Connect to Influencers w/ Brigitte Lyons
So I am ridiculously excited about this next segment cause I get to introduce you to one of my absolute favorite people in the whole wide world, but we're going to start off with a quiet power strategy, and I mentioned it this one yesterday in the with the idea that can idea connections are the gold standard that when you connect ideas together, you create value value that people are willing to pay for here's the other thing people connections are the gold standard as well. When you connect with other people, whether they're in your market, whether there are other influencers in your space, whether they're the media and big personalities or big platforms like here it creative life, you are better able to put that gold standard in your bank account connecting with others can open up whole new markets to you whole new audiences to you and and it's, one of the most effective ways to reach out of your your insular audience and out into the big, big world. It's why I choose to work with bri...
dget on a regular basis it's why bridget is my pr person or her agency is my pr agency on is why she's of co facilitator with me for ten thousand feet so enough about that let me introduce you to bridget so this is bridget she's going to go up on stage in a minute she's, the founder of b, the forward thinking pr agency her and her partner, maggie, focus on ah creating amazing media experiences both in traditional media and new media that gets big forward thinking ideas in front of all the right influencers on what she's about to teach you is how to connect with influencers, be they online, be they in traditional media, be they, whoever they are in your industry or in your field, and to do it all without the anxiety, without the sweaty palms without the kind of like kiki, introverted, shy feelings that people like me have when it comes to connecting with people. So, bridget, why don't you come on off? I am really looking forward to seeing teo hearing what you have to say and for seeing all the transformations that everyone's going to make in the segments. Well, let you know I'm going to go sit down of all things, creating seeds well, thank you so much, it's. Probably a nice change to be sitting for a moment. I want to thank you so much for bringing me here today and it's really exciting to talk to you about this before we get too much in the content, I want to share a little bit about my background because I think it's always really important to know what people's biases are. Right, and the way that I have come up in my career talk a lot about when we're thinking about networking without sweaty palms or how to create connections, what those biases are that I bring to the process because it makes a big difference in how you actually go forward, so we're going to re wind about ten years or so to the beginning of my career, when I was an intern and appear agency and I was given pitch lists of, you know, one hundred different journalist and told to go in a little room, a pitching room and just spend my entire day calling journalist after journalists after journalist and when we're talking about connecting with influencers and sweaty palms and the words not being able to come out of your mouth because, oh, my god, they're gonna yell at me and yes, that has happened to me. I have called a journalist or a newspaper reporter and had them yell at me because I was doing it all wrong, so I know that those fears are grounded, you know? And I know where that all comes from. Um but then you get that trial by fire, and I knew that I had to learn how to make it work. To make my career work you know, I really liked a lot of aspects of my job I really liked at the time I was doing policy work, so we were actually influencing legislation based on the work that we were doing and it was really meaningful to me and I knew that I had to get better, but I'm also an industry that is sort of short on mentors, you know, it's very secret there's not a lot of people out there who are really showing you the ropes, they don't hand there conta axe, you that's sort of a misnomer about public relations that you go to an agency and they're like, oh, well, here's our people here's our people of the today show just call just called show joe will take your call that doesn't happen, you know you're a bunch of interns scared other minds, you don't know what they're doing and then you come, you know, fast forward another three or four years of my career and experimenting and trying to figure this out and really putting a lot of effort. Um, one day I picked up the phone and cold called a cnn producer and about a week later had one of our clients doing a segment on cnn and he was on bloomberg and he was on fox business, right and learning how you can with a really intentional approach create those kinds of connections for yourself no matter who you are, no matter what kind of name you have or how well known you are, you know what we were doing for a client? There was trying teo level up their businesses trying teo bring more peoples they were doing actually coaching program, so bring more people into their coaching programs. And so what we're talking about today, though, is that process of how do you get from being that scared person who isn't sure people are going to answer the phone or if they're going to be nice to you? Or if they're going to care about your idea to being really confidence in secure in what you have to offer? So that's, what? We're going to start here today, this idea that connections create value. So though this is a quote from a book that here and I actually both love bye milford merchant and the eleven rules for creating value in the social era and the whole premise of the book is that we've made this giant transition from the industrial area era to this social era and the whole idea here of like, so what does that mean for our business is what are the kinds of new models they're going to make us thrive going forward? And the very first rule is this one connections create value, and in this context, I really think of terms of connections creating value for your business, for the people that you're connecting with, and most importantly for your customers. And so you cannot go wrong if there's only one thing that you take away from the time we're spending together. It's this that the connections that you should be making for your business and intentionally going after are the ones that are creating value for your business, for your partners and collaborators, and ultimately for your customers. And as long as you approach it with that sort of mine set, you cannot stray, you cannot go wrong. And so that's, where we're going here is this process for how is it that you actually intentionally cultivate connections? And I think this idea of intentionality is is what kind of messes people up if it feels maybe a little oh, it feels a little weird right to intentionally cultivate connections, because sometimes we feel like maybe they should just happen. Maybe we should let them happen really organically and what I'd like tio positive today is that there is an interplay between how much well you know, make happen for ourselves, and then how much do we actually have a chance? And this year also intentional, cold evading connections is how I define networking, which is a word that I know is really rife, right? When you say the word networking and say, we're going to talk about networking today, and I promise you, you're gonna like it just like you like sales pages now, I promise you, you're gonna like it, I don't know if you're gonna believe me, so I want to start by thinking about what we're not talking about or or even like what your biases are, because I have some really strong biases about what it means to network what it means to intentionally cultivate connections. But I would love to know from you what makes you uncomfortable about networking now, where we're starting fifty I picture I'm goingto like a chamber of commerce networking event where you have, like fifty business cards in your pocket and everyone's like, hey, how's, it going are like that's, what I think about anything about networking. Oh gosh, you know, when I started my career at that first internship where we were in these little closets making pitches, they had a rule that to go to an event, so any kind of professional development event or anything like that, you had to come back to business cards on I got really good at going up to strangers and saying, hi, tiffany, I'm bridget and like getting their name and then getting their card and walking away right on, then throwing the card away because, I mean, you would give it a copy to give it to your boss or something, but you never do anything with it. So I totally hear you on that. Any others, just the sense of, like, what can I do for you? What can you do for me? Just feeling like we're not really relating as people, but we're more just it's like a very utilitarian relationship. Scratch my back, I'll scratch yours, and that can feel a little gross. I got some feedback coming in from online nand erling says all those people. Yikes! Cassiopeia says, I feel unauthentic, uh, kris with a k going back to the sasha conversation, a hate business card, orgies. We're growing cards at each other, running away without any conversation. You oh my gosh, I hate those two I hate this totally and with you on that one on I have to say that you know, I've been there I've been to the business card or jews as you say I've collected the business cards and I can tell you firsthand that that's not what we're going to be talking about because it just doesn't work and it means it makes you feel really gross and so that's that's kind of where we want to start here is what networking is not and it is not driven by greed are nade got some special effects here? I think networking is not driven by greed or need so this is so important but when you're starting teo make thes new connections pure business you always want to center yourself back into that idea of we're creating more value for everyone and especially if you think of your customers in your clients then there's nothing greedy or needy about giving your client's better service or getting your message out to more people right? And these air all outcomes that can happen when you're doing networking really intentionally so if you're knowing and you're so firmly in your ground I'm doing this to be of more service I'm doing this to create more value and put in the word world then it cannot be greedy or needy, nor is it then manipulative or one sided so there's a lot of that going out there where people have, you know, the networking opportunities that they go teo and it's very much about how can I get mine? And I don't want to say that doesn't exist because I would be lying that does exist just like there are people who use what is it yellow high highlighters and reading on their sales pages? Thes air these are aspects of businesses, you know, the people do to serve in their businesses that way. And, um, I really stand here believing that there is another way to do it, and not only is there another way that isn't manipulative, that it's not about a one sided exchange, but it's also something that can create so much more value also for your own business. So what networking is instead is it is a process, it is a system for creating those connections that are going to drive your business forward, so we're going to go through the four step process of networking before we do that, though I want to also take a step back and think about, well, who are we networking with? You know what? What is the landscape? What is the environment? So of course my background is in public relations and media outreach, so when I think of networking, I often think of journalists tv producers of magazine editors bloggers you know people with a lot of twitter followers all of that right so there is absolutely an angle of networking and in creating connections that can create so much value for your business by getting your message out to more people and when we're talking the context of launching products or services or stores or what have you that is it such a huge value that can really accelerate the progress that you have with your business? And I think often there's this idea that you know you have to start here with your initial launch in your initial audience and you have to organically grow it to a certain level before you can go ahead and reach out to people on I would say that is untrue now there might be re synced to do that there might be strategic reasons for building your community very organically and not going outside for your outreach before doing that but you don't have tio you shouldn't ever let a preconceived notion about how big you have to be first hold you back from going after things like media are great cast posting blog's or entrepreneur dot com and that kind of thing so that's of course one group of networking and one of my biases is that that's a group that I think about a lot so I'll probably talk about that a little bit another group that you could be networking with our if you're running a program you know you could have people coming into teo instruction for your program and that could be really great because you can be bringing in a new audience you could be taking a break and sitting in the audience yourself for a minute eh? So there's a lot of benefits there it could be affiliate partners or sales people to help you promote your programs it could be you know, our friend meghan almond who does the jewelry that a real where she's recently collaborated with a woman who does clutches to use her fabric right? So through networking she met with somebody who was able to help you create a product that she didn't already have so it's not just that you're connecting with influencers and the media to get your message out although that is a great way to grow your business and of course I think you should be doing that but the scope of who you could be reaching out to is very broad and we'll be talking a little bit more about that too so the four step process is first focusing so important to focus on who it is that you're going to work with and collaborate with and co create more value for your business together the second piece of the system is showing up to really deciding that you're going to show up and you're going to take the steps that are needed to create those results for your business the third piece of networking that we're going to talk about is adding value and for me this is one of the most importance of course you have to figure out what your network with of course you have to make the commitment to show up but this idea of adding value and that that is the purpose of what you're doing is adding value to them adding value for your customers you know creating something bigger than what you already have is really the key that will unlock and shift things for you and then lastly making an ask so important to transition from wow we have a lot of common we could really do something let's get together to making a firm and concrete ask that's going to move something forward and this is a place where I think a lot of people could be really great at identifying you know those people that might be really great to collaborate with and create an initial engagement with them our relationship or rapport but sometimes people get stuck there and never ever transition into making the ass so I'll be sharing with you exactly how it is like a template for how you can make that asked in a way that's really compelling and engaging and I can't guarantee that everyone you ask is going to say yes but what I can guarantee is that you'll show up really well okay, focusing so, um it might first example, right? I was talking about being in a pr agency and calling like a hundred journalists, and this still happens today it's really common that people write press releases in my business and then they pull a list from a media database and the bcc everybody on that list and then they sent it out, they copy that press release in there, they sent a pitch email and they sent it out. Or maybe if you're blogging, you've gotten one of those emails that, you know, is a mass produced email, right? And people are asking you, I don't know it'll put a link or to hire them to do s ceo work for you, I get those all the time, and so what we want to do instead of that? Because there's a word for that spam, right? We're at spanning the people working, connecting with them home. We're really excited about what they have to offer and what we can do together. So instead of thinking about finding one hundred of different people that you can casually reach out to instead of focus in your efforts to like final star with three, you know, start with three people who were really jiving with and you're really resonating with their message, you think you have a lot on the line and then focus all of your efforts, at least in the short term, on those people, when we start helping people with their media relations, their media outreach to centers will say you should never have your first media let's be bigger than ten, because one of the big problems that happens to people is that they'll send out a press release or they'll send out a pitch idea and they'll send it to like too many people. And then what if you get too many ss back? And then all of a sudden you've dropped the ball? You've totally disappointed all these people saying ask teo, so focusing is also really important there, because when we're doing connections the right way, we're getting more yeses, and we want to make sure that we can follow through on these commitments that we're setting up. So who is it that we want to be focusing on? Well, the very best strategic partners, whether it be media, whether the other instructors, anyone, any kind of influence or that you want to connect with are the people already serving your customers, people who are already serving your customers and there's a lot of different ways to think about what kind of people they might be, so one of my favorite techniques is actually like I call it low rent, you know it's so easy, but nobody ever does it, which is simply taking, like, what are some of those questions that my customers are asking? So when you did the think, feel, see and do kind of work before, like, what are some of those phrases there coming up again, or where? Some of the fours on my sales page and just typing those into google and seeing what kind of source has come up could be the best way to find the right media or the right block suit to do your customers. So I actually do that when we work with clients all the time, I'll just do like a really simple google search to see, like who's already covering these topics. Another thing is, you know, if you if you attend a conference, if you do a trade show, if you go on the stage, it could be just a simple is looking around on the antenna very and seeing who else is there right? And so just taking these conscious efforts to not be focusing on people simply because they have a bigger audience than you are. They feel more influential than you, d'oh, but focusing on the ones who are serving your most valued customers. And we're going to do a hot seat on this, too. I should've mentioned that at the end, so you can kind of see how we might tease out some of these different kinds of interactions. The next piece is showing up, so once you have your, you know, three people, you're five people that you're really focused on it's so important to make a commitment to yourself that you're going to show up and be proactive and be intentional. And I like to say like, showing up it's not waiting for these people, they're gatekeepers to come to you, but to create your own opportunities to partner up with them or to communicate with them, and this can also be important, because often the people that were trying to network with or busier than we are right or they're harder to get ahold of or they're not answering their emails. So sometimes showing up me and something as simple as this happened with me once of seeing like a twitter call from this is the leo, but about a years ago of caen habits the blocks and habits, and he said he put out a call on twitter and looking for editors of my focus manifesto you'll get credits in the manifesto, if you do it and I had identified leo is just being at this home was doing lifestyle walking that made more sense eyes being somebody who is really a line, I was really interested in what he was doing I had him on a private twitter list, you know, it's like twitter stalking him and I saw that and it was like, well, I've committed that this is the person that I want a network with, so I'm not going to say like, oh, I don't have time for that or I'm not gonna get paid for that should I do it? Like I knew that he was somebody who occasionally put stood guess post but was very hard to get into, right? And so it was like, okay, this is my opportunity, I'm going to raise my hand, I don't care if I'm scared, I don't care if I'm busy, but I've committed to showing up with somebody on my focus list, and the cool thing was is a year later I met him at a conference and he offered me a guest post on his block on I got like, a thousand new email subscribers from that, and I've been blogging for less than a year, which is what I mean about who cares how big your audience is, this is the way to grow it, um, but because I met him and I had that guest post, and I still get daily traffic from it like two or three years ago, it's insane, so it's absolutely about making that commitment that once you found your people that you'll jump on the opportunity, another one is help a reporter out if you heard of that. Yeah, so helpful over reporter out or hero is this awesome service online, where you can sign up for three, daily emails for opportunities in the media. And so journalists and vetted bloggers will email out say, I'm looking for a source on and people who are just starting to get into pr of media outreach or blogger outreach. This could be a really low commitment way to do it. And so in that contacts showing up is saying, like, I want to meet with influences media, maybe I'm not really sure what opportunities there are there I'm getting my feet wet, showing up there is just like, I'm going to read that email every day, and if something comes through, I'm going to stop what I'm doing and respond. So showing up could be something really simple, tio and then from there, the next step is adding value. So you figured out, you know, who are the people I'm focusing on you commit to showing up, and then it's so important next to take that step to figure out. How can you bring value to these people you know how can you be working together and creating something what is it not just that you want to get out of the opportunity but before you even get there it's like what can I get to them what can I get to them and that's where we take out some that it factor out of the networking and here it's not about, you know, collecting one hundred business cards it's about finding just a few key people and kind of getting to know them and doing some research and figuring out how can you add value so the real key here is you know, avoiding that tendency to think about what is it that I want to get but thinking about what is it that I can give so really quickly some ideas on how you might want to add value because this can be a little stressful, right? Um and and I want to say that you know, sometimes we think about this like what can I give somebody and it feels like okay, so I'm a web designer so maybe the way add value is I go on I offer to create them a sales page for free or I'm an editor and the way I can add value is I can go and like comment on some typos that they have on their website which I do not recommend people don't like that or and people get really kind of heady about what does it mean to add value and how exactly do I do that? And they have everything that I want right? They have this huge audience, this huge influence and so what do we have possibly have to offer to them? And so for that I really encourage you to think small actually with connecting with people it's really important to start with some of the little really human thanks so my favorite way to add value to somebody? Actually if you're following them and you've been researching them and you're into what they're doing is often you might find a way to make an introduction they will make a huge difference to somebody's life you maybe somebody's looking for a web designer maybe they're looking for coach maybe they're going to be on creative live and they need a beautiful something to wear right on, you can add value that actually with one of the instructors coming up, michelle ward had post something on facebook about like, where can I go shopping? Well, if you tell her the place to go shopping and she finds what's aware she's gonna remember you'll be grateful so could be really human it doesn't have to be like, engineered or manufactured and that's where it comes back that showing up with just like making sure your watching for those opportunities another great way to add value that's really simple and might feel like it's not that big of a deal is if somebody else's a content provide creator, you know it was sharing, sharing their stuff with your audience, so even if your audience is smaller or it doesn't matter, because you're found them because you have synergies and so you're right, audience is probably really similar to their right audience, and if you're sharing them to, you're gonna be able to say something that's going to make that beautiful connection it's really going to help out so something as simple as sending a tweet, putting a facebook playing in the e mail, those air always toe add value, another really fun way issue no, often we want people that we can interview for one reason or another for a program, you know? Course, and maybe you want to interview some because you're doing a podcast? Well, my favorite things that terror will say is one of the ways you can add value to terra is ask her really interesting questions ask really interesting questions, so if you know somebody well enough to know that they really kick out in a certain subject, but they don't get to talk about it a lot, because it's a little bit off of their core competency. Like, you know, my core competency, I could come up here and talk to you about reaching out to the media and how do you picture me in a little l day? This networking thing is more of a passion of mine because it's something I've had to study so it's like a real treat to be up here talking about what I don't talk about, you know, that really direct way every single day, like I do with some of the media stuff, so giving somebody an opportunity to expand on one of their passions can be another great way to add value, and you're just giving them something like so small it's like giving a gift like a little gift thisa little opportunity, I'd love to throw it to you, you know, I know we don't have a twitter site for that, but what kind of ways do you think that you can have tio create value for somebody else who you're trying to connect with that it's really small in human? Tiffany? I think sometimes just telling someone that you really appreciate their work, like twenty thing, twitter is a great way to do that and and saying something like your block post, really, you touched me or something? I mean, just just a simple is that, yeah, absolutely, citing their work and linking to it, telling them thanks sir love right yeah. Links are the currency of the internet I love that it's perfect defending somebody if they're getting slammed for something oh yeah yeah especially when people when they have bigger audiences or influential usually don't get there bye toeing the line right you don't you don't reach that kind of position unless you're saying something every once in a while that's a little controversial or that somebody is gonna agree with your everybody agrees with you you're doing something wrong so yeah that's absolutely that's a great one okay, cool ok. Yeah. So the introductions um telling somebody who love their work I love to do that sometimes you know, if I if I know I want to pitch somebody but maybe I have a program coming out and it's in like six months so I don't recommend like sending them an email like I love what you do and then a week later sending them a pitch right general then you want to combine that effort but if you have some time if you're developing your product these are things you can start doing now. So when you're ready to move on to the next step making an ask they know you they recognize your name they open your email right that's so important that they recognize there your name and they open your email the other one I wanted to mention um because I do really believe that a way to really accelerate the growth of your business is through guess posting contributing, doing media right? And what I have learned through that is that if you can really do the work to put yourself into their shoes, so if I wanted to pitch like a tv producer for a morning show or something really paying attention to what is the content they're producing what air their segments like and then actually giving them a segment idea, pitching them an idea that features you and your product is in a way again just because they're always out there looking for more content they have to be creating it I mean, tv producers every single day right there up like at ungodly hours putting these segments together so sometimes the thing that benefits you is also what is creating value for them and this is where it could be really important to get yourself out of your own perspective and think about okay, I know this is gonna be benefit me and not focus too much on that and think about but doesn't this also like we have a lot of clients to who placed articles for like, entrepreneur dot com and they're always looking for new writers and so for them getting a really targeted idea for a contribution that is actually adding value even though we're also getting something out of it so when you're adding value you don't have to be completely like selfless like you're not getting anything in return and then the last piece of this is making an ask so it's so important teo make sure that you make a clear ask and you make it really easy for the person that you're reaching out to to say yes to you so I like to say that a pitch perfect ask is both concise and precise a pitch perfect ask is both kansai ce and precise so what do I mean by this? Well first of all if you're going to be e mailing somebody you know you want it to be we'll get back to the specifics that we were having a four you want it to be no more than three paragraphs and no more than three cents is each so ten census teo you know tell somebody what it is you love about their work why you want to collaborate and make the ask um in terms of the the kansai zits so important that you don't overload people with information it looks underling which goes back before you move on from the value add yeah they're finding it really hard to figure out what extra value they add because they love people they do it freak quickly but usually it's in an area unrelated to my business does the brand need to be consistent or how what do you recommend in that instance so they're great at making the connections. But people they're connecting with aren't always right in line with what they're doing. Yeah, s. So what I recommend there is, you know, you want to stop that, like, if that's your natural tendency, that's a beautiful thing, right? And that is such a thing that I would always encourage, but then go all the way back to that first step and make sure that you're identifying those three to five people or organizations that you're going to be intentionally connecting with here. So continue because you never know what's going to come around and how those things can help you. And so you don't ever want to close those opportunities. But at the same time, you want to balance that out with being intentional, actively doing those kinds of things that come naturally for you, for the kinds of people and organizations that are going to further your business, right? And then when you do it, d'oh, concisely and precisely okay, yeah, exactly.