It’s never a good morning when you look in the mirror and realize you’ve turned into that person.
“Please like, comment and subscribe. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat.”
You smile, pose and wake up at foolish-o-clock to try and fit in all the content you need to create. Your family and friends are constantly mad at you because you’re always on your phone and can’t seem to switch off and be in the moment with them.
But the part that really hurts is that it isn’t working. All those hours, all that relationship damage, all that pressure isn’t actually turning into cash flow. I feel you.
Even the pros can struggle
Back in August 2014, I launched my online course to help visionary entrepreneurs grow their businesses by doing their own PR. To kick things off, I’d done what many of you have probably done — purchased various $297 and $197 social media courses and products. I was posting every day to connect with my new audiences.
I felt I had an unfair advantage. I’ve been a paid journalist since I was 12 and have been trained by some of the biggest brands in the industry about how to create compelling content. If content is king and social media success is all about content marketing, I felt like I was already miles ahead of most people. I just hoped I’d have enough time to pour myself a mojito before all that moolah came pouring in!
*sound of dreams shattering*
Perhaps you’ve been on this journey, too? All the mojitos but none of the moolah? My strategy wasn't working, and my social networks weren't garnering the attention I assumed they would drive from day one. What was my problem? Well, I realized that all those courses and the social media gurus had left out a rather important factor…
I sucked at social.
How I turned a failing social strategy into six-figure success
I was good at content…but social and content are two separate things
Social media requires you to be good at analytics, cost per click metrics and paid advertising. Or, according to what many people outside the industry think, it requires you to put on pants, get away from your computer and then take selfies doing wildly exciting things.
No matter what your tactics may be, many of the activities you do to drive awareness and attention in social will cost money and countless hours long before they bring money in. That leaves you with precious little time and resources to do whatever it is that clients and customers actually pay you to do.
If you have a mortgage, a small child and are living on a single income which is about to get cut (my hubby was told he was slated for the next round of layoffs), the pressure becomes intense. In my situation, I didn’t have time to waste. And neither do you.
So what did I do to build a multi-six figure business in less than six months?
I dropped social and decided to go where active audiences were already being nurtured on a daily basis around my topic. I pitched myself as a DIY PR expert and started sharing my knowledge (the same content I’d been toiling over with no audience) with audiences ranging from Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Global TV, New York Times, ABC, CNBC and more.
And it worked.
Step 1: Grab someone else’s audience
Think of all the journalists, bloggers and podcasters around you. Their readers, viewers and listeners already know and trust them. They’re under pressure to produce an ever-growing body of content on an ever-shrinking budget. My journalist buddies are going to hate me for saying this, but their loss is your gain.
Related: 3 easy steps to get way more press.
When a reporter now has to file three stories in the same eight-hour shift when they used to file just one, they need help. If you can prove that you’ve got something valuable for their audience — strategy, tips, a carefully designed product that will solve their problems — they're going to love you.
The really important thing is to make sure your pitch answers the question “why now?”.
Step 2: Gain credibility (and free SEO)
Right now, someone is Googling you. Question is, what are they going to find?
Think about how different their experience as a potential customer could be if they see that you and your company have been featured on multiple high-trust media sites, all raving about your thought leadership and innovation. Most of your competitors will probably just have their websites and a few social profiles on that front search page.
The beautiful thing about earned media exposure is that not only do your clients notice and become impressed, Google’s search algorithm does, too. Which means that when you have your own column in Inc. or Entrepreneur magazine and those highly trafficked sites lead back to your site, your own SEO (search engine optimization) goes way up without any financial investment on your part.
Step 3: Create a media snowball
When you get featured in media, you’ll be able to use their logos as a badge of credibility on your own site. So when folks check you out, they’ll see that the teams at outlets like Huffington Post, CBC, Forbes or The New York Times have vetted you and think your opinion, product or service is worth sharing.
Even better, when the media already loves you, other media will love you more. Your exposure will start to snowball. When producers or editors at bigger outlets Google you and see you’ve already got some media under your belt, they’re much more likely to see your value and book you.
Step 4: Your social grows, too
These days, the mainstream media is obsessed with social media virality. The difference between them and us is that they have the budget and human resources to make sure the machine is being fed.
The good news is that when you land media exposure, that outlet’s social teams are going to be tweeting and posting about it on all their social. Which then exposes you to even more of your ideal prospects — including the ones that don’t necessarily watch TV or read the papers.
And then, instead of you tweeting to the sound of crickets, you’ll get to retweet a big name media brand talking about you. Again, this is very different energy and much more likely to attract quality followers without having to invest in paid traffic.
How do you get started?
Pitch to the local news outlets first. They’re usually looking to cover people in their area and they don’t receive the same volume of pitches as bigger national shows. Once you’re there, you can pitch to bigger news outlets and increase your online following.
Get journalists' attention by using a story-based approach and avoid the standard press release altogether. Learn how to write those pitches in a step-by-step plan here.
Follow the steps and by this time next week, you could have your first media interview already booked, without previous experience or media contacts required. Eventually, that failing social media presence will start taking off on its own.