Publicity and Media
Jack Born: Hey, this is Jack Born, founder of Deadline Funnel, and I’m here with my friend, Selena Soo. I met Selena at an event that she put on in Vegas. It was a first class event. It was just a real treat because she had … Not only was she sharing some of her knowledge and experience of how to get publicity, but she had top notch panelists that she got from New York and various corners of the world to all show up and share their experience. Just the whole thing from beginning to end was just really, really top notch.
Selena Soo is a publicity and marketing specialist for visionary entrepreneurs, experts, and authors who want to reach millions with their message. She’s helped clients and students get featured in places like O, the Oprah Magazine, Forbes, Inc, and land interviews on popular podcasts and national TV.
Many of Selena’s clients have become industry leaders with seven-figure businesses, raving fan bases, and hundreds of thousands of followers. Her approach comes down to building powerful and long lasting relationships with influencers in the media in a thoughtful and authentic way. Selena, it’s great to have you here.
Selena Soo: Thank you for having me. I’m so excited to be here.
Jack Born: Let’s zoom out and talk about why is publicity important for entrepreneurs, even online entrepreneurs.
Selena Soo: Yeah, absolutely, I mean, I think a lot of entrepreneurs, they don’t need publicity in the beginning stages of their businesses. They think, “Well, maybe if I have a buck I may need publicity. Or, if I have a seven-figure business I’m going to look into it”, but you know, in the beginning stages of our businesses, it’s important that people see us as that “go to” expert right from the get go, because people have a lot of options.
It’s one thing to go to networking events night after night and talk to people about your work, or get on the phone with them and tell them you’re the very best at what you do. When it’s only coming from you, it’s not that credible. But, if you have influencers, podcasters, magazines, you know, websites where your ideas are being featured, where the podcast host is saying, “This person is amazing. You have got to check out their work!”, that just adds so much more credibility. I just think publicity is important because we need to learn how to generate buzz in our industry, and also having that skill of getting other people that have platforms of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and millions of people, to open that platform up for you, your ideas, your message, your story, your product, and service is a really powerful thing.
So, I think that it’s a skill that people should learn early on in their business career.
Jack Born: Yeah, I was talking to Susie Moore recently, and she was one of those speakers at your event, and that’s where I met her. So, made great connections at your event. Again, kudos. I know that one of the things that we talked about when I was speaking with her was, when you do this successfully, the way that you teach you are able to reach a new tribe, a new audience, a new group of people. She likened it to almost having an affiliate relationship because you’re getting that warm introduction.
Selena Soo: Right.
Jack Born: But, there’s no payment, at least in the form of affiliate commissions.
Selena Soo: Exactly, yeah. So, I mean there’s different ways to build your audience and they’re all worthwhile. There’s organic, and that’s through content and publicity. There’s JV partnerships and then there’s also paid advertising. But, the thing about publicity that’s really powerful is that it is a form of content marketing when you put your ideas out there. The other thing is that if someone is listening to an hour long podcast interview, and then opts into your email list, they’re a lot more likely to buy than somebody who just opted in through a Facebook ad or a free gift.
Of course, I think Facebook ads are important, but I think that you want to think about having a multi-pronged approach to really engaging people and getting them onto your list. So, it’s a great way to attract new people. Ramit Sethi, one of my mentors, who has a company called I Will Teach You to be Rich, and GrowthLab, built his audience of hundreds of thousands through content marketing and publicity. Susie Moore, one of our panelists, who is a life coach, she’s had her business for about two years and has multiple tens of thousands of people on her email list because of publicity and writing these articles.
So, it’s definitely something to think about. The other cool thing is that publicity is powerful because it also opens up the doors to other opportunities. If you’re looking to do a TED Talk one day, or speak on big stages, saying that you’ve been on podcasts, you’ve been in magazines, and you’ve shared your story multiple times is going to help you with that goal. If you want to get a book deal, and you can say to the publisher, “I have been featured in these places”, that could lead to tens of thousands of dollars, or hundreds of thousands of dollars more in your (book) advance. It could lead to corporate or brand partnerships, so there’s a lot of reasons why publicity can be valuable, beyond the publicity itself.
Then, of course, it can help you attract new clients and cultivate clients who are already thinking about you. I’ve had situations where I’ll start doing a bunch of media. I publicize it to my audience, you know, I’ll share it on Facebook. I’ll put it in my newsletter. People are like, “Wow! You’re really going places! I feel like this is a sign that we’re meant to work together because I’m seeing you everywhere”, and there’s where you want to be in your business.
You want to create leverage. Deadline Funnel is a way people can create leverage when they use that tool in their business. With publicity, you’re reaching thousands or even millions of people, versus only having one-on-one conversations where you’re trying to convince people that you’re the best at what you do.
Jack Born: So, this sounds amazing and incredibly powerful, but as with anything, you have to know what you’re doing. Where should someone start, if they have never even attempted to do publicity before?
Selena Soo: Yeah, I think the first thing is starting off with a strategy because it can feel overwhelming. There’s so many media outlets out there. There’s so many stories you can pitch. How do you even begin? So, the first thing is thinking about what kinds of media are going to help me reach my goals. There’s a concept I developed called the publicity pyramid, and it has four layers of publicity that you can be thinking about.
The mistake that people make often times, is they’ll come to me or talk to their friend and say, “I want to be interviewed by Oprah on SuperBowl Sunday. I want to be on the Today Show”, and that’s usually not going to be your first stop with publicity. That may be a later stop if that is your path. What we recommend is choosing and pursuing opportunities at the base of the publicity pyramid. So, at the base are guest posts. So, these are on websites that have audiences, that have traffic, then they’re redirected back to your site, where you’re sharing your thought leadership, and ideas.
There’s a lot of websites that are built on the contributor model. Places like Forbes, Huffington Post, Mind Body Green, Business Insider. These are pretty well known brand names, so it can boost your brand pretty quickly by being on the site. You can also share your ideas in an in-depth way and you can also direct people back to your website. I found that some of my biggest list building opportunities have come through the right guess post opportunities. I recommend guest post opportunities as a first stop for people.
Then, the next level would be podcasts. So, after you’ve explained your ideas in depth, you’ve shared your story, you ran it out. Now you’re ready to talk about it in-depth in a back-and-forth podcast interview. The people that tend to listen to 30-minute or hour-long podcasts are people that care about investing in themselves, and investing their time, investing their resources into listening. These are people that tend to be buyers, so if I’m doing a launch for a product, whether it’s a coaching program or an information product, myself and others, I would recommend that you go on the podcast circuit and speak to those warm audiences of people.
I think online publicity, you can move the needle in a really big way for online entrepreneurs and people who have high-end products or services to sell or courses. The next level is magazines and TV. With magazines, often times it’s going to be a quote. So, they’re going to share a little sound bite from you that’s going to be included in an article. Then, with TV, it’s a three-minute, typical segment with you. So, that’s a lot faster, shorter, so you really want to be prepared for those experiences. While it will help you reach lots of people, it’s not always as in-depth as a podcast interview, or a podcast or guest post could be. I recommend starting at the bottom and moving towards the top as you are releasing a book or doing things that are more mass market.
Jack Born: So, what would you recommend in terms of an approach? So, when you’re reaching out to someone who’s got a podcast or somewhere where you want to do a guest blog post, what is a good way to approach?
Selena Soo: Let’s use podcasts as an example, because I think that’s most relevant to most of your listeners. So, okay, they’ve identified podcasts is a place where they really want to focus on. They need to make a list of podcasts that would be great for them. One technique that I recommend is the follow the leader technique. Who are other people in your industry that are doing similar things? Maybe they’re a couple of steps ahead of you. Maybe they’re your colleagues. Then, go to iTunes and go into the podcast section and type their name. All the podcasts that they’ve appeared on will show up. That’s a great way to start developing a list.
You could also type in something like best business podcasts for entrepreneurs. There’s lots of websites like Inc, Entrepreneur, Forbes, that compile lists for you. So, if you just do those two things, you’ll probably come up with a really good list of podcasts. You can also go on to iTunes and look at the best business podcasts there, or go to new and noteworthy for that section, so easily you could find 50 podcasts that could be great for you to be on.
Now, one thing to keep in mind is with podcasters, they are influencers. The podcast is part of their business and they have spent money to develop the podcast. They’ve got an audience that they really care about, so building relationships is an important thing here. They’re going to want to know if they’re going to bring you on to their podcast, that you’re going to have a lot of value to share with their audience, that you’re on brand. If you don’t have a website or any information about you online yet, that’s going to be a bit harder for someone to be like, “Oh, I would want this person”, because it’s like their personal endorsement of you.
Once we identify which podcasts you want to be on, what I recommend you do is start following those people on social media, on Twitter, engaging with their content. If they are posting their podcast on their website and there’s opportunity to leave comments, leave a comment, write a five star review on iTunes about the podcast. Plant those seeds so you’re starting to get visible and you’re starting to add value before you even ever pitch yourself.
Then, in terms of the email pitch, there’s a couple of steps I recommend. People follow, and the first is of course the subject line. That is sort of like e-mail marketing 101, like having a subject line that will get their attention. So, think about with a podcast, what would you talk about? Turn that into an interesting headline that can even be used for the potential episode you do with the podcast host. Then, once you get into the e-mail, the first thing to do is develop a connection, because these podcast hosts tend to be successful entrepreneurs and influencers in their own right.
So say something about how you really enjoy their podcast, but also add something specific. Otherwise, it can seem like a copy and paste, really general comment that maybe is not genuine. So, even if you just started listening to their podcast, “I just discovered your podcast two weeks ago. I’ve checked out your last three episodes and I thought it was so amazing that I left you a five star Amazon review”, something like that. Even if you just discovered it that week, you could say that, if you listened to the episodes or part of the episode.
Then, you want to briefly introduce yourself by sharing some credibility markers. Why should they pay attention to you? There’s a lot of people that are jumping into entrepreneurship nowadays, so maybe … There are different levels of business. Some people just started their business yesterday, other people are more well established. Think about what are your credibility markers. Could it be that you’ve been in business for x number of years? Could it be that you serve a certain number of clients, or you’ve developed a certain audience, or you’ve gotten a specific result, or been in other forms of media?
Think about some things that you could share that would really make you pop. Then what I would do is just share your story ideas, or the topics that you could talk about in the podcast interview. So, just the most interesting, exciting elements of your story, your highs and your lows, actual take aways that you could share with the listeners that could help them reach a goal.
You could also mention if you’ve been on other podcasts before. It can be helpful for someone to know, “Okay, you’ve got experience with this”. Similarly, if you’re pitching yourself to guest post somewhere, you may want to include a writing sample or say, “I’ve written at other places”, so people know, “Oh, you have experience in this media”. So, those are some of the key elements of a pitch. If you do that, chances are your pitch is going to catch someone’s eye.
Jack Born: Do you have any guidelines for how long is too long for that first e-mail?
Selena Soo: Yeah. It shouldn’t be that long. In terms of introduction … So, the first part of the pitch would be making that warm connection. That should be just one or two sentences. When you’re introducing yourself, that could be just two sentences as well. Below the bottom of your e-mail pitch, you could include a media bio, that’s a little meatier, and also a link to your website or about page. But, you don’t want to tell your whole life story. Then, you want to transition into your story idea. It could be like, “I was thinking that I could do, I would love to suggest a podcast interview on the topic of how to develop win-win relationships with influencers”, right? So, you’re kind of sharing the topic. Then, “Here are some things I could talk about”, then just include a couple of bullet points, typically three to five bullet points is really great.
In those bullet points, include actionable take aways, numbers, results, lessons that you could teach, interesting elements of your personal story. Then, kind of wrap it up with sharing that you’re happy to talk about other topics, or “Here are some other interviews I’ve done before”. Let them know you’re flexible, that you’re happy to talk about other things, but just kind of putting everything on a silver platter to help make it easy for the podcaster to make the decision whether it’s a yes or a no.
Jack Born: One of the things that I’ve noticed, and you seem to be hinting at this or saying it directly, is that whether you’re doing a guest post or you’re on podcasts, if you do a really good job in one or two key places, it could actually bring other people to you, but it certainly makes it easier to get that second, third, fourth, fifth engagement.
Selena Soo: Yeah.
Jack Born: Can you talk a little bit about that and other ways to use, if you get a publicity win, other ways to leverage publicity?
Selena Soo: Yeah, absolutely. Early on in my business, I had the opportunity to write a guest post for my mentor, Ramit Sethi, and it was called How to Get your Favorite Expert to Notice You. It was a guest post for the website, and I was so proud of the piece, so I wanted to leverage it. I knew a lot of people would discover me from Ramit’s site, and they did. I had about a thousand people sign up for my e-mail list pretty quickly. It’s grown since, in terms of people that come specifically from that guest post, but I knew that I also wanted my audience to know about it. I knew that they could help me make the article go more viral.
So, I shared with people. I shared my story about how I met Ramit, how I got the opportunity, and encouraged them to share on social media, and encourage them to leave a comment. Because I did such a good job of really rallying them to do that, I had about 267 comments on that vlog post.
You really have to make it easy for people to do that, so I guided them, “Just like, leave a quick sentence about your favorite idea, what you enjoyed, or just any words”, and people would respond to me and say, “This was so great, Selena. I loved your guest post with x, y, z”. I would just respond back and say, “That is so amazing. I’m so moved that you read the guest post. Would you be actually willing to include what you just said to me, those two sentences, on the guest post as a comment?” So, I really directed people to do that. That’s how I got all those comments.
Then, later when I pitched myself to other podcasts that are familiar with Ramit’s brand, or other guest post sites, I say, “I have done this guest post with Ramit, and in fact, it got 267 comments”, and so that adds a lot of credibility.
Now, of course, the article had to be good or else people wouldn’t want to read it or leave a comment. But, I also played an active part in building that social proof and having that opened up doors for the next opportunity, and the opportunity after that.
Jack Born: Another thing that I know that you teach, because you mentioned this at your Impact Millions event in Vegas, is using those credibility markers, on your website or your order form. Just to really emphasize that, “Hey, you can trust me. I’m a respected authority”.
Selena Soo: Yeah, absolutely. So, there’s some people that are prolific writers and they want to write all the time. Others, they want the media logos because they add credibility and it can open up new doors. Either way, it’s valuable to have these media logos. You go to other industry colleagues’ or competitors’ websites and you see that they were featured on Inc. and Forbes, and Entrepreneur. It is such a valuable thing to have.
Once you get that media hit once, you can include it in your media bio. I have a client who is a life coach, and she is focused on helping successful, ambitious women, particularly entrepreneurs. It is so powerful in her media bio, and her bio in general, to say, “Nicole has been featured in Inc. and Forbes, and Business Insider”, right? That gets the attention of her ideal clients. It also gets the attention of other media when we’re pitching her. If she were to want to pitch herself for a speaking event, you know, that is also going to help open up doors. Something that you invest energy into today, getting these articles, is something that you can use five years, ten years, 20 years down the road to help you get more opportunities in your business and really impress your ideal clients.
Jack Born: Now, I know you’ve put together some resources. Can you talk … We’ll make the link available wherever this video is, either below or in the description on YouTube. But, can you talk a little bit about what those resources are?
Selena Soo: Yeah, absolutely. So, I created a three part video series to help people get publicity, and I really broke it down. This is sort of a mini course, in a way. There’s three videos. The first video is about how to develop your expert topic, so get really clear about what you want to present to the media, because you want to make sure that they see you as the go to expert, so how to pick those expert topics and then when you check out that video, you’ll also get a list of 100 media outlets that you can start pitching to, podcasts, magazines, websites, and it’s broken down by categories. Business, health, personal development, so definitely check that out.
The next video after that is about developing your story ideas. The last video is your seven step action plan to getting publicity. Another cool thing that I’m doing is when you opt into that video series, you’ll have a chance to win a trip to New York City. You’ll just have to fill out a little questionnaire to show me that you have actually watched the videos by answering some multiple choice questions, and sharing a little about yourself. So, I’m going to be flying one person out to New York City to be mentored by me, and to meet some of the influencers and media, network, a fun influencer dinner party, and Jack, you’ve been to one of my events, so you know how fun those can be. So, I’m excited to extend that opportunity when people opt in to check out the video series.
Jack Born: Yeah, if it’s anything like the Vegas event, it will be first class. There will be some great connections. You’re in New York City, right?
Selena Soo: Yes, I am.
Jack Born: A lot of the influencers, like Susie, live in New York City, and I know several of the others who were at your event are from New York City. Seems like, obviously, that’s where there’s a lot going on, so a great place to be flying to.
So, I want to switch gears here real quickly. You mentioned publicity for a launch, and this was earlier in the conversation, but you shared with me that you’re making some new additions to your business because, well, why don’t you talk about it specifically with regards to Deadline Funnel, and how you’re using it in your business?
Selena Soo: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve had my business for five and a half years, and it’s been a launch based business. On the one hand, launches are so fun, but they’re also a lot of work. You kind of reinvent the wheel every time, even if you’re using the same launch sequence, there’s things that need to be updated. You’re doing webinars live, and things like that. So, I’m looking to create a more sustainable business. I think this is relevant for anyone who is interested in publicity and looking to attract more people. There are going to be people on your list who join at any moment in time, and you want to be able to have something to give them, and so in the past, people would need to wait until I had a launch.
But now, we’re growing our list through Facebook ads, and we’re adding Evergreen products, Evergreen webinars, and so we’re using Deadline Funnel to create that urgency to get people to buy, so they feel like they’re in a launch. There is that urgency and incentive, but we’re able to automate that and make it happen year round. I talked about there’s different ways to grow your audience. Publicity is one way, but another way is paid media, and the way to really make paid media work, is if you have a product on the back end so you can monetize all the leads that are coming in, or break even on traffic.
We’re looking to exponentially grow the business, and there’s no way that we can do it without some kind of funnel. But, a key part of the funnel is creating that urgency so it mimics a launch. So, we’re using Deadline Funnel for that. We’ve been testing different price points and different things, so we’re breaking even. I think this is going to be a huge part of our business moving forward. Moving forward, I’m going to have one big launch, and then ideally, everything is going to run in this automated way. I don’t know a better tool than Deadline Funnel to help with that piece. So, that’s been huge for my business.
Jack Born: Thank you for sharing that. The mantra that I’ve been sharing recently is, “You should launch when you want to, not because you have to“, and that’s really the model that you’re going to. So, that’s great. The other really great point that you made is you may get a great publicity opportunity in June, and if your launch is in January, there’s going to be a lot of lag time there. So, having that Evergreen portion of your marketing catalog is really, really important.
Selena Soo: Definitely. Yeah, that’s probably the thing I’m most excited about in my business right now is growing it in that really systematic way. I remember initially I did have some resistance towards automating things. I thought, “Oh, I’m doing an Evergreen funnel. Is it less high touch? Does it not seem as genuine?” But, one thing that I’ve discovered, is to make your Evergreen funnel work, you have to put your best foot forward. You need to refine your webinar so it adds as much value, and really incentivizes, and leads people into a buying decision. Your e-mails have to be the best they could be, so I think by adding that, it’s actually forced me to make my marketing and just everything better and better to really serve my people
So, it really has been, yeah, a really great thing for my business. I didn’t realize it would be so great. I had a mental block because I was so used to doing everything live. Then I realized, you can do both. You can launch when you want, and you can also have that Evergreen funnel running in the background.
Jack Born: Terrific. Well, to close this out, I just want to encourage anyone who is watching this, who, like me, wants to focus more on publicity and really tap into markets and tribes that we currently don’t have access to, in a way where we’re being introduced by a trusted resources, the person who runs the podcast, or the website where that guest post is being read. It’s such a great way to reach a new audience, and really display your expertise. If you’re interested in that, I highly recommend that you jump in and click the link on this page, or in the description where the video is and take advantage of Selena’s offer.
I think this is the third time I’ve said, she put together a really world class event in Vegas, and it really showed me, opened my eyes, to where you can take your business with publicity. I met people whose business is being run off the backs of publicity, and just doing nothing but that. So, if you’re doing paid media, I think adding in publicity is a great way to improve what you’re already doing. You can also borrow the credibility that you get from the publicity, and improve the conversion results that you’re getting with your paid media.
Both sides help each other. Click the link and sign up, because I know that Selena’s got some great resources and a lot of great experience. Selena, I really appreciate the time, and thank you for sharing your knowledge.
Selena Soo: Thanks so much, Jack.
Resources mentioned in the interview:
3-Part Video Series to Help Get Publicity