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!

Client Kudos: How One Interior Designer Uses Video Storytelling to Launch an Online Program (& You Can Too)

My client Peg Kusner created an incredible story video when she launched a new innovative interior design program last fall.  Play the video to see what I mean, then keep reading because I’m going to give you some tips on how you can do this too without going over the top with production (or your wallet)!

I often recommend to my clients that video is like adding the match to the fuel of your story. I love that Peg went out on a limb and pulled together this mini documentary style video for her new program Beyond Your Kitchen Table. I’ve known Peg for several years now and this video captures her philosophy, brilliance and essence beautifully.

If you’d love to have a powerful piece of marketing like this, here are some tips.

  • Share who you are, why you do what you do and what you believe — Video can be far more compelling than the prettiest, most perfect website (even though Peg’s is gorgeous, it’s this video you really can’t look away from!)
  • No need to go over the top with production — Peg’s video is professionally done however it doesn’t take much equipment or lots of clever techniques to create instant connection, rapport & trust. You could accomplish something similar with a high quality phone camera (like LG) & a quality microphone. Hair, wardrobe, makeup — CHECK. Take some action shots, talk to the camera and BOOM. Superstar.
  • Challenge preconceptions about your industry — One of my favorite things about this video is that it challenges philosophies & tired practices in interior design. It also challenges my own beliefs about design (I can’t do it myself, it should look like a glossy magazine, I need all new stuff to pull something together that feels right). How did your beliefs about design change after watching?
  • Show what makes you unique — I’ve talked to Peg on the phone for years. I’ve discovered what has made her unique & special from our many in-depth conversations. I’m so glad she made this video so people can see and feel her uniqueness instantly.
  • Just having an amazing product or service isn’t enough — You have to let people know how you can change their lives. Why not do it in a way that instantly establishes your value & allows people to connect with you on a deeper level?

So if you’ve got a story you can’t NOT tell . . . I challenge you to get it on video.

If you need help pulling together a video-worthy story for an upcoming launch or to add some WOW to your about page or to create dazzling speaker’s reel, book a complimentary consultation so we can discuss what’s possible for you!

Resist “The Drift” on Your Coaching or Consulting Business (Part 1)

raftingIf you haven’t already, it’s a good time to think about how you can simplify, leverage and work smarter as we cruise into another new year.

I’ll get to that in a moment. But first, a story . . .

Years ago, I went on a white water rafting trip with some buddies up in The Forks of Maine (yep, that’s me in the back under the arrow). The first day we paddled our arms off through class IV rapids on the Kennebec River. There’s something so thrilling about eight people sitting on the edges of a rubber raft paddling in unison as big water tosses you around like a cork. It takes great focus on doing the ONE thing that’s going to get you down the river without falling out or flipping the raft. As long as you paddle at the right time and stop paddling at the right time, you’ll avoid going for a violent swim.

On day 2 of our trip we went rafting on the Dead River. Even though the water on the Dead River seemed tamer than the Kennebec, we made a paddling error that pinned the side of our raft against a huge boulder in the middle of the river. The water pushed the ends of the raft around the boulder as we all tried to scramble to the top of the rock but one by one we all tumbled into the water.

I’ll never forget the rapids pushing me down and smashing me into the rocky riverbed. I couldn’t believe how fast I was moving compared to how slowly our raft seemed to be going downstream just moments ago. I popped out of the water just in time to see that I had missed my chance to get into another raft. Other rafts were within my sight but they felt miles away as I rapidly drifted downstream.

Then I heard a man screaming “SWIM. SWIM. SWIM.”

And I finally realized I was just floating along. No wonder I was at the mercy of the shockingly swift current.

I swam like a mad woman until I felt someone hoisting me out of the water and into a raft. I was stunned and exhausted.

I was also alive. Damn that was close.

Many entrepreneurs experience this with their business. They get pushed down and around by external forces and find themselves far away from where they thought they’d be.

At best, it’s disappointing and exhausting. At worst, it’s a terrifying fight for your life . . . or at the very least a fight for your livelihood.

Michael Hyatt, virtual mentor & author of Platform, calls it “the drift.”

This time of year you may be picking up your head only to realize you’ve drifted away from where you intended to be at the start of the year.

If you feel that you’ve drifted off course, stay tuned. In the next email I’m going to give you guidance and an action plan to help you get back on track now so that you can go avoid swirling around in an eddy in 2017.

If you’d like to minimize your drift and take control of your business like the boss you already are, take advantage of my free Simplify Your Business Session.  

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.

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.

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