.

I know people feel like, ‘oh, I’m writing about something that’s super technical, there’s no way I can add an image’. Well, you could add an image of a happy person, or you know – just something that does relate to some extent. Or create a quote card. Right? A lot of people will do a pull-out quote. Do it as an image instead. Then it’s shareable on social media, and Google can read it as an image so you can show up an image search.

So, I think you just have to be creative. Just think of anything you can create that would be an image file – text screen shares, stock images – and having just two or three in your post would be huge.

Making Money from Blog Traffic

Our traffic fluctuates pretty substantially throughout the year. May is when our traffic peaks, and then we usually bottom out around December. In May, I think this year, we got up to where we had about 500,000 visitors in a month, and now we’re down to probably about 350,000. So, it’s a pretty big swing, but I’d say on average we’re getting 400 to 450.

And the awesome thing is – because the interest in succulents is going up and we’re also producing more content – year over year we’ve seen at least a 10-20% increase in traffic.

Right now, we’re at a pretty even split between display ads. That income is awesome because if you have traffic, you’re making money. You don’t have to do extra work on top of the traffic.

And then we do a lot of affiliate products. We have a couple places that sell succulents that we’re an affiliate for, just like Amazon and Etsy.

We also have a course and eBooks that we sell.

So, in this month, it’s almost an even split between the three of them. But then depending on the time of year, like November, December, our affiliate income will probably go up a little bit. It actually also goes up in May, because succulents are our biggest affiliate. So, that will go up then, too.

So, just any combination of those three things is how we’re making money.

At what point did you realize – I’m assuming you’re educating yourself about SEO a little bit and learning some tricks and tips and strategies – at what point were you like, ‘okay, I can actually start monetizing this, because I’m getting a lot of traffic and people are finding me’, and what did that look like?

I started monetizing within a month or two of having this site up, because I was convinced that it was going to be this huge moneymaker. So, even when I was getting just a hundred page views a day, I had Google ads on there, and I think the first time I made $100 in a month – which was their threshold for paying out – was about a year later.

But I also didn’t really know what I was doing right when I started, but I was making something. I would get $25-50 a month.

And it was actually shortly after I moved over to its own website that I found out about eBooks, and I created an eBook as one of my very first monetization strategies. I didn’t feel like it was a super good launch at the time, but when I went back and looked at the numbers the first month we published the eBook, I think we made almost a thousand dollars.

And at the time, I was reading things like, ‘oh, we’re going to have this $10,000 launch, and I’m like, Oh man’.

People say that, but they don’t tell you that they spent $9,000 on the launch, so they really profited a thousand. So, I think you’re still good.

Yeah. And especially because I didn’t know what I was doing. I think the only email list I really had was actually just the RSS feed. I’m pretty sure I just published a blog post that said, ‘hey, I’ve got this new eBook, and that was essentially my email launch. That’s all I did. I didn’t have an official email list at the time, so all things considered, looking back – it was a really good launch.

The Content Creation Business

So, would you say your monetization, I guess your roadmap, was you started with display ads, then you went to an eBook, and then you went to affiliate products, and then maybe after that, you created a course?

Yep.

And since that very first eBook, I’ve created several more since then. We have four that are kind of our core eBooks, and the course has now been out for two years. So, it’s been a while.

And I really didn’t pick up on affiliate marketing until about three and a half years ago maybe. I took a course on blogging and she started talking about affiliate marketing – and at the time, I had Amazon ads, but that was it.

And I’m like, ‘oh, I should really be looking into this. I need to find somewhere that sells succulents because that’s really what people want to buy’. So, I started with Etsy, and then eventually – because people will sell succulents on Etsy – and then I eventually reached out to some different online succulent stores, and now we have partnerships with a few different online stores.

So, on the surface, it looks like you’re in the succulent business, but I feel like as we dig deeper, you’re really in the content creation business, and that’s how you get your money and your customers and your visitors and all of that. So, you’ve really become not just a succulent expert, but a content creation expert.

Yeah. And honestly, it’s funny. When we talk to different neighbors and they’re like, ‘oh, so you guys sell succulents?’ ‘No, we don’t. We just teach people how to grow them.’ It’s so confusing to people. I’m like, I know. It’s just how it is. But yeah, you’re absolutely right.

It’s all about content and information and just helping people learn. And we happen to be doing it with succulents.

Succulents and Sunshine

So, have you learned to love succulents more than ever now that it wasn’t just a one-off thing? Like, here, I’m going to take pictures of my succulents for my photography blog. Now you’re really in it.

Yeah. We’re really in it. My love for succulents comes and goes. I’m not going to lie. I published a book three years ago, and after I wrote the book, I swore off succulents. I’m like, I will never touch one again. And then a month later I was back at it. So, it comes and it goes, but it always comes back.

But it is really fun and it’s something that I enjoy. It’s something I can do with my kids, which has also been fun.

If you ask my four-year-old what he does, he’ll tell you he works at Succulents and Sunshine. He waters the plants. And I bought a succulent for my birthday one year and he was with me when I bought it. And he’s like, well I want a birthday succulent. So, he got one too. And now he can spot it if we’re driving around or walking around and he sees one. He’ll be like, that’s my birthday succulent. So, that’s awesome.

Oh my gosh. I was just at the store last weekend, and I saw – now I cannot see a succulent and not think of Cassidy. Every time I see a succulent, I just think about you. And I’m like, ‘Oh, if I ever needed to know how to keep that thing alive, I would know where to turn.’ It’s so funny.

So, on the fourth episode of this podcast, I had Amy Landino on, who is an amazing YouTuber who teaches people how to make money on YouTube and how to grow their YouTube channels. Since you are in the content creation business, YouTube is something that you are dominating, especially lately. You just hit 10,000 subscribers. So, tell me a little bit about your strategy on adding YouTube as a source of getting more people to your website.

From Blogging to Vlogging

I’m really glad you asked that because that is actually something that is also helping our site SEO as well. Basically, our strategy was just to take all of our top-performing blog posts and turn them into videos. So, if you watch the videos on our YouTube channel and then you go and read the blog post, you’ll be like, oh, this is almost identical.

Not all of them are, but we followed a really similar approach to the YouTube videos. And once the videos go live, we’re emailing them out to our list, which helps generate traffic. And we were also embedding them in the related blog posts, and that’s helping YouTube realize that, oh, these videos are worth showing people, because they’re getting views elsewhere.

It’s helping to increase our time on page on the website, which also helps with search rankings. It’s one of those little factors. And then – it’s all kind of a happy way of helping each other.

So, I think that’s been the way that our YouTube channel has really grown, is from having the videos embedded on these really high-traffic blog posts. It’s giving YouTube good signals, and then YouTube will start showing us more in related content.

And something that I love about you – and you’re probably tired of hearing it because I tell you every time we talk – is that you are so good at being super strategic and doing one thing at a time until it’s successful, and then moving to the next. There are so many people who want to start a blog, and then they want to start a YouTube channel. But you did your blog, it was super successful, and now you’re doing YouTube. But you’re using your blog to tell you what to make videos of, and that’s why you are also successful on YouTube.

You’re just so strategic about everything and you take your time, and you’re very thorough about every single step that you take, and I think that’s why you have been so successful in this crazy niche that you’re in.

Giving You Audience What They Want

Now we’re also kind of in this spot where we have a massive audience, and they’re essentially telling us what they want to see, which is a huge, huge deal. That’s something that is hard when you’re starting out: you don’t necessarily have the audience to say, ‘Hey, I was wondering how to drill a hole in the pot that I’m going to use for my succulents.’ You know, you’re not getting those questions. So, that’s something that we’ve really taken advantage of – looking at the traffic, seeing what is working on the website, and also just asking for input from our audience.

And we actually started a series last fall. It started because I hadn’t planned ahead. We had this Facebook group, and I’m like, oh, I don’t have anything to share in my weekly email. So, I’ll just ask people in the Facebook group what questions they want to be answered. And I answered 10 questions in one email. It was so long. It was a crazy email. But people loved it! So, we took that and we started this FAQ series, where we started out with five, and then we trickled down to two – and we’ve shifted gears since then a little bit, but we would answer a question every week, and we turned it into a blog post.

And I would not say that that has been a complete game changer for the website, but those faqs are now finally starting to rank in Google, and we’re getting an extra two to 3000 page views a week from those FAQ, whereas we wouldn’t have had them before. So, it’s been awesome to be able to have the audience to pull from, and to just take what they’re giving us and run with it.

Show Me The Good

I want to switch gears and talk about your new passion project – which is like, a side thing, something that you’re doing for fun. But you’re a genius in this. I’m sure you’ll find a way to monetize it later down the road. Can you tell us all a little bit about that and what is coming?

Show Me the Good – is that what you’re thinking of?

Yes.

So, I just had this overwhelming feeling or impression that I wanted to share people’s little stories about doing good things because I hate watching the news. I don’t watch the news, I don’t listen to the news, I don’t read it. I’m probably one of the most sheltered people because I just don’t want to see what’s out there.

So, I wanted to focus on little things that people are doing, just to inspire people to do a small deed. The first story that’s on there is – a couple friends and I were going to meet up at the park to hang out, kind of have a break, let our kids play together and be outside. I woke up that morning and I was just feeling sick, and I’m like, ‘Dang it, I can’t go to the park.’ So, I texted my friends, ‘hey guys, sorry I can’t come, I’m feeling sick’. And one of my friends said, ‘well, why don’t I bring you dinner?’ And at first, I was like, ‘no, she doesn’t need to bring me dinner. She just had a baby six weeks ago. I’m like, Kevin can make dinner. We don’t need her to bring it.’ But I ended up just saying, ‘okay, yeah, that’d be great.’

And so, this friend who just had a baby six weeks ago brought me dinner. Didn’t change my life, but it was so nice, and now we’re addicted to a new brand of tortilla chips, you know? It was just something that – I don’t think it was actually a big deal to her, but it was a huge deal for me.

And I just want people to feel like whatever little thing they can do, whatever way they can serve the world, is worthwhile because I think that’s something that’s missing. We see all these huge humanitarian projects or things like that, but really, just calling a neighbor and asking how they’re doing, or just something little, can have a huge impact on someone’s life. And that’s what I want to focus on, is just sharing little stories of people doing good things, and just having a good news outlet.

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How to Increase Post Reach on your Facebook Page Organically

How to Increase Post Reach on your Facebook Page

How to Increase Post Reach on your Facebook Page

In this episode of Become a Media Maven®, Amanda Bond is showing you how to increase post reach on your Facebook page organically. Yes, without ads!

She said when people switch over from there personal profile to the business page, they posting is different. People notice that… and they don’t like it.

In the 14th episode, Amanda is going to teach us how to study algorithms, stop looking at vanity metrics, when you should schedule posts… and how you should schedule them.

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 Increase Post Reach on your Facebook Page

I am so happy to have Amanda here because one, Facebook is everything.

While you are an ads expert, you are also going to help people reach even more people, more of their audience organically, which is amazing.

Organic Facebook reach is dead… or are you just doing it wrong?

It’s like it’s one of those things where when I hear people say Facebook is dead, I want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them and be like, “it’s not dead, you’re just doing it wrong.”

Okay, so let’s get right into that. Here’s the backstory of why people think Facebook is dead and it’s ‘pay to play’ and all of those other fear-mongering tactics that people talk about.

These big outlets study millions of pages and then they tell us Facebook reach is dead. Well, what’s happening is they’re studying average, right? They’re looking at the pages that might not be posting or they might not care about their audience or they might be dead. They’re not looking at the people who are truly getting engagement and sharing with us the tips and tactics of how they’re just making these bold industry-wide statements saying it’s dead because of the pool of people that they’re looking at.

Studying Organic Facebook Reach

When I look at the pages that they’re studying, it’s a lot of people who, once they have a Facebook business page, they turn into a spammy marketer.

On our personal pages, we know how to be human beings, but as soon as we hop over to our business profile, all of a sudden we think that we need to show up in a different way and we need to be salesy because the goal here is sales transactions, it’s revenue for the business, and it’s those people that act like spammy marketers, posting all the time about “call now to book”, “come into our restaurant”, “do this” and “do that”.

‘On the flip side, we studied 1 million Facebook pages and here’s what we learned.’ Well, why are we studying 1 million average pages? We should be looking at a thousand highly engaged pages and then only do those things because that’s what’s going to get us success organically.

When you see people interact on their personal page, they show up one way and then you go over to their business page and you’re like, why is this so promotional? Why is this “click here, do this, buy this, sign up for this Webinar,”?

Posting on your Facebook page

This is what I find so fascinating when you really study how the algorithm works. Facebook values three things. They value community and they value connection and they value conversation. So if you want to rank high in the algorithm, AKA show up in people’s news feeds for free organically, you need to figure out how to build community on your Facebook page and you do that through connection with people, really caring about your audience and then encouraging them to show up to your Facebook page and engage in the conversation.

And I know that everyone who’s listening knows how to do this because a lot of you already have Facebook groups, right? Think of that back and forth conversation that goes down in Facebook groups.

We know how to have a conversation. The thing is we’re just not doing it on our pages. If you have a thousand people in your Facebook group and you post something, the max number of people who are going to see that post is a thousand, right? If you don’t have a thousand and one group member has a thousand, but if you posted that exact same content over on your Facebook page and cultivated that community and facilitated that back and forth conversation, your reach potential is infinite because as people come and engage on your content, as people like comment, share, click, they’re sending all these signals back to the Facebook algorithm.

Engagement on Facebook is like landing a media pitch

You’re already doing it in a Facebook group. Now, it’s time to bring it over and do that on your Facebook page and the way you just described that it really is a lot like media pitching.

To get coverage, they act spammy and they’re overly promotional to the point that it’s so salesy that nobody cares. If they were actually trying to help the journalists and do a story and be more relatable, it would work. It’s about building that human connection with people.

Stop it with the vanity numbers

I feel like the industry took a weird turn a few years ago when it became all about numbers. Numbers this and email lists that and grow your audience and then sell them something. It needs to get back to the foundational elements of marketing which is nurturing your potential customers, building relationships with these people.

Relationships don’t have to necessarily be one to one, but investing in your audience, investing in the humans behind the screen that you can serve with your product or service because your product or service can create a transformation in their lives.

If we think about them like numbers on a spreadsheet or like emails in our email list, we’re doing ourselves a disservice. But if we think about them as human beings trying to navigate their own life and lifestyle and business, then we can show up in a service-based way where we care about that community.

It gets easier to build community when you care and that’s when people start really paying attention to us, our brand, and our offers because we understand those that we’re trying to serve.

Are there any other Facebook pages that you really like the way are posting to get that organic reach?

I’m seeing a fun transition from Social Media Examiner. They used to post a lot of direct links to their blog and the traffic from Facebook was decreasing dramatically over the years and so I’m enjoying watching them switch things up and experiment with new formats and really paying attention to what their audience is doing. So I would check out Social Media Examiner’s Facebook page just to continue to watch that evolution because I love seeing people in the progress, not perfection. I love seeing people try new things and take risks along the way because it’s not about showing up absolutely perfect, but it’s about doing the little improvements day in and day out with Facebook.

How to schedule Facebook posts

There are myths on not just scheduling and then posting in real time, but what kind of scheduler are you using? So dish on that.

This is so controversial. It really is. In the social media game, schedulers are controversial because on one hand you have the tracking ability and you have the ease that a lot of people who manage multiple accounts are looking for. Those recyclers who just take the content and post it over and over again in a certain frequency, that’s attractive when you’re managing many different Facebook ad accounts or different social media accounts like Twitter and Pinterest and all of the things that you need to manage, so they’re attractive because we feel like we’re going to get more information from them and it’s going to make our lives easier.

However, this is something that’s never been proven. Facebook says using third-party tools doesn’t lower your reach, but I find personally when people use third party tools to schedule they’re checking out of the analysis process.

If you set it and forget it, you might be putting out bomb content and you’re getting people fired up, but if you’ve set and forgot… that’s definitely not how you say that. It doesn’t rhyme. If you set and forget your social media, then what happens is you’re going to forget to go back and interact and create that conversation and create that connection and create that community because you don’t know what’s coming down the pipeline or when. So there might not be true data that says, “Hey, if you use a third-party scheduler, you’re going to have less reach,” but this is the mindset behind it.

If you’re using a third-party scheduler, you’re usually getting less reach because you’ve checked out of that process. So I do recommend that people, especially on Facebook, I have a different opinion on Instagram, but especially on Facebook. I recommend if you are going to schedule posts, definitely use their native scheduler and don’t schedule it out months in advance.

Keep a watch on the platform. Stay engaged on the platform that you use to connect with your audience. I’m a big believer in using fewer platforms. So you might need a scheduler to be on Twitter and Pinterest and Facebook and Instagram, but you don’t need a scheduler if you doubled down on Facebook and really go strong at building a community there and just posting when you feel inspired or when it’s in alignment with your business objectives and not in a spammy way, not in a salesy way, but in an engagement driven way to build that community up.

How often to post on your Facebook page

So is there a guide that you would suggest as far as how often to post? Should you be looking to do one a day, two a day, maybe one every other day? Does that matter in the algorithm?

It doesn’t matter for the algorithm. Where it does matter is your personality. So let’s use you and I, for example, you might enjoy scheduling something in advance with consistency and predictability because maybe that’s how your business operates.

On the flip side, I might enjoy being a little bit more sporadic. I enjoy posting when inspiration comes, I don’t enjoy sitting down and saying, ‘what are the things that I’m going to post this month all in one day?’.

I know batching content is amazing for some people, but if that’s not your personality, that’s okay too, so there is no algorithmic benefit of us posting daily or posting on a sporadic schedule.

Facebook engagement is what matters the most

Where the algorithm comes into play is how much engagement each and every post can get. So engagement means Facebook likes and reactions, shares, comments, how many people are clicking, how many people are taking action on your post to then say every time they take an action, etc. That’s a signal to the algorithm that your content is relevant.

When you post something new and let’s say you’re doing it manually, Facebook is going to test the waters to see how engaging your content is and if it is engaging, this is how you win the battle. If it’s engaging, they’re going to serve it to a few more people. If they continue to engage guests, what you’re winning, they are going to keep showing people your content, but on the flip side, if you post something and there’s no engagement, no reactions, no comments, no shares, no clicks, no nothing, Facebook is going to determine that your content isn’t relevant and they’re going to stop serving it, and that’s where people think Facebook reaches a dead because they don’t look at that and say, now let’s analyze why that didn’t get engagement. Maybe let’s delete this one, which I personally do on my page.

If I get really bad engagement, I’m going to delete it. I’m going to reword it. I’m going to turn it into an image. I’m going to do a live stream instead on it. Same content, same concept, the same end goal, but I’m just going to try and see what resonates with my audience more and if they start engaging with that content format, Ding, Ding, Ding.

We now understand the format that people need to start treating your page more like a community and start to slowly put their hands up and engage in conversation with you and once you crack that nut, once you have the formula for getting engagement, that’s when your reach blows up.

So instead of scheduling stuff and then not caring about the engagement on each individual post, I say post way less with intention and then go back and analyze whether this is resonating with my audience. Even if you only have a small 50 person page, are people putting their hands up? If 10 people are reached, is one person clicking? I want for every 10 people that post heads one or two people taking action consistently and if not we need to just go back and analyze our content to see why.

Once we start running ads, this helps us to lower our ad costs dramatically. Once we understand what our audience engages with.

And I want to get into that because you spent less than a thousand dollars on ads on one of your courses and brought in over $100,000. I get so fired up about this because you spent less than a thousand dollars on ads and brought in over 100,000.

Facebook Advertising… the dos and don’ts

You think that we should be blowing things up with Facebook ads. However, I’m the first person to tell people to pump the brakes. You’re not ready for Facebook ads. And the reason that I say that is because most people, they are using Facebook ads to grow audiences before they ever have something that sells or something that can sell over and over again with consistency, without the use of broad marketing scarcity tactics like timers and deadlines and price discounts.

If you understand the value that your product or service brings to the world and you can effectively communicate that value in your messaging and get people to make a purchase, that is the thing that’s going to bring you Facebook advertising success because Facebook ads are only going to amplify what’s broken and if you can’t sell spending money on Facebook ads is going to be like giving the ATM a 20 dollar bill and the ATM just shredding it. So your ATM is actually a paper shredder.

It’s not an investment vehicle if you cannot sell because ads, as I said, just amplify what’s broken. So I always recommend people slow down when it comes to ads. They’re not a magic bullet. They’re going to lose you so much money if you do it crazy fast or too soon in your business.

What I do recommend is people understand the offer, that they understand the transformation that it helps people to achieve, and then they work on the sales process first.

So in the example that you just said, the over $100,000 in sales on less than a thousand. We sold, get this, the first $40,000 of the program in messenger. I kid you not. So I just used the people that were in my networks, I went back to traditional networking, marketing foundation.

Wait you actually talked to people?

I got into one on one conversations with people where all I wanted to do was connect with people. There was no agenda. I was not trying to sell them my program and I would not talk about the program if they didn’t give me an indicator in that conversation that it’s something that they needed. If in the conversation when I was asking them open-ended questions about them, their life, how things are going, if they volunteered information saying, ‘hey, we’re really struggling with x and I knew that my offer could help them solve y’, then I would have conversations with only those people and I ended up at the end of the day having over 200 sales conversations with people and out of those 200 people we had 20 people buy, but it wasn’t the 20 people that bought the $2,000 offer at that time.

Being social… on social media

It was the insight that came from all of those conversations. Most people don’t get that insight, so when they start with Facebook ads, when they start trying to build a Facebook page, when they start trying to get an audience and engage with them, when they start trying to pitch media outlets, they don’t understand what makes them unique or what people actually need and so they sound like spam.

If you have true conversations with your audience, belly to belly, get on zoom, have them in messenger, get on the phone for crying out loud and ask them open-ended questions. They are going to be an open book and they’re going to give you the exact copy that you’ll need to have success. So I kid you not, we had all of these sales conversations and as I was having them, I was writing down their exact words in my notes or on my clipboard.

Yes, I use a clipboard and then I plug it into Google docs and I handed them back a Google doc of verbatim their own wording as to why they needed the offer that I had and I said, would you like to buy this? And that has made all the difference, so now when somebody opts into what we offer… we actually don’t have any lead magnets in our business. We have a waitlist for the program, so there are no freebies that we offer.

I love to connect with people and add value on my Facebook page, on podcasts, but when you come to our site, we just get straight to the point. Here’s how we can help you create the transformation that you’re looking for in your business through ads and get industry rates for sales. Conversions on sales funnels are like one percent, two percent, three percent.

Selling on Facebook

If you’re lucky, on evergreen, ours convert at 10 percent when you opt in with no timers, no deadlines, after I stop emailing you about it, you can still join at any given time because we’ve taken the time to know our audience so intimately so we treat each and every ad, each and every post as here we are talking to our customers.

It’s not if you’re going to buy our product. It’s when you’re going to buy our product and we’re still showing up and adding value every step of the way because I don’t care if you buy today, if you buy 10 years from now, if you never buy, but you’re still an active part of the community. I value each and every one of those humans all the same.

Can I just say as somebody who has dabbled in online business, first of all, it’s just hard, in general, to sell something online for a few hundred dollars. The fact that you were selling a $2,000 product directly online is insane.

It took a lot of effort and I think that’s what’s missing from a lot of the expert industry is just being honest. That hard work pays off. I’m not talking to the hustle element. I’m talking about consistently taking actions towards our goals, focused actions on the right things pays off, but it does take time.

Targeting on Facebook

Like, I’ve been trying to perfect the community and engagement on my Facebook page for over four years now and we still haven’t even gotten to 10,000 page likes and I’m okay with that because our audience shows up big when reach is less than 10 percent and engagement industry-wide is less than one to three percent. When our page has 20 percent engagement, I am just so fired up because that means that people care because that means that people are getting enough value to stick around and then from a business perspective, that means that our audience is growing, which means we can retarget more people with our ads in the future as we scale.

So most people say my email list is only so big and I can just target those people as my warm audience, but the cool thing is Facebook allows us to target anyone who watched a video for at least three seconds on our Facebook business page and our Instagram business profile and anyone who engaged on your Facebook business page, so people who are reacting or commenting, sharing, clicking, those people are now in our audiences that we can put ads in front of, doesn’t it make sense to have a really great relationship with those people so that when you do offer them something, they’re more likely to take it up?

My email list was less than 2,000 people before or by the time we hit half a million dollars in sales, so it doesn’t have to be like grow this gangbuster big list. It’s go deep, nail the basics, learn to sell, and then create the systems to then sell that over and over again through connection, engagement, and the right tools like Facebook ads and organic posts and media.

We’ve hit $100,000 in sales on the program over a year and I am so okay with that slow burn because it allows you to put the foundations in place without wanting to pull your hair out and now that you have those foundations we get excited about, you know, media.

You and I were chatting about that because sure we could do it organically on our Facebook page and bring more people into our warm audiences or we could leverage other people’s platforms and get our name out there in a bigger way through PR and media and leverage. And then, we can use ads not to bring in cold traffic because let me tell you, the cost to advertise has drastically been increasing over the years.

It’s like three to five times more expensive for a lead than it was in 2016. So you could do cold traffic to ads or you could be using ads to move people through a customer journey.

Once they reach you from leveraging other people’s audiences, from media placements, from connecting with people organically on different social channels, and then once they have expressed interest in your brand, then you can just nudge them closer to your products and services because they’ve already put their hand up and said, “I like what you’re throwing down. I want to do business with you”.

Three kinds of media

What you mentioned about using all of the media, I tell people there are three kinds of media.

There’s owned which is you posting on your page. There’s earned which is earning that exposure in the media on somebody else’s media platform and then there are ads where you’re actually paying for the coverage and in a perfect world you’re going to have all three, but you do need to start slowly with one and then slowly work your way up.

Yes, don’t diversify your attention, right? Your attention-getting strategies. Don’t try and be everywhere all at once. Go deep with whatever you’re focused on in that moment. If you’re listening and you are slaying it on Instagram and the next thing that you’re looking for is earned media. Do not abandon ship and go over to Facebook just because I told you that Facebook reach isn’t dead.

Go deep, get strategic, make one platform work for you, and then go to a second one and own the crap out of your strategy there and then once those things are working, can we double down on these two? Could we accelerate these two or do we need a third one to diversify a little bit more, but again, the name of the game is patience because if you have patience in this business, you will outlast so many shiny object seekers. It’s not even funny, right? We see this.

I’ve been in this industry for long enough that you see people come, they ramp up and then they disappear off the face of the earth because they tried to do too much, too fast, without depth, so please, if you’re listening, be that person who seeks depth.

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how to make money from events

How to Make Money (5 to 6 Figures) From an Event

In this episode of Become a Media Maven®, Alexis Caldicott is sharing how you can make five or even six figures from events.

Yes, you can make this money by holding your own event, sponsoring an event, or even attending an event.

In the 13th episode, Alexis is going to take us, step-by-step, how to host our first event (a 90-minute one-day workshop) AND how to profit as an event attendee.

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 from events

How to Make Money (5 to 6 Figures) From an Event

Alexis Caldicott owns A Team Event Company. We help mission-driven entrepreneurs use events to close five to six figures in sales in three days or less.

We love doing that because we want to help people make a bigger impact, so that’s why we work with mission-driven entrepreneurs who want to make a big impact with what they do. That’s a big part of their mission and we want them to be able to live the life that they love at the same time. So, we love helping people use events to do that because it’s such a great way to have a successful business and make an impact at the same time.

How to close five to six figures in sales in three days or less

And, you do it in three days or less. We’re going to get into the nitty-gritty, but why specifically three days or less?

Because it can happen that fast. I mean, there’s usually some ramp-up time and things you have to prepare of course, but with the three days or less, what that means is someone could be going to someone else’s event to get clients, whether it’s as an attendee or a speaker or a sponsor, and it could be going to an event that’s three days or two days or one day and leave with a client… or they could be putting on their own event. That could be a one day, a two day, or a three-day event. So within that timeframe of the event, the three days or less, depending on how long the event is, they can close clients on the spot.

How to host a successful event

How did you get into all of this?

I will give you the short version that. Like a lot of people, I went to college for something completely different. I went to school for music therapy and psychology, which I love, love, love.

It does come in handy with what I do now. Music is a big part of putting on a successful event, but when I was in college, one of my friends had a very successful consulting business and she was able to get it to six figures in less than two years. So, she wanted to start a new consulting business where she could help other people do the same. While I was in college, she said, ‘Hey, Why don’t you come work with me on this project, on this new business, while you’re in school? Then that way you can learn’ because she knew that my vision was always to be a business owner. So she said, ‘Come work with me.’ So, I basically got to be a sponge and learn about what really worked and see the inside of what went into a profitable and successful business.

What we very quickly learned is that events were one of the fastest paths to having a lot of success in business and having a consistent flow of clients and cash flow coming in through your business. So, I got to learn from the best in the business. I always give credit where credit is due. People like Callan Rush, Lisa Sasevich, David Nagel, Suzanne Evans, a lot of those people who are known for putting on six to seven figure events what works and what doesn’t work.

I got to learn, without a whole lot of trial and error, what actually works and what doesn’t work. And then from there, when I was in college, I had a lot of people asking me to do it for them, just like I was doing it for her.

At each event, we got it down to a science where twice a year they would hold a three-day event and it would close over six figures every single time like clockwork. So once word got out that I was creating that for them, of course, other people wanted help and the rest is history.

Building an event planning business

So you and I actually met at an event… and it was a big event. I want to get to that in a second. I don’t want to talk about big events. I do want to talk about small events, but first I want to talk about using events.

You mentioned you can use events as an attendee to get business and most people who are going to events, they’re going as attendees. They’re not sponsors or they’re not speakers or they’re not throwing them. They’re actually an attendee and my mindset has always been, I’m coming here to learn. I’m going to take what I learn and I’m going to apply it to my business and grow. Honestly, before I started talking to you and learning about what you did, it never even crossed my mind to use the event as a networking opportunity to grow my business, which sounds so stupid because it can be that, but I never thought of it like that.

What should I do to actually earn business, not just learning at the event, but actually getting clients at the event?

That is such a great observation, Christina, and you’re not alone. It’s a great opportunity to get clients at events like that because there’s someone who’s like-minded, so you’re going to want to work with them. We’re more likely to want to work with them because there’s someone who’s there and trying to learn as well.

When I started doing this and I had kind of phased out from having a couple of major clients and when it was my moment to spread my wings, I had to let go of a few of my main clients. It was a very scary time because it was three months away from my wedding.

I knew that I could go to events, look for my ideal clients, have amazing messaging ready to go, and I could leave with clients and everything would be okay. I just had to tell myself, okay, you’ve done this before. Just go out and do it.

So, I started going to conferences and events and that’s what helped me to get my business to a six-figure business in less than two years as well, by going to where I knew my ideal clients were and instead of trying to look for them and spray and pray, as they say on the Internet, I looked up where my ideal clients were going and what are other sources, resources, and help they needed.

How to make money at an event as an attendee

I looked up those events. I qualified them on whether they were going to be worth the time and the money. Then when I was there, some of the tips and tricks that we teach our clients is as an attendee.

You always want to be observant of your surroundings and what’s going on in the room. So, if you see someone who is constantly going up to the mic and asking lots of questions, that’s a great marker of who is a great client because it’s someone who’s hungry, who’s thirsty, who wants to learn more, that is ready to go. That’s an action taker. They’re fearless, right? Because it takes guts to go up to the mic in front of a room and ask questions.

I understand what you mean because a lot of people, they don’t want to put themselves out there. They’re afraid of what people will think. But again, if you are going to an event, you’re investing time and money so you want to get the most out of it. And if you’re not asking questions, you’re not getting the most out of it.

So, when someone goes up to the mic, that’s an indicator that you want to kind of casually bump into them somewhere and start talking, but also, you going to the mic. This is a great tactic, but I also have to throw in a disclaimer with it. Going to the mic and asking questions yourself is also a great way just to get your name known out to the room and what you do.

So when you go up to the mic, if you have a ten-second thing that you can say, “Hi, my name is Alexis and I help entrepreneurs sell five to six figures in three days or less and my question is…

It makes their head go up right from taking their notes… and then you ask a really good thoughtful question that gets you noticed in the room. If you do that just a couple of times, that helps you get noticed in the room.

My disclaimer is you have to do it with the right intention. Obviously part of your reason is to get noticed, but it actually has to be a question that you really want to know the answer to because people can see right through phony, so it has to be a true question that’s going to provide value to the room and to provide value to yourself.

I’m also respectful of the event host. It’s not a pitch fest. You’re not going up on their stage without being invited. You’re not going to start selling your services from the mic, so I just got to throw that disclaimer out there that yes, that is a great way to do it, but you have to be respectful and you actually have to have a good question.

That’s how you pitch the media. Like, so many people are so overly promotional and that’s why it doesn’t work for them, but when people come from a place to help the journalists do their job, then it’s beneficial. There are so many similarities here.

It’s all about coming from a place of service to the room, service to the event host, and service to yourself, but not in an over the top way.

Networking at an event

I hate it when I’m at an event and it’s just very obvious that somebody is just trying to network to sell me their story that I just don’t want to buy. You see the person going to the mic, you go to the mic, people are coming to you, you have people you want to go to… How do you actually have that conversation where it’s like, ‘Yes, we’re here to learn but I’m going to try to get you as a lead to become a client, but I don’t want to be so obvious about it. What does that conversation look like?

That’s a great question and one of the biggest ones that come up. I won’t go off too much on this because I could teach this forever, but basically what we teach our clients is when you go to an event as an attendee or even as a sponsor with the booth, there are two types of salespeople that you want to be – either the hunter or the gatherer.

1. The Hunter

The hunter is that kind of person that you just described that is just out there. They’ve got the gun behind them and they’re ready to go and they’re stalking prey and looking for all the indicators of, ‘Oh, this person looks well put together’ and ‘Oh, this person does that.’ They’re searching the room. And honestly, some people have that down and they are masters at it and it’s not like a slimy, sleazy way, but you have to be really good at it and have really skillful questions to use so that people don’t feel like you just felt like you described.

2. The Gatherer

I could go way longer into the hunter and how to do that, but the other style, which is my style, is the gatherer.

The gather is someone who has a really great message, very clear and concise. As the gatherer, you just kind of put your message and you put your vibes out there and people come to you. They gathered to you because they see what you’re talking about. You’ve got your stuff together. What you’re saying is clear and compelling and when people see that, they naturally are drawn to you like a magnet.

Right before my wedding, I went to this big conference in the summer and the first day I was the hunter. Oh Man. I was scouring that room and like, ‘Oh, I need a client, I need a client. I’ve got to get a client scouring that room.’ I had a meltdown at the end of the day. I’m like, ‘Why isn’t this going well? No one’s really talking to me.’

Talking to my fiancee, now business partner and husband Aaron, I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ He’s like, ‘Babe, you’re not being you. You’re trying to be this other person. You know who’s a hunter in the room. You’re not a hunter. Just enjoy the event and relax and be calm and whatever happens, happens. If you get a client, great. If not, you’re learning amazing information. So just relax. Enjoy the conference and whatever happens, happens.’

3. Just have a conversation

Just making that mental switch in my head of not being in this scarcity mode and attack, attack, attack and just be myself, have fun, enjoy the information, be really curious… it was like everything flipped. People would come up to me and asked me questions or they would want to come and sit with me at lunch.

So, when you’re in your own natural style and you have clear, compelling messaging and you’ve got your stuff together, people are drawn to you. It’s really just like playing catch with someone. It’s a very simple question. You pass it to me. I hold the ball, I answered the question, I pass it back to you.

So the same is true when you’re in that kind of environment with someone, it’s just a simple natural conversation. It’s when we get into our heads that we get too flustered and we’re worried about what are we going to say. You just have to be present with people. You’re opening will come up and if you’re present you’ll hear it and you can naturally steer the conversation your way.

I’m definitely a gatherer and let me show you why this also probably works better for people. I mean, yes, you can be a hunter and be really good at it, but I liked the gathering method because I get my leads this way – not at events but through PR and the media.

I’m always putting myself out there and people are coming to me. I find that it’s a lot easier to close a sale when you’re a gatherer because people already know, like, and trust you before they even have that first conversation with you because you have put yourself out there so much.

How to put together a small event

That’s very good for anybody who’s attending an event anytime soon to keep in mind when they go to events and I mentioned that we met at a big event, but I want to talk about small events because I feel like out of the gate if somebody is thinking about throwing an event, they’re not going to start with a big event. They should probably start small. So, I want to talk about small events and how you should start one.

That’s where you should start – small events. You’re not going to go from, ‘I’ve never done an event’ or ‘I’ve never made an offer to the room’ to all of a sudden I’m going to throw this amazing three-day huge event with 100 people that I’m going to be the next guru or star. It doesn’t happen like that. Sometimes we have to give people a very loving but firm reality check when they come to us and say, I want to do this, I want to do that. That is a great goal and a great vision for the future, but let’s look at where you are and make sure that it makes sense and get you a successful event under your belt and make a little money and then you can reinvest that in, grow to a bigger one.

Sometimes our eyes are a little bit bigger than our stomachs and we have to just start where we’re at and there’s nothing wrong with that. You can have a small event your first time and make great money. So a great place to start.

We have what we call an event ready checklist and that’s where we have all of our clients, the clients that are doing the big three day events and the clients that are doing this small one day or 90-minute workshop, make sure that they’re ready because there’s a lot of things you need to have in place. Make sure that you’ve got everything together and things don’t get overlooked when you’re halfway through the planning process and you’re like, ‘Oh, I should’ve done this before. My life would be so much easier and stress-free if I had done this.’

How to put together a 90-minute workshop

You mentioned a 90-minute workshop or a one day workshop. Let’s, let’s talk about that. How would you start planning a 90-minute workshop or a one day workshop? I mean I’m sure there probably a lot of differences, but let’s just keep it small.

The first place you want to begin is you want to make sure that you have a solid strategy for your event. We start with an event strategy session because that is your foundation for everything. The event has to make sense. It has to make sense with your longterm vision for your business and where you want to take it.

Then from there, what is your offer? Who is it for? Obviously very specific ideal clientele that you’re targeting this event towards. It’s not to the masses.

Then, what is it that they really need What do they need support with and how do you want to work with them? We do a quiz with our clients to make sure that they’re delivering their offer and working with our clients in a way that they would love because you can promise the same outcome and deliver it and multiple ways.

For example, you’re going to learn X, Y, Z, or it could be work with me one on one and you’re going to learn the same X, Y, Z. So we, we made sure that their offer that they’re making at their event is going to be delivered to their new clients in a way that they love so they don’t end up hating life working with clients in a way that doesn’t match their personality.

The most important part of event planning

Making sure you have a good offer that matches your personality and then making sure you have really, again, clear, compelling and magnetic messaging that attracts people to your event. That is key and that is where we see one of the biggest pitfalls with people in their events is that’s too broad. They’re not reverse engineering their event so that it’s leading up to the offer and their marketing is just all over the place.

It’s not clear, they’re not educating people, or not delivering value before they ask them to come to the event. It’s just come to my event, come to my event, come to my event, in their emails and their social media. That’s all it is. There’s no nurturing. There’s no loving up on them before you ask them to marry you. 

When you’re dating someone, you ask them out for coffee. You don’t just take them to bed right away. That’s one of the biggest things that we see that people aren’t doing – they’re not creating the breadcrumb trail for people to lead up to the event and they’re not positioning themselves as that trusted advisor and friend so that when they have a problem in your area of expertise, it’s, ‘Oh yeah, I’m calling Christina. Obviously, I got to call Christina about this and make sure that I get on the Oprah Show.’ Right?

If you don’t have a solid strategy, if you don’t know who it’s for, what they need, how you want to work with them, then everything else is probably going to fall apart. So you have that buckled down. And then what’s next?

How to fill an event

Once you’ve got your message down, what we do is we go through and create a marketing calendar with our clients of how we’re going to fill the event and what is the marketing going to be. From there, it’s just sticking to the plan and the strategy. There’s a lot of ways to fill events. Even if you have a very small list, we have over 23 ways that you can fill an event.

I feel like that would be the hardest part. Is that not the hardest part?

It is. I’m not going to sugar coat it. It absolutely is. Even the biggest people and the business coaching industry, that whole industry, those gurus, even they are having a hard time filling the room. Sometimes they’re able to do it because they have great connections and relationships and a loyal list and everything, but still, that’s where you spend the bulk of your time with an event is getting people in there or “getting butts in seats” as they say in the industry.

Let’s talk about the butts in the seats. Don’t get me 23 reasons, but give me a couple.

I can give them the list of the 23 ways that are not in the event ready checklist, just email info@ateameventcompany.com.

1. Make Phone Calls

No matter who you are, what size your list is, how big the event is – the number one way to fill your event is to pick up the phone. You don’t have to do it yourself, but when you’re doing an event, especially when you’re starting out, which is what we originally started talking about – doing like a small one day or a 90-minute workshop, you have to pick up the phone.

You get to answer the questions they have and you can get them to purchase the ticket right there on the phone. They need that person to person accountability to make a decision at that moment. If it’s just emailing you with great compelling copy, you can get them to say yes, but sometimes people just need that extra nudge or that personal reach out.

We track and see who’s opening the emails, who’s really engaged or who have inquired in the past. So who are your hot leads? We always start with your hot leads – calling every single one of them. And it’s intense. It’s a lot of phone calls being made, but in the end, when you’ve got $100,000 in the bank, it’s worth it.

I would call your past and current clients because they could come to the event and either they’ll bring people with them or they’ll buy something themselves and re-engage if they’re a past client.

I think we all have a stack of cards hidden and we need to get to them. We need to call them. Those are the people you’d calls. You call those people, you connect with them, catch up with them, tell them what you’re up to in your event. Do they want to come? Do they know someone that can come?

2. Speak at Events

Speaking is a great way to fill your event if you’re able to, but if we’re talking local small events, someone just getting started, like a one day or 90-minute workshop, I would say go out networking. We talked about before with attending conferences and events at the beginning of this. This is a great way to fill your event too.

3. Marketing in your Messaging

So again, great marketing message for your event. That’s to a specific target market. Then you go to the events where those people are gathering. I’ve had people even go to a Curves, the fitness place for women. Depending on what your event is about, your target market is women that are trying to lose weight, or mothers, or something like that. I’ve had clients go to Curves and put up fliers. It’s where are your people gathering

Think outside of the box. Not everyone has the same ideal client and they’re a business owner. That’s not everyone’s. And that’s okay. There are all kinds of places we gathered together because that’s what we do as humans. So where can you go, thinking outside of the box, where they are going?

One of our business coaches went to Whole Foods. That’s where she found her people. So there are all kinds of places you can go to find your people… and you go with a ticket to your event or a flyer for your event and you have a great casual conversation and show interest in them as we talked about. Then when they ask what you do and what you’re up to, you can share your event and get them to register there on the spot or call them and follow up with them.

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How to Make Money From Home

How to Make Money From Home

In this episode of Become a Media Maven®, I’m taking over and telling you how to make money from home… because I do!

I’m sharing details on how I built my business from the beginning as a “professional freelancer” to a business owner with a team and multiple streams of revenue that add up to multiple six figures.

Many people ask me what I do or how I make money from home… or anywhere with WiFi.

In the 12th episode of Become a Media Maven®, I’m sharing the breakdown of the four streams of revenue in my business:

  1. PR Agency
  2. Mentoring Program
  3. TV Hosting
  4. Lifestyle Blogging

I also talk about my goals moving forward, why they are my goals, and what’s on the horizon for 2019.

In this episode, you’ll learn how I did all of this from home… without even having an office.

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 From Home

How to Make Money From Home

I’m going to break down the four streams of revenue in my business and how I built it into what it is in a little over three years. If you are interested in making money from home, then you are going to love this episode.

I must start off by talking about why I titled this podcast “How to Make Money from Home.” I do SEO research on keywords and people search “how to make money fast online” and “how to make money online for free” often.

I get it. We all wish we could make money fast online… but come on people! If it were that easy, we would all be making money online fast and for free. This is a testament to how lazy people are. So if you’re interested in making money fast or making money for free, then you should stop reading because that’s just not realistic.

That’s why I went with the title “How to Make Money from Home.” That’s exactly what I’m going to talk about – how I built my business from the ground up. I think it’s important for people to talk about how much money they’re making, especially if they’re in the business of helping other people grow their businesses and make more money.

Gross Income vs. Profit

I know when I hired my first business coach, I wanted to make sure she was making a lot of money. I wanted to make sure her clients were making a lot of money and that those clients were renewing with her. That’s how I hire my coaches.

That’s why I’m not going to tell you what I’m grossing. I’m going to tell you what my profits are. I often see people talk about how they have six-figure businesses or seven-figure businesses but they’re not profiting.

Someone I know has Facebook ads saying that she’s making a lot of money, but she doesn’t know that her assistant is telling everyone she’s in debt. She’s not making a dime because she’s spending seven figures to have a seven-figure business.

When you hear somebody saying they have six-figure launches, you need to take into account how much money they’ve spent to get there. Most people will leave that part out. It’s too easy to get online and post whatever you want, so don’t believe everything you read.

I tell you that I have a multiple six-figure business that I have built in a little over three years because I have profited multiple six figures. You will never hear me say I have a seven-figure business until I have profited seven figures because I think it’s misleading. If you do hear me say that, then I’m going to tell you I’m not profiting seven figures, but that my business has brought in seven figures.

Starting Your Own Business

I have four streams of revenue in my business, but it didn’t start that way. It started out with about 20 streams of revenue because at the beginning, you do anything and everything to make money. You throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and hope something sticks. Luckily, I had a good arm and lots of walls for things to stick on.

When I first started my business, I had been a TV reporter and anchor for ten years. I worked at a PR agency for six months and it was in that job where I realized nobody was going to give me the flexible schedule I wanted. Everyone wanted me to commute at least an hour.

I realized I had Wi-Fi at home. I could save my makeup and time, avoid the commute, and get a hell of a lot more done at home than I could spending hours sitting in an office with people I don’t like to make someone else more money.

I was getting a fraction of the money that was coming in when I was doing about 99 percent of the work, so I said, “screw this. I’m going to start my own business.”

Hire a Coach

In the beginning, you take whatever you can get and you don’t charge what you’re worth. I know a lot of people are going to disagree with me on that, but if you’re desperate to make money you will take what you can get. I was greatly undervaluing myself, and at one point, I had 19 clients on my own.

I was miserable for the first year and a half. I was working 12 hours a day and I was not pleasant to be around because I was constantly stressed. There were some months when I would make $11,000 and I got to keep it all because I didn’t have anyone to pay and I wasn’t using fancy-schmancy software.

People were just paying for my time and expertise. Then, I would have months where I would make a thousand bucks. It was very inconsistent.

During that time, I was soaking up all the free content online that I could. I don’t suggest doing that.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have invested in a coach. I had no strategy. I didn’t have a roadmap, so I had to slowly figure out what worked and what didn’t by trial and error.

I wish I had had somebody who could walk me through what to do with all the information I was consuming and how to apply it to my specific situation. I was just doing everything I could to bring in money.

Being a Professional Freelancer

I called myself a professional freelancer because at the time that’s what I wanted to be. Then I had lunch with a man named Stu who has his own PR agency in South Florida. Stu told me, “Stop calling yourself a freelancer. That’s like calling yourself a housewife. People don’t take you seriously. Call yourself a business owner.”

Something clicked for me after that conversation. I started calling myself a business owner and building more of a PR agency model. This is my first stream of revenue that I’m going to talk about because it’s responsible for most of my income.

If I had to guess, I would say 80 percent of the money I bring in is from my PR agency and it’s only possible because I have a team.

Spending Money to Make Money

I brought on somebody to help me, and even though I was making a little less money because I had to pay her, it was worth it because I was less stressed. I could focus on other things because I had more time.

You have to let go of control, you have to put other people in charge of certain things in your business and you have to let go of money because you cannot scale a business if you are not willing to spend money.

I think a lot of new entrepreneurs are scared of spending money. They’re afraid they’re going to put it out there and get nothing back. You have to get over that fear or you are never going to grow.

I have a team of about six now. Most of them are publicists. I have a social media person, a web person, and an assistant. If I’m away for a few days, it is such a relief to know that the agency can run without me. I’m still involved. I’m copied on every email and I’m still talking to clients, but I’m not doing it by myself. That’s not just good for me and it’s good for the clients.

I’ve doubled my income every year since I started three years ago. I’ve made about half a million dollars in the three years I’ve had my business and I don’t think I could have been doubling in size like I have been in these last couple of years if I hadn’t invested in a business coach.

It’s scary. I get it. When I first invested, I put down $15,000 on a credit card. I did not have $15,000 just laying around, but if I hadn’t invested in that coach, I wouldn’t have been able to double my business in the next two years.

I suggest getting out of your comfort zone, putting some money on a credit card, and doing exactly what you’re told to do.

That’s my PR agency model.

Teaching What I Do

I created a media mentoring program and this is my second stream of revenue. This is probably responsible for about 10 percent of my income.

This is because I’m dealing with new entrepreneurs who, again, don’t feel comfortable spending money, but they need to get the word out about their businesses. So I put together a plan to get them some coverage. 

This is a long-term game. You are not going to make money fast. This is like playing the stock market, but if you stay with it for at least six months, you will start seeing results.

I’ve had clients who are not making any money get coverage on the Today Show and get in front of four million people with a side hustle, so if you can see the benefits of that, but you’re not willing to spend $347 a month to get those results, then I can’t help you.

In the media mentoring program, I’m still doing private mentoring. It’s not a group program. You get one-on-one, tailored, customized coaching.

In 2019 I will probably start doing group coaching because I can’t coach that many people privately. I’ll be talking about this program at an event in San Diego in November, so my schedule will be full with private clients.

That’s my second stream of revenue.

Always Have a Side Hustle

My third and fourth streams probably tie when it comes to bringing in money. One is TV hosting.

I do some stuff with Lifetime TV. They have a few morning shows. One is called The Balancing Act and the other is called Designing Spaces. I also do some work locally in Palm Beach, Florida for the Palm Beach Civic Association.

Then I mix a little bit of the hosting with my lifestyle blog, which is my fourth and final stream of revenue. My lifestyle blog is a fun creative outlet.

I get emails and messages on Instagram from people who want to work with me and that’s how the lifestyle blog makes money. A lot of the TV hosting stuff that I do, I get because of the lifestyle blog. A lot of the lifestyle blog stuff that I get is because I am a TV host.

Those are my four streams of revenue. I have the PR agency and the media mentoring program, I’m a TV host, and I have a lifestyle blog. Those are all under the media PR umbrella and I think that’s why they all play off each other.

I’ve had people reach out to me for coverage on my lifestyle blog and then they turn into PR agency clients. I’ve had people find me for TV hosting gigs because they found my lifestyle blog. A lot of people want an “influencer.” If you want to know why I’m putting that in quotes, make sure you check out episode number eight on ways to work with influencers because Angela Cruz and I get into that. A lot of people want an influencer as a TV host because they share it with their audience and it gets more views.

All you need is Wi-Fi and a Dream

To bring this back to how to make money from home, I have never had a home office. I don’t rent office space. That would be a complete waste of money for me.

All of my publicists are spread out. Most of my team is here in South Florida, but I have publicists based in New York and Arizona. I have clients who are earning national coverage. They’re not a local brand. That’s why I don’t have an office.

I want to work with a variety of people in a variety of places. Why would I spend money on a building, pay for rent, insurance, lights, phones, and everybody else’s equipment when we all have laptops and computers with Wi-Fi? It’s simpler for me as a business owner and easier for my team because they can work from wherever they feel comfortable.

I’ve had two homes since I started my business. In my first home, I had a corner in the family room where I did everything and now I have a beautiful wall of built-in bookshelves. This has been a dream of mine. The sliding ladder is going up soon.

This is where I’ve built my business, so you can do almost anything from home. All you need is Wi-Fi or a library. One day I lost power so I went to the library and kept on keeping on because all you need is Wi-Fi.

You can build any business from home, but please stop searching for how to make money fast online and how to make money online for free because if you’re looking for something quick and easy, it’s not going to happen and you’re being lazy.

I built my business by working a hell of a lot. In the beginning, I wasn’t strategic because I didn’t know how to be strategic. When I started getting personalized, one-on-one help, I started doubling my business and it just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger every year.

Making Money Goals When You Work From Home

I’m not a name brand clothes or bags kind of person. I’m not a fancy car kind of person.

Everybody has their lottery plan, right? We all just didn’t win the mega millions for 1.6 billion unless you’re that one person in South Carolina who’s listening, congratulations to you. My big lottery plan is to go to the spa and get massages, facials, manis and pedis. You don’t need a million bucks for that.

My husband’s goal is to eat a lot of food… and I know that sounds weird. I agree. It’s odd, but he likes to eat food so he would go to Lucky’s Market and Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and get a whole bunch of food and cook it and eat it. You don’t need multiple six figures to do that.

When I break down what I want money for, it’s not to buy stuff. It’s for a sense of freedom – if I want to take a day off, I can go to the movies. I would like to buy an investment property. I live in South Florida. I’m a big Chip and Joanna fan, so I want to buy a fixer-upper. When you make your money goals, you have to be clear on why you want that money and how much you want it.

I have consistently been profiting five figures a month for a year and a half now. That gives you a sense of comfort, but when you get to that point, you have to stop looking at what the fun, sexy thing is to do next. You have to keep doing the boring stuff over and over again until you have that consistent income. You have to check your Shiny Objects Syndrome. If you can do that, you will make money and you can do it from home because again, all you need is Wi-Fi and a dream.

I Want to Hear Your Questions

If you have any questions about anything or you want me to get specific about something, please let me know. I would love for you to send me an email at Christina@mediamavenandmore.com.

You can also comment on an Instagram post at @ChristinaAllDay. I’m on Twitter at @ChristinaAllDay and I do want to hear your questions. I want to grow this podcast. It’s new. This is only episode 12 and you can help me do that.

If you like what you’re hearing, please subscribe if you haven’t already. I also want you to leave me five stars and a review because my podcast is new. It’s hard to get bumped up in the search and if you leave me a review and five stars, that moves me up a little bit so more people can find it.

I want to get some people into this three-day media class. You can do that by going to mediamavenandmore.com/publicity. It’s just three days. It teaches you how to pitch. You have to do PR on your PR to make a profit, so I’m going to show you how you can turn that publicity into profit in three days.

I’m going to take some time away from my business to work on more fun things like my lifestyle blog. In 2019, I think we’re going to be focusing on a YouTube strategy. In a couple of weeks, we’re going to hear from Sunny Lenarduzzi who is a YouTube star who teaches people how to make money on YouTube by selling their online courses. I’m super excited for that interview.

We will cross that bridge when we come to it. We’re still in 2018. We have more than two months left to go.

I hope everyone enjoyed this solo episode. I am looking forward to next week when we are going to hear from my good friend. She’s also in one of the coaching programs I’m in. Her name is Alexis Caldicott.

I hope everybody has a Happy Halloween. I’ll see you guys next week.

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How to Create a Millennial Marketing Strategy

How to Create a Millennial Marketing Strategy

In this episode of Become a Media Maven®, I speak with Chelsea Krost. Chelsea is an expert in marketing to millennials… and it’s important because millennials have the most spending power in the world.

She talks about how the older companies are trying to take their voice and change it to work online, thinking mobile first, and being on social media to engage the market.

How to Create a Millennial Marketing Strategy

Chelsea says the most common mistake people make when marketing to millennials is assuming we are all the same. We don’t like the same things, are not influenced by the same things, and do not purchase the same things.

In the 11th episode of Become a Media Maven®, Chelsea really goes into using a personal brand to get the known, like, and trust factor to build your business and why you should be doing this as an employee AND as an entrepreneur.

Something else that’s pretty cool – Chelsea gets world-renowned leaders across the globe to tweet with her and her audience for an hour on a particular topic every week. Yeah, we talk about that too!

In this episode, you’ll learn exactly how to create a millennial marketing strategy and so much more.

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 Create a Millennial Marketing Strategy

In this episode of Become a Media Maven®, Chelsea Krost is talking about everything marketing and everything Millennial.

Who knew in 2007 the word “millennial” and that millennials we’re going to be such a powerful force to be reckoned with. I had such an itch that the next generation was going to be so different than the previous generation just because of all fights happening in social media and digital world. But I mean come on, who could have forecasted the last decade and the shift in the demand for us to really understand the millennial generation from a personal and consumer perspective?!

Why Millennials Have a Bad Reputation

You started working at a radio station when you were in high school here in South Florida and it really was to empower teenagers and to be like, “Hey, we’re not all bad.” However, many years later, we’re still saying, “Hey, not all millennials are bad.”

I know unfortunately some of the same narrative is happening. I think it comes with the territory whenever there’s the next generation in town. Soon, the next generation will be even more at the forefront… and I think we’re calling them Gen Z.  

In 2007 when I was in high school, people like Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Britney Spears, and Lindsay Lohan were big. They were kind of like the Kardashians at the time, if you will. You could not escape them. They were doing cocaine. They were out, getting drunk, and making trouble… and this was the world’s image of the next generation. There was no such thing, as Facebook yet. It was in its infancy.

So, the visual of young entrepreneurs and young influencers wasn’t good because there wasn’t a platform for us yet. MTV was airing shows like 16 and Pregnant and it was just like a very dark and dreary time of “the teenager”.

My mentors on TV were people like Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, and Oprah. They all started to talk about the next generation in such a negative way – down to the point where I remember watching The View and the tagline for the commercial was – our teenagers are officially the demise of the future. I just was so taken aback by that comment because all I could hear, was negative, negative, negative.

I said to myself, “Well, this isn’t empowering my peers. We are way more than, lazy, entitled, and narcissistic.” That was really the motivator behind putting together my first radio talk show which was a way to create a platform for my peers to have a voice, to share their opinion, to talk about topics that were relevant and that we were passionate about.

We needed an outlet to talk about things like:

  • SATs and ACTs
  • Relationships
  • Body image issues
  • Bullying and cyberbullying
  • Sexting
There were so many terms and social issues that were starting to surface at that time. That was just further calling me to create a platform to finally have a place to talk about it amongst my generation. That was the motivator behind it all.

Why you Should be Marketing to Millennials

Based on your work over the years and all of your research, millennials – that person, they are the ones that every brand should be marketing to. Why?

You might feel like you’ve been hearing the term “millennial” for multiple years now, and that’s true. Five years ago when we first started to talk about these millennials, people were still wrapping their head around what a millennial was. The reality of how different this generation is is because of the way we grew up.  

We were born into and had full access to a technology that no other generation had. Clearly, our mindset was going to be different. We are still trying to help baby boomers and Gen Xers wrap their head around the technology.

So now in 2018, if you’re not thinking millennial, if you don’t understand the millennial mindset, and if you’re not thinking about shaping your marketing strategies to appeal to this consumer group, you’re really, really hurting yourself more than helping yourself.

Here’s the reason why. Millennials are:

  • The largest generation on the plant.
  • Have the largest consumer spending power on the planet.
  • Are getting older and becoming more financially stable.

Since we’re not getting younger, we are the next generation of consumers… even if we’re not necessarily your consumer quite yet.

Maybe your target demo is a bit older, but guess what? Millennials are getting older. So you have to start shaping your branding, your marketing, and your content marketing efforts to start including the younger audience. As we continue to age, we are further becoming acclimated and the trust factor is there with brands that we’re going to purchase later in life.

If you don’t have a digital footprint, if you don’t have a social presence, if you don’t have an optimized website today, a millennial is a lot less likely to trust your brand and trust spending their money with you.

It’s time to really start to take millennial consumers into consideration.

Niching Down to Market to Millennials Online

You cannot put millennials in a one size fits all box. First of all, we are a very broad age bracket. You know, we’re like in that 20 to 38 range, right? So obviously what appeals to a 20-year-old right now is totally different than what a 30-year-old is going through. A stage of life, income priorities, mindset, etc.

You really have to understand the niche audiences within this millennial generation and refine your message to speak to the niche audience – that’s your consumer and that means that you have to be realistic in how millennials are spending their money.

Think about the sharing economy. Millennials are so savvy when it comes to shopping online and finding the best price and getting the biggest bang for their buck. So, these are all things in regards to a millennial mindset that we should be taking into consideration.

Think about this:

  • Who is your customer?
  • How do you create an ideal customer profile?  
  • Is it gender specific?
  • Are you catering towards male versus female?
  • What age range is your target customer?
  • Are they in college or high school?
  • A first time home buyer?
  • Are they parents?
  • Are they divorced?
  • What stage of life are they in?
  • And in that stage of life, what kind of income do these people have?

All of that information, all of those answers are going to reveal your audience demographics and helped also define and clarify where that person is on social media.

If you’re targeting a consumer in high school or college or younger, you know that you need to be on Snapchat and Instagram. If your target audience is in their mid-twenties to early thirties, they’re probably going to be on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. If you’re a GenX or Baby Boomer, you are probably going to be on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Understanding your audience demographics and the answers in your audience demographics will help to reveal where you should be on social media, what your marketing message should sound like, and then what your content marketing efforts should look like.

What Content to Create to Grab Millennials Attention

A big mistake that people make is they are just so overly promotional!

I will never deny that content marketing takes time. It takes patience. It takes creativity. It takes money. You know you must create videos and blog posts.

When I talk about marketing, messaging equals content. No matter where the content comes from – your blog, live stream, or even the content in this podcast right now. The content must be written out in the ad and then posted on social media sites.

This is what I mean by messaging. It’s the copy within the content that you are sharing to your audience and that copy, that text, is your marketing message.

The more you understand who you’re speaking to the clearer your message will be. When somebody speaks your language, you trust them quicker, you relate to them, you want to engage… versus someone who’s so not speaking your language or on your wavelengths.

That’s what I mean by structuring your marketing messaging to speak the language of your target customer.

If your customer is in college, obviously that language is going to be different than AARP who’s marketing messaging is to Gen Xers and baby boomers. So, it’s kind of like a simple “duh” moment.

It’s something that’s greatly overlooked and because content marketing is essential today, there’s no way to get around content marketing.

What to Post on Social Media to get Millennials Attention

Some marketing efforts are churning out an ROI (return on investment) and some are not because there’s a little bit of a science and a method and the formula that needs to be done prior to just pumping out your content. Don’t just post. Purposely post so that you can get results. When I say purposefully post, that also means defining your objective and your goal. So we know who we are speaking to in our audience. We know what channels we need to be on to speak to our audience. So now, what is your objective and goal?

  1. Maybe you’re looking to grow your followers on social media?
  2. You could be looking to increase video views?
  3. Another goal could be looking to increase your email list and get more subscribers?
  4. Maybe you are trying to educate your consumer about a new product or new service?
  5. What about trying to get people to sign up for your event?

I just came up with five different goals that are five different pieces of content that you could create for your channels and those goals that you have laid out.

Take Steps to Earn Trust from Millennials

I feel like when people set a goal, most of the time it is just to sell. But they’re totally missing some of the messages. Like, the “do something” in between, goal – to get known and liked and trusted.

People need to reel their goals in a little bit because nobody’s going to buy something as soon as you post it on Facebook or Instagram. You need to constantly be building that bond and trust factor.

I think that’s where a lot of people mess this up – they try to move too fast and that’s just not how people buy anymore.

The society that we live in today is the “Insta” generation, and I don’t mean Instagram. I mean as an instantaneous! We want everything now or within 24 hours… and guess what, when it comes to marketing your business and scaling your business, there is no such thing as a quick fix.

All of those people that are looking for a quick fix or not taking the time to build a solid foundation in their branding and their marketing and their business efforts will have less success.

The more solid your foundation, the bigger the mega-mansion you could build, right? So instead of looking for the quick fix or trying to make everything work yesterday, take the time to do the research in your industry, in your target audience, and really create a marketing strategy, a content strategy, and a social media strategy that’s going to give you a return on your investment. That’s when I say sometimes we really got to get back to basics in our marketing today to really appeal to just digital consumers and especially millennial consumers.

You’re just bombarded with tons of stuff online – whether it be your competition or just standing out in front of that audience.

Why Personal Branding is HUGE in a Millennial Generation

We all want the millennials. They have the biggest spending power. There are tons and tons of them, so I know you’re big on personal branding. Tell us about how anybody can use personal branding – whether you have a product based business or a service based business and what the benefit is of branding yourself in a certain way to get that know, like, and trust factor to make more sales.

I’m so in love with the topic of personal branding because of the true realities of what building a personal brand can do for you personally, professionally and for your business.

How do we stand out from the crowd today? How do we differentiate our brand? How do we differentiate our products or services?  The biggest answer right now is really working on your personal brand.

So what do I mean by that? You might have a clothing business. Okay. So obviously that means that you are in retail, you are selling clothes, you’re in the fashion industry, but one of the ways to differentiate your online boutique or maybe your pop up shop or your brick and mortar store is by building your personal brand as a fashion influencer, as that’s putting nice stuff online – styling tips, how to put together outfits, what assets should be worn for different occasions like a first date versus the job interview versus a night out with your girlfriends. Solidifying yourself as a fashion influencer or fashion expert is only going to bring more attention, more credibility, more trust, more engagement to your store, to your online shop or to your, your physical shop.

It’s a great way to market your services or your products all while being personal, relatable, and engaging with your target audience. So there is a reason and a way for everyone to benefit from a personal brand today.

When I think of personal brand for all of the Kardashians, just look at Kylie Jenner and what she’s built with her lip kits as an example, right? It’s amazing because people buy it from her. Kim Kardashian is selling out of perfume that nobody can even smell. It’s only available online, but they’re buying it because it’s hers and they have no idea what it smells like.

People buy products or services because of the people behind or in front of them.

People love the Kardashians, so that’s the reason why people love to buy their goods. Because they’re already a super fan of hers, right? They love looking at what she looks like, what she wears, how she does her makeup, so her personal brand, her digital footprint online has allowed her to create a billion-dollar empire without any additional investment or traditional advertising.

That is the power of building your personal brand. Obviously the Kardashians are a very extreme example because they also have broadcast 10 years of a reality show under their belt, but it is the perfect example of how Kylie was able to take her social presence and further monetize it by creating a service or a product that she knew her target audience was going to eat up. She knows who her audience is and she created the products for her audience interests.

How to Build a Personal Brand

If you’re an entrepreneur, that is exactly how you should be thinking of your industry and your expertise. What does your target audience need that you can package, sell, or create to ultimately monetize your personal brand as well?

There are so many people who say they don’t want to be the face behind the brand. Some people like to be behind the scenes and that’s totally okay.

Maybe you’re the business owner, the brains, but you don’t want to be the face. Find the right influencer, brand ambassador, or partner that is willing to be the face because it will make you more relatable. 

People connect through storytelling. Who tells stories? People. It’s just the personalized way that marketing is as though they are. The more you can personalize your marketing efforts, your marketing, and messaging your content – the more relatable and the higher conversions you are going to see, right?

Now is the time to start building your personal brand and your digital footprint. What I mean by digital footprint is your website, your landing page, your social media channels, your content, your blog, or your YouTube channel. The more you’re sharing online that’s on brand, you’re further building your digital footprint in the right way,

Putting money and resources behind building your personal brand is necessary. Maybe you are selling clothes online or maybe you are a coach selling meditation, coaching, or trauma therapy.

There’s always a way to build a personal brand within your industry. For those brands that are overly promotional like we were talking about a few minutes ago, they’re going nowhere fast. It’s about that 80/20 rule, 20% promotion, 80% giving value for free and engaging with your audience. There really needs to be a happy medium.

Monetizing your Personal Brand Online

I’ve been working in this industry for over 10 years and I’m the perfect example of what a personal brand could evolve into and how you can further it and how you can monetize it. My personal brand has turned into a six-figure business, but it didn’t happen overnight.

I’ve been doing this a decade and I serve clients now – corporate consulting clients and entrepreneur or coaching clients. I do put them in two different categories because obviously corporate is more on the consulting where we’re helping them activate influencer marketing campaign structure, their content marketing efforts, or the production and producing content for them.

The fun part is that I actually get to be the talent because I do have an audience myself. I am a host, right? So I get to work behind the scenes and in front of the scenes for my corporate clients which is really fun.

Over the past 10 years as I’ve been doing this for Kotex, Capital One, Mastercard, and the Cosmopolitan magazines of the world, I really realized that I was marketing to millennials.

Helping the Smallest Business Owner

There’s so much great information for on how to build a market for their own business. Yet people aren’t getting it. So after, after six years of hearing the same questions over and over and over again, I said, “You know what? I gotta do this. I have to open up my services to appeal to the startup entrepreneur” and I realized that helping startup entrepreneurs fulfill me. It’s also so rewarding. I love helping an entrepreneur or having those “aha moments” or connecting the dots to create the brand and business of their dreams because we can do it online today.

I serve corporate clients in multiple ways and then my smaller startup entrepreneurs and business owners get one on one coaching to really help them build their personal brand, solidify their business development, help them with their digital asset – optimization of websites, landing pages, social media channels, or creating a content marketing strategy.

All of these things are doable. We just have to take the time to learn how to do it. Plain and simple.

I also did something similar. I had my PR agency and after a couple of years of that I said, “You know what? Why don’t I start helping the little guy? Because the little guy needs it the most.”

So you’re still working with them and providing value. You’re just doing it in a different way because they’re at a different space at a different point in their career.

#MillennialTalk Twitter Chat

Every Tuesday night, you could always expect at 8:00 pm EST Chelsea to host a Twitter chat with millennials.

Our Twitter chat is loaded with incredible entrepreneurs, credible, insane guests that come and do this.

Always expect to have a different topic within the marketing, social media, and entrepreneurial space. We are here to serve the entrepreneur and we always have a different guest speaking on that topic. Our guests are world renowned, the top authorities in their industry, and are loaded with insight.

Within an hour’s time, there’s so much information about that topic that you will learn aside from networking with all of these incredible entrepreneurs and business owners across the globe too… and I mean across the globe – UK, Australia, Africa, Germany, Bolivia, the US, Canada. We have such an amazing audience.

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The One Reason Your Funnel Isn't Working

The One Reason Your Sales Funnel Isn’t Working

In this episode of Become a Media Maven®, I speak with Paige Filliater. Paige started making money by teaching other business owners how to build online sales funnels.

Then, when many of her clients had profiting sales funnels and still weren’t happy in their business or life, she decided to go deeper.

In the 10th episode of Become a Media Maven®, Paige shares some sales funnel knowledge, but also takes us back to really think about the reason for the funnel – How much money do you want to make? Why do you want to make that much money?

In this episode, you’ll learn what you need to work on before you start building a sales funnel to ensure it’s successful and you feel successful.

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!

Paige Fillater

The One Reason Your Sales Funnel Isn’t Working

Paige Filliater is going deep on this one and I am so glad that she came on to talk about sales funnels because she really touches on something that most people in the online business world leave out and this is probably the most important thing that should be talked about. It determines your success. Paige is somebody you want to listen to because she has built a very successful business in sales funnels and is doing the same thing for many clients.

So, if you want to make yours better or if you want to start to build one or maybe you don’t even know what the hell one is, then this is for you.

Paige, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to talk with me. And I want to talk about a couple of things with you because you are an expert in a few different things and one kind of led to another. But, I want to start with the basics and that is sales funnels.

What is a Sales Funnel?

I was curious about sales funnels and I was innately very good at puzzles. So, when I see a person, or I see a group of people, or I see a business, or whatever it is, I see potential in things.

That lends itself well to funnels because I’d create something and I would say, okay, what, where’s the potential leading me here? Like, what could I put on the back end of this that would support them but also would lead to an easy ‘yes’. I don’t know, I’ve just had a very focused and strategic mind when it comes to that stuff.

I still get excited by them. I still do them well. I don’t do them for clients, but we still do them within my business. I still strategize with clients for their businesses, but I don’t implement them. That’s what I was doing way back when.

Sales funnel is one of those words where I feel like people who are newer in business, are asking, what is a funnel? Everybody talks about a freaking ‘funnel’. So explain that. Give me an example of a client with a funnel that you implemented.

I’ll give you an example of a funnel that worked really well and then also why we don’t do it anymore.

An Example of a Sales Funnel

I was creating a funnel for people who didn’t even really understand that they had a problem. They didn’t understand what the root of the problem was.

They just knew they had an issue, so they had tried two sales funnels before, at this point, and it wasn’t working, they thought it was because it was the wrong sales funnel. And I knew it was because of their energy dynamic or their life strategy, which we’ll talk about later.

Basically, the first part of the funnel was – hey, have you tried this, and it didn’t work? I have this new thing for you, which is essentially what everybody teaches. Introduce the problem to them, aluminate the problem. So they are aware that they have to eliminate the symptoms, they’re aware that they have the problem, they know what the problem is, and now you have a solution for them that they have never tried before. So in my case, it was – okay, let’s try this from an energetic angle.

So, they took the quiz, which was free, and after they took the quiz they got the results. I offered them and what people call an upsell. So my upsell was – okay, now that you understand that you have a problem, I have a solution. Here is more information or a deep dive into the next problem I think you’re going to have, which is understanding your specific energy.

So then I offered them, I think it was, anywhere between a $97 or $197 upsell, which was my energetic basics bundle. Originally the intention of the energetic basics bundle and that price point was obviously to get them to the next level, but it was also to offset the cost of the Facebook ads, which it did.

What I was finding was that people were getting information, and they were getting a breakthrough, but they weren’t getting the transformation.

When to Turn Off a Sales Funnel

So I decided that I didn’t want to sell information anymore and I just wanted to give it away. Then I found one of my advisors, Scott Olford. He was doing the ROI method, which is a lot of just giving people value in giving people information, not asking anything of them in return.

So, in talking with my client yesterday, she’s like – I’ve got this guide that I’m doing, and then I want to sell a $17 product on the back end. And I said – okay, so what’s the intention of the funnel? To get clients? And she said – yes, it’s either to put it on my membership site or to be a one on one client. I said – well, if you’re planning on working with them long-term, why don’t you just give them what you will be charging them $17 for? Give them the value, build a relationship, build the rapport, give them a breakthrough, and then lead them to transformation.

So, we don’t sell information anymore because I think people don’t need any more data information. They need transformation. They need implementation in their life.

It’s Not in the Content. It’s in the Implementation.

I’m a business owner of three years now and I am at the point where it’s like – okay, I don’t need any more information. I just need to implement what I know and I feel like a lot of small business owners or people starting out, they take all of this information and they do nothing with it and then they wonder why they’re not successful.

They don’t know how to discern it and they don’t know what’s for them and what’s not for them. They don’t know how to make decisions.

At the core of that is most people don’t know who they are, so they don’t know how they make decisions. They don’t know what information is pertinent to them. So, they’re just stuck with all this information. People were coming to me and they wanted one funnel, the money, for really surface reasons. And I know as a human being, and as somebody who’s just innately curious about human potential and human behavior, is that they were so lost. They didn’t know why they wanted the money. They thought the money was going to give them fulfillment.

I couldn’t live like that anymore. I couldn’t just give people what they thought that they needed. I needed to give people what they truly needed and help them find fulfillment in that.

What to do When your Sales Funnel Isn’t Working

If people have sales funnels, what do they do when they’re struggling? Like, maybe it’s not working. I’m doing everything that I’ve learned and I’m following these steps I was told to take and I’m not profiting or maybe even breaking even. What do you say to them?

I reverse engineer and I actually am getting ready to launch another mini-course or training that I’m literally giving away. And it’s all about this. Let’s reverse engineer.
  • What do you want first?
  • What do you want the funnel to do for you?
  • What is your goal?
  • How much money do you want to make from the funnel?
  • Then why do you want the money?
  • What is the money going to do for you?
People are like – well, it’s going to buy me freedom and time. Let’s cut the shit. What is it? What do you want the money for? And then we get to – oh, I want to buy a new house. Okay, so why do you want the new house? Oh, so I can provide for my family and they can have a nice life. Okay, so why do you want your family to have a nice life? Just going layers and layers and layers deeper. I mean, the truth of the matter is nobody understands why they want the money. They think the money is going to bring them something and they have no idea what that something is.

I was just seeing so much deeper than funnels. It really is it so much. Why do you want the money? Because anything I usually was finding was that people were wanting to create the money in a real place of scarcity and lack.

  • I want the money because I’m not enough.
  • I want the money because I don’t have enough money.
  • I want the money because I want a lot of clients
  • I want the money because I want significance.

So, you’re pouring all this time and energy and money and resources into something that is never going to sustain you or your family or the people you care about. So, now you help people build from a place of sustainability and purpose and mission.

How to Make your Sales Funnel Fun

When you understand who you are and how powerful you are and where your power actually comes from and how you engage with the world to get whatever you want truly want and how to never make a wrong decision – when you approach a funnel from that place, the funnel is a game, the funnel is fun. There’s not a lot of – if this doesn’t work then I’m going to lose everything because you know better at this point.

So, you’re just like – let’s see what works. Let’s have fun. You release the pressure from it and then you open up the possibility because you’re not putting all this pressure on one outcome one certain way. You’re just showing up like it’s a game and then it’s fun. I feel like a lot of people do the funnel thing because online it looks easy because they’re just seeing that one side of it. So, getting clear on the why is really step one and I feel like that’s a step most people probably never even visit, right?

Going Deep With Your Sales Funnel

That’s why my clarity calculator is so popular and it’s so transformational for people because it’s the stuff that everybody skips. It’s the stuff that everybody skips because they don’t actually understand what they’re doing. They don’t know where the money needs a job. The money wants to work.

Imagine if you were in a relationship and the relationship consisted of you saying – I want you to bring me this. I want you to do this for me and that for me and I’m not going to really put any time or energy into you.

How would that relationship go?

That’s everybody’s relationship with funnels and the money that comes from funnels. I want you to do this for me and this for me and this for me, but I’m not going to take any time to get to know you. It’s just energy dynamics with everything.

Okay, so let me play the devil’s advocate because what you’re saying sounds very woo.

Yeah, but it’s not. It’s very exciting, but I’m sure a lot of people shy away from it because it’s a little woo, right? It’s different.

That’s what it is. You can’t see it, touch it, smell it, and so people don’t believe that it’s real, but I would challenge that, and I would ask yourself how far has believing in things you can see, touch, smell, and taste gotten you in life? Are you fulfilled? If not, why don’t you try something different?

Since I can remember, I’ve been on a trajectory and I’ve been on a path. I have a mission to serve the details and the how and the who and all of that stuff revealed itself over time. I just trusted that that’s okay. You’re a busy funnel making machine.

Somebody comes to you and their funnel isn’t working and they don’t have any idea why. They’re following the steps and tell me what their reaction is when you tell them – well, we’re going to try to get a little more clear on your why and you dig real deep and then tell me about the transformation and what happens after.

I can give you a million examples. So, people don’t really come to me for funnels anymore, they just come to me for business in general when it’s not working.

Somebody comes to me for funnels and they get very clear about what the money is for and everything changes, or they start to see their health improve, or they start to see their relationships improve, and then the money comes. I had a client, she’s actually a coach now and in one of my programs. She’s like – I want this and I want that. I don’t know if it was a funnel or she had a program she was trying to fill at the time.

She wasn’t really making any money in her business. I looked at her human design and I said, you’re not an empath, so I don’t know what you’re doing and why you’re trying to model something that’s not you at all. And so, what we did was get very clear about who she was and what her gifts were. She really lit her up.

Who are you, what are you so excited doing, what gives you energy instead of draining you? Most humans go all day long doing things that drain their energy and not give them energy. And so we got very, very clear on that. We had a few calls and then she went on to make her first clarity calculator.

What is a Clarity Calculator?

Most people have an arbitrary goal at like $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 a month. Okay, that’s fine. We can play with that arbitrary goal.

What do you want in your life? So, it’s a spreadsheet. Basically, it sets like goals. I go over it and it’s like – what are the decisions you make for your life? Mine says I have decided that I work with x amount of dream clients. I have decided that I have a house manager that so I don’t have to do the bills and the laundry and all the little things that drained my energy that I don’t enjoy. I pay all of my bills on time. So those are the things that actually make me feel excited about making money.

Those are the reasons I want to make money because it feels really good to pay my bills on time. I never experienced growing up where we had to rob Peter to pay Paul. Not all the bills got paid on time because there was never enough money no matter what we did.

These are my decisions and then I put the number next to it. So, if I was going to have a house, if I decide that I’m going to have a house manager, how much is that going to cost me? If I don’t know what that number is, I go and do the research.

I go and ask people, what do you pay your cleaning lady? I would just get a really solid quote on these things and I would put those numbers in and then I would get a total. And so, what I often find is the things that are really non-negotiable to people, the things that they truly want that would make them feel really fulfilled and really happy right now, are either significantly less than the arbitrary goal that they’ve set or significantly more than the arbitrary goals they’ve set.

That’s why they don’t hit their goals because they’re not in alignment with what they really want. There’s no rhyme or reason behind the goal. It sounds like to me it’s almost like the vanity numbers on social media like you just want it to want it because it looks and sounds good.

Setting Money Goals for the Sales Funnel

First and foremost, people just need their root safety before they can even think about the next level. With this client, she needed $6,000 to feel really good and really expansive and really taking care of a solid life.

She was in a not so great relationship. She was living with her mother in law at the time, just not a great environment. So, some of her non-negotiables were – I live on my own, I feel really expansive. I have it, you know, I paid for my car, I have something that helps me, the house, my child. I am able to go to the gym and take care of myself.

So, she got really clear on that number and it was like $6,000 and something and she made $7,000 the next month.  And then from there, she could create a funnel because she knew exactly what she wanted to get that money. What relationship we have had with that money, what job that money had, what that money was going to provide for her, and then what she was willing to do for the money.

And what I mean by that is spend time and energy on the funnel, spend time and energy looking at her money, and giving them money.

I really like breaking down what you want specifically and the cost of it to determine your goal because honestly, I feel like nobody does that. They just want to say six figures or seven figures or this and that and they really, like you said, they have no idea what they’re doing it for.

I have worked with sales teams that are doing $200, $300, $400,000 a month and you know, they say that they’re having a bad couple of months. Well, this is simple – what is the money for? I need you to break it down. It changes the game the next month or you’re right back on track.

Tell me what that does to you internally that just makes that transformation happen.

It’s intention and awareness. We walk through life really unconsciously and really unintentionally. We don’t know why we do what we do. We’re just a bunch of people walking around with habits. We have no idea why we do the things that we do and we still continue to do things that don’t serve us just because we think we should do that.

Is it a habit? Yeah. There are things you’ve been doing your whole life that you have no idea why you do it. There are traditions you have in your family that you have no idea why you do it.

Invest in your Sales Funnel

Newer business owners are resistant to do almost anything because they’re scared of losing money. They’re scared of failing, which I never got that one.

I’ve never feared failing, thank God. But they’re just resistant to doing anything that is different. So then, they really don’t move a whole lot or do anything.

It all goes back to finding your why and your deeper why. And that’s where your sweet spot is. And working with people because if you don’t have that, nothing will work.

Be clear on what your mission was when God sent you here. I believe this was a co-creation between me and God or a higher power and we decided that this is what was going to happen in order to serve a higher purpose and my mission here.

Once you’re clear on that mission, your ultimate purpose and your ultimate goal will be clear, and you will no longer be afraid.

You can pull your human design chart, but what’s going to happen is you’re going to look at it and you’re going to be like – okay, so what does any of this have to do with you? I’m not insulting your intelligence, but it’s very in depth.

It’s always important to start with the foundation and so many people skip it. We’re taught that we have to earn things and that we have to struggle and push. It is not necessary.

If you choose that’s non-negotiable, then that’s your choice. But I want you to know that it is not necessary and that there is a much easier, more blissful way to do it. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to require massive action, faith, and doing, but it’s focusing on the correct things for you that are going to lead to the quickest results in the easiest fashion. So, I just want you to ask yourself, do you require it to be a struggle in order to have what it is that you want? I think that’s a really great place to start. And if you do ask yourself – what do I want? Why? If I’m going to struggle, if I’ve now decided that it’s a requirement, what do I, what do I need to, what I want to feel? What am I doing?
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How to get on a reality TV show

How To Get On A Reality TV Show

In this episode of Become a Media Maven®, I speak with Lindsay Greene. Lindsay went from blogger to reality TV show contestant to a full-fledged brand.

She talks about how when she started blogging, she struggled with finding her niche. When she did, she wanted to make sure she was honest in all of her posts.

In the ninth episode of Become a Media Maven®, Lindsay talks about how she credits patience to her success. She kept blogging about food, even after moving to a different state. She kept telling more and more people about what she was doing. Those people told her about the Food Network casting, and even though she waited until the last minute to apply, she got it!

In this episode, you’ll learn what you can do to get on a reality TV show too.

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 get on a reality TV show

For most of us, setting a specific goal(s) is how we gauge our success. Sometimes, we are successful and sometimes we are not. But for Lindsay, figuring out what her goal was and how to obtain her goal wasn’t so clear-cut.

Starting a Food Blog

“When I first started blogging I was kind of confused about what my brand identity should be,” Lindsay said. She knew she wanted to blog about food, but there was more to it than that. Lindsay had to ask herself:

  • Should my blog be location specific?
  • Should I be the South Florida food blogger?
  • Should I try to be everywhere?
  • What kind of content am I going to try to put out?

Lindsay decided to start her blog with recipes. Simple enough? Or was it?

“When I did start, I was posting recipes and I found it was a lot more time consuming than I thought, especially if you’re not a recipe developer like me.”

She said it started to get old really fast. “So, at the beginning, I ended up switching gears several times within the first three to four months.”

“The thing I like to do is eat and I love to cook too, but eating is really my favorite and I always knew that I had something to say about food. I wanted to give my opinion about the foods that I ate out.”  

Lindsay felt with her, straight shooter and honest approach, she could deliver a compelling blog people could rely on. 

“It’s funny, ever since I was younger, I loved, loved, loved to eat! Even in elementary school, I would have friends parents say that I couldn’t come over for dinner because they didn’t have enough food to feed me.” Lindsay laughs and says by the time she got to college, “My mom would have to make more food when she knew I was coming home from college.”

Growing a Successful Food Blog

As Lindsay became an adult, she began to realize she couldn’t pack on the food the way she had most of her life, but it didn’t change her passion for it.

“It actually kind of stressed me out transitioning out of that because you get to a certain age where your body can’t support all of this food the way that it used to. So, it’s been a constant struggle my whole life with truly loving to eat. Not just food in general, but a lot of food.”

Even with her food struggles, it didn’t sway Lindsay from sticking with her goals. She wanted to blog about food. She wanted to share her knowledge and passion for food.

From Food Blog to Food Network

Lindsay continued her blog and toyed with different formats. Then, she got an unexpected call.

“Out of the blue, a friend of mine in Atlanta sends me the casting call for Food Networks Guy’s Big Project. I remember specifically looking at it and seeing it was calling all home cooks and food bloggers.”

If you haven’t seen the show Guy’s Big Project, it’s a reality show where Guy Fieri challenges contestants to develop their own food TV show and the winner makes appearances on Food Network programs.

Lindsay contemplated responding.

“Normally, I would have never applied to something like this because I’m not a trained chef, you know, I haven’t gone to culinary school or anything like that.”

Her passion for food took over.

“Because it said food bloggers, I knew they were looking for more amateur type people. This was for a hosting position. I had always looked at my end goal of becoming a food personality. I didn’t want to just take pictures and post online. I wanted to be more than that.” she said.

The thought of applying made Lindsay super uncomfortable so she waited until the very last minute to submit her pitch video.

“A few hours before it was due I put it online.” She says, “Then they called me not more than a few hours later. I literally couldn’t believe it because I’ve never done anything like that before. Never been on camera. I wasn’t sure if I’d be good at it.”

But she says there was only one way to find out.

Promoting Your Blog to Get More Opportunities

There are two important points about Lindsay’s journey. Since the beginning, she worked hard to get the word out about her brand, blog, Instagram, and goals. This is a must for success because Exposure =  Opportunity. If you’re not putting yourself out there, how will people know what to pass along to you?

Lindsay also waited until the last minute to apply for the reality show. Why? Because she felt uncomfortable. So many people in business don’t want to do what feels uncomfortable. To be successful, you can’t avoid it. When you step out of your comfort zone, that’s a sign you should be doing it. It means it’s the next step to grow your business.

“I had my initial phone conversation with producers, and then we Skyped, and then several more calls,” Lindsay says the questions producers asked were specific to her niche. Things like:

  • What’s your relationship with food?
  • Why are you so interested in food?
  • What would her show be like? (since this is a reality show about hosting a show)

Lindsay says, “They just wanted to see how I was and how comfortable I would be on camera. They have to know you’re going to be entertaining and open and not just like closed up and not say anything the whole time… and that I had an actual show concept.”  

Three weeks after the phone calls and Skype interview, while at a wedding in New Orleans, Lindsay got the call. She was cast in the show and taping would start in a week and a half.

Lindsay’s original concept would have the show’s contestants going to fairs, festivals, and food truck events to pick their favorite dish. They would bring it back to the studio for all of the contestants to try and they’d decide on a winner. Producers told her to change the concept because it needed to focus specifically on her.

Lindsay says she had to come up with plan “B” quickly.

“I honestly didn’t really know what my concept was going to be on the way to the first challenge for the show. So, I’m kind of sitting there trying to reimagine what I wanted to do.”

Food on Instagram… on TV

She says Instagram immediately popped up in her my mind.

“I thought, okay, what are the things I like about Instagram? And it came to me, all of these obnoxious things that we see. You know things like ice cream that is fish flavored. They look cool but do they actually taste good, So I would try them out on my show.” Lindsay says producers liked it. And although she didn’t win in the end, she says the experience was life-changing.

Lindsay tells me that no matter how much she reviewed it in her head, once the camera started rolling… She just had to do it!

“It was like the mecca for being professionally uncomfortable. Lots of strangers around, and here I am in front of Guy Fieri and other Food Network stars and I’m literally standing in front of them having to perform on the spot.”

“These experiences definitely help you. It’s just about continuously showing up to these places that you don’t necessarily want to be in, knowing that it can get you in a better place in the long run.”

A much simpler challenge was keeping the secret. Contractually, Lindsay wasn’t allowed to tell anyone about her involvement during the 5-month taping. Lindsay laughs, “I am a terrible secret keeper. Keeping the secret was almost as impressive being on the show.”

Becoming a Food Influencer

As you can imagine, once the show aired, Lindsay’s life and business changed. Her social media went crazy, her website visitation exploded, and her expertise and passion for food were on full display.

Lindsay says “The process was so overwhelming and fulfilling at the same time. It took a lot to step into the unknown and succeed. But it’s important to note that just because you get on a TV show that doesn’t mean you’re going to skyrocket because that’s not necessarily true.” she said.

It’s been a year since the show aired and Lindsay said, “I still have people saying, they saw me on the show. It gave me more credibility as a food blogger. But you know it’s not like a magic pill you take and your successful forever, I still have to work hard every day to achieve my goals and keep my brand going, but being on TV doesn’t hurt. That’s for damn sure.”

Earning Credibility as a Food Blogger and Influencer

As a PR professional, if I wanted to work with an influencer, of course, I would choose someone who has been on a Food Network show over somebody who hasn’t. They would be considered more credible and have authority in their industry.

So, I asked Lindsay if the experience changed the way she works as a food blogger and influencer.

“Oh, absolutely. Before the show, I had not done any video content. I mean I had done some video content in the form of light food videos, but nothing with me in front of the camera. Being in front of the camera and knowing what it felt like, it just excited me. It energized me and it made me happy. So when I got back, I was on a mission.” she said.

Bringing the Food to YouTube

After the show, she started making YouTube videos.

“It took a while to find my groove, but after trial and error, I’m now more specialized in the type of video blogs I’m producing,” Lindsay admits if it hadn’t been for the experience she gained from the show, she likely wouldn’t have gone the video route.

Getting Paid as a Food Influencer

So adding video content to Lindsay’s brand has helped to step up the quality of her influencer appeal. She has over 25,000 Instagram followers because she is good at what she does.  She has an amazing engagement rate. She gets over a thousand likes on her posts and gets dozens of comments. I asked her how her Instagram is turning a profit for her.

“It’s mostly brand deals. I get A LOT of offers but I’ve chosen to work with only a handful of them because I am an honest blogger. I have a long way to go financially before I can completely support myself with the blog because I’ve limited myself with who I will work with.”  

There are actually tons of different influencer agency platforms that connect influencers with brands. It includes lots and lots of networking events.

Lindsay finds them helpful. “I mean, it all helps you get connected in one way or another. That’s basically been my strategy thus far – finding these brands that I love and I can stand behind and create content for them.”

My conversation with Lindsay was interesting for several reasons.

First, of course, sitting down to chat with someone who appeared on a reality show is interesting. The details are like a mini-movie. There was a beginning, a middle and end.

But Lindsay’s interview is also interesting for another reason. It paints a picture of perseverance and taking a risk in life even when you don’t want to. Unless you are independently wealthy, stepping outside of our comfort zone is rare.

I asked Lindsay if there was any final advice she wanted to share. This is what she said.

“Each month I ask myself what have I done to make myself uncomfortable and to educate myself. Because that’s when I have grown and improved the most. Immediately following one of those two things. Because as soon as you stop trying to become better, you start getting worse. YOU have to make things happen for YOU.” Lindsay said.  

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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 SocialBlade.com. 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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Measuring Public Relations Effectiveness

Measuring Public Relations Effectiveness by Turning Publicity Into Profit

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

Measuring Public Relations Effectiveness by Turning Publicity Into Profit

I feel like so many people still live in a ‘build it and they will come’ mindset, and that is just not the case. So, we talk a lot about earning publicity. And your sweet spot is earning it and then actually doing something with it. So, you do see an ROI.

Yeah. It’s so important because how cool is it to get featured in the media? That’s awesome! It gets me in front of people. Let’s be honest: it’s a nice little ego boost as well. But we all run businesses, so when we’re getting publicity, it is so important to actually turn that PR into an ROI – something that’s tangible.

Do you know what I mean? When I say people earn publicity and then they do nothing – have you experienced this with clients?

Don’t Ignore the Publicity You Get

You know what? I have to say I’m so fortunate that that hasn’t ever happened with my clients personally, but I have heard. I heard one story a few weeks ago that just gutted me – and I’m doing that knife to the heart movement right now – where someone got on the cover of a magazine, some sort of fitness publication, and then that was it. They just left it there. Could you imagine sitting on newsstands for 30 days and having that kind of crazy exposure and not doing anything with it?

That’s so stupid.

Let’s be blunt: Yeah. It really is. I can’t even imagine the thought process on that. You worked so hard to secure a feature, so hard to build a relationship, and then to just leave it just makes zero sense. And if you’re working with a PR person, to be honest, it’s a little bit disrespectful of the work that they do. PR’ing your PR is so important.

That’s the perfect example. So, people think when I say, ‘build it and they will come’, they think, oh, I got on the cover of this magazine, everybody’s going to see me, everybody’s going to come to me. Well, guess what? In a few weeks, that magazine is coming out with somebody else on the cover. That’s one magazine of how many magazines that you’re on the cover of. So, you do need to do PR on your PR.

So, let’s use that example to start off with, and then I want you to go into specific examples of some things that you’ve done for your clients. Say you just hit the holy grail of publicity. You’re on the cover of a magazine. What do you do… besides, ignore it?

Reciprocity – Do PR On Your PR

Number one: don’t ignore it. The first thing you do when you get an awesome PR kit is you want to share it everywhere. And we’re such a socially driven generation now, I guess you can say, with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, all the other different mediums you can be a part of.

Make sure you’re sharing your PR everywhere, and even more so than just sharing it. Be sure that you tag both the publication and the individual person who did create that feature for you because that’s your way of showing that you’re sharing this content as well and that you’re really grateful for it, and you’re helping to bring more eyes to it.

Because, let’s be real: magazines – let’s say, for example, if you’re on the cover of a print magazine, they have a job to sell advertising, and if you are helping to get your own PR further out there and get more people into the brand, you’re also helping the publication.

So, sharing it everywhere is definitely the first thing to do. Tagging the people who were involved in it, 100% the next thing to do. And you know what’s another really, really great thing to do? I have three steps of profit from publicity, and this sort of goes into the second one. Leverage that one story for more media coverage.

Leverage Media Coverage with More Media Coverage

I think about when I worked with doctors. They’re identical chiropractic twins. What a fun little shtick is that to have? We got on – I’m trying to think which example because we’ve done this so many times with them. So, one example – this one I think you’ll personally love, Christina – is that they were tapped by a magazine called Optimized to write a piece about Selfie Elbow. We’re taking so many selfies right now, that we’re literally screwing up our wrists and our elbows.

That’s a genius story idea. Can I just say? That’s such a good pitch. It’s very creative and very timely.

Well, I brought Kim Kardashian into that story. That’s why I figured you would totally appreciate it.

That always works.

Right? Mention any celebrity name in there, and boom. You’re able to bring in your expertise on a celebrity you’ve never talked about in your life. So, we do this article for the magazine all about Selfie Elbow, and then, wouldn’t you know, a national news show calls us and they’re like, we love that article. We’d actually love to do a segment on it in the morning. Can you guys be in the studio for 7 A.M.? So, how cool is that? That one piece turned into another piece of media coverage.

Another time – here’s something that a lot of people may not know. And maybe you do know this because you have experienced in the TV industry. I remember getting a call from a producer of a daytime television show here in Canada, and she said to me, I was just reading the latest issue of O Magazine, and they had this whole article about gadgets for aches and pains. I would love to do something like that on our TV show. Can you guys come in and do a segment on it?

So, media is getting ideas for stories from other sources of media as well. So, if you get something in print, then go ahead and pimp it out for television, or for radio, or even dailies.

There are so many ways that you can leverage one piece of PR and turn it into a really awesome snowball effect, where you’re getting featured on a ton of different platforms for the exact same story.

And I love the idea of using media for other media. I can’t tell you how many times I would go into the morning meeting at a TV station at 9:30, and we would go over three things in the morning.

One was everything that happened overnight and everything that’s in the story list, or everything that’s on the calendar for that day, different things we’ve been pitched and whatnot. Two was our story ideas that we would bring to the table. And the third thing was what everybody else was covering.

So, channel seven did this and we didn’t do this, channel four did this and we didn’t do this. So, how could we do this but do it in a different way so that it doesn’t look like we’re copying?

Because this is the thing with the media. They always want to be first, and they want to look like they’re different. So, if they can’t do something first, then they don’t want to look like they missed it. They still want to cover it, but they’ll want to cover it in a different way.

So it’s a genius idea to use the media to get more media. And like what you said, using something in print, it can also work on TV. You just need to add a visual to it. Or if it is on TV, you can do it in print. Just maybe try a different angle.

Build Long-Term Relationships With Members of the Media

You also touched on something that I want you to elaborate a little bit more on. You touched on a guest article. This was not earned media. This was an article that your clients actually wrote, or it was written on their behalf, correct?

No. This was actually really cool, and I love to share this story as well. Same identical twins. This magazine had a section called Injury Clinic, and they’re chiropractors. Based on the fact that they have this section – I hadn’t seen them publish it for a little while. I reached out and was like, oh, we could cover this topic. Would you guys be interested in that? The magazine said yes to the pitch.

We did such a good job writing that article, sending in visuals, getting it in early, writing it so well that they hardly had to do any editing. Wouldn’t you know, the next month they were like, hey, would you guys like to write another article? Now, here’s what’s really cool. I haven’t worked with the twins for about two years, and they still have a monthly column in there. How awesome is that? Every month they get two or three pages in a magazine. They’re writing the article. They don’t get paid for it, but they’re getting the exposure.

That’s amazing. I wanted to touch on that for a couple of reasons. One, many times when you do start pitching yourself, and – funny, I have this a lot with another medical client of mine – these journalists today are very overworked and underpaid, and that’s one reason. Another reason is some of them really just don’t want to do a whole lot of work, and they know you want the media exposure, so they’ll say, okay, well you write it and then we’ll post it, we’ll publish it.

And I’ve had mentoring clients before where they say, well, I don’t want to write for them, they should do the story on me. I don’t want to work for free, and I’m like, no, no, no, no, no. This is not working for free. This is your opportunity to land coverage and another outlet that is a completely different audience that is perfect for you.

So yes, it takes work whether you write it or you hire somebody else to write something. This is something you should definitely take advantage of. And I feel like some people are a little turned off. And then another thing to keep in mind: A, you should do it, but B, when you’re doing it, it can’t be overly promotional. Right?

Nobody Cares About You

Okay, can we talk about a little mindset shift? Because the second you said that, I cringed. In my Facebook group sometime this week – you know how when having a Facebook group, new members come in? I always ask them a question. So, this week, I was asking: if you could be featured in any one media outlet, what would it be? And someone was like, I want to get into the new local newspaper because I have a brick and mortar business. I’m going to email them and see if they want to interview me, and I was like, yeah, no, you’re 100% not going to get a yes on that.

We need to take ourselves out of the picture and being so self-serving. I think a lot of people assume – I don’t want to sound mean, but I’m just going to be honest.

I always remember my first week of PR school. One of the things that they told us which was so incredibly harsh but so super true, was that nobody cares about you, your business, or your brand more than you do. That’s just the honest truth.

So, when you’re pitching an article, don’t make it about you, because guess what? Nobody cares. Make it about how you can make a difference for the reader, for the viewer, for the listener. How are you actually focusing outward and contributing to something that’s a part of a bigger picture? Because we are all very you – you know, us centric and focused. Even if we look at our own daily habits.

When I go into the world, I don’t just read random articles about people down the street. I don’t care. I have enough going on in my life. But if you talk about something in a way that it makes sense to me and I see myself in that story or a benefit to me, then I’m going to pay attention.

So, it’s really about getting out of “this is all about me and everyone should care about me”, because – think about how many times you do that for other people in a day. Not many if at all.

So, it’s all about: how can you create content that’s going to be valuable for the person consuming it on the other side? The media is not looking to just write about you. You can buy an advertisement for that. And that’s actually something I’ve heard you say that’s a part of my own language as well.

It’s Not About You. It’s About The Audience

What you’re saying, I feel like we preach this over and over and over again, and people always come back with but listen to my story, but I have an amazing story. Legit, every single business owner thinks that their story is so different and unique than everything else, and then they tell it to me and it’s like, dude, that’s every story. No, but listen, I started from nothing and now I built this. I had such a terrible childhood and now I’m doing this. And that’s not unique or different.

I think it’s so hard to get past that person’s mindset. It’s your business, so of course, you think it’s amazing. It’s you. Of course, you think you’re unbelievable. But a journalist does not care, because your story or your brand or your business, whatever you can find that’s overly promotional, it doesn’t offer any value to their audience.

I think that is the number one mistake people make. It’s, Oh, do you want to interview me? This is what we can talk about. And it’s all about me, me, me. It just doesn’t work like that.

It doesn’t at all. It drives me insane to be honest with you because we don’t consume information that way, so why do you think it would be consumed the other way around? It’s always about focusing outward, delivering value, and it’s really interesting.

Promoting Your Name and Your Brand

So, Christina, as you know, and our listeners do not: I’m currently in the process of writing a book, and I’ve been paying a lot of attention to different experts in the industry on what to do and what not to do. And the one thing that you hear from so many publishers to get approach is: people that have essentially no name are like, I want to write my memoir. Nobody even knows who you are, and no one is going to read your memoir.

When you become Jillian Michaels – I work with a lot of health fitness and wellness business owners, so that’s why you’re always hearing those kinds of related stories coming from me. But if you think about Jillian Michaels, someone will read Jillian Michaels’ memoir, because she is a brand now. She is that hard ass trainer, which – I think she’s trying to work out of that brand, but in any event, she has shown up in a different way. She’s created value through all of her different workouts and DVDs. She’s created a personality and now people care about what her personal story is.

However, if she just came out of the gate as just another personal trainer, and was like, I’m going to write my memoir, nobody cares. That’s the honest truth.

I feel like I’m coming across so harsh and honest today, but it’s really true. In PR, it’s not about you. It’s about the reader. It’s about the audience. It’s always about the person on the other side.

No, I like it. I love the honesty. Angela Cruz is somebody that I’ve had on the podcast. She is in charge of PR and communications at Discover the Palm Beaches, and she just let it be known about how influencers work and what not. I think it’s helpful. We’re not telling people what they want to hear. We’re telling them what they need to hear.

And if you also want to hear more on book promotions, if you are thinking of writing a book, then look out for the podcast episode with Ashley Bernardi. That is her niche, and it’s all about promoting nonfiction authors.

But I think the point we’re trying to make here is that there is an order to these things.

Be Strategic in Promoting Your Brand

You have to start with publicity and then leverage that publicity to create a brand name and a business that can charge premium prices.

Obviously, you earn the media first and then you leverage that media for more media, and then eventually you can get to that point where people actually do care about you, you do get that feature, right?

Yeah, 100%. You can totally get there. You have to think about consumer behavior, not your own behavior as a business owner.

Step out of the shoes of “I own this business and I need to promote myself” and think about how to consume television and online content. When I check my Gmail, am I clicking on ads? Am I going onto Facebook to see what they want to sell me today? Or am I going online because someone shared this article that was really interesting, and I want to read it?

Build a Brand to Build a Business

Actually, a little more removed – what’s interesting about a friend of mine is she launched a podcast and now she’s writing a book. So, because she actually started getting featured in the media – she was getting quoted, she was interviewed – she became a specialist talking about personal training for women going through peri and post menopause. Not just personal training like 10,000 other people out there.

Now she started to build a name for herself and a brand for herself through creating her podcast and starting her book. She has people who are influencers coming to her. She has authors asking to be interviewed on her podcast.

What she’s done is she’s built a name for herself and she’s built a reputation for herself. Now when I look at her business, a little over a year later, she’s in a position where she has so many people coming to her now that she can kind of go one of two ways.

She can have premium pricing now, where she can work with fewer people and have more time, or she can keep her prices at the same point and actually create more volume because she has all these leads coming in from the various types of publicity that she’s doing.

Promote Your Media Appearances Online

And here’s the thing: I think our friends and family are like, you can do it, we believe in you. And thank God for them, we love them, but when it gets into the real world of business, it’s totally not how it works with people. You have to stand out, you have to offer something different.

There has to be a reason that I would be willing to pay you more than someone who I’ve never heard of before. So, having publicity really gives you that know-how and that street cred, because Christina, let’s look at it.

Any time you go on someone’s website, what would you say is one of the first things you see above the fold? If you’re a business coach or an author, whatever it is.

I want to see what other people are saying about them.

Yeah, so a lot of the way that they do that is – I always think of Lewis Howes for this example. You go to his website and he has his big As Seen on Real, As Seen on Ellen, The Today Show, the New York Times, all these different outlets, because you know why? That gives him instant credibility.

And do you know how much it costs to be in Lewis Howes’ Masterminds? Something around $35,000 a year. If he didn’t have that kind of street cred, and he was just another business coach or a life coach or whatever he specializes in, he wouldn’t be able to command that kind of income, because he’s been validated by the media. He has that expert credibility.

No one says “As Featured” on Instagram. That doesn’t happen. When you start getting that sign of credibility, and not from the media because they don’t just feature nobodies – that’s when you’re in a position that now you can actually command a way higher ticket.

And that makes so much sense, because when I started investing in my business – and Lisa, you also invest in your business – we look at a variety of things, because we’re spending a lot of money on these business coaches and we want to make sure that they are legit, and what other people and other media outlets choose to say about them – and I say choose because again, we’re not buying somebody’s praise. It makes a big difference, and you’re totally right.

I would never shell out tens of thousands of dollars for somebody who isn’t known as an expert in their industry, who doesn’t have other people saying this person is amazing, and this is why.

I find that where business owners struggle with this, is they don’t want to take the time to earn the media and to take the steps. First, I got to spend months and months earning it. Then after I earned it, I have to do PR on my PR, and then I have to do this. Everybody today wants it fast. So, when people want PR fast, what do you say to them?

What’s a way to answer this in a politically correct way? Don’t be politically correct. No, no, no, we don’t do that here.

Go Slow to Grow

This isn’t Mcdonald’s. This isn’t fast food. If you’re just looking at the short term, you’re being incredibly shortsighted and missing the longer picture of the game here. If you’re in business just to make a dime this week and figuring out how you’re going to do it again next week, kudos to you. We’re not going to be working together.

However, if you’re investing in your business and this is a long-term strategy, you need to play a longer game.

Another client that I think about when I tell this story is Cassie Lambert. Cassie and I – and this is honestly a really honest truth. Cassie was a private client of mine for six months and we started going up the ladder of publicity. Doing the smaller things getting to the bigger one.

So, you know, we got a few guests posts and podcasts in the beginning. She really wanted shape. We were pitching for three months and no fights, but she was just so tenacious. She would just keep going back with a new idea, going back with a new idea. And towards month six of us working together, I’m like, oh my God, I really want to get this person results. She booked a story with Self.com, they paid her to write that article – which wasn’t the point, but hey, we’ll take it. She also booked an article with MensHealth.com. Self went live on January first. Men’s Health went live on January second.

By the end of the day on January second, she 3 x’d all of her January income from 2017. Is that worth taking a few months and some time to invest in? Because if it’s not, then totally your call.

But even when I think about it, almost a year later, she still gets emails from the editor of Self saying, “Hey Cassie, we’d love for you to write this article for us”. So, is it worth her taking six months of her time and making the financial and the time investment to learn how to build these relationships? Because now it’s still paying off a year later and she has those skills for life in her toolbox.

It really comes down to: are you playing a long game or a short game?

Long-Term Planning for Your Brand

And I think it’s also important to mention that that was an immediate result of the media that she earned. Most of what you’re going to get, it’s going to be long-term. It usually doesn’t happen overnight like that.

So, in addition to her 3x income that month, she was seeing an increase in income for years to come, because of that major media hit. That was just the immediate outcome that she got.

Totally. I chatted with her last week because like I said, we haven’t worked together for a good six months now, but I still love her to pieces and we still connect regularly, and that one article – because she has her google analytics with it – that one article from January first is still bringing her leads. It’s still bringing her traffic.

This is also a message for people in the niche you work in: health, fitness and wellness. The beginning of January is probably the best time for you to be getting media exposure, so you should really be starting to pitch probably around the fall, because everybody’s New Year resolution is always to lose weight. It’s always to get healthier. So, I feel like that time of year is really good for people that you work with.

Keep Changing Your Angles to Get More Coverage

A little tip that I would love to share is to actually consider going against the grain. Because when you think about the fitness industry, how many trainers, how many fitness companies are pitching, lose weight, try this workout, whatever.

This is probably about six years ago when I was working with Canada’s largest women’s only boot camp company. I was like, guys, for New Years, screw it. Let’s do the exact opposite of what everyone says. Let’s do a pitch on why you should break up with your gym on January first, and that one went gangbuster. So many TV stations covered it, so many newspapers covered it, because it was just the polar opposite of what everyone else was saying.

So, it’s actually really fun to take that idea and flip it on top of its head so we could do something different that actually made us stand out, as opposed to sounding like everybody else.

Tell us what the story was. What was the angle for that one?

I have to remember what the story was on this one. We talked about breaking up with your gym because we kind of positioned it similar to being in a relationship. You know, gyms want long-term, they want you for that one-year contract. Why not do something more fluid and flexible and make it about you and what you want to do, and try new things all the time, as opposed to being stuck with this one person for the rest of the year?

Maybe we could have pulled that for Valentine’s Day too, now that I think about it. But we just kind of positioned it to like being in a relationship and doing the complete opposite. And how much more fun you could have if you were doing something that only required a four-week commitment from you, because then you could actually try a whole bunch of different things as opposed to just running on the treadmill all the time. Which, we all know, the gym is packed for January and maybe a little bit of February, and in March it’s just as empty as it was for the rest of the year.

That is a really smart pitch. Tell us what that pitch – where they were placed and then what you did with that placement to turn it into more profit.

Publicity Leads to Credibility [Which Leads to More Clients]

We got featured, if I recall correctly – because again, this was a few years ago – we hit up two of Toronto’s morning shows. And of course, we’re not selling annual memberships, obviously. We were selling eight-week memberships.

So, what was really cool, is there were probably about four other competitive boot camps in the city at the time and we were always 110% sold out consistently. And the other ones were about 50% sold out. It was really cool to see that you can get a bootcamp workout from any one of five companies, but we were the one that everybody wanted to join because we were the hot one.

We were the ones showing up in magazines, newspapers, television. There was just so much buzz around us that it left the competition dry. And because we were always oversold, that led us to have to open up more locations. So, we grew. Over four years, we went from 30 to 100 locations across the company. We were talking earlier about how we kept our prices the same. We didn’t increase them, but we were able to scale and create more locations so we could serve a higher volume.

It sounds like she increased her prices and worked with fewer people, so she had more time. And then with the second example, they just open up more locations. Same cost, but more people in different places. Another way to increase your revenue.

Exactly. And those stories are still online today. The company actually no longer exists, but those stories are still googleable today.

There’s a place for Facebook ads, let me totally say that, but when I think about people investing so much time and money in Facebook ads – once your budget runs out, that stops being seen. No one’s looking at it anymore. And it’s not like you’ve been endorsed by anybody, so why not put it to better use?

Get the PR exposure, get the media coverage that’s going to live on the Internet forever, and you will have that endorsement and you will have that exposure. It’s just a great way to be able to come to get what I call the Three I’s: more influence, more impact, and of course, more income.

Stop Paying For Attention. Earn Attention.

I had a conversation with a potential client a few months ago and I said, okay, well what’s bringing you leads? And they said, oh, Google ads, Google ads, that’s what gives us everything. And I said, okay, but did you know that about 80% of people ignore Google ads and they go straight to organic? And they’re like, oh yeah, but Google ads work for us.

And I said, well, have you thought of putting more effort into organic SEO? So, you’re actually showing up and you’re hitting up 80% of people instead of 20%? And they’re like, oh yeah, but that’s going to take a lot of work. It takes a long time. It’s more complicated. It’s so much easier just to throw money at something and pay for it. Yes, it is easier. But you have to think long-term, like we’ve been saying.

And again, I think this goes back to the mentality of: I want what I want, when I want it, and I want it now. And I think the best strategy is to mix a little bit of everything. A little paid, a little organic, a little earned. But at the end of the day, where are you going to get the biggest bang for your buck?

And I don’t say bang for your buck because as you know, earned media doesn’t cost anything. Bang for your time. It is going to be earned media because the ads go away when your money runs out, and they don’t mean as much. If you’re paying to tell somebody you’re important, that’s not very credible. But if somebody of a big media outlet is choosing to tell their audience that you’re important, it means so much more.

So, I think this is a good reminder that people need to learn to be patient, because being strategic takes time, and that is where you are going to see the biggest ROI.

Focus on Consumer Behavior

I’d also love to share that you have to think about consumer behavior, not your own behavior as a business owner.

Step out of the shoes of I own this business and I need to promote myself, and think about how to consume television, online content. When I check my Gmail, am I clicking on ads and going onto Facebook to see what they want to sell me today? Or am I going online because someone shared this article that was really interesting, and I want to read it? Get out of your own head for a second and think about how people are consuming information. If I’m flipping through a magazine and I see an ad for Tide – but I didn’t pay $7 for this shiny book to look at ads, unless it’s Vogue, September issue, probably 10 years ago.

We watch television because we want to see the story. We go onto different websites because we’re interested in reading the articles. We don’t log on online to see what ads are being served up to us today.

So, once you kind of take yourself out of those shoes and think about how consumers actually behave, and even look at how you behave as a consumer, that really opens your eyes up to, Huh, maybe that isn’t the most effective way for me to invest my time and money. It works.

But given that I log onto these websites to read content, how can I become the content that people are interested in reading about, as opposed to a big pop up adverts, knowing that someone’s going to scroll past for the most part?

You use September’s Vogue as an example of when people pay attention to ads, and I use the Super Bowl. I say, when did you last care about watching a commercial, unless it was the Super Bowl?

And you know what? You know this about me. I don’t watch the Super Bowl. I could care less about the ads.

Publicity to Profit

First step is earning publicity, but you can’t just earn it and leave it. You need to share that PR media hit everywhere. You need to do PR on your PR people, and when you’re doing that, tag the publication and the person who created the media for you, because they want to reach more people.

When they see you are helping them, they’re going to thank you by coming back to you for even more publicity, and then you can leverage that story for more media coverage just by sharing and letting everybody know, because people want to surround themselves with successful people. Even if it’s just somebody who’s maybe not in the media, but it’s another influencer – whether they are in your space or not – if they see you’re in all these different places that all of these different times, they’re going to want to work with you.

And then you can charge more. More people at the same price, or you can charge a higher price to work with less people and get a little bit more time. So, Lisa, is there anything else that you want to add on this topic of turning publicity into profit?

I think you actually just did a really awesome synopsis right there.

PR, Leverage, and Pricing

The three things: PR your PR, leverage it for more PR, and then actually move into premium pricing.

Because again, another analogy I can use: you go to the grocery store, and there’s that yellow, no-name label that probably does the same job, and then there’s the premium brand-name label – like Tide, for example. They just charge more because they’re a better-known brand. They do the exact same function as the cheap one. So, why not position yourself to be that premium content, that premium service or business provider?

We could talk about handbags in this, right? It’s just your brand. Your brand and how you position yourself. You could go and buy a bag at Target that’s amazing for $30, or you could go to Louis Vuitton and buy a bag for $3,000, and the difference – it may be a little quality, but honestly, it’s just how the brand has positioned themselves.

100%. I’ll tell you, I have a few Louis Vuitton bags, and a lot of them have died. I could carry things just as well in a burlap sack.

Exactly. Okay, Lisa, if people want to know more about you and your book that is coming out, tell us how we can find you.

Everything about me is available online at LisaSimoneRichards.com, and in the coming months or weeks, you will see more information about the upcoming book there. I’m going to get back into writing that today.

This is your reminder to not go after the quick fix and pay for ads. This is your reminder to actually take time to be strategic. Earn media and then share the media with everybody, because it will turn into more media.

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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!

how to promote yourself on social media

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 Indeed.com. 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.

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