Today’s episode is a juicy one, for sure! Especially if you, like me, feel a bit vulnerable about putting yourself out there. You know the feeling, you want to be seen and recognised and known for your expertise – but the thought of being visible is scary as heck, because with increased visibility comes the very real possibility of people not liking you. And we all want to be liked, yes?
My inner critic comes across as such a bitch. I call her Irene (which is actually my real middle name that I never use), and she has this habit of snarkily whispering in my ear whenever I’m about to stretch my comfort zone: “Psssst! Are you sure about this? What if you fail? Think of what people might say!”
Thing is, my Irene kinda means well. She knows I was bullied as a child and she wants to protect me from being mocked and my feelings from getting hurt. I’ve come to realise that Irene will never go away, she’s as much a part of me as my foot is, or my heart, or my nose. So I’m learning how to live with her, and I’m learning to be more discerning about the things she whispers in my ear. It’s definitely a journey.
And this is why I’m so excited to introduce today’s guest, because she is someone who has truly mastered the art of putting herself out there.
Eleanor Mayrhofer is a Californian transplant, who’s lived in Munich, Germany for over 20 years. In her 25 year design career she’s done everything from book compositing to designing mobile apps to methodology and agile process design for global creative teams. She’s worked on projects for clients such as Chronicle Books, Rizzolli, Vodafone, BMW, Audi, and more.
She escaped corporate life in 2010 to start her own online business, and her work was noticed by Goop, Martha Stewart, The New York Times and Pottery Barn Kids.
For the last year and a half she’s been having a really good time helping (mostly) female business owners get their websites launched in a day and helping them with their digital strategy. Her zone of genius is getting you online fast.
Eleanor has had her work featured in Goop, The New York Times, several magazines including Glamour, Martha Stewart and Architectural digest. So clearly she knows a thing or two about putting herself out there, and I can’t wait to hopefully pick up a tip or two!
TL;DR – Here’s how to connect with Eleanor:
Disclaimer: The following transcript has been auto-generated and then cleaned up by my wonderful VA – and while the general flow of the conversation is there, it’s probably not 100% accurate.
P: Eleanor, hello. Welcome to the Brand it podcast. I am so stoked that you’re here.
E: I am very stoked to be here and impressed by your California slang.
P: I don’t know where I picked that up. Might be a bit of Brit slang in there as well, actually maybe we have it too. I don’t know. I wasn’t aware it was a California thing.
E: I think it comes from surfing.
P: I learned something.
E: I have not fact checked that
P: I’ve learned something new within the first 15 seconds of the podcast episode. That is when you pitched me with today’s topic. I was like, Yes, yes, yes, yes, visibility and putting myself out there. It’s not something that comes easy to me so I wasn’t going to let the opportunity to pick your brains about it pass for myself as much as for my listeners, really. I mean, it’s a pretty impressive list of places that you’ve been featured.
So how do you do it?
E: Well, I recently posted on my blog. I think some of it I kind of learned intuitively from my years in corporate. Just, I wasn’t super ambitious, like I wasn’t a super ambitious corporate person, but you sort of learn you have to do things to keep you visible to people, even in that setting not having your own online business. So I think I kind of accidentally took it from there. But then when I started my first online business, which was the e-commerce based business, I mean, you have to be or else you don’t sell anything. You have to get in magazines and some of the outlets I listed, I did not pitch for this. It was a different time, this was around 2012, and I was doing printables in Canva and all that stuff was not around yet, so it was becoming a thing.
But what I did was I just did the work and I was consistent, and I put it out there, and I reached out to blogs. Then when you’re out there enough, different outlets will start to see you, and then they’ll come to you. It doesn’t always work that way, and I think it’s certainly a different environment now. So part of it was just hustling an e-commerce product, and that was a little more comfortable in some ways though, because it wasn’t me. It wasn’t such a personal brand business, it was like the product. But it was. I did feel vulnerable in those situations because it’s my work so you have some identity and yourself wrapped up in that, and you want it to be good enough, and blog worthy at the time (blog advertising was really big).
So it’s not easy. But when it’s sink or swim, it’s just sort of there is no choice.
P: Still pretty impressive, though I think. But just to set the tone before we really kick off, what would you say that our listeners can expect to learn from listening to our conversation today?
E: I’m going to talk about just the power of consistently putting yourself out there and kind of the- I don’t know if I want to use the word mindset- but kind of the place you need to be, psychologically to do it.
And just how it’s not rocket science and ways you can do that moving forward and not to let yourself be your worst enemy.
P: I love it. Yeah, it definitely sounds like an episode that’s right up my alley. I’m going to be soaking it all up and learning because, yeah, just being consistent about it and then it feels like I have to have a lot of guts to put myself out there. Pretty sure that a lot of the listeners will feel the same way about it because there’s something about putting yourself out that you’re making yourself a bit vulnerable, you know. Someone might then see your stuff, and they might comment on it and not always in a positive way. That to so many people, myself included, it’s really scary.
E: You know what helped me, and helps me to this day, I do not have a massive audience. There’s a book called “Rework.” I think it came out in the early aughts. It’s more about software development, but the two guys that wrote it, they said embrace anonymity. When you have a small audience, not that many people are looking. That is a great time to get out and experiment and, you know, maybe you’ll have spinach in your teeth, and maybe you’ll trip up the stairs or whatever. I would be more worried when you’ve got these huge audiences and like you make one stumble or say something, maybe not perfect and it’s going to be picked up like on 1000 other channels. You know, the people that follow you are probably good people that like you, and are forgiving and graceful, so that is the best time to just be out there.
P: That’s such a good reminder, actually, and it does take away a bit of the scariness of it all.
Maybe not so intimidating anymore when you start to think of your audience as the humans that you’ve actually already connected with, and imagine them instead. That’s a good spin on it.
E: If you also do really come from a stance of service and somebody’s going to find this helpful, then it isn’t about you and look at me. I mean sometimes, depending on your business you do have to do those things, like ‘look what I did you should hire me to do it for you,’ But if a lot of your content is helpful, then there’s nothing to feel embarrassed about. You’re helping people.
P: True, true.
So you wrote our little sort of intro document that you’ve been featured in a whole long list of very impressive publications and that recently you were mentioned by your favourite business podcast. I’m just curious to know, how did you actually get there? How did you do it? Because, it just it seems so huge. It seems like it’s almost unreachable for us normal people to to get into those kind of publications. So I’m really curious. Now I’m just gonna go dive straight in there asking for the juicy details. How did you do it?
E: That was wild, I had no idea that was going to happen. That’s why I wrote a blog post- people, listening to the podcast, too young to remember, but I think it’s 2000, The MTV Music Awards. Madonna came out wearing a Kylie Minogue T shirt and Kylie Minogue had no idea she was going to come out wearing a shirt with her. And that’s how I felt when I heard on the podcast. I did not reach out to them and say ‘Think of me.’
Here’s what happened to the blow by blow. I am a huge fan of that podcast.
I think it’s great. It’s really no nonsense, realistic, good business advice, and What did I do? I followed her on Instagram, and she’s not big on Instagram. She’s more of a Linkedin person. So I think part of what was helpful was that she probably doesn’t have a lot of stuff on her instagram feed so I came up in the algorithm more and then that was, like in her consciousness. Then I’m really busy on LinkedIn. I usually post anywhere from 2 to 4 times on LinkedIn, and that’s where she hangs out.
So she saw me on LinkedIn, and then I’m guessing she went to my website and saw I’m a professional person. I have all my social proof, I have on my blog posts and my point of view, and they are big advocates of productised services and I offer productised services. So when they were talking about productised services and went into websites in a day, and what a great example of a productised service, I was top of mind. I think again that was just from being visible. I did not do anything special. I did not have a special in. I did make a connection with her on a couple of platforms, I think. We’re not connected on LinkedIn, but I followed her and that was it. I don’t even have 900 followers on Instagram, like I do not have a big audience but it was a strategic connection and just being there and having my online presence. You know, all my ducks in a row in that respect.
So that’s it. That’s it. No secret.
P: Amazing. I love it. I also love how you pulled out the word strategic. It was a strategic connection because I think that’s probably the key here as well, is that you knew of this person. I think all of us could probably get better at that. Not connecting with people just to take advantage of their audiences or whatever position they have or anything but just keep in mind who the people in our networks are connected to.
E: A little bit of a tangent there. But generally , in my social media strategy, I really do try to connect with people that I’m interested in. Sure, they could potentially be a client or whatever, but I I want my experience of logging into Linkedin or being on Instagram, I want it to be enjoyable, not just full of things in my feed, like, ‘Oh, this person is this influencer in this.’ If I’m not interested in what they have to say, even though it could be strategic, then I’m not going to try and do stuff. There’s got to be joy in it.
P: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, I I used to detest Linkedin, and I thought it was really a dry, boring, stiff place to be, but that was until I started adding the right people to my network, and then their posts started coming up. This is probably also a side note, but it’s made the whole Linkedin experience a lot more enjoyable, and when something is enjoyable, that’s when I will keep at it.
P: If it’s something I hate I’m just going to let it go. So yeah, good point.
I wanted to also ask you then how, like when I produce content, I put content out there. I often get stuck in my own mind, and I can never think of things that to me seems like they’re good enough to share. So a lot of the time, I just won’t share anything because I feel like all l the stuff I can think of to post it seems so insignificant. And so I just don’t post it.
E: I guess my response to that is everything. I think like, ‘Oh, look at this is such a great idea.’ and I post it… like crickets. Then I’ll toss something over my shoulder and it’ll go, well maybe not wild, but it will do really well and get a huge response. So that’s why It’s just like a volume game, and that’s where the consistency comes in because you don’t know that. I mean, you can have an idea of the pillars you write about, the themes your audience is going to be interested in.
But you’re just not going to know until you put it out there. I do want to be a little bit tighter about the things I’m writing about. Sometimes I feel like I do go off the rails a little too much. But that’s okay. You know, I also feel like I can’t get to that more tight, concise message without going down some side road sometimes. And the only way to do that I mean, this is what is becoming clear to me. I’m kind of once again working on my positioning and I realise
you’re never going to have this exercise of sitting down having like, this is my perfect target audience. These are my perfect messages. This is my perfect set of content topics I’m going to write about. It doesn’t work that way, and then you sit down at your desk and crank it all out, and it’s like, perfect. It’s going to be an iterative process, and the only way you can do it is by putting it out there and see what gets a response. And then sometimes something will get a great response.
Like I put out a,-and I just threw it up there- this was a visual thing. It was just some projects I worked on. It was like some mini brands and stuff, and I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll try this pdf thing’ and it got like, 24,000 shares in Linkedln, which is a lot for me, and I can’t tell you how much that was a throwaway. I was just like, ‘Oh, I can’t think it to write anything, I’ll just put up some pictures and stuff.’ I did, and then I was like, ‘Oh!’ , and I tried to do it again, like shared it and the same thing didn’t happen. So there’s like the algorithms in there.
P: But yes, that’s just the thing that would be so lovely if we could just sit down and say ‘OK, I’ve got two hours, I’m gonna crank out to all my content and it’s going to be brilliant.’ Yeah, like you said, it just doesn’t work like that. My brain doesn’t work like that anyways. The funny thing is the things that I put out there that are kind of spontaneous and sometimes that aren’t even related to what I do professionally, they’re the ones that people will connect with.
And I have a hunch that it’s because I’m not overthinking and it’s just like I’m writing from the heart and posting a photo that just resonates with people and shows them that I’m a human. I think the most engaging piece of content that I put out there in the last year was when I posted a story on Instagram about me having cut a fringe on a whim. Yeah, it’s like it’s got nothing to do with branding. It’s just ‘Oh, here’s what I did on a whim this afternoon’ and I don’t think I’ve seen so many responses to the story. If people would only react that way when I was putting out stuff that has to do with my professional life, that would be great.
E: But, you know, I saw something the other day that being human in an age of algorithms, is an advantage. People buy from humans, or like in our line of work where we’re going to do services, 1-to- 1 group programmes, whatever. People, In the end, yes, you have your brand and you know where you stop and your brand ends, is an open question. But people buy from other people and that, like that kind of content same thing. I posted something, I found this resume from 1997 (I’m old) and it was like how I got really good at using fax machines and I was like, ‘This is kind of funny. I’m going to throw it.’
That was another one that went crazy and it has that has nothing to do with websites or digital marketing or anything. But people get to know who I am that way, and it’s funny and it’s relatable, and why not? Why not?
P: Yeah, why not? I think maybe the key to what you’re saying here lies in something that you told me before we started recording that you’re not a perfectionist. I am very much a perfectionist, a recovering perfectionist, and I think it’s holding me back. So how have you always been like a non-perfectionist, or is that something that you’ve kind of learned or practiced?
E: Yeah. I mean, I consider that like a superpower. I mean, I sometimes I look at my post and I’m like, ‘Oh, but there’s, like, 47 typos of this!’ and I would like to work on that. No, I have always been somebody who likes speed and immediacy. I’ve created a business model that is aligned with that because I don’t know, I think in the end, I’m just impatient.
My impatience is stronger than any perfectionism I may have and I don’t know why that is. I guess I can fuss with my nine grid on instagram, I’m not trying to do business or build a huge following on Instagram is just like a visual extension of my brand. I can get really, really fussy about it. So I guess if I have any perfectionism it’s kind of around those things, but yeah, I wish I had a better answer for you about that. I just I don’t care. I mean, I think I mentioned, when I wrote to you I think I do have a high threshold for feeling dumb and part of something that’s helped that is living in another country. I’ve lived in Germany for 20 years, I’m Californian. My German is fine, but learning a new language as an adult and needing to use it in not the friendliest culture in the world has been, you know, that’s humbling. You either have to decide I’m going to be here and be a part of this place or I’m going to totally check out.
So I kind of I think that has been a factor in just getting me comfortable. And I was ‘okay I’m just kind of having a fuck it attitude.’ Like here it is, what’s the worst that can happen?’ And, you know if people don’t like it or…
P: Yeah because you kind of have no choice, you kind of got to talk to people.
E: I have a friend, a good friend. He’s back in the States and he’s a big smarty pants. He went to Harvard and we would go to German restaurants. He was, we kind of worked at this firm where I used to work them when it was starting up.
He was very smart. He was a much better German student than I was and we would go to restaurants and I would order in German. He would order in English and then after the waitress left, he would correct all my declination and tell me all the grammar mistakes I made. And I’m like, ‘Yeah, but I did it in Germany!’ What good is all your perfect knowledge if you don’t even bother?
P: I love that you did that. I am the complete opposite, so I would find that very, very difficult.
For instance, I didn’t speak English out loud to other grown-up people.I refused until I was fifteen. I kid you not. I did not speak a word to my grandparents in English.
E: Oh, wow!
P: I was like a selective mute in English because I think it’s my perfectionism. I was scared that people were going to say, ‘Oh, it’s not good enough’ or they’re going to laugh at me and it wasn’t perfect. I think if I could just let go of that, like obviously I speak English now, but a part of that what caused that, I think still remains with me. I’m having to work quite hard to overcome that perfectionism and that fear of being seen as stupid or not good enough.
So just even just hearing about like how you dive in and speak German even if you don’t feel confident about it, is kind of inspiring and helpful, because it just goes to show that nothing is permanent, and that’s just like a picture of a situation there. Then the next time you post something, then it’s different. In this era of online business, you can always go back and change things that turn out how you want it
E: Or delete them.
P: I mean, in some channels things are just really fleeting anyways, and you’ve got the Instagram stories that just disappear, like it doesn’t really matter so much. That’s something that’s actually helped me to put more content out is the fact that I can just put the story out there and tomorrow it’s gone unless I choose to keep it.
E: Me, too. Deny the fussiness with the nine grid. I was like, ‘Oh, stories. I can put any old thing and then it’s gone, who cares!’ I don’t want to dismiss that, I mean, it’s maybe perhaps just a temperament thing, so if somebody is not like that, I don’t want to be like ‘You just got to do it!’ But I think maybe some things that are helpful or just baby steps. Just do a little bit every day and then self talk, which is, ‘You know, it’s not like 25 million people are going to see this.’
Also, nobody cares as much as we do. So that is also a cold comfort, but it’s still a comfort. Nobody’s looking and scrutinising all of your content and all the things we’re doing as much as you are. Then finally, what happens if you don’t do it? What’s the alternative to not doing it? Maybe there’s some fear of success in there, too.
P: Yeah, it is comfortable to hide and the fear of success. It sounds weird like, why would anybody be scared of success? We all want success, don’t we? But with success again, like I was mentioning earlier, I think with success comes probably a bigger audience and then there’s a bigger risk of someone not liking what you’re putting out there, or being critical of your point of view. I think the more successful you are, the more people you have watching you, the scarier, it kind of becomes. You need to put yourself out there as well. At least It feels like that to me.
E: It is scary and you know what? Let me go back. It is scary for me too, and how I know is I was in a a programme last year and one, we had these visibility challenges. All those things were like, ‘Oh, yeah, blah blah.’ But there was one like, ‘do more videos’ and that made me go ‘I don’t want to do that!’ which told me that is the thing you need to do.
That is always a helpful signal. If you feel like ‘Oh, God, I really don’t want to do this!’ You know, there’s people in my social, my like real world social network, that follow my- you know, people that my kids go to kindergarten with, and they’re like, ‘Oh, I saw that video!’ That makes me uncomfortable. But again, you got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and I’m not nearly as consistent with video. So lest I’m giving the impression that, like nothing bothers me. Video bothers me. But I do see it is a powerful medium. It’s just another way for using all kind of unconscious information you get from video that you don’t get from even still photos. So it’s just, you got to do it. You just got to do it. I just take a two- minute take and then I don’t look at it because it’s so horrible to watch again. I Just upload it and forget about it.
P: Well, that’s the good thing, you don’t have to look at it, you don’t have to reexamine it or anything, because I think that’s that’s horrible. I hate that. Seeing myself on video is one of the worst things. I don’t even like looking at photos of myself, and I mean coming from someone who works in branding and who advocates for putting yourself out there and showing your real self in through your brand. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that I am still uncomfortable putting myself and photos of myself out there. I’m just now coming up to my first ever brand photo shoot for my own brand.
E: Oh really I always got the impression because you do do it, and that’s why it works. You stand out in my feed with all of your branded content and your face. I mean, you do do it.
P: Yeah, but those are photos I’ve taken of myself. I’m in control of the camera lens myself. Putting myself in front of someone else’s camera lens is immensely scary to me, and I’m doing it in March. I’ve got fantastic friend photographer who’s travelling up here to where I live and we’re doing a brand session. Part of me wants to run screaming for the hills and to hide somewhere under a rock and you know you can’t find me! Part of me is super excited because it’s kind of challenging my inner critic and doing it anyways. I know from working with clients who have then done this, that this kind of work usually has a huge impact on visibility. Because when you have a bank of those photos that you can use it’s so much easier because you’ve got them there, you can just spin them out.
So that’s a fear that I decided to face this year because of the sort of visibility aspect of it. So really, really excited about it to see how that pans out.
E: Good for you. Yeah, I think just I just to underscore your point, I’ve done two. I hated every minute of both of them. I have a great photographer but when I started this business, I think I posted this on LinkedIn, I knew it was going to be a kind of a yeah I do websites, but a personal brand kind of thing. And just being a visual designer, I was like, ‘I have to have kick ass photography.’
I threw up a web site really fast, and then I really designed mine after I had the shoot. All these people are like ‘your business, think it looks like you’re doing so much incredible stuff!’ I had two clients. I was not busy, but it totally changed the perception of what I was doing and that is important, too. Then, like you say, I had this bank of photos that I could just whip out stuff, it just made it so much easier. So I highly recommend that for everybody.
P: Also from someone who’s in the other side of things, and who has worked in general design for a while. If I was to design a publication and I, as a designer, was in charge of picking photos, I knew that if someone had sent me a bank of their photos, I was going to feature them instead of the ones that sent me sort of half-assed, crappy selfies. So I think the uncomfortableness will be worth it in terms of visibility, because it’ll be easier to put yourself out there when you have those things in place, the excuses kind of taken away. You’ve got nothing to hide behind anymore. It’s like you can’t say ‘Oh, but I don’t have any good photos I can send you.’ Clearly that’s going to be a lie then because I will have photos.
Yeah, So I think my takeaway from what we’ve been talking about so far is that you might have to get a little bit uncomfortable to really reap the benefits of visibility for your brand.
E: Yeah. I mean, I say that a lot to myself and to others get comfortable being uncomfortable.
It’s not like you have to constantly be in a state of discomfort, but if you’re not regularly doing things that push you out of your comfort zone, you’re not going to get that far. But, I mean, you can do that in baby steps as well.
P: I’m a fan of stretching my comfort zone instead of like, taking a big leap outside of it. Because if I leap too far out of my comfort zone, I’m like an elastic band, I will snap back really fast, and I will then stay in my comfort zone for a long time.
So I’m more in the baby steps camp, I think. Yeah, a little further each time. So if we go off on a tangent on that then, for someone who’s looking to increase their visibility and to really kind of strategise their visibility to grow their brands: What could be some baby steps if they felt really uncomfortable about putting themselves out there? What would you suggest as first baby steps?
E: A couple of things you can do or should do rather, is pick a platform not only that you like, but where your audience hangs out.
So maybe you can’t commit to something as big as blogging, or being a guest, or whatever, but you can make micro posts. You can post a little bit on LinkedIn or Instagram, and you know just something here and there. You can share other people’s content. That’s a really easy way to step your toe in the water. But again, I really think it’s about consistency. It’s about consistency, and I personally, I don’t think being consistent and putting yourself out there is not over sharing. You don’t have to put personal details that you’re not comfortable sharing about your life out there. The other thing is recommend resources. There is a whole argument that if you’re good at curating stuff, that is a that’s a strategy to start with and start getting comfortable. Who can get mad at somebody for recommending a great book? Who can say ‘this an excellent article If you’re doing this.’ You’re sharing things you find valuable, but you’re also displaying your point of view,I think this is interesting.
So you’re putting yourself out there halfway and but in a very meaningful way. So those are some things you can start with.
P: A couple of very good points here, especially like the one the way you sort of you pick the channels that you like, or the platforms that you like and that you enjoy being on. Especially if it’s a solo business owner. You know, there’s only one of you unless you hired a huge team of people to handle your social media if you try and be in all the places, you’re gonna just gonna spread yourself too thin, and it’s going to be really, really hard to be consistent if you’re trying to be on all of the platforms doing all of the things.
So, yeah, that’s definitely something that I personally found has worked for me as well as okay, I enjoy being on Instagram. I’ve made a lot of great friends on Instagram. So that’s my main focus. I also have started enjoying Linkedin now that I have more of my people in my network on Linkedin. So they are my two social media channels and then obviously I have this podcast, which that was kind of stretching my comfort zone, I’ll tell you that. It took me two years to block up the courage, but now that I’m doing it, I really love it. Part of that is because I get to have all of these amazing conversations with my guests and that makes it feel not so scary because I’m kind of sharing the stage with someone else and we can have conversations rather than it just being me putting myself and my opinions out there all the time.
So that’s that’s definitely something that I can resonate with, sort of picking away and the curating part that you mentioned as well. A couple of my favourite – I’m very selective about who’s newsletters make it into my inbox and even like when they get into my inbox, I’m very selective about the ones that I will actually open and read. A couple of my favourites thatI literally I wait for them because I know what day of the week they are usually out. My two favourites are all like about curating content. Okay, they put their own spin on things. They’ve got their own content in there as well. But a big part of why I like it is because they’ve done all the work for me. You know, good stuff, scouring the Internet or even real world to find things that I find interesting that I probably wouldn’t have found on my own.
So that’s such a valid point. Like you don’t have to create everything from scratch yourself. Yeah, excellent.
So those are some really great ideas, I think, for dipping your toe in getting comfortable, getting warmed up to the idea of being visible.
So let’s say that you’ve you’ve done that for a while and you are ready for the next step. What could you do once you start feeling comfortable sharing your own stuff? Other people’s stuff, you’re in front of people and you’re thinking, ‘OK, I have ambitions here. I need to I would like to get my content featured somewhere.’ What’s the next step? Because consistency is one thing to keep posting and posting and posting. But I’m guessing that it’s just luck if you get picked up, if you don’t have a plan.
E: You hit the nail on the head with the plan and that’s where you have to think, OK, what am I, detective? and then it goes back to all your brown stuff like, who am I trying to serve or work with? What are they going to find interesting, and where are they? Where are they? So I mean, there are a lot of tactics. So, for example, if you decide I’m going to do an SEO strategy like I am going to write a bunch of content, I’m going to figure out what some important keywords are. You can post all day long on your own blog and with the right keywords, but you still have to get backlinks to your site, which means you have to get other people to link to your site, and then you’ve got to think about who were those people and where does it make sense?
So I did a lot of keyword optimisation on my site, and then I found places that weren’t exactly the goal, wasn’t necessarily find my target market. It was just a pretty decent site, and they were looking for content. A lot of people need content. One was like a Medium kind of a regular medium publishing or whatever they call them, like a medium, a magazine. And then one was another 1000 business stories, and they’re like, ;want to tell your story? Put it here!’ and you literally just fill in a form but you’re writing it in a narrative style, and so that’s like the low hanging fruit.
Then I think if there was like a bigger publication that it feels maybe a little scary to approach, you follow them for a while. You see what they’re doing. You see what kind of content they like, or their publishing or what they’re looking for. Then if there’s an angle that fits with your audience and with their audience, you can pitch it to them.
Some people like Haro a lot. H- a- r- o. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that. It’s a mailing list you get on. It stands for “help a reporter out” or they’re looking for people to write on certain topics and you get like a digest. I think it’s like everything two or three times a day, and you just look. Somebody said, ‘I’m looking for an expert on this who has seen this’ or whatever. “Are you seeing more people with problems with their pets because of the weather?’ Whatever it is.
But if that is you, then you can reach out to that person as well, ’As a matter of fact, I have, and I’d like to talk to you about it.’ I mean, there’s a bunch of different ways you could do i. Sometimes it’s just trying over and over again. You know, sending an article and or pitching a podcast and if you don’t hear from them trying again. So again, it’s just a numbers game and being persistent. But I do think that if you don’t really start to get really clear on who you’re trying to reach, you could spin your wheels a lot.
So, for example, for a long time, I sort of thought I was targeting side hustlers and then I realised, ‘No, I’m actually not targeting side hustlers.’ So the clearer you can get on who you’re trying to serve, the easier this all becomes because it becomes immediately obvious where you should or shouldn’t go.
P: So for me, then who obviously, I’ve got a podcast that could look like setting myself a goal, a number of podcasts to be a guest on, not necessarily have guests on my podcast, but say ‘Okay, I want to talk about this.’ Then to identify some other, maybe bigger podcasts than mine that I could then reach out to and pitch. That would maybe be a logical next step for me as a podcaster is to reach a wider audience.
E: Exactly and you’ve created a huge, impressive pile of IP, and a big asset. You’re not like, ‘Oh, here’s my four podcasts that I did last week.’ You’ve been consistent. You have a body of work to show and that is something that would get somebody’s attention. Again, I keep saying consistency, but if you produce a body of work and you have people on, then you leverage that to get to the next level or to go places.
P: Yeah, i feel like it’s a matter of actually leveraging what you’ve already got in order to take you to the next level. So figuring out the best way of doing that, I guess.
So for me, as someone who is on you know who has her own podcast, that could look like being on other people’s podcasts. So what could it look like for someone else? I mean, I’ve done guest newsletters as well, like other things like that. That felt like a nice, easy way to dip my toes into reaching an audience outside of my own but that was still not very scary, because if you pick the right people, kind of audience share with, then you kind of know that they’re going to be in the same sort of mindset.
E: It doesn’t it also just have to be huge. You know, I do like the sort of doing your reps. So one client of mine, he also has kind of a branding business, and he has a coaching group and he wanted me to come on and talk about websites. That was ten people, and we just did a zoom. But that’s also, you’re kind of in front of an audience, but it’s a friendly audience, and it’s not a massive audience. Those are other ways to start. It doesn’t have to be like broadcast. It could be more interactive, sharing knowledge.
P: Another thing I wanted to just bring up as well is the idea of pay to play. I think we’ve all probably been approached by publications posing to be wanting to write an article about you, and obviously they’re playing on all the sort of flattery and stuff. Then when you actually click your way through, it’s nothing more than a glorified paid ad. They’re going to write an article about you, but you’re going to have to pay for them to do so. I’ve had this happen a lot of times.
P: Yeah, from, there’s a magazine that it’s in the pockets, like on flights. It’s a good fight magazine. Yeah, and so that was the first time. When I initially had that email, and this was when I first started out, I was like, ‘Oh, wow!’
Then I read to the bottom of the email and my heart just sank and was like, ‘Oh, it’s just paid ad trying to make me feel like you’ve discovered me and you’re gonna spread the word about because I’m amazing and it’s not You just want my money.’
Then I had another one yesterday. I think I had an email to enter an award, like a designer award, and that too is actually you have to pay to submit. It’s not like just to cover like the admin fees for for the people running the award, it’ It was way more.
It’s kind of, it’s what I refer to as pay to play. I have very clear opinions of what I think about these things. I just wanted to to to see whether I’m the right about not liking them, or if it’s actually an opportunity that could bring you places.
E: I have not, maybe I have gotten something very spammy, but I have never seen those or done those. I can’t imagine that they would be worth much, because how good is that content going to be?
P: No, exactly. Yeah.
E: I mean, there is something to be said, if you’re trying to build- I go back and forth on paid ads. I’m not there yet. That’s not quite the next step for me. But there is a strategy at some point where, and I would not do it. I know some people have amazing success with Facebook ads. I’ve got burned on those and I won’t try them again and you just have to have a massive amount of cash to invest to make all the mistakes.
But I do think, maybe there’s LinkedIn ads in my future, I am not sure about. This is a big, fat all caps. MAYBE.
So, I think there is a place in your visibility PR marketing strategy for some sort of paid exposure, but not those things.
P: Good, then my gut feeling isn’t entirely wrong. Because I just see these things and I think it seems like such an easy way to buy the right to put someone’s fancy logo on your website to say you were featured in such and such when really, you’re just paying for that right instead of actually being chosen for it. I think that kind of undermines
E: It does.
P: So yeah, I would say steer away from those.
E: Yeah, and that’s why I think on a website, all those publications that I mentioned, that I’ve been in one of the bigger ones is The New York Times, that when I did apply for because it was when I was doing wedding invitations and they said something like, ‘Submit your wedding invitation story’ and I printed them. I designed them with my dad and and they put it in there.
So, like it was no backlink, annoyingly, But you can leverage that, like my work has been in The New York Times, and I didn’t pay for it. But yeah paying for it, that seems very disingenuous.
But if you can get in those publications, the irony is they won’t necessarily translate into revenue. None of those things translated into a lot of revenue. But It’s social proof, which is which is an important part of things to just keep leveraging that.
But I think you know, I’m certainly I think you should be ambitious, but realistic. You know, the places you’re targeting maybe good chances you’re going to get a no. But you might get a yes. Whereas like, there’s no way you’re gonna get yes. So maybe kind of do it in stages and steps.
P: So once you’ve had your name, then featured in the publication of your dreams and you’re like, ‘Oh, wow!’ this is making your heart swell and you’re super proud because this publication featured you. How would you say you could leverage that to the fullest potential?
So I mean sticking it in like a little logo in your footer on your website where nobody can see it. It’s not really going to be very helpful.
E: You should put it on your website, but above the fold or pretty close to the fold. The fold, for those who don’t know, is where the your screen kind of goes. It’s under word for the first frame of your screen.
But you can also talk about it. That’s like a talking point. You know, you can share it on your social media. Believe me, when I was in that podcast – again, I don’t think I have gotten one client from this mention. It’s not really my target audience, but I had I wrote a monster post about it. I put that on LinkedIn, and then I tagged the woman and she said, ‘Oh!’
So there was a nice little interaction there. It’s a story. It’s just more content and it’s something you can share. That is the stuff that, to me also still feels more uncomfortable because I don’t mind- tooting your own horn is you know it is embarrassing- but it’s another thing I think you’ve got to do it. You just gotta do it.
P: If you’ve been featured somewhere, it makes it easier because someone else is kind of tooting your horn and then you’re just sharing about.
E: Yeah, it’s like, ‘Look at me, look at me!’ But if you don’t do that stuff, you’re not going to have any clients and money. It’s like the the equation is very straightforward. So, you know, I want to take a nice vacation with my family in 2023 before my daughter has to go to school.
We’re on the school schedule, I have very concrete goals. And it’s like they tie back to doing those kinds of things.
P: Yeah, so that can be a motivating factor. I guess if you have some some goals that maybe they’re not even related to business, but they’re life goals that you can kind of pin up there as a carrot to make you want to increase your visibility. Yeah, that’s a good point.
We could probably stay on and chat for hours and hours on end, but all good things must come to an end, and I think it’s time we kind of round off.
I’ve had some brilliant tips on how to not only dip my toes into increasing my visibility, but also practical tips around how to actually do it. So this has been brilliant. But before we round off, I like to ask every guest if there was just one thing, if they were only allowed to tell our listeners one thing. One simple tip, easy to implement. What would that key takeaway be?
E: Have a newsletter. We didn’t talk about that, but I do think you got to do that.
Thank you so much for being here. It’s been a really interesting conversation. People might notice the slight tech hiccups that we had, hopefully not too much. But before I let you go, I just wanted to invite you to share with our listeners where they can find you if they want to connect with you and learn more.
E: Well, of course, the best place to find is my website, which is https://www.eleanormayrhofer.com/. Then I am most active on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eleanormayrhofer/ and I am on instagram at https://www.instagram.com/eleanormayrhofer/
PS! I have decided I want to connect with more awesome people in 2022. If you’d like to grab a virtual cuppa with me, find a time here.
Until next time,
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