Are you putting yourself out there in front of other’s people audiences? If not, what’s holding you back? Welcome to the Digital Lounge, this is your host Jess Freeman and today I’m sipping on some diet dr pepper and ready to share how I beat my goal of being featured online 35 times in one year. If you are not showing up in front of new audiences, you’re missing out on huge opportunities, so I hope this episode can show you how to start putting yourself out there more.
Now I know you might be thinking, why did you even set this goal? Why 35 times? I set this goal really because I knew my brand needed more visibility. As each new year approaches, people start setting goals for the year ahead. And for 2017, I decided my focus would be visibility. I hoped the result would be hopefully more clients, and more opportunities.
So, two years later, I’m finally going to dive into what these 40 features were and how they happened.
First, I got six features as a result of someone’s post in Facebook groups… meaning either they were explicitly asking for guest experts or we somehow connected in a group and they asked me to contribute. These features included writing a guest blog about goals, contributing to a round up post on someone’s blog about making mistakes in business, doing a Facebook live masterclass in someone’s private Facebook community about YouTube channels, someone writing a general business feature about me, and doing a YouTube masterclass for someone’s paid membership community.
This showed me the importance of showing up and connecting with people online. So many people use social media as just a way to broadcast their own content and products, but it’s *social* media, and it can definitely be a way for people to connect with you and setup a collaboration. Not every connection has to be about one person hiring another, it can be a a collaboration of some sort, which then hopefully does result in more revenue coming into someone’s business.
Next, I had another eight features that came about because of some existing relationships. These were friends or mastermind buddies that invited me to either be on their blog or podcast to talk about a variety of different topics – some were sharing a day in the life, about design, or about YouTube. One was also a video collaboration, my friend Kari and I recorded a video tutorial together and then both put a video on each of our channels.
This is why it’s important to network and build relationships. Not just having one call with someone, and saying, oh I’ll keep you in mind in the future… but actually maintaining a relationship. With all of these friends, I actually invited them to be on my blog or podcast as well. They were highlighting me in front of their audience, and I wanted to highlight them as well. These same friends have also been affiliates for me, or promoted free workshops for me, and vice versa. Not only do I genuinely love these friends, but we all support each other’s businesses however we can, and it’s really beneficial when you have a team of cheerleaders supporting you during a launch.
Next, I got another four features through HARO, which stands for help a reporter out. I’ve mentioned HARO before in some previous episodes, but in case you aren’t aware, HARO is a database that basically allows journalists and bloggers to send out calls for contributors on a huge variety of topics, everything from insurance to gardening to business to healthcare, and literally everything else in-between. You can sign up for whatever categories best fit your expertise, and you’ll get a few emails a day with a list of websites and publications that you can pitch.
There are a wide variety of publications that list opportunities on HARO, some only have 5k followers, others are much larger like Glamour Magazine, which is one of the features I got from HARO. The only downfall is that you sometimes won’t know if your pitch or contribution was chosen or included. Some journalists are great about getting back to you, but others are not. So, I definitely recommend keeping a spread sheet of who you pitched and when. Though you don’t have direct contact info to the journalists, you usually know what publication it is and obviously what the topic is, so you can do a Google search to see when the article goes live!
Next, 14 of the features I got came from me pitching the blog or publication directly. Most of these features were guest blog posts, but there were also some webinars, podcast interviews, and even a YouTube channel feature.
I want to talk just briefly about the pitching aspect with these 14 features. There were another 10 places, or more, that I pitched and either didn’t hear back or got a no. I even had one reply from a well-known podcast that was interested in me at first, but then I didn’t have enough of an audience for them, so they changed their minds and said no. Putting myself out there was not easy at first. Setting yourself up for potential rejection, which I did get, was so intimidating… but look, I survived. You don’t know if you don’t try.
When you are pitching, you want to be sure that you are positioning it as how their audience will benefit. We don’t really need to know how awesome you are and because of your awesomeness, you deserve to be in front of our audience. Nope, hard pass. You can share maybe a link or two about previous interviews if you want… but this does need to be an email entirely about you. I’m not a pitching expert, my friend Brittney Lynn is a PR strategist who has been on this podcast before, in episode 40, and she talked more in-depth about pitching yourself… so be sure to hop over and listen to that.
And lastly, I got 8 features through people actually reaching out to me! These were people who either followed me on social media or saw one of my other features. An interesting theme among these few features was that none of them were guest blog posts… they were either features, like interviews, or webinars. Again, these select features were another reminder of how important relationships are in business.
So, that’s the summary of what my 40 features were, so now real quick I just want to talk a little more broad about the whole goal.
The first thing I did was hire my friend Brittney, the PR strategist I mentioned earlier, to create a list of 35 places to pitch. In her work, she typically does the pitching for her clients and handles the whole process. But, back then she was trying out something new, and so I basically told her about my goal, some more specifics about my audience and topics, and she came up with a spreadsheet of places to pitch. So, that part of the groundwork was done.
I didn’t end up pitching all 35, to be honest, there were a few that I wasn’t sure would accept me or that I wasn’t sure was a totally great fit, so I skipped over a few. Which is fine, because I also had HARO and friends and Facebook groups to utilize too. Which leads me to the next point, and that is that it was important that I shared my goal with others. If I hadn’t, some of my friends may not have intentionally reached out to let me get in front of their audience. And I remember some Facebook group admins had asked people to share their 2017 goals, so I would share mine and that even sparked a few conversations and that was how I got a few features as well.
The other thing I did was make a more specific goal, and that was to pitch every single month basically. I chose 35 features as my goal because that came out to about 2-3 features a month all year. So I knew that I would need to consistently pitch myself… I knew I would get no’s. I knew it would take some time for people to respond to me. I knew that sometimes people record in advance so I didn’t want to wait until December to pitch podcasts, because then the episode probably wouldn’t come out until 2018.
As you probably noticed when I was summarizing the features, there was a variety of publications and podcasts… which I think is really really important to point out. Not everyone reads blog. Not everyone listens to podcasts. So, it’s important to diversify where you are showing up online. You might find that doing an Instagram story takeover is more effective than a blog post. Or you might find that a podcast interview is more effective than doing a masterclass. Try out different things, and show up in front of audiences in different ways.
I also made sure to share all of these features. I can’t tell you HOW important this is to do in your own business. Sharing a feature on your Instagram stories is not enough. Yes, do that… but don’t stop there. These features help build your credibility but not everyone will see every instagram story or post, so these need to be on your website. If you have any major features, like if you’re in mindbodygreen, that needs to be highlighted on the front page of your website. If you’re on a colleague’s podcast, unfortunately, that’s probably not a prominent enough of a feature to call for a home page highlight. And it’s no offense to your friend, I wouldn’t expect someone who’s on my podcast to highlight it on their home page…. Because believe it or not, this is not a high profile podcast.
And honestly, sharing your features, whether it’s a blog, a podcast, or you’re mentioned in a round-up, it’s the polite thing to do to share it. Before The Digital Lounge, I had another podcast that was purely interviewing other women and talking about their businesses. When I quit that podcast, I added it up and not even half of the women ever shared their interview, at all. Not even half. Some of those women had pitched me to be on the podcast, and then didn’t even have the courtesy to share it. And I know for a fact that I’m not the only podcaster who has shared this struggle. I just don’t know why you would take your time, and someone else’s time, to record a podcast, and then not share it… your audience would probably love to hear that interview!
I will hop off my soapbox now…. But let’s recap everything real quick in case you want to focus on visibility, even if just for a few months… you need to make a plan for who you’re going to pitch and when, how many places you’ll pitch in one month, and what topics you want to talk about. You want to be sure you diversify what kind of content you’ll be creating, and be sure to share those features on social media and on your website. So, I just want to encourage you to go out there and pitch yourself, and build your visibility! If you have any questions, DM me on Instagram @jesscreatives… I’m going to go refill my drink and I will see y’all next week.