On the 229th episode of The Copywriter Club podcast, Selena Soo shares it all when it comes to publicity. During a difficult period, Selena began seeking information but found inspiration. Selena became a publicity strategist after stepping into the power of connecting others and helping people share their message with the world. If publicity isn’t something on your mind, it will be after listening in on this episode.
In this episode, we cover:
• how to get your ideal client to find you
• why investing in yourself can change the game for your business and life
• the impact of hustle culture and seeking a balance
• when you include publicity, more eyes are on your core message
• the secret to building a strong body of work
• how to use being an introvert to your advantage
• why you need to clear on what you want to be known for
• what kind of media you should be in front of, plus how to decide on mainstream topics
• two techniques you can use to pitch yourself
• when and how to join the right mastermind programs
• why your body of work matters no matter the size
• the quickest, easiest way to amplify your message
• 5 things you need to realize when it comes to mindset and pitching
• the truth behind being vulnerable online
• why sharing what’s important to you matters online
• if you’re showing up in any form of media, Selena shares what you need to have prepared
New to publicity or maybe you never thought it was THAT important? Think again. You’re about to learn a thing or two from an expert connector. Hit play below!
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:
Free Video Series – Impacting Millions Program
Selena’s blog post about abuse
Selena’s free calendar
Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat Pray Love
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Kira: Getting noticed by the right people is a talent. And while we’ve talked a lot about pitching on this podcast lately, I think we can all agree that life is so much easier when your ideal client finds you rather than the other way around. To get to that place in your business, it sure helps to have publicity, AKA other people sharing your thoughts and ideas on their platforms. That’s something we can all use more of, right? Our guest for the 229th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast is publicity strategist, Selena Soo. She didn’t waste any time helping us figure out what we should be doing to get more publicity for our business. And we think you’ll get a ton out of this interview too.
Rob: We’ll get back to our interview with Selena in a moment. But first, this podcast episode is brought to you by The Copywriter Club (Not) In Real Life, or TCC(N)IRL. That’s our event for copywriters and other smart marketers who want to learn more from experts like Joanna Wiebe, Carline Anglade-Cole, Todd Brown, Jereshia Hawk, Joel Klettke, Eman Ismail, and more than a dozen others. But TCC(N)IRL is about more than just presentations, it’s about connecting with other copywriters, helping you to form real relationships, true friendships, and maybe even a successful partnership with another copywriter.
To learn more, visit TheCopywriterClub.com/TCCNIRL-2021. And if you don’t remember that link, you can find it in the show notes of this episode on The Copywriter Club website.
Kira: Now, let’s jump into our conversation with Selena.
So why don’t you kick off your story just, how did you end up as a publicity and marketing strategist?
Salena Soo: Absolutely. It actually started in my mid 20s when I had a quarter life crisis. I was clinically depressed, I was having trouble eating and getting out of that in the mornings. I reached such a low point that my mom flew from Vancouver, Canada to New York at the time, just to be by my side to help me get through life. And she would get on the subway and take me to work, as if I was like a little girl going to school. And I remember saying to a friend, “I just need to find a way to feel better. Do you know anyone who can help me?” And I learned about this life coach. And she would organize a women’s group, they would meet every Wednesday, and so I started going to those. And I got exposed to these experts and authors and inspirational personalities.
And that’s when I realized that when people are struggling and suffering, they’re not just looking for more information, they’re looking for inspiration, whether they’re someone that doesn’t have a sense of life purpose, or they’re just really dying to strike out on their own and create their own dream business, or maybe they are looking to heal their health or leave a toxic relationship. And I just really felt like the world needs more role models and there’s nothing more powerful than these people that embody that message of possibility. And so I would ask my friends, “Have you heard of this person? And that person?” And they had no idea who they were.
And so I just became really passionate about helping people that had an important message or product or service that they really felt like could help other people improve the quality of their lives and not to be that best-kept secret. And so I started just being this connector, even as an introvert, I just had this passion for helping people that I admired. And so I would put entrepreneurs that I followed in touch with each other or in touch with the media, and they would start to get these amazing opportunities. And so when I did launch my business, I had a lot of support and people that wanted to see me succeed, people that were willing to give me endorsements, so that’s how my publicity business got started.
Rob: Can I ask, what were the very starting things that you did in your business? Because I think there’s a lot of people who are listening to podcasts who have seen you or heard you elsewhere. You’ve got this program that’s massive, that’s huge, it’s promoted by a lot of people, but you didn’t start there. Where did you start? What was the first product or what was the first service that you started offering clients that really got you going?
Salena Soo: Yeah. The first thing that I did was offer PR retainer services, where I would work with clients one-on-one to help them land publicity. My first client, or one of my first clients ended up being a little bit of a nightmare client. I was being paid well, I was able to negotiate like a $4,000 a month retainer. And that was exciting because I’m like, “Okay, I just need two clients to essentially have a six-figure business.” But what happened is, I didn’t know how to create boundaries and assert myself, and I was getting pushed around by this client, and it just reached a point where I didn’t even want any clients so I was like, “Yeah, I’m good. I don’t need new clients,” but I only had one person.
And then I learned that a bunch of women that I admired, they were part of this mastermind group, and I didn’t know what a mastermind was at the time, but I saw that they were hanging out and learning and supporting each other and they all had successful businesses. And so I got on the phone with a coach and by the end of the call, I was ready to sign up for a $27,000 mastermind. I just knew, and I know it’s crazy to go from making $4,000 a month to be like, “I’m going to be in this $27,000 mastermind.” But I knew that I was someone who was smart, that I was able to help people. I just didn’t really have that plan to be successful in my business.
But joining the mastermind, it taught me about how to create group programs now that I was in this really great business program. And so shortly after, a number of months later, I created my own publicity mastermind, was started at 9,500 for six months. And then when I did it for a full year, I increased the price to 24,000. So being in that mastermind paid itself off very quickly because it helped me create a new business model. I basically went from one-on-one work to then creating a mastermind.
Kira: So I know you lived in New York for a while. How many years were you in New York before you left?
Salena Soo: I was in New York for 18 years.
Kira: That’s right. Yeah. So I was there for 12 years. I know our time there overlapped, even though we never met. Can you just talk about how New York rubbed off on you? Maybe for good or for bad, business-wise, lessons that you took away from your time in New York that have influenced you as a business person, and maybe even personally outside of business.
Salena Soo: Yeah, absolutely. New York is such a magical city, and I’m grateful that I went to college there and it opened me up to a lot of different opportunities. I would organize conferences at Columbia University and NYU where I went to school, undergrad and then business school. And so I got to interact with a lot of high profile people. I had people like Ariana Huffington speak at my conference. Pattie Sellers who had built Fortune’s Most Powerful Women In Business brand so forth. There were a lot of opportunities there to be a connector and to connect with the media. I would reach out to people in the media who I didn’t really know, but I would invite them to events that I was organizing.
Like I would organize Champagne Brunches over the weekend with girlfriends and other people in the media, and the secret to creating events that people want to attend is basically having at least two anchor people that others want to meet, like this famous person is coming or this really cool person is coming. And so, yeah, it gave you an opportunity to build relationships. Not that you have to be in person, but it can be helpful to have that as an option. And then I would say like in New York, Elizabeth Gilbert, she talks about, in her book Eat, Pray, Love, how there is a word that encapsulates every city. I think for Rome, it’s like sex, and for New York, it’s something like-
Kira: Wasn’t it ambition? It was an ambition.
Salena Soo: Yeah. Something like that. I think it might’ve been strong or maybe it’s achieve. But for me, I feel like New York has a striving energy where even if you’re successful, even if you’re a successful lawyer or an investment banker or you’re performing on Broadway, there’s always someone that’s more successful than you. It’s like never nap. And there’s this striving hustle energy. I feel like that’s a bit of my nature, I’m a driven person, but I think that there’s also something a little bit unhealthy about that. And also being an entrepreneur, there’s constantly reasons to stay busy.
So I think New York was good, but I did find myself at many points just working so much and realizing, I’m really craving something different. So eventually, I moved to Florida and then Puerto Rico, and I have a much more balanced lifestyle now, but I’m also grateful for all the lessons and experiences I had in New York.
Rob: So maybe Kira, we just need to move to Puerto Rico and the balance will happen, it’s the magic elixir.
Kira: I’m up for it.
Salena Soo: It helps. When I lived in New York, people were always coming to town. And so there’s always a reason to meet up with people. And because of my friend circles, someone always had some kind of party, maybe at some book launch party or something else, and so you’re constantly going out. And there’s something that’s fun about it, but there’s also something that’s exhausting where you don’t have time for yourself. And where I live in Puerto Rico, I’m not in the main city, I’m an hour away and I’m surrounded by nature, I live right by the beach. And so I have a lot of time for myself. But I also have some very dear friends nearby, John Lee Dumas lives near me along with a bunch of other entrepreneurial friends.
So I think there’s something to be said just not being around people all the time, or just like saying like, “Okay, I’m going to take like a little sabbatical and just take a break from constant social interaction.”
Rob: I’m sold. Yeah. We’re on our way. So Selena, I know we’re going to talk a lot about publicity, but before we do that, can we define, when you talk about publicity and getting out there or whatever, I know a lot of people have different definitions. Is it writing a couple of blog posts? Is it something bigger? Can we define what that is so that we can really dig into this thing that you’re so good at?
Salena Soo: Yeah, absolutely. So publicity is all about getting your work, your message out to other people through like a third party platform. So it’s not about you publishing something on your own blog or emailing your own newsletter, but it’s media outlets, places like magazines, TV guest posting on other sites, podcasts. I also really think of influencers and experts as part of the new media today, because a lot of influencers, they do have their podcasts or their newsletter lists and different platforms where they can really promote your message. Like maybe the interview isn’t a podcast, but is an Instagram Live and you’re getting in front of their audience.
And so I think that every entrepreneur should be getting publicity and can be benefiting from it because it’s one thing for you to tell the world, “Hey, like I’m the best at what I do.” But if you’re the only person saying it, the message is only going to go so far and mean so much to people. It’s really powerful if there’s a podcast where that’s admired of your industry saying, “Oh my gosh, you got to check this person out, they’re amazing.” Or maybe you’re on a list of like the top 10 copywriters to follow this year and so forth.
Kira: So for copywriters who maybe are new to the publicity game, what is an initial way they can approach it so it doesn’t feel overwhelming and so it feels like something they can do, because I think it’s easy for a lot of us to just be like, “Well, I’m a new copywriter, or I’m not a big name, how am I going to get featured on a big podcast or even on Forbes?” How can we make it more approachable for copywriters?
Salena Soo: Yeah, absolutely. I think the first thing to do is identify your low-hanging fruit. A lot of us, we think about that dream opportunity, this idea of going from zero to Oprah, and that’s not what happens to anyone. And also, you wouldn’t be ready for that opportunity on day one. You want to refine your skills and get better and better over time. So I think a lot of us feel like, “Oh, we don’t know the right people,” but many of us, if we were really to think about it, whether it’s going through our LinkedIn profile or our phone or Facebook, there are people that we know that have podcasts or who have been on podcasts and could potentially make introductions to podcast hosts, or people that have platforms where you could write.
One of the things that I talk about is this concept of the publicity pyramid. So if you imagine a pyramid, there’s different levels. So the bottom of the pyramid is your home base, this is your online presence. And we all should be developing that, whether that is our social media profiles, our website, a blog. On these platforms, we’re typically writing something. And then the next level is guest posting, and that’s a natural extension of writing on your blog or writing for your newsletter. Now you’re doing the same thing, but you’re writing it on someone else’s website, and you can really distill your ideas.
And then from there, after you had experience really talking about your ideas and your expertise, then moving to podcasting. So that would be the third level, podcasts or video. Now, you’re doing the same thing, but you’re talking about it in an extended format. It could be a 15-minute interview, a 30-minute, an hour interview. And then the next level would be breaking more into mainstream media, so magazines. And typically, if you’re in a magazine, they’re usually quoting you versus you authoring a piece like you would with guest posts, and you really have to get your sound bites down.
And then for TV, it’s kind of like podcast, but it’s a shorter format just like guest posts and magazines are similar, but it’s more sound bites. Because a podcast interview could be an hour, the average TV interview is about three minutes long. So you really need to get your messaging down, and you don’t want to start there on day one. You don’t want to start with like the Today Show or some outlet that you’re just not ready for. You want to start with first of all, I guess really building your own online presence. When people Google you, they’re like, “Oh, this is a real person.” And then you want to go to guest posting, and then podcasts and so forth.
Rob: Let’s say that my goal is Oprah, zero to Oprah. I want to hit that really big stage, or I want to be on the Today Show, that kind of thing. I know it’s like a baby step thing, but is there a shortcut? Is there something that I can do that like puts me on the fast track to that really big name?
Salena Soo: I would say the shortcut is building relationships with people that can make introductions for you. But the other thing, because I am someone who’s seen as a connector, but there are certain things that can be shortcut. So one of the things that you absolutely must do is you have to build your body of work, because let’s say, Oprah’s producers were presenting her with two options of different, I’m just going to use the example of a life coach. And then Oprah Googles one life coach, and she sees, Ooh, she’s got an online presence, a body of work. She’s got a website, there’s media logos. I Google her name, I see that she’s been doing all these different podcasts interviews, she’s ran articles and all these different places.
That body of work is proof that you are committed to your work, that you’re showing up consistently, that you’re building an audience, that you’re refining and spreading your ideas. If she were to Google someone else and nothing really comes up, there isn’t any proof that this person is consistently putting themselves out there and sharing their work, and that person’s not going to be seen as serious about their message or ready for that opportunity. So I think there’s no shortcut, we all have to build our body of work. It’s not just Oprah, maybe it’s your ideal client that you want to hire, your dream client.
I found that when people, for example, join my Impacting Millions program, they will put my name into Google, or they’ll go into YouTube and podcast interviews or video interviews will come up. The first things that come up in search engine results are our social media profiles our website, and followed by that, it’s any kind of media that we get typically. And so, if someone’s investing in a high level program, 2,000, 3,000, 5,000, 10,000, they want to feel like they’re doing their homework and getting to know the person before they make the investment. I’ve had people listen to podcast interviews from like two years, three years, five years ago, and be like, “Oh my gosh, this was so helpful and it just convinced me that you were the person that I wanted to work with.”
Kira: Let’s talk more about being a connector. I know that seems like, well, at least it seems like it might be natural to you, maybe you’ve worked on it over the years. But do you think being a connector is something that we can all learn if we aren’t naturally a connector? Because it does seem like it could give you a huge advantage if you are a great connector in the visibility space and in the PR space to make those connections and then open even more doors in your own business.
Salena Soo: Yeah. Well, a couple of things, one is, I think that everyone has different gifts. So we don’t all need to be connectors or we don’t all have to be great copywriters or great public speakers. But one thing that I really do believe in is building relationships in business and adding value, generously helping other people. And one of the fastest ways that you can add value is a connection because it doesn’t take that long to make an email introduction. But whenever I make an introduction, I want to make sure it’s a three-way win. I’m thinking about, there’s two people I want to put you in touch. I want to make sure that the person who is receiving the introduction is going to want to meet the other person.
So it’s beneficial on both sides, versus someone just saying, “Ooh, you’ve got an influential contact or someone that could help me,” there has to be value both ways. And when that happens, that also I’m adding value by creating that connection. So it has to be a three-way win. But yeah, I think being a connector is important. And I think a lot of it just comes down about caring. Like, “I just met this amazing person, who else could benefit from knowing them?” Or, “This person has this challenge, who is a person or a resource or something that I could put them in touch with?” Maybe you don’t naturally go there, but just spending even extra like two minutes to just think about like, “How could I help this person?”
Rob: Do you have a process for this? Do you sit down for like 10 minutes every day or an hour every week and think, who can I connect? Or does it just happen organically as things happen and come up?
Salena Soo: I would say for me, it is organic, but I also think about, how can you connect at scale? So like let’s say when I was living in New York, I would meet up with people, but you can only meet up with so many people one-on-one. Like let’s say there’s 20 amazing people you want to develop a deeper relationship with. If you met them every quarter, that’s 80 in-person meetings or 80 Zoom meetings or whatever it is. So I would meet people one-on-one to build a deeper connection, and then I would organize events and they might be a mixer where 30 people are attending, or maybe it’s a dinner party for 10 people. And so you’re not only deepening the relationship, but in the process, you’re also connecting them with other people and creating more valuable values, so that scalable.
Another thing is, I have great relationships with certain contributors at Forbes. I know saying that it’s like very coveted, so not only do I place my clients for those opportunities where there are certain business relationships that are really valuable or maybe someone who I feel like they might be able to send clients to me in the future if they were able to see my publicity expertise, and maybe there’s a way that I can connect them or help them in some way. There’s a lot of things where you could be helpful to one person, but you can also be helpful to 10 people or 20 people or 30 people by organizing the event or sharing that contact with multiple people.
Kira: I think it’s easy for someone listening to be like, “Well, Selena can do this. You’re a unicorn, you can put together events and assemble people.” But what’s interesting too that you’ve talked about is that you are an introvert, and so it’s easy for us as copywriters because so many of us are introverts to be like, “Well, I can’t do that because that’s not my style, that’s not my natural inclination as an introvert.” So could you just talk about, to the introverts, what are our superpowers as introverts that actually allow us and empower us to do a great job with PR and visibility because we’re an introvert?
Salena Soo: Yeah. I think that one of the benefits of introverts are that we’re thoughtful and we think through things a lot. I want to talk about relationships and I want to talk about publicity, but there’s ways that we can use our introversion to our advantage. I’m all about building deep and meaningful relationships, and so when I would organize, let’s say like brunch in New York, and I would call them Champagne Brunches, just because it has a nice sound to it, but you don’t have to order a champagne.
Kira: It sounds like more fun when it’s a Champagne Brunch.
Salena Soo: Yeah, exactly. I understand that when I’m reaching out to people in the media or entrepreneurs, everyone’s so busy, so you have to give them a reason to want to come. So how can you make it more fun? Maybe pick a really fun restaurant that people would love to go to, has great food. And when we’ve got six of us or eight of us, we can try more things. I’m thinking about, who are maybe two anchor guests that are going to attract the other people?
What I would do is I would actually partner with a friend, so me and the friend were two of the people attending the brunch, and then let’s say we each invite three people. Well, then we’ve already got eight people at the brunch, so it’s not all on you. And I would also like to plan like brunches at a time, because if someone was like, “Oh, I can’t make it this Sunday,” I’d be like, “Oh, I totally get it.” We’re actually doing another brunch a month from now, if you’re interested in joining us.” And so if you just keep doing that consistently, you start building your network.
And with the media, I think a lot of times, people will send pitches and it’s kind of this spray and pray approach where it’s like, “Let me get like this big list and let me just copy and paste and send the same thing to everyone.” But just remembering that there’s a human being on the other end and that if something feels unpersonalized, then automatically, people are not going to pay attention. So it’s less about like, “Oh, I’m so bold and I pitched like 30 places,” but why don’t we just focus instead on just pitching like three or five places but writing something thoughtful and meaningful?
One of the things, if you’re pitching yourself to a podcast is, listen to three episodes. And if that feels like a lot, maybe listen to the first 20 minutes or something, and really get a sense for it. Do your research. People pitch themselves for opportunities that aren’t even a fit for them anyways, but they’re just like spraying and praying, and that’s not very effective.
Rob: So we’ve talked a little bit about being able to do our own events, you talked about the pyramid of how we can level up with our publicity. Let’s say that I am a copywriter who has almost zero online presence, I am that hidden gem that has something to share, but I don’t even know where to get started. My Instagram is a picture of breakfast on vacation two years ago, I’m nowhere, where should I start in order to start building that body of work so that someday I can get on to the podcast or I can get on to the local TV show or featured in a magazine somewhere? What’s the first thing?
Salena Soo: Yeah, absolutely. Well, the first thing would be developing your online presence. And so if you want to be known as a copywriter, then on your social media profiles, maybe it’s your LinkedIn profile or your Instagram, updating your bio so it’s clear what you are about. The next thing would be to have some website, even if it’s a one-page website with a one paragraph bio stating who you are and a photo of yourself. That would be a way to get started. When you’re pitching yourself for opportunities like guest posting, a lot of times people don’t necessarily need to see that you have a big audience. They want to see if you’re a good writer, if you have something thoughtful to contribute.
The first thing that you need to get clear on is what do you want to be known for? What are your expert topics? For me, my main expert topic is publicity. And you want to think about like, how does your expert topic connect to your core offer? And so for me, the main way that people work with me is through my Impacting Millions program, let’s say 80% of people come through that. Well, that’s what I want to be known for. At one point I had a mastermind and we would talk about things like hiring team members or creating webinars and things like that.
And even though there’s a theoretically things I could talk about in an interview, but I don’t want to, because I don’t want people coming to me asking questions about, how do I hire my first team member? How do I create my webinar? So think about what is the way in which you help people? Is it one-on-one services where you are copywriting for them? Is it a group program that you have? Even in this interview, I’ve talked in a natural way that I have a program called Impacting Millions, I love helping people go from best kept secret to being a star in their industry.
And so if you’re clear about making sure that it’s obvious what you do and also what is that topic that you want to speak to, in my case, publicity, which would lead people to my offer and for a copywriter, they would talk about something that somehow connects to writing or expressing their thoughts or building their brand. It’s important to have pitches and stories that are published that would eventually take people back to you and curious about signing up for your products or services.
Kira: We’ve talked a bit on the podcast previously about pitching podcasts and that level of the pyramid, we haven’t talked as much about mainstream media and I know that’s something that Rob and I have been interested in as well, because we’ve been on a lot of podcasts. We figured that out, especially as podcast hosts but we haven’t figured out mainstream media and how to get those logos and make those appearances. So for other copywriters who are at our stage who are trying to focus on mainstream, what are some ways we can get started in that space if we’re not connected to someone who is working at Forbes or any of the bigger sites, what are some steps we can take beyond building our body of work? We already have the body of work.
Salena Soo: Yeah, absolutely. If you’re looking to get into mainstream media, then you need to get clear on what your mainstream topics are. With expert topics, there’s mainstream topics and there’s niche topics. My primary topic is a niche topic, which is publicity. And I say it’s niche because when you think about the millions of people that could be watching a TV show or consuming mass mainstream media, the average human being is not looking for publicity, the stay-at-home mom or the college student. However, my other topic, relationship building and networking applies to pretty much everyone, everyone can benefit, I’m having meaningful relationships in their life.
And so if I were ever what like, “You know what, I want to be on national TV or have an opportunity where I’m speaking to millions of people,” I could talk about that. Rob and I were talking just recently about how I released an article called, I Was In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship, even as a smart and successful woman, sadly, but the topic of emotional abuse. That’s something that can affect anyone. And that is something that I’m not just looking to speak to my entrepreneur colleagues about, I’m really looking to educate the masses about it and share my story.
And so I’ve seen people who, for example, they teach webinar funnels or certain copywriting techniques that want to break into mainstream media, but they need to figure out what’s a different expert topic. So maybe their expert topic is making money online. With a pandemic, people have realized that they need to find alternative ways to make money, and writing is one of the easiest ways to make money where you don’t have to go back to school, learn a brand new skillset, it’s things that you already do, or maybe it’s proofreading and things like that.
Maybe it’s tied to making money online or working from home. There’s so many other topics that you can tie it to that have a mainstream appeal, and it could still be what you want to talk about, but when you just position it in that way, then you can unlock those mainstream opportunities.
Rob: In thinking about the kinds of publicity that we should go after, I wonder if things like the Oprah interview are things that we should maybe keep off of our list. I guess I have a question around what kinds of media should copywriters be going after so they are in front of the right niche or the right clients, as opposed to this big general audience, say on the Today Show where 99% of the people seeing me be there, or someone else be there aren’t actually interested in the things that we have to share?
Salena Soo: Yeah, absolutely. It also depends on who the copywriter’s clients are, what their niche is, but let’s say you’re a copywriter and you work with other entrepreneurs, well, what kinds of publications are entrepreneurs reading and what kinds of publications do they admire and respect? So they’re reading articles on Forbes and Entrepreneur and Inc., and things like that that they either find when they’re visiting those websites so that people are sharing on social media. So if you’re a copywriter and you’re featured in those kinds of places and your ideal clients are like, “Wow, I want to work with someone that knows how to break into those publications, but also someone that has been basically chosen by them.”
When you’re featured in the media, it’s like this endorsement of your work because it’s selective, not everybody gets these opportunities. There’s two fun techniques I like to share when people are thinking about where should I be seen in the media. One is serving your audience. Like let’s say, if you help people with our particular problem, so you could say, “Hey my entrepreneur friends, when it comes to solving this problem, which media outlets do you consume, for example websites, newsletters, podcasts?” And then also ask them which experts do you follow? Because I feel like that’s part of creating your media list and getting to know who the new media is.
People will tell you where they’re getting their information from so that you can build a list from there. But the other cool thing is the follow the leader technique. Let’s say, you get names of a dozen or plus people that your ideal audience is following when they’re looking to learn about your area of expertise, you can simply go into Google and type in their name, so their name and the word podcast. And right away, a list of podcasts that they’ve appeared on will appear. And you do that with five people, and then you have a list of a couple of dozen of podcasts. And if the leaders in your industry are appearing on these shows. These are ones that you may want to look into and consider yourself.
Rob: Okay, there’s a lot to talk about in here. Selena mentioned investing in a very expensive mastermind when she was first getting started Kira, and I’m of two minds on this. I’ve heard people being very critical about the whole idea of pay to play. And then of course, we’ve got examples Selena’s where she jumps into something that was very expensive at the very beginning of her career and it paid off for her in a really big way. I guess maybe the way to ask this is, as I’m thinking about this, I’m thinking that you and I may be agree on this, that we’ve told people who aren’t able to afford our programs not to borrow money, not to go out on a limb, but there’s something magical about putting yourself on the hook for accomplishing results that buying into a program like this can be.
Like I said, I’m kind of two minds of this, I think it can be a powerful strategy for lighting a fire under yourself, but also something we need to be a little bit careful about because we don’t want to create obligations that we’re not able to fulfill on.
Kira: Yeah. I’ve joined high-end masterminds too where it’s a bit of a stretch and maybe even too early where I shouldn’t have joined it quite yet, and you just figure out how to swing it. I don’t think that’s feasible or realistic for everyone, and that could just end up being very stressful. But I think the key is to find out if the program is worth it, if the mastermind is worth it. We all know there are lots of really powerful, useful masterminds, but there are also a lot that just aren’t worth the high ticket price. And we hear about them frequently because we talk to so many copywriters about other masterminds they’re into where it’s just, they’re paying this exorbitant fee and not getting as much back in return.
So I think for me, it’s like, I’ve done the research ahead of time to make sure that it is the right investment, and to make sure it’s the right timing and you’re willing to show up too and get the most out of it, especially if it is a stretch.
Rob: Yeah. For me as I was thinking about this, I think there’s maybe a couple of things to think about, being very clear on what you’re going to get out of a program, being really clear on who it is that’s running the program and making sure that that’s the person that you can trust, and finding out about the ideas that you’re going to be able to get, and are you going to be able to implement them immediately in your business? And maybe one other thing is making sure that the expert running the mastermind has actually built the kind of business that you want to build.
You don’t necessarily want to spend a lot of money on a mastermind being run by somebody who made a ton of money in real estate investing if you are trying to build a copywriting business or we could come up with all kinds of examples there. So finding people who have done the same kinds of things that you’ve done in order to take that step forward. If those things line up, maybe it’s worthwhile investing in a big way right up front.
Kira: Yeah. Or it could be you share similar values to the person running that group. Most likely they’re attracting other people who share similar values, if that’s important to you. I think it’s also worth asking if there’s any type of a refund policy, any type of guarantee, a lot of masterminds don’t have guarantees, but some do. And I know for us, that’s really important to offer because we don’t want to ever make someone feel like they’re stuck in something that’s not valuable or just not the right people for them. So I think that’s a really important question because the right business owner running the program will want to make sure that you’re in the right place and that you’re not stuck paying for something for a year if it’s not really the right fit.
Rob: Yeah. Just wrapping up on this idea, joining a mastermind for thousands of dollars or even $24,000 a year like what Selena did, not for everybody, but if you’re in the right situation, if you know that it’s going to light a fire underneath you, if you’re in a mastermind with people that you know you’re going to get those ideas, you know you’re going to be able to get the connections, whatever, can definitely make it worthwhile.
Kira: And for Selena, clearly she’s a connector, which we learned in this conversation, it’s why she’s so great at what she does in publicity. And so for someone like that, if your natural gift is connecting people and making those really strong relationships, being in a mastermind is the best place to be because you can really show up and build those relationships and connect as many people as possible in that room. But like Selena said in this conversation, not everyone’s a connector, not everyone has to be a connector, we can learn better connecting skills to help us prove our publicity, but that’s not everyone’s natural gift.
Rob: Yes. And while you’re talking about this, let’s talk about that idea of connecting at scale. We’ve talked with a lot of people who do this kind of thing. I think Brian Kurtz has talked about the boardroom dinners that he used to set up where they would bring in eight or nine people just to have dinner together, that’s obviously an idea that Selena’s doing with these brunches and with other super connector events. I think it’s a really good way, especially if you can do it with two or three other people in your area, a really good way to connect in a non-threatening environment where you’re just hanging out, enjoying a meal, asking questions, creating friendships, and having two or three other people who are doing the same thing with their friends all at the same table is a really good way to expand your community, your network, your group of friends
Kira: And anyone can do it too. So even if you’re more introverted like Selena, she’s proven that you can still do it. It may pay off to invite someone, maybe a friend that might be more extroverted, might be more comfortable being the center of attention if you’re planning larger events, it could help to have those people on your team or at least friends that are at the event to take the pressure off you. But that’s something that I did when I was living in New York City too. I’m building my businesses, I held similar events to what Selena shared. I think it’s just also baked into the culture in York City, and quite common there, but we can all do this today, even virtually.
I know we can’t have dinners necessarily with eight people to introduce eight different people, but we can hold virtual events. We can even have lunch or dinner events or happy hours virtually. We can go bigger and have summits or coordinate webinars. So there are plenty of creative ways we can connect virtually today until we’re able to start planning and meeting in-person.
Rob: Yeah, that reminds me, I’m going to have to get together with a few of the copywriters here in Salt Lake City, reaching out to Sonny and Doug and Gwen and a few others. And just let’s go and hang out. Another idea that I think is worth touching on, as Selena was describing the publicity pyramid, it struck me because of course, I’m asking about the shortcut, how do we get all the way to the top? How do we get to that Oprah interview? But as I started to envision the pyramid as a set of stairs, it makes a lot of sense. It’s best to take stairs one at a time and easily move yourself up. You can probably skip a stair occasionally and still be fine.
And I suppose if you’re in really good shape, you can take stairs three at a time, no problem. But looking at it from a business standpoint and this publicity pyramid, obviously, if you can, you want to start out at that bottom rail, building your own platform, your own website, and then leveraging up to the guest posts and then leveraging up to podcasts. You might be able to take two of those stairs at a time, but nobody’s going to take five stairs of time or six stairs of time to get to that top level, no matter how good your business is, no matter what kind of condition you are in yourself. It really is one of those things where you need to build on what you’ve done before in order to use the leverage that that pyramid or that staircase gives you.
And so, again, just as I was thinking about it, I think that’s worth repeating what she shared there, because you can’t skip steps or at least you can’t skip more than one step at a time.
Kira: And I love what she shared about your body of work. And it was just a really good reminder that we’re all creating our body of work every day. It all matters, even any events that seem insignificant or even a guest post that seems insignificant, may show up as part of your body of work when people Google you, because they’re looking to see if you’d be a good speaker at their event. And so I like that idea of building your body of work long term, even as it may shift over the years, and maybe it’s more copywriting focus now, and it changes in five years and is focused on something else, but it’s still part of your body of work.
And so we all have the power to control that and to build that so that we are ready for the next level of the pyramid, and so we have that body of work when we are waiting for Oprah to call, it’s all there and ready to go. So that really connected with me. And I think for the two of us, Rob, probably on the level of the pyramid where we need to focus on more appearances on bigger publications, and we’ve done the podcasts unit. We’re not going to stop doing that and showing up on other podcasts because there’s a whole pyramid even when you look at podcasting as far as size, how many listeners, how many downloads, but I think for the two of us, that’s probably the next level is just getting more publicity and those bigger publications.
Rob: Yeah. I agree. And it’s so much easier to get the next level or two or three levels above where we are when we’ve built a really solid body of work. It really is necessary first step.
Kira: Okay. Anything else really stand out from this part of the interview?
Rob: There are a couple of other ideas and maybe a little bit smaller. I love her idea about using the follow the leader idea in order to figure out like, who are you going to pitch? So checking out people that you admire in your niche, or doing similar things and looking at the podcasts that they’ve pitched or the other places where they’ve shown up and then going after those same kinds of opportunities, maybe not to talk about the exact same things, but to put your own spin on things. It’s just a good way to see what that pathway is ahead of you because other people have already done this.
You don’t have to reinvent everything, and so following what they have done as you build your own body of work and move up that pyramid makes a lot of sense.
Kira: Yeah. And the most important part to me that Selena shared was just the question of, what do you want to be known for? And that’s so huge as we grow as copywriters to know that piece of it, because it’s easy to show up in all the different places and not be clear about what you want to be known for, and then the message is diluted and the publicity might not even be as effective. And so what Selena has mastered so beautifully is that she’s really clear about what she wants to be known for, and everything that she does publicity wise is centered around that. And so that’s the key piece that we need to figure out as copywriters before we start focusing heavily on publicity.
Rob: And this isn’t necessarily the same thing as niching, although if you have a niche, clearly you want to be known for those kinds of things, so you’ll talk about that, but even if you decide you don’t want to niche or that you’re going to work in several different niches, this is maybe something that crosses the lines of all of those, are things that you can talk about that aren’t dependent on niche knowledge or know how so that there is still a reason for you to show up in other places. So, yeah, I agree. That was a good bit of advice.
Kira: All right. Let’s go back to our interview with Selena and talk about how things have changed in the publicity world since the pandemic. Can we talk about the landscape, the media landscape and how it’s changed and even how it’s changed over the last year, maybe because of COVID too. And so as copywriters, maybe what we should focus on visibility wise, maybe also what we shouldn’t focus on because it’s no longer working, even though it worked five years ago. And just the changes in trends that you’ve seen over the last year.
Salena Soo: Yeah, absolutely. I would say with podcasts, for example, a lot of the best podcasts are run by entrepreneurs who are really busy and they’ve got their own goals and objectives. They’ve worked so hard to build this audience that people knows, likes and trusts them. And so if someone’s going to go on their show, it’s not just whether you’re an expert, because there’s a million experts, is whether they feel they would have good rapport with you, whether you have a good valcutation and shared values. Not that people will always know these things, but people are looking at the bigger picture. Is this someone who… There is this alignment that I would want to put in front of my audience.
That’s why I think it’s really important to build relationships and also focus on low hanging fruit. When I go onto podcasts, I’ll share my free gifts in advance of the podcast hosts, so they can take a look at it and they can talk it up. So there’s things like that. So a lot of times when someone’s appearing on a podcast, there’s a tiny bit of a relationship or a friendship versus sometimes with traditional media, you may be coming onto a show cold. They’ve never heard of you before, the producer’s like, “Let’s put this person on.” Whereas the podcast host is a person who was selecting the gas and interviewing the guest and has that relationship, whether it’s before relationship or they’re looking to build a relationship.
So that’s something to keep in mind. And then the other thing I would say is that a lot of media, they want people that are featured in their articles or on their shows to promote their episodes or share it in some way, whether it is sharing on your Instagram stories or your newsletter, or Facebook and all of that. It’s a way to build the relationship. And also for the subject the copywriter, the entrepreneur, it really benefits you. I think that sometimes we think if we get a piece of publicity, then we’re completely done, but sometimes that’s just where we’re just getting started.
It’s important to let your existing audience know that you are being featured in the media, that you have this great interview for them to listen to, because it’s a way of also nurturing that relationship with your audience when they get to understand your personal story on a deeper level or your expertise through an interview. So I always talk to entrepreneurs about how important it is to publicize the media they get. And sometimes it might not be possible to publicize every single thing, but you do want your audience to be seeing your media pieces. And there’s a couple of things that you can do.
One of the things that you can do is you can send a newsletter out, maybe it’s like, “I’m so excited, tomorrow I have a big article that’s going to be released in Forbes for the first time. And I would love your support, I’ll be telling you how tomorrow.” And I’ve seen all sorts of people do this where they announce the article and then they’ll give people a swipe copy and give their audience an opportunity to share it or say, “You know, if you share my article, you could be entered to win some amazing prize or a free spot in my course.”
And the articles that go viral, a lot of times, it’s also because the person featured in the article is helping drive some traffic to it. So with Forbes, for example, if they see, “Oh, a lot of people are clicking on this article,” then they’ll start to show it more fondly on their website and on their home page, and then it snowballs into something much more. So I think the role of the entrepreneur really promoting their media pieces and being engaged and taking responsibility for the results of their media is something that we have to be thinking about today.
Rob: All right, Selena, you’ve convinced me, I need publicity, but as I’m thinking about this, are there people who should not be seeking publicity? Maybe a stage of business that it’s just not the right time or a kind of business that publicity can’t help out, or should everybody be looking for ways to get out in front of the best clients and get media attention?
Salena Soo: Yeah, that’s a great question. I believe that every entrepreneur can get publicity for your business because publicity is all about amplifying what you’re already doing. There’s a reason why you got started in your line of work, there’s a passion, there’s a story behind it. And there’s also problems that you’re solving for your clients in ways in which you are an expert. So you’re already you have your personal story, you have your expertise and oftentimes, already publishing content on our own website or on our social media platforms or for our newsletter.
So why not put that on another website where more people can find about you? And you can also build your brand authority and a credibility. So we already have content for publicity and there’s really an unlimited number of opportunities to get your message out. If you’re starting small and starting on a friend’s blog or newsletter or a podcast or so forth, or being a guest speaker in someone’s program, that’s a really great visibility opportunity that could get you in front of ideal clients. So I think that everyone deserves to have their work amplified in some way, it’s just figuring out what are the right opportunities for you?
Kira: And we know a lot of copywriters struggle with the mindset around publicity too, at all stages, not even just new copywriters around just like, “Who am I to be the expert? Who am I to pitch Forbes? To pitch podcasts?” So I’m sure that comes up in your program and maybe even with one-on-one clients, what does that usually look like, and how do you advise them to work through it so that they can focus on publicity and not get stuck in that trap?
Salena Soo: Absolutely. I’ll share a personal story because I can really relate to the fears around visibility. When I was starting my business, I had an opportunity to be interviewed by a client who really wanted to put me in front of her audience, she believed in my work. And I was hesitant because I saw myself as a behind the scenes person versus someone that was meant to be in the spotlight, but I also knew how powerful publicity was because I was getting it for all my clients. And I also had that desire to grow my business and be seen. And so I said yes to this interview, and it was a Skype interview, split screen interview.
And I remember being really nervous about the interview. And afterwards, I watched myself and I noticed that I did not have great eye contact. I was also talking way too fast, and I had my interns count my filler words. And at one point, they had counted 137 filler words, us, you knows, ums. And I was so embarrassed, I felt like I was watching this horror movie. And I remember saying, “We can’t release this, this was such a disaster. Clearly, I’m not any good at this.” And one of my interns said to me, “Honestly Selena, I think that it was a good interview. I really don’t think it’s as bad as you think. I think people will really like it.”
And I remember being so stunned, but then I also thought like, “What if that’s actually true? What if it’s not as disastrous as I think?” And so I shared it with my audience and stepped away from my computer for a little bit. And when I returned, there were emails from people being like, “Wow, I loved your interview. Thank you so much for sharing it. You really have a way when it comes to words and storytelling.” And I remember being so shocked, I thought I had done a terrible job. And so a couple of things come to mind like these mindset blocks and mindset shifts.
Number one is that we tend to be our own worst critic, and the truth is we’re usually not as bad as we think. And so for like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t do a podcast interview.” Or, “I’m not ready for this and that.” It’s usually not as bad, people don’t care as much about the things that we think are so important. My website’s not 100 % up-to-date, most people really don’t care. They’re too busy thinking about themselves. Number two is that it doesn’t make sense to compare ourselves to other people, we have to compare ourselves to ourselves because a lot of times, we’ll look at people that we admire or maybe they seem so eloquent or maybe they’re racing the Ted stage, and we were like, “Oh my gosh, I can never be on stage or speak in front of a group like that.”
We have to remember the people that are doing those things, they’ve probably been doing it for a handful of years, whether they’ve been putting themselves out there for five years, 10 years, maybe even 20 years. And so on day one, to be able to understand that we’re not going to be as good as we can be. If we actually choose to show up and get more comfortable being out there in the public, we will get better over time. So that connects to the third, big idea, which is that we have to take imperfect action and imperfect action is the only way that we’re going to bridge that gap from where we are to where we ultimately want to be.
And the fourth idea is we have to remember that it’s not about us. When I think about how I was so self-critical about how I showed up at the interview. It was all about me, like, “Oh, I think I look weird and awkward. And I talked too fast, and I had these filler words and me, me, me.” But why are we putting ourselves out there? Why are we helping people? It’s about the other person, not about us. And so when I do an interview or even when I watch an interview later, because I still, sometimes don’t always have the best eye contact or there’s things that could have been better, I just ask myself, “Did I show up? Was I present? Did I give generously? Did the ideas I shared, the stories I shared, could that help someone?”
If the answer is yes, then I’ve done my job because I’m not putting myself out there for me to look good, I’m putting myself out there because I want to help other people, or spread an idea and message, amplify something that I’m doing. So those four mindset shifts have really helped me. And then I would say, it’s also taking small baby steps. And when you consistently show up, you get better and better over time. And what’s really exciting is sometimes the things that are so completely terrifying, after we do them over time, it actually becomes second nature, and it can feel very empowering and now liberating to put ourselves out there or to do the interviews, to be on that stage, physical stage or virtual stage and share our work and message.
Rob: I have a related question to that, what do you say to somebody who they want to do the interview, they want to get up and start talking, but they think, “Well, I can’t talk about copywriting because Kira talks about copywriting.” Or, “I can’t talk about publicity because Selena got there first and she’s already talking about it and I don’t have anything new to say here.” Or, “I can’t talk about mastery because John Lee Dumas has already been doing that for three years, and what am I going to add?” What you say to that person?
Salena Soo: Yeah, absolutely. There’s so many opportunities for publicity and people are always looking for different voices. With a podcast, you’re not going to have the same guests that 10 times to talk about the same thing, you’re going to be looking for typically different guests for every episode. And even in magazines, oftentimes in an article, they’re not just quoting one expert on a topic, they may have five different experts within the exact same story. And also not everyone is going to resonate with someone who is maybe a top expert.
Let’s say if you’re looking for, let’s say business advice, you might not want to hear from someone who is 30 years in business with a really big company, you might want to hear from someone who is maybe two years ahead of you and really understands the challenges that business owners are facing today, or maybe there are these really big deal, famous copywriters that were famous back 10 or 20 years ago. And maybe there are people right now who are doing more relevant things or who are more relatable to you.
And I also know for myself, a lot of people have been drawn to me because I am introverted and I understand the fears that hold us back versus maybe someone who’s a publicity expert, and from day one, they were that person that was running to grab the microphone on the stage, and like, “I was born for the camera.” And those people can be successful too, but I think there’s really and truly space for all of us to get these opportunities.
Kira: You shared an article about a toxic relationship and clearly a vulnerable article. I know that you posted other articles similar to that, where you really open up and share different parts of your life. Has it been something that’s come easily to you all along throughout business as far as sharing and opening the door to other aspects of your life? Or is it something you’ve done more recently? And as a follow-up to that, what’s been the impact of that and sharing this other side of your business and your life?
Salena Soo: Yeah. That’s a great question. I wouldn’t say that I’ve always been super-duper open. I am someone, I tend to lead with my expertise, and yes, I’ve built relationships, and so people, maybe I talk about events and things that I plan. But in terms of things that are so truly vulnerable, I am not someone that consistently puts myself out there in that way, but it reached a point where I felt like this was something that I wanted to break the silence on for myself because I just really felt it could help so many people.
And when I talk about abusive relationships, in my case, it was with a romantic partner that got involved in my business, but abusive relationships could be with a mentor, could be with a boss, could be with a family member. And I think a lot of times we think that… When I grew up, there was that saying, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. And I think it’s normalized even in a work place cultures there are abusive bosses, even in political leadership, there are people that use abusive language. It’s normalized. And we think sometimes unless I don’t have a bruise or a scar like physical abuse, that’s the only kind of abuse.
But emotional abuse can be really damaging, and it’s something that I just really, really wanted to dive into, because I think a lot of people can feel trapped. And sometimes people feel trapped in an abusive situation with a client, and we don’t know how to get out of it. And I think that when we’re in these situations, there’s a lot of shame and we even tell ourselves, “Oh my gosh.” We blame ourselves, we make excuses, we rationalize it. And when we put so much blame on ourselves and shame on ourselves, then we stay quiet and we stay stop. And so normalizing that this is something that happens and we need to be able to recognize those patterns.
And eventually, hopefully, find the courage to break free from that. I just felt it was really helpful. And I wanted to, with the article I would love if you could link it up in the show notes, but I share my thought process, which I think is really important like, being someone who is smart and successful, how did I fall into this abusive relationship? What got me to finally leave the relationship? What was I thinking during all the times when he would put me down? Why did I return to the abusive relationship? How did I finally leave? Just really understanding how people are thinking.
And I think even if you’re not in a situation like that, it can help you understand what a friend or a loved one is going through so that you can better support the people that you care about.
Rob: Yeah. When I read that article a few weeks ago, it was really eye opening and really honest in your approach. And what stood out to me, you just said, oftentimes we think that that kind of abuse happens to a certain person or a certain class of person. And you were saying, “Hey, look, I was successful.” In some ways, you’ve reached the pinnacle of what online entrepreneurship does, and still this thing was able to happen. And so just reading about your experience and how you dealt with it, I applaud you for sharing it, first of all, and recommend everybody who’s listening to go in and read that because it was eye opening for me in so many ways, an experience that is just totally foreign to me. And I think more people need to be exposed to and see what’s going on there.
Salena Soo: Thank you. And when I released the article, hundreds of people wrote to me just saying how helpful it was. A lot of people would say, “I had the same story, just different details.” Because there are certain hallmark signs of abuse and things that abusers do, sounds as if they have like this playbook somehow, but I know they’re not sharing a playbook. So it’s crazy. And one person even told me that reading my story saved her life. And I don’t know what specific situation she was in, but I do know that it gave her the courage to be like, “I need to leave this situation right now.” And I want people to read this, all sorts of people, especially people who are maybe in these confusing relationships right now.
Maybe they’re in the beginning of the relationship, but they’re like, “I don’t want to go down this path, it’s time to end it.” But at the same time, I also have respect and understanding for people who stay in these situations, obviously, we all hope that people aren’t continuously getting abused, but these situations are complicated. And for me, what’s interesting is, I didn’t need to be in a relationship because of the money, I could have left any time, but psychologically, I felt trapped in the relationship, and also my unhealthy work lifestyle kept me trapped in the relationship too. But there’s lots of reasons why people stay in these situations, whether it’s children or money or just that they’ve been brainwashed.
And the other thing is, I really love this interview that came out recently with FKA Twigs. And I don’t know if you heard it, Gayle King basically said to her, she’s like, “I know this might be inappropriate, but why didn’t you leave?” And that’s the question that people get posed all the time, why didn’t you leave? And she said, “You know, I know Gail that this is coming from a place of love, but I just had to take a stance and I’m not going to answer that question because that shouldn’t be the question. It should really be to the abuser, why do you keep abusing women and keep people trapped in this way? And the thing is, it was so bad, that’s why I couldn’t leave.”
Oftentimes, people that are abusing people, they will try to keep them and control them in these relationships by maybe threatening them in some way or saying that they will release a secret about them or a lie or that they will hurt other people or tarnish their reputation, discredit them, the list goes on and on. And so the fact that people stay is just a sign of how bad the abuse is that people are so entrapped. So it’s just a topic that I’m really passionate about. I just think as human beings that care about other people and their wellbeing, we should educate ourselves on these topics.
And I did send a follow-up email to my list because they were like, I would say pretty much everyone was supportive, but then there’s always like… Well, I guess not everyone, because there’s like one or two people who were like, “I don’t care about your story or is Selena going to be writing more about this, because otherwise I’m going to unsubscribe or whatever.” And so I did realize, okay, ridiculous, it’s so rude, but maybe there was a disconnect.” And so I wrote, and I was like, “I know that I released a story and I know that you’re on my list for publicity and business advice, but here’s why I shared my story, I started my business because I wanted to amplify the voices of people that had an important message, or something that could really help people improve their lives.”
“And I feel like I have this message in a way that I can help other people and I want to use my platform to help more people.” And also when I think about helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses, it’s not just about the strategies and tactics, it’s about the human being. And if any human being is in a relationship where they are being abused and their boundaries are being violated, they can’t be their most expressed self, the best version of themselves. And so I think all these things actually are very interrelated.
Kira: It bothers me that people don’t understand why that’s an important message to share and also why you’re able to do it because it’s your platform and you can share the messages that are important to you, but anyway, I’m glad that you shared it and we’ll link to it. I would love to know, we ask frequently, Rob and I are curious about people’s practices, daily rituals, and especially because so many of us do know you and we see where you’ve come in your business and how you’ve grown. I’m just curious how you structure, it could be the day or the week, whatever’s easier for you to think about, so that you are operating at this next level, this CEO level, thinking at a higher level than maybe you were when you were just getting started. How do you think about your day or your week so that you’re operating at that high level?
Salena Soo: A couple of things come to mind. One is, and I’ve been doing this for about a year, but I work out with a virtual trainer and I do that five days a week. I just find that it’s really powerful to begin my day with exercise. So I do 30 minutes a day, which it’s great to do it consistently, but it doesn’t feel like a lot, it’s a great way to just get started and to help me get mentally and physically strong. And also when I was going through that emotionally abusive situation, I wasn’t taking care of my mind and my body. So that has been a really stabilizing force. And also it was great because with everything happening with COVID, we’re working in high stress times, so exercising daily has really helped me.
I also make a morning smoothie and I put my Organifi Green Powder in there, so I’m always getting my greens, and every morning, I’ve got something that really energizes me. Another thing is, I’m always thinking about how can I delegate as much as possible. And two of my main tools for that are a Voxer, sending people voice messages and handing off tasks to them or sharing my thoughts so they can take them and run with them. And I also use a Loom a lot to record video. Obviously, we’ve always had email, I still use that as well, but I find that sometimes when I can talk things out, I can more quickly convey things to people, so that I don’t have to be taking on all of that and I can lean on my team for support
Rob: Selena, you’ve come a long way since that first publicity project that you did at what? Age 24? If you could go back and talk to that Selena, just starting out, what one piece of advice would you give her?
Salena Soo: You’re making me laugh, 24. Well, I am 38 right now, but it was in my mid-20s when I had the quarter-life crisis. But what piece of advice I would give? I would say this idea that on the other side of your greatest fear is your greatest joy or your freedom. When I started my business, there were things that were so paralyzing. It wasn’t until recently that I would even turn on my camera, even when I was doing webinars or things, I would have my slides up and I would read from a script because I just wanted to control things. I wasn’t comfortable because I was this perfectionist.
For me, it’s so exciting to really like witness my growth on so many levels. And when people think, “I can’t do this, I can’t be that, I can’t have that,” over the years, next year will be my business’s 10 year anniversary, I have accomplished a lot of things that once felt impossible to me. You don’t have to know how you’re going to do it, you just have to have the intention and desire and commitment to eventually figure it out.
Kira: So you’ve teased the program a couple of times, but can you just tell us more about the program you’re about to launch into the world and what the transformation is and what’s included in that for anyone who knows that they need help in this area?
Salena Soo: Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve a program called Impacting Millions and it’s all about helping entrepreneurs go from a best kept secret to really being seen as that admired leader in their industry. And I believe that publicity is the fastest way to gain that instant credibility. It’s a powerful way to reach more people and also really be perceived as that authority in your industry. And so I show people how to figure out what kind of publicity makes sense for their business, because it’s different for everyone, and what are the opportunities they should be pursuing, and then how to get them?
So we cover how to land incredible guest posts, podcasts, interviews, opportunities to be a featured guest expert in someone’s program or mastermind group or virtual stage, magazines and TV. And some of the people that join Impacting Millions, they maybe just want one of the types of publicity or so forth, but we really show them how to get all of it. So it’s a very complete product. And then every month, we have coaching calls where there are opportunities to get your pitches reviewed, get feedback on your story ideas. And throughout the year, we have additional calls and working sessions and challenges to really support people with getting publicity.
And we’ve had people in the program land pieces in Oprah Magazine, to Forbes and top interviews. And I think when you have a goal that you’re really passionate about, it’s important to be a part of a community of like-minded people who are working on the same goal and can support you in getting there. So Impacting Millions, it’s an online program, but there’s also coaching, there’s also community. And it’s just powerful, the transformation that happens. And for me, when I think about publicity, it’s not just like, “Oh, I got this interview, I got this quote,” and yeah, that does do so much for credibility and brand building.
But for me, it’s also about stepping into your full potential, making that decision that, you know what, I want to be a leader in my industry. I want to be seen that way. I want to reach more people. I want to inspire more people. I want to really make my biggest impact.” And for me, I don’t know, I’m the kind of person where I never want to feel like I didn’t give something my all, I didn’t know if I could ever achieve that goal. I always want to make sure that I’m pushing myself to really see what’s possible. And so if anyone’s listening to this, and especially for the copywriters, they are actually my most successful students because they have an advantage because they’re so good at writing and developing ideas and having these incredible thoughts for other people, now just apply it to yourself and your own business and your own brand.
So yeah, they tend to see success quickest. We love supporting our copywriters and Impacting Millions.
Kira: Well, it sounds great for many reasons, but also because it sounds like you serve entrepreneurs and copywriters at different levels. So it sounds like Rob and I could jump in there and at our level, we’re trying to get more like mainstream media attention, and we could get something out of it, but also somebody who might be more new to business could start at a very different level and still get a lot out of the program.
Salena Soo: Absolutely. Yep. Well, and I also want to share my free gift with your audience. So I have my Impacting Millions Publicity Video series. And this is a totally free video series that they can get and they can go to The CopywriterClub.com/Selena, S-E-L-E-N-A. There are three short videos that really outlined what you can do to get publicity, and each video comes with a free gift. So video one comes with a list of 200 media outlets to get your winds turning, but also some of the places that you might want to be featured. If you’re like, “I don’t know where to be featured.” That’s going to give you some ideas. Gift number two is a 12-month publicity calendar, so over 40 pages worth of story ideas, special dates and hooks to get into the media for each month.
And then the third gift, which goes with a third video is my Seven Step Publicity Action Plan to put all the pieces together so you’re really maximizing the impact of publicity for your business. So all the things I just talked about, you get when you sign up for the Impacting Millions Publicity Video series. And it’s like 100% free. Of course, down the road, we’ll let them know about Impacting Millions and how they can join us and go deeper. But even if you just sign up for the video series that we give you and the free gifts, you’re going to get a lot of resources to start getting more visible and making a bigger impact with your work.
Rob: Totally worth it. Get on the list. Even knowing that you’re going to share additional information about the program, those three gifts, we can make a lot of, a lot of headway getting publicity even before signing up for a program. So that’s amazing.
Kira: And as copywriters who work with a lot of clients on lead generation, this is just a great example of a value packed lead magnet and what we could create for something similar for our own businesses and for our clients too. Because it’s a no brainer decision to ask all that.
Rob: And it’s applicable to our client’s businesses. So even if I don’t want publicity for my own business, every one of us is responsible for getting publicity for our clients’ businesses, and so it’s just a tool that you can then use. So I think it’s an amazing gift. Everybody should go and get that.
Salena Soo: Yeah. For helping our clients build their brand in some way, it’s helpful to have like an understanding of publicity. And the second gift, the publicity calendar, people have been using that, not just to map out their publicity plans, but also their social media content, their newsletter content. Everyone from new business owners to even people that I know who have eight-figure businesses are downloading this and they’re using it and sharing it with their teams. So definitely check it out at TheCopywriterClub.com/Selena. One more thing, it’s related and actually it’s… I just like to make things a total no-brainer. So when you opt in at TheCopywriterClub.com/Selena to get in the video series, you actually have a chance to win a trip to Puerto Rico. I don’t know if you guys knew that.
Kira: No way. Stop.
Rob: Okay, I’m in. I’m sold.
Salena Soo: The only thing is they do have to watch the videos, they’re short. We’ll ask them a couple of questions and they’ll fill out a form just so that we know that you consumed it and you got the value, and then one person will win an all-expenses-paid trip. And who doesn’t want to go to Puerto Rico and drinking a pina colada and dip their toes in the sand?
Kira: That’s very, very tempting, especially during quarantine where I’m like, “I will go anywhere.” Just because we’re marketers, I want to jump into your funnel and just see how you’ve constructed the entire funnel and the giveaway because that’s how we operate. But it sounds amazing.
Rob: Sounds so good. Yeah.
Kira: Yeah. You’ve sold us, so that’s a great start. So anything else, Selena, before we wrap? Any other places people should go if they just want to connect with you beyond the giveaway and the lead magnet, if they just want to connect and say hi?
Salena Soo: Yeah, I would say go to Instagram. I’m at Selena, S-E-L-E-N-A_soo, S-O-O. And I would love to connect with people if they want to say hi. And then on my Instagram Stories, they’ll see the behind the scenes of my life in Puerto Rico.
Rob: This has been amazing, Selena. Thank you for sharing so much about how we can be getting publicity, so much about your business, but also some of the personal struggles that you had really. I appreciate your willingness to share, and just thank you so much for what you’ve taught us.
Kira: That’s it for our interview with Selena. But before we go, let’s recap, a couple more highlights Selena shared, starting with the whole idea around not being a perfectionist when it comes to publicity and how striving for perfection can really hold you back in this publicity space. I’m glad she shared her own story about that to make it real, but I know for me as I speak on our own podcast to begin with, and then other podcasts, I have learned just to move forward and not analyze every interview, every audio clip. I think there’s time to critique and to improve, and I don’t think we should just ignore everything we put out there in our body of work and just keep making the same mistakes.
But I also know it’s helpful to know how you function best. And for me, I function when I’m not being highly critical of myself. Otherwise, I would just stop, I would stop and I wouldn’t continue pitching podcasts and showing up on different shows and in different places, it would stunt that growth. So for me, it’s really important to not overanalyze. How does that work for you, Rob?
Rob: The same. When I listen to our podcasts, I hear myself saying the filler words, the ums, the uhs, the rights, all of the other things that I tend to add in even not realizing it as I’m talking. It drives me crazy when I listen back on that stuff. But even with all of that stuff in there, I think that what we’ve been able to share in the podcast is really valuable. My questions have gotten better, the things that we ask bring out good information from our audience. And so I just have to set all of that stuff to the side, think about, “Okay, I’m trying to improve, I’m getting better,” at least I hope I’m getting better. I have a feeling, somebody is going to add a comment, “Actually, Rob, you’re not getting better,” so maybe more practice here.
But you’re right, you have to just let that go because if you’re worried about showing up perfect, you’ll never be able to show up. Yeah, there’s a time when you need to put on the ring light or you want to put on a nice shirt or whatever the thing is in order to show up in a good way, but the fact of the matter is, it really is far more important to show up and share value than it is to do it perfectly, to sound the best, to be wearing the right thing. Just being out there in the world, making an impact is the thing that matters.
Kira: Yes. What else stood out for you as we wrapped up the conversation?
Rob: The other thing that really jumped out at me is that getting publicity is really just the start of the relationship, and that there’s all this other stuff that should be happening along with that. So yeah, you get the blog post or you get the podcast interview or the feature on Inc. or whatever, but then it’s incumbent on you to start to promote that so that you’re providing value back to the person who gave you that opportunity, you’re sharing your audience with them. Maybe it’s not promotion, maybe it’s some kind of return of favor or something else that you’re doing in order to maintain that relationship.
That publicity isn’t about taking, taking, taking, but there’s a lot of giving that has to happen here too. In addition to the value that we give, there are other things. We want to share our audiences, we want to share ideas, we want to share connections, all of that stuff. And so, thinking of publicity as the first step of creating valuable relationships, I think is something else that hadn’t really occurred to me before Selena started talking about it.
Kira: Yeah. And you can also think about it strategically too, and I think Selena did a beautiful job, as I would expect, of sharing some highly valuable lead magnets with us in this episode. So I think giving value to the other person on the receiving end of whatever you’re creating, whether it’s a podcast interview or a guest article or something else is really important, and figuring out how all the pieces fit together, giving the best lead magnet and also thinking about how that will help you stay connected to that person, because they’re going to get on your list and then now you can nurture and build the relationship and potentially work with that person or stay connected and figure out if there’s a good collaboration at some point.
I think it’s almost like a masterclass in the way that Selena even sat through this interview with us, the way that she pulled together the pieces. So it was not just a podcast interview, but it was something that could add value to listeners, add its value to us because we’re happy that she’s creating something for our audience to share. And also, we’ll help her too, we’ll help her business, we’ll help her grow her community reach new people and stay connected to those new people. So for me, it was just really fun to see her in action.
Rob: Yeah, I agree. She also asked for that pretty URL or dedicated URL. It’s The Copywriter Club forward slash Selena. We talk about that before the whole episode went, because again, she’s thinking like, “How do we make it easy for the listener to find the stuff that I’m giving away?” We’ve had a couple of other people do that on the podcast, but not very many. Usually, they leave it up to, let’s just link to it in the show notes or whatever. And it makes it far more memorable and far easier for somebody who is listening to this while they’re in the car, you’re driving a carpool or picking up groceries, or maybe you’re out on a run or whatever, to remember how to get all of that stuff that she just gave away. There’s not three or four links that you have to remember. You just have to remember, go to the website, forward slash Selena, and it’s all there.
Kira: Yeah, it’s so smart. I should be doing that when I go on podcasts, but I have not been doing that at all. So again, we can all learn from this as we’re focused on our publicity.
Rob: Selena shared the article where she talked about her relationship. And I don’t know that we necessarily need to go into that again. Definitely, go read that article. Her experience is amazing and what she pulls out of it is a great lesson for all of us, even if we’re not in that a kind of situation. But it struck me as I was listening to it again that the ability to share content like that with an audience that you have built on something else, where she’s talking about publicity and how do you go out into the world? And then she throws this a very personal article about something totally different.
She gets permission from her audience to share that because she showed up so many times with good content, with value that they appreciate, she’s connected with them on a personal level so that now, when she has this really important message that she wants to share, she has permission from our audience to do that. And I think a lot of us could be doing better with that. There are things that occur to us in life, maybe it’s vulnerabilities, maybe it’s something that we believe very strongly philosophically or politically or whatever, and you earn the right to share those kinds of things with your audience by sharing value over and over and over.
If all you do is show up and share personal things, that’s a different audience and it maybe has a different impact, but because she’s done this for literally 10 years, creating value, when it’s time to share something that’s that important, she’s able to do it and get the appreciation from her audience. And so, again, another really good lesson on why it’s so important to show up, give value and create the right kind of publicity with all of your audiences.
Kira: Yeah. It seems like that is the perk, one of many perks of being in business and building a strong business, is that you can highlight causes and experiences that will help other people and that may have been overlooked if you weren’t Selena and you hadn’t built this huge community, people might not have found her article, people who really need to read the article. So I think that’s what motivates me, even to grow as a business owner and connect with more people, it’s to talk about more issues and more struggles and more of the real stuff that isn’t always about marketing but affects marketers too.
So I love that she did that. I think more business owners could do that in the way that she did and it will only help people and then strengthen the relationship people have with the person behind the brand.
Rob: So thanks to Selena Soo for joining us to talk about publicity and her business and for sharing her experience with emotional abuse. To get all of the stuff that Selena mentioned, you can visit the show notes for this episode where you’ll find all the links, or you can just go to TheCopywriterClub.com/Selena. And there, you’ll be able to watch the videos that she talked about, you’ll be able to enter to win the trip to Puerto Rico, and also possibly win the one-to-one coaching with Selena that she talked about. I’m definitely entering this giveaway because I think hanging out with Selena in Puerto Rico would be a blast and maybe even game-changing for our business.
So once again, go to TheCopywriterClub.com/Selena for the videos and for the chance to win a trip to Puerto Rico.
Kira: That’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Our intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter, Addison Rice. The outro was composed by copywriter and songwriter, David Muntner. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard, please visit Apple Podcasts to leave a review of the show. And don’t forget to get your ticket to The Copywriter Club (Not) In Real Life Event, by using TheCopywriterClub.com/TCCIRL-1. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.