Client Kudos: How a Yoga Teacher is Making Mental Health Less Taboo

Click image to read article about Mandy GivenMandy Given has one of those stories.

Heart-wrenching. Courageous. Moving. Inspirational.

TRANSFORMATIONAL.

It’s no accident the fates brought us together.

Mandy is a mom. She’s a business owner. And she’s a fearless messenger.

When we met in the fall, she suspected that her story needed to be tightened up & positioned strategically. She also knew she wanted a more professional sounding & looking website.

As we worked together, it became clear that in addition to a powerful story that would connect to potential clients, she had a message that would benefit the 40 million Americans who suffer from anxiety disorders.

That is a story worth pitching to the press, & Mandy was game.

Earlier this year, Mandy landed placements with her local paper & the local CBS radio affiliate in Boston, the country’s 8th largest media market (click the links to read the article & hear the spot). And she’s just getting started.

Here’s why it worked, & how you can do this too.

  • Clarity around message & story. Mandy came to me with her story so I could help her turn it into its most concise & compelling version. From there, we shaped & re-purposed it for different channels including her website & media pitches.
  • Media connections. I love it when clients like Mandy already have connections with journalists, That’s half the battle because if a journalist already knows, trusts & likes you AND you have a great pitch, getting placed happens fast & easy. You don’t need to have existing connections or relationships to get publicity. If you want more tips on how to start making your own connections check out my interview on The Carrie Roldan Show.
  • Craft a media-worthy pitch. Pitching the media is part art, part psychology. There are plenty of free resources on my blog (like this one & this one) & others (check out The Publicity Hound — better than a PR degree!) to help you pull your own pitch together. Or you can just hire someone & be done with it.  Here’s the email pitch I wrote for Mandy’s CBS contact — in less than an hour.

What every parent should know about how to help a child with anxiety

Hi <first name>,I’m Mandy Given and I’m the owner of Govinda Yoga Play, where I help children in grades 4-12 throughout Greater Boston & North Shore better cope with the stress of these uncertain times and the daily dilemmas of modern society. I’ve listened to your show and I believe I’d be a great guest for your audience.

Proposed Topic: What every parent should know about how to help a child with anxiety

Did you know that anxiety affects 25% of US children ages 13-18 (SOURCE: National Institute of Mental Health)? At the same time, anxiety is highly treatable yet only 20 percent of children suffering with anxiety receive treatment. Parents of children with anxiety can help ease their child’s worries, and it doesn’t always have to be with the use of powerful prescription drugs.

As a guest on your show, I propose discussing the following points:

  • How families can experience more peace & happiness in spite of these turbulent times
  • Simple, drug-free techniques anyone can use to change our chemical response to stress
  • How to avoid the dangers of your child, you or any loved one being misdiagnosed & over-medicated from the perspective of a parent with anxiety

Many of your listeners may struggle with anxiety or have a child or loved who struggles with it. They may not know that easy-to-learn techniques and alternative solutions to pharmaceuticals are available.

I’ve recently been interviewed by my local newspaper (Marblehead Reporter) and my goal is to deliver an informative interview for your audience. I’d be happy to provide you with sample interview questions at your request, as well as come into the studio should you decide to do a segment on this timely topic.

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Warm regards,

Mandy Given

xxx-xxx-xxxx

name@emailprovider.com

(I’ll break down this pitch with footnotes in another post but in the meantime study, rob & duplicate this format for your own topic & pitch. Or book a consult with me if you want me to take care of it for you.)

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare. For goodness sake, DO NOT wing an interview with the press. Figure out your talking points & practice. Mandy & I sculpted the most meaningful & succinct points, then hopped on the phone to review & mock interview. If you’ve never done a media interview and you plan to make media relations a key branding & marketing strategy, get media training.
  • Re-purpose your media placements. It’s exciting to be in the press. High-five yourself. Not many people have the balls, tenacity or organization to reach out to the media. Share your news! Your co-workers, clients, partners, friends & family will be excited for you. Link to your press from your website. Add an “As Featured In” section to your homepage & include the logo of the media outlet. Post it on your Facebook timeline & business page. Print out the actual article, blow it up to poster size, laminate it & hang it on your office wall. Go for it, you deserve to toot your own horn.

So if you’ve got a newsworthy story to tell . . . I challenge you to reach out to the media.

If you need help pulling together a PR strategy & concise, compelling press materials, book a complimentary consultation so we can discuss what’s possible for you!

Reconnect to the Emotion In Your Story

😀 😢 😠 😟

If you saw my last post about how to tell a better story, you know that the first step is to go deeper emotionally (if not, check it out here).

Why?

Because people love to be moved by story. We all like to imagine ourselves in situations that challenge us and provide us an opportunity to rise to the occasion.

So if you want to tell a better story that will move people, you have to rediscover your emotion. When I started my business, I would gloss over the emotion in my story. I’d lean on similar career experiences because I simply “didn’t want to go there.”

I was doing what I love and what I was good at, but I wasn’t making much money.

And that didn’t turn around until I made friends with the deeper emotional themes in my story.

If you’re asking yourself “How do I rediscover my emotion?” these questions (taken directly from my Tell to Sell Story Creation Home Learning Program) will help you reconnect.

Have fun with it, and stay tuned for more ways you can tell a better story.

How to Tell a Better Story for Emerging Coaches & Consultants

connect to the emotion in your story

photo by Vinoth Chandar

If you’ve been in business a few years, you may be asking yourself . . .

How do I tell a better story?

The kind of story that leads you to the next level in your business and your life.

One thing I noticed as I worked intimately with several women entrepreneurs over the summer on their stories is that they already were telling a story, yet they weren’t happy with the results they were getting.

If you’ve noticed this too, take heed because that’s a sign that you may not be telling the best story.

You’ll know when you’re telling a better story when you:
  • Get an “in the bones” knowing and feeling about your story – you’ll actually feel the connection somewhere in your body
  • People hone in and comment on very specific things you said in your story – this means they didn’t just listen to the story, they connected to and got meaning from some part of it
  • You start generating leads and new business like never before – I didn’t share my story in sales conversations for the first seven months after I first came out with my story. Fascinating that my two best months that year were the month I came out with my story and the month I started telling it in every single sales conversation. I actually had a 100% close rate that month – and I don’t consider sales one of my strengths!
  • People start coming to you with opportunities because they heard about you from someone else – when people you don’t even know start asking you to speak to their audience or collaborate on a big project or do something that gets you one step closer to your dream, that’s your story at work.
So how do you go about telling that kind of story?

I’ve been in the business of helping others tell their stories for 20 years. When it comes to linking better results with a better story there’s a constant that I’ve noticed.

You know what it is?

It’s going deeper EMOTIONALLY.

You have to go deeper emotionally so you can connect with people on an emotional level.

I see this with my coaching and consulting clients today.

I saw it with the PR campaigns I ran for national brands and government agencies (and trust me, emotion and energy efficiency weren’t as hip or passionately adopted then as it is now).

I saw it in the newsroom when I wrote a feature about how local schools were dealing with a very heated conflict between pro-life and pro-choice campaigns targeting school kids in the ’90s.

Emotion. High stakes. Conflict. Resolution.

If these fundamental elements are NOT in your story, it’s time to upgrade.

Stay tuned because I’m going to break this down for you even more in upcoming blog posts. I’ll also share more about a new way I’m working with entrepreneurs like you to upgrade their stories.

In the meantime, what’s holding you back from diving into the emotional deep end? Let me know in the comments below.

Are You Making This Mistake at the Start of Your Story?

photo by Jake

photo by Jake

After doing four back-to-back story workshops in two months, I realized that entrepreneurs get just how valuable story can be for their businesses.

No one needs convincing.

And yet many of the coaches, consultants and creative entrepreneurs I talk with often feel like their stories don’t pack quite the punch they want.

What I’ve found is that we have a TMI (too much information) problem. And it’s not the TMI you might be thinking.

One of my story workshop participants is a visual marketing and online expert. She’s given me permission to share a part of her story with you so you can see what I mean.

Two years into my business, my friend Bryan – a web designer – punched me in the gut with the truth.

“No offense,” he said “but your website sucks”.

Ouch.

I spent a solid year and half getting my website to a point I was happy with. I poured hours upon hours of time and energy not just building my WordPress Masterpiece, but learning how to build it in the first place.

That one simple comment pierced my pride, shattering it to pieces.

But you know what? It was true. As painful as it was to hear, Bryan was 100% right.

In my mind, my business was a high quality, innovative, visual marketing agency, but my website was more like a project that the high school student next door had created.

Notice she didn’t begin with the typical “I was born in Boston, Massachusetts and was fascinated with images and words since I was 2 years old” (because who isn’t fascinated with words and pictures from the moment their born?).

Instead, she gives us action, emotion and specific details to feel like you are standing in her shoes (who hasn’t felt like their website sucked at some point?). She also hits on some core human needs that most people can relate to . . . respect, achievement and self-esteem.

In one paragraph, you get huge insight into my client’s character, without her actually saying, I’m the kind of person who strives for excellence and innovation.

Now compare this with the opening she initially shared with me.

At almost two years into my business I heard the words that no entrepreneur or business owner ever wants to hear, and they were, “No offence, but your website sucks”.

When my web designer friend, Bryan said that to me I winced in pain.

My pride took a big hit because it took me a good year and a half to get my website to a point I was happy with. Only to have someone majorly insult the hours and hours of work I had put into my WordPress Masterpiece.

Not only did I build the site on my own, but I taught myself how to be a WordPress master – or so I thought.

That one simple comment hurt a lot.

She’s saying the same thing but there’s a difference, right?

Here’s what it is and where entrepreneurs often get tripped up.

One opening leads with a specific incident and powerful metaphors that instantly sparks that gut-wrenching emotion of embarrassment. The other takes more time building up to it. There’s only a few extra words in the second example but it doesn’t suck you in as quickly as the first.

I’ve made this mistake too (until my journalism professors and copy editors beat it out of me — more on that later).

That’s because we have this desire to give people all the background information. So we include ALOT of detail in the beginning of our story. And even though details are important, if your audience could care less about those details it’s easy to lose them. By the time you get to the juicy stuff, your audience is already fiddling with their smart phone to see what’s happening on Facebook today.

So here are four things to keep in mind the next time your telling your story:

1.Introduce characters — In the story above, we meet my client’s friend Bryan before we even get to know her. And because Bryan is brutally direct and honest with her, it sucks us right into her story. If he had said something like “Can I give you some advice?” instead (way too polite & vanilla), the audience would care nearly as much.

2.Start in the middle of the action — While it’s true that stories need a beginning, middle and end, that does not mean you have to tell your story in chronological order. What’s more important is to connection emotionally with your audience from the beginning, so think about the one moment you can begin with that will snap your audience to attention and hook their brains and hearts. Keep it simple, set the tone or simply be shocking.

One of my favorite opening lines of all times is this one from Hunter S. Thompson at the beginning of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.

It hits you square in the eyes that you’re about to take a wild ride with this crazy gonzo journalist.

3.Only include what matters most to your audience — There’s a saying in journalism school that goes like this “Don’t bury the lede”and that applies to your story too. In other words, don’t make your audience slog through a bunch of unnecessary details that happened, but that they don’t need to know.

4.Show, don’t tell — Use a specific moment, sensory details and powerful metaphors to create a vivid image in your audience’s mind.

Need more help crafting your compelling, client-converting story? Apply for a complimentary consultation today and learn how you can better connect with your audience and grow your business by sharing your powerful personal story.

How Successful Entrepreneurs Get Hired for Their Story

courtesy of JO Social Branding

courtesy of JO Social Branding

A wise person once said . . .

“If you’re a coach, consultant or entrepreneur you’re specifically being hired for your story. Your ability to attract the right opportunities and deepen your impact is all about getting your story straight.”

If you’re still working on getting your story straight, you’re going to want to check out this Social Eyes podcast with Jeannine O’Neil of JO Social Branding.

Jeannine had me on last week as her expert guest to talk about Unleashing the Power of Storytelling as a way to attract clients and grow your business.

Here’s what you’ll take away from the podcast:

  • Why your story is so important not just for attracting clients but for stepping into your role as an owner and leader
  • How to tell a difficult story that makes you (& your audience) feel good
  • Why hiding your story hurts you, your business & the very people you long to help — & what you can do to change it
  • The advantages of being internally aligned with what you express externally & how story helps you connect the two

And much more.

You can listen here or simply scan the “Key Points & Quotables” section to pick up some fast pointers.

While you’re there, will you do me a favor? Scroll down to the bottom of the page to where it says “Leave a Reply”. Introduce yourself in the comments & let me know what your biggest problem is around sharing your story. Thanks! 

 

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