A couple weeks ago, I shared about my tendency to ‘go big’ and the upper limit problem it can create, most recently delaying my video series launch with Entrepreneur Online. You can read all about that here.
Well, it may have taken longer than I wanted, but after months of planning, all the pieces came together and I flew out to NYC for a quick, action-packed trip last week.
It resulted in new connections made with some very inspiring, high-profile entrepreneurs, one-on-one interviews with said entrepreneurs (read: amazing content coming your way very soon!), staying in the most beautiful suite overlooking the city and even playing tourist and catching up with my best friend. It was incredible.
And the best part? This was all for what I call work.
I want to share how I got this opportunity so that it may inspire you to take action in your business in a big way and maybe even help you crush some limiting beliefs that hold you back (and I’ll share some fun behind-the-scenes photos of the trip and the sweetest bathroom-with-a-view that I’ve ever experienced!).
Here’s how it went down.
Step 1. Identify opportunity. Position yourself as helpful. What can you contribute?
A few months ago, I reached out to Entrepreneur to see if I could become a video contributor. I had been watching the video content they were producing for a while and noticed areas where I could really add value. I highlighted those areas in my email pitch using real examples from their youtube page and gave them a link to some of my work.
It was short + simple + actionable.
What industry blog, podcast, show, or magazine would be a perfect partnership + opportunity with your brand? Study it. Prepare a simple pitch!
Step 2. Hustle. Make it memorable + do-able.
As I mentioned in the previous post, I wanted to launch my video series with a bang and had some very specific guests in mind to interview. I knew this would require a trip to NYC but before I booked anything, I reached out to my top 3 interview prospects first.
Like my pitch to Entrepreneur, my ‘asks’ to these busy, successful business owners were short, simple and smart.
I did my research and knew what big programs or book launches they had coming up that they would want to promote and focused my pitch on those. Keep in mind, I was only reaching out to this caliber of guest because I knew I had more to offer than just an interview on my website. I was able to leverage a bigger audience via the Entrepreneur network. This is key.
Ask yourself, ‘how can I provide value? What can I do for someone I want to connect with?’
Also, I was prepared to deliver on the professionalism that was expected- you can’t expect to interview the top person in your field via Skype or on an iPhone (if they’re cool with that, awesome… but you’ll find that higher-profile entrepreneurs can be really selective on media opportunities). So if you’re not ready to hire a professional crew and all of the work that goes along with, start smaller!
I also offered flexibility in dates since these are busy people. Once I had one of my top interviews confirmed and I knew it would make the whole trip worth it, I cleared my work calendar for two days and booked my flight.
Step 3. Get resourceful. Follow through.
Securing a film crew + location was by far the trickiest part. I didn’t realize just how difficult (and expensive!) this part would become. I highly recommend relying on an assistant or team member with experience in the local area to work on this. I spent far more time (and again, money) making phone calls and emails to nail down these details.
One of the best tips I have for working with hotels and filming locations, is to find an independently owned hotel. I started reaching out to hotel groups known for beautiful lobbies and filming spaces but they would route me to the marketing office in a whole different city. If you mention you are shooting interviews, they get kind of weird. And expensive. NYC, expensive? Who knew! Rates were in the thousands of dollars for just a couple hours of filming.
Since I had to foot the bill for the production, it was worth it to spend time researching the area and getting resourceful. I used the same tactic as above (provide value!) and worked directly with the GM at the Hotel on Rivington- great move! Instead of booking a hotel room and a filming location separately, I was able to combine the two. I reserved an incredible suite that made for a lux little getaway (pics of insane bathroom coming below), and also provided a killer backdrop for the interviews. So hotel stay + filming set, rolled into 1. As my new friend Nicole Walters would say, I saved some major coin!
My biggest responsibilities were making sure the crew, the location and my preparation were on point the whole time.
Sounds simple but it wasn’t easy. Like when I got a call the day before that all the rental shops in the city were closed early due to the Jewish holiday and we would not have any audio gear. I had to just figure it out. And prepping to leave my 14-month-old for only the second & third nights in her life came with its own set of challenges (major high-fives to all you mompreneurs making it happen out there, it ain’t easy!). There were a bunch of mini-crisis that popped up until just minutes before the very first interview. Anytime you’re planning media or organizing an event, be prepared to just be on your toes for a couple of days and then make sure to plan some celebratory time to unwind afterwards!
Step 4. Optimize Opportunity.
It pays to be prepared. Like in the advice I offer in other posts about preparing for media, I did the same with these interviews. I gave the entrepreneurs a heads up about questions I wanted to ask. I sent them media sheets with all the details so it would easy for them. Since my best friend was staying with me, he doubled as my (way overqualified) assistant and brought all the guests to the filming suite, made sure the crew had water and snacks, took behind-the-scenes photos and told me when my hair had gone rogue. If he wouldn’t have been available, I would have hired someone local for this job. It sounds like easy tasks but you don’t want to be bothered with them when you have other things to focus on.
I also optimized our promotional opportunity by offering to periscope the interviews live via the guests’ account. I didn’t think to offer this until my second interview, and I wish I had thought of it sooner! We got a ton of followers and it generated excitement for the final video. In hindsight, I would have shared it live from my periscope and had the guests share it to their followers. I would change how I do that next time but overall, it was still a great promotional strategy for the video series. I still got quite a few new followers and the opportunity to connect with new audiences and the guest was able to give their fans a sneak peek of the interview.
And lastly! I plan to follow-up with each of the guests to make sure I time the release of the video to optimize their upcoming launches, further delivering as much value as possible. If there are other ways I can help them, like booking other media with my connections, I’ll do that too. Nicole and I are already talking about plans to collaborate again in the near future.
I will share a follow-up post in a couple months to share exact details in how I optimized this project for bigger opportunities and any other takeaways that I realize down the road.
Alright, more than 1,800 words later, let’s get to the pics, shall we?
Alright, your turn! What are you going to do in your business to play big today (or this week… this month?)
Maybe your dream media outlet isn’t banging down your door to interview you or to feature your business.
So reach out to them to be a contributor! Write a guest blog post. Pitch a video series. Share photography. Think of other ways to get front and center. As an entrepreneur, you’re resourceful. Use some of that hustle and open your own doors.
What media outlet can you pitch to be a contributor? What can you write about or who can you interview that people in your industry will want to read/watch? Share in the comments below.
I’d love to help you make it happen!