In February of 2009 Michelle Tennant Nicholson of Wasabi Publicity, Inc., sat down to speak with David Mathison author of Be the Media the ultimate guide on how to create and accelerate your message your way. From self-published authors, bloggers to community owned TV, film producers and musicians, there has never been such a comprehensive guide. Phil Donahue said this book, "Takes publishing and broadcasting power away from industrial titans and hands it to you."
Here's the transcript:
Michelle Tennant: Hi everyone. It is February 19th and I'm Michelle Tennant. I am known to most as Story Teller to the Media and you can actually read my blog at storytellertothemedia.com. I co-own Wasabi Publicity, Incorporated and also a technology company that is best known for presskit247.com. And what I want to do today is talk to you and everybody on the call about David Mathison, who I'm going to introduce in just a minute. But let's do a little bit of housekeeping first.
This is what we generally have been doing for years and years and years, something called the Wasabi Club, so it's a very informal meeting where we get to talk about a compelling topic in the area of PR and marketing. And rather than just having a bunch of talking heads at you, we actually open up the forum so that it's more like a club atmosphere, like we would just be sitting around having drinks somewhere and shooting I almost said a little blue word there (laughs) that's how casual we are, I almost said a cuss word but they are just like talking about different things that we would in our trade anyway, and we just kinda open it up to business owners in case they wanna find out publicists and marketing professionals and all of us who are getting the buzz out there, what we actually talk about.
And so, if you're with us and you want to just put us on the speaker and you want to mute yourself, you wanna hit *6, to mute yourself and to unmute yourself and you wanna actually ask a question or talk with us, you hit *7. And I'll actually remind you about that in the future. So, but anyway, without any further adieux, I want to talk about this great, great guy that we have today for the Wasabi Club. His name is David Mathison. So, not only did he just write this op Be The Media, which you can, if you're in front of your computer, which most of us are, you can just go right to Bethemedia.com and look at it. But he is also just somebody who used to be a [skip] let me just do the bio, some of the accolades I have right here in front of me, cause he is a pretty big deal. I'm very excited to have him here. So, David, you got a lot of stuff here. I'm just gonna go for it. Okay?
David Mathison: Sure.
Michelle Tennant: From 1998 to 2002, he was the founder and CEO of Kinecta, a syndication services provider for you know, they do Reuters, the Financial Times, The Economist, Dow Investments and Yahoo. I mean you get the picture of how big deal this guy is. So, as CEO, Mathison raised $30 million in venture in strategic funding in less than two years. And now, Kinecta is actually part of Oracle, which most of us know. And before that, Mathison was the Vice President for Reuters, the world's largest news agency where he pioneered standard base online syndication.
So, if you're in the PR industry, Reuters is like big, big deal, in the line with all the other big syndicaters like the Associate Press and so forth, so you get a Reuters hit as a publicist, then you got that hanging that up on your wall as something that you're really proud of. And the other thing that he does, is that he really is, he serves on the board [beep] Media Freedom Foundation, The Mountain Play and webhood.org and served on the board of Conveners of Marin Community Media Center. So some of the people from California might actually be on and be really excited to hear from David today, too. And he has a Masters Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University.
And so, all that expert in every area and we're really excited. If you haven't already gotten a copy of Be the Media, you've got to, cause this is one of those books that is really gonna be a bible for many of us for the future, especially when it comes to doing it yourself and doing it your way, rather than actually being pushed or really forced into a particular way of doing something that doesn't really fit with your own integrity. So, it really is an honor and a privilege to speak to you today, David. Welcome.
David Mathison: Thanks so much Michelle. Hi everybody from the Wasabi Club and others who have joined the call from some of my tweets maybe, and some of my Facebook status, I'm glad you're all here.
Michelle Tennant: Yeah, and so here's how it goes, okay? On the Wasabi Club first of all, we do sort of a little reality sort of check in with what I'm dealing with, at Wasabi Publicity and our campaigns, and then we kind of open it up to other people who are on the phone to really talk about what's on their minds with regards to well this particular talk we're gonna talk about Twitter. So, I'm gonna give you an opportunity to talk about that in just a minute, but let me first pose a question. So if we go through the call, what we all like to do, cause the miracle of the Wasabi Club from the past is we [skip] pose in our club and then somebody will find a solution that benefits all of us, and I've gotten emails that they're like, my god, you know?
I took the suggestion of what other people on the Wasabi Club said and I completely revamped my business and doing really well and so forth. So, I've been pretty amazed at some of the brainstorming and the creative energy that comes out of these calls. So, I would also like to leave the call today with something fresh for all of us. I mean, a lot of us are already using Twitter. We're already using social networking sites [skip] gonna tell us today, David, about the do it your self way and how we can actually all be the media. But I'm really interested in what's relevant and on our minds today.
So, I'll pose the first challenge, if you will. So, one of the things that I do everyday, David, is I'm out talking to the media and pitching them story ideas on my clients. And I oftentimes struggle between knowing, do I use Twitter for that or should I use personalized emails? It used to be, because I've been doing this for 20 years, [beep] pretty clear. You pick up the phone. You send some mail. You actually maybe you know, well it used to be just fax, you couldn't even send an email. Today you've got the email factor. How do you know when it's the best to actually send it via a social networking site or send it through an email?
I think what I'm doing right now, just to give you kind of an insight, is if I know my person that I'm targeting doesn't really like email, and I'm trying to get her attention? Like I did this today, actually, cause I knew that she actually pays more attention to her social networking site, so I sent her a message through linked-in and I got a message right away back. I was like "Oh, awesome", you know? So, but I knew that if I sent her an email, sometimes her emails get lost. So, how would you advise the rest of us on how to prioritize whether we're using Twitter, linked-in, and the rest and [beep] you actually give advice on which one, maybe give us a little one liner on what it is, a little definition in case there actually is somebody on the line who might not know what we're talking about.
David Mathison: You really have to establish relationships. I mean, that's exactly the point of my call today, which is a lot of people are joining the call because they heard that I sold 5,004 books on Twitter through one connection and they're kinda like "Oh my god. I wanna know how that happened." And to be honest, just like you said, it's really understanding -. It's just basic follow up and follow through on understanding who's listening and what way they prefer to have their information.
You know, it's funny. I sent out a tweet, a direct message yesterday. I was announcing my book launch and the person said "No, not interested." And then I followed up with an email on Facebook and said "Do you mind if we have a phone call?" and I gave her a little bit more information. And we followed up on a phone call today and sure enough, now she's in the plan. So, you know, sometimes it really, I think especially for those high end journalists and those people who are really busy everyday, some of them prefer email, some of them prefer linked-in, some of them prefer telephones, but it really is a requirement of everybody out there to get to know the audience.
And just if we speak specifically to Twitter, you'd be surprised at how quickly giant news organizations, like I have a lot of journalists following my Twitter feed and the New York Times, CNN, even Rick Sanchez and others at CNN have Twitter feeds and they're watching it. And even with Reuters, you know, Biz Stone, the founder of Twitter was interviewed by Roy O'Connor and Biz said that Reuters began watching Twitter for trends and found out that it worked really well and the Twitter folks even gave [skip] to the Reuters lab people so that they could use it more effectively. So, it's interesting.
Sometimes Twitter is used especially for breaking events. The recent earthquake in California, it was announced nine minutes before the first Associated Press alert came out. The earthquake was already being used in Twitter. So, like journalists are actually watching Twitter for breaking news. Now how bizarre is that? Usually Reuters and Associated Press are fighting each other to basically be the lead on the story, to be the first news organization to announce these stories, and now some of these news organizations are watching Twitter feeds to find out breaking news. It's fascinating.
Michelle Tennant: And don't you remember also, years ago, before we really started using social networking, the news sources were really watching bloggers. So, it's interesting to see the entire environment on the internet evolve and grow, don't you think?
David Mathison: Absolutely and that's interesting, too, because now we've had a saddle search engines like Google for websites, and now we've got Technorati for blogs and recently, Twitter just bought a search engine Sumize I think it's called, and so that, again is critical for journalists because now imagine if you could search the real Twitter stream. It was great to, you know, Google search on websites can be days or even weeks old. But a Technorati search on a blog can be the same day. Well, if you could get almost instantaneous news by searching the Twitter stream, that's a really powerful tool. So Twitter has got some really interesting applications happening as we speak.
Michelle Tennant: So to your advice to someone like me, a publicist who's pitching people like I mean, right before the call I got off helping Good Morning America with something, yet another segment. And so, you know, I've got regular producers and reporters to rely on me to connect them with families, to connect them with reliable, credible sources. You know, I've got different tools that I've created with my IT team. Like we've got a, like I was talking about with our online press kits.
We just launched something last week called pitchrate.com and if you're in front of your computer you can actually take a look at it. Pitchrate.com is a free service where we're connecting the media with experts and people who want to serve the media, so the media in a closed manner so they don't actually have to share their email address, they can go on there and say "This is the need that I have." And then all the experts and all the publicists can pitch them and it's rated based on the star system, one to five stars. And then the experts can then be rated in the future. So I've got those tools and then I've got I'm just getting -.
It's like my crayon box is getting really full, David, right? So what crayon do I pull out? So then I'll play, you know, I'm [skip] miracle I'm like, "Use pitch rate cause pitch rate is really one of those tools that's gonna be efficient use for all [skip] to really connect with the media in the background and stuff, but when I'm actually driving for a relationship, you know, what is that? A phone call or -? Like how do you know? How do you know when you're actually using your social networking tools and when you pull out the crayon from the crayon box, what are you asking yourself?
David Mathison: Right, and it gets more and more challenging as you build out your base. So, I've got 3,500 followers in Facebook and 2,500 followers on Twitter, like how do you really identify "Well out of each of these followers, who are the most important people?" You know, according to the story or according to topic and that's where I say, like the whole point of my being on this call today is to say that yes, I've sold 5,004 books through a Twitter connection, but it was good old fashioned gumshoe. You know, it was good old fashioned finding out. I think a lot of people are on Twitter now or on Facebook and just basically aggregating followers or aggregating friends and not really taking the time to find out who those friends and followers are.
The whole point of my call today is to say "You need to treat these followers as [beep] gold. You know, if you're not doing the hard work of finding out "Okay, who is that person that just followed me? Let me go to their Twitter profile. Let me go to their -." On their Twitter profile, they have a link to a blog or to a website, let's go to their blog. Let's go to their website. Let's go search them on Facebook and see what they have on their info page in Facebook and befriend them and find out more and more about them. And I think the more that you find out about your leads, the better able you'll be able to determine how they want to be followed up with.
And interestingly enough, this 5,004 book sale came from a Twitter follow up and then I followed up with them and then I went to their Facebook page and then I went to their homepage and then I went to their blog and really, it was just doing old fashioned detective work to find out how that person wanted to be approached and what the message should be that I would approach them with. And we can get into the details of that if you like because it's kind of a fascinating story of -.
Michelle Tennant: No, I really do. We're gonna give you a chance to do that in just a minute, David. Usually right about 15 minutes after the Wasabi Club, I actually take a moment and say "For those of you who want to ask questions, remember it *7 to unmute yourselves. If you're having lunch or making noise in the background, you want to mute yourself, just hit *6. I intentionally now I can mute all y'all, but I actually want us to have a conversation. So this is the time we're now gonna move into the next phase, where we're actually gonna start doing some Q&A with David.
But let's just give him about five minute to really kind of round out the story of how it happened, because I know that's what we're all really in here today. And then we'll actually move into questions and answers and so forth, so I'll let you know when we're gonna open up for questions, but David, go ahead and I really wouldn't have -. What I'm hearing you say today, is "Look, Michelle, you're already doing a lot of work on the phone and with your email and maybe spend as much time developing those Twitter connections that you would in developing those relationships on the phone." That's what I'm hearing you say.
David Mathison: Everybody is an important, you know, anyone that comes and follows you in Twitter could be a critical lead for you, absolutely. And treat it just like you would treat any other relationship and really investigate that. Now maybe you'll find that nine out ten, but you get the same thing at a trade conference, right? Nine of ten leads maybe not into anything at all, but there may be one golden lead in there and I think that's what I see a lot of going on, is that a lot of people are just treating them as just followers and not really treating them as leads and as human beings and people that they may have interesting partnership opportunities with.
Michelle Tennant: Well as you're talking about Twitter, if you're in front of your computer, let's all go to David and so that we're following him, follow him, it's Twitter.com/Bethemedia, so I'm looking now. Of course, please follow me too. I don't have thousands and thousands like David does, by I'm Twitter.com/michelletennant. But go ahead David, I'm on here with you. I'm lookin at there you are. You've told everybody about the Wasabi Club today and take us back in time before you sold the 5,000. I wanna know.
David Mathison: That's actually we should. Maybe we'll take a step back, I mean the big point I want to get across is somebody followed me on Twitter. In one day they bought I then had an auto response message. Whenever I get a follower, it automatically replies, "Thank you for following me on Twitter. I like you already." You know, something silly, but then pointing them to my website. And it's the result of that pointer to my website ended up that the follower bought four books. So, of course, whenever somebody buys a book, I jump for joy, but when someone buys five books I'm ready to send roses.
So, I sent them a direct message saying "Well thank you very much." And then that turned into ten days later, that within a couple of days, I was invited to speak at Baruch College in New York City, from this same connection on a symposium on sustainable journalism. And then that was basically the night after that, we shook hands on a 5,000 book deal and 20 days later, from initial contact, I had a wire transfer into my account for 5,000 books. So I sold 5,004 books. But it's interesting, I think I'm gonna go back a little bit because not everyone's really on the same page with Twitter. Let's make sure everyone kind of understands what it is and how to use it.
Michelle Tennant: Yeah, please. That's great.
David Mathison: Three years ago, when I heard of Twitter, I thought it was just a silly little toy, you know, you're limited to 140 characters and so you can't really tell a large story, but based on what happened to me over the last 20 days, I can say it's definitely not a toy. But I also don't wanna lay down any dogma. There's no right way or wrong way to do it, but like every community, there is some etiquette you should be aware of and you should follow. But my big point today is absolutely, positively make sure you follow up on leads wherever they come from. So, if you're not on Twitter, make sure you go to Twitter.com, join right away and put in a unique user name, either your name or the name of your business.
Michelle Tennant: Yeah, maybe I could do both, David, now that I'm seeing what you've done here. Maybe I should go snag, you know with some of the stuff related to my businesses and my brand.
David Mathison: Snag or stop it, yeah.
Michelle Tennant: Do you do both?
David Mathison: Yeah, I do both and I put my name in parentheses. You can do that, too. I think down the road, you know, my company I'm trying not to build a kind of cultist personality or else we would have a lot of internet marketers, if you get sick or Steve Jobs, or Martha Stewart you get thrown in jail. You know, your whole stock price goes down with the cultist personality. So I try to keep the business separate from my personal life, but in social media, it is really important to have a picture of yourself up, but again, no dogma. I don't use a picture of myself. I use a picture of my brand and my company.
There may come a time down the road where I'll put my own personal account where I'll just be tweeting personal messages, but right now, it's really focused on the company, Be the Media. So, put a picture up for sure. People want to network with people and see that you have a picture up and then tweet a few things that might leave a lasting impression on people. There's a great book that you might want to get started with. It's by Warren Whitlock. That's W-H-I-T-L-O-C-K. You can follow him at Twitter.com/warrenwhitlock.
And actually, if you are on line and you want to go look at his profile, Warren has written a great book called Twitter Revolution and you can see if you're an author listening, you can see that in Warren's profile, he has a picture of his book. So, it's great. You can see his profile to the right. He's listed that he's the publisher of the Twitter Handbook and the more information that you put into your profile, the better because this gives people an opportunity to follow up with you and get more information about you.
So, a little bit more about Twitter, though, before we get into detail. You're limited to 140 characters, so you really have to be concise. It's kind of like Haiku. And about 6 million people are already on Twitter and about three months ago, Twitter rejects a $500 million take over offer from Facebook. It's just a small [beep] 30 person company, raised about $55 million and basically, they've put up this stage where you can kind of express yourself and connect with a community. And all of your messages are sort of known as tweets and you can send them from your computer, but you can also send them from your mobile phone. And usually what people do is they set up their account, which we've done now and we start following people. So the real goal is to try to get well, I shouldn't say real goal' is to get a lot of followers.
There's two trains of thought on that, but you do want to build up a base of followers that relate to whatever it is you're doing or selling or talking about. So, I started out with just friends and family and then I started building that out into colleagues. Again, I was in sort of the toy phase, but then I started seeing how other people were really building it to create these big communities of followers. And so there are ways, too, to build out your followers and there's a couple of tools one place I would point everybody to is Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg.com, wrote a great little article. You could Google it. It's called "Ten ways to increase you Twitter followers."
And Kevin basically says things like retweetings, filling out your bio, linking to other people, using hash tags, following top Twitter users and things like that. And those were all useful tools. And then there's the other line of thought from people like Robert Scovil, if you read through all the comments on that post by Kevin Rose, you'll really get some great ideas and you'll see some of the different ways of using Twitter, but Robert Scovil, he has like 50,000 followers or something. He said a couple of great ways to get followers are to survive a plane crash and tweet it, get arrested and tweet from jail. Have sex with someone famous and tweet that. You know, he's kind of poking fun at it, but the whole point isn't really to get tons and tons of followers, but to really say important things and to get people to follow you because of the content that you give them and not just because you're aggregating, you know, kind of a dead list.
You want to get people who are really engaged in what you have to say. And that's kind of what happened to me, you know, I started at this point, I'm building out a base. The other thing about Twitter is it can get out of control really quickly as you start to build out your base of fans. So you really want to have an application that can assist you in managing all of your Twitter followers. So, I would suggest things like Twhirl.com which is T-W-H-I-R-L dot com. And that basically just allows it sits on top of like Windows or Mac operating systems and lets you do all kinds of makes life a lot easier. There's another tool called Tweetdeck, T-W-E-E-T-D-E-C-K, which is another application that basically let's you manage you're friends as you get more and more followers.
Michelle Tennant: I have a question about that because I don't know we also work closely with Dan Hollings, and he has a Twitter toolbar and he's also got he's at Twitter.com/dhollings. He's one of the internet strategists behind that smash hit movie The Secret, and I'm just wondering if you like how do you know the difference between the bars? Because he's also got like a little Twitter bar and he did 100 Secrets to Twitter, and that kind of thing, so I'm just what would be your recommendation on that, David, on like whose bar do you take?
David Mathison: I'm not sure what you mean by whose bar'.
Michelle Tennant:: He's got like a little bar that you put at the top of your you know, you could put like a tool bar at the top of your computer.
David Mathison: Oh, yeah. Like I recommend Twhirl or Tweetdeck, but there's lots of others. Those are two really popular applications that make life a little bit easier. But there's all kinds of things like -.
Michelle Tennant: What do you use? I'm just curious about what do you use?
David Mathison: I use to use Twhirl, and now I'm experimenting with Tweetdeck, and I like them both. And you know, if you're a Mac user, maybe you just want to use Twitteriffic. It works a lot like Twhirl, but it's really specific for the Mac. Then there's Twitterfox, which is a Fire Fox extension. So there are lots of different things you can try, depending on your operating system and you know, like I think Tweetdeck sits on Adobe Air, whereas Twhirl sits on top of Vista and Window platforms and Mac platforms.
Michelle Tennant: I'm really glad you wrote a book because already like my eyes are glazing over. I'm like "Oh, my god. I can't even take notes. I can't even take notes quick enough to what you're saying. I'm sure everybody else feels the same way. I promise everyone, we're going to open up to questions here in just a minute, but this is all very good stuff and let's keep it simple, because I'm already glazing over, David.
David Mathison: I believe you. Well there's two great ways to really start building out your base and one is go to Twitterholic.com. Twitterholic and other services let you see who the top 1,000 Twitterers are, based on their number of followers. So for example, Barack Obama's got like 300,000 followers. And what you can do is you can kind of see well who are the most popular Twitterers, not only in the nation and in the world, but also in your specific region. Like, if you, Michelle, wanted to know who the top Twitterers are in your region or if I wanted to know who the top Twitterers were in New York, I think right now, New York is like Jimmy Fallon who just took over for Conan O'Brien on the Late Show, so things like that you can break it down and you can start following people from there. And then, what I did was maybe we'll go back to my little story, it was kind of bizarre what really happened. I don't know if you want to open up to questions before we get into how - .
Michelle Tennant: Do you think you can do that now? I can just hear. They're just excited. They've not needed themselves. They're like any minute now, she's gonna say "After questions" they're going like "I got a question." So, can you marry the questions in also with your story, so we can get both done?
David Mathison: Absolutely. Sure.
Michelle Tennant: Okay. Who's got the first question? Now that I've made a big deal don't forget *7 to unmute yourselves. Oh, I put everybody on the spot then.
David Mathison: Should we keep rolling?
Michelle Tennant: Yeah, and then, okay, so if you've got a question, then all you have to do is "I got a question." And then we'll then know that you're gonna be part of the panel, though. I think I did that to David in the past Wasabi Club, he told me. I'm like "You asked a question?" I was like "Now you're part of the panel." But it's just because it's really like we'd be sitting around a bar and we're all just talking about different topics and it's just a way it is in your life, right? You know and answer her face to face.
David Mathison: And you know, there's probably a lot of experts out there, a lot more advanced than I am on Twitter, so -.
Michelle Tennant: Well go ahead with the story -. Oh, we got a peep out there. Or should I say a tweet out there?
J.D. Lassiter: David, this is J.D. Lassiter, here. I don't know if you take suggestions but when I first heard about this crawl I looked at Twitter.com/davidmathison and I didn't see anything. And I added you as first to find that you were actually on Be the Media. And one of my personal gripes is it's hard to find people on Twitter. So I'm wondering why more people don't actually just have a place holder page and then say, I'm actually tweeting over at Be the Media.
David Mathison: Yeah, thanks, J.D. for joining -.
Michelle Tennant: See there you go. That was my question cause I wasn't sure if I could do my name or my various companies and so that's a great suggestion.
David Mathison: It is and you know, like I just did a search on Jill Koenig, who's a good friend and she also has a site called Gold Guru, and I thought her last name has an S at the end and I couldn't find her and then I went to Gold Guru and what she did was exactly what J.D. is saying. She kind of plays smart both places and on the I think it's the Gold Guru page, it says on that page it's just one entry and it just says Yes, you've come to the right place, please follow me a Twitter.com/goldguru and I need to do the same and J.D.'s right.
Like, I am by no means, the expert at Twitter right now. I'm still working on it. As a matter of fact, my background profile, a lot of people say that the profile picture doesn't really describe me or my company or what we do or what we offer and there are a lot of really great profile pics out there with people who and there are companies also, now, outsourcing services where you can get your profile picture done. Again, if you look at Warren Whitlock's page or Jill Koenig, or if you look at Joel Conn, he's got on the left of his profile, he's got his picture. He can tell you how to get in touch with him through his blog. He shows all of the books that he has. He has a book cover. So, yeah, I'm a long way away from being there, J.D., but if you do have any other suggestions, I'm all ears, and of course, I'm Twitter.com/bethemedia and I will, right after this call, go grab David Mathison, as well.
Michelle Tennant: Yeah, we need perfect. Now, the reason why we are doing this call with you David cause this little story about how it all came to pass because I think everybody's interested in you being cause I've heard pros and cons, right, like "Oh, you've gotta tweet, but at the same time, you don't want to be overly promotional. You don't wanna really -." And I could see where, and then I was like "Okay, I'm tweeting, but I'm not really, but I'm slanting it more toward work than I am my personal life." And just like interesting blogs. You know, interesting blogs are really about your life, really what's happening in your life, and that we're all really interested in what we're doing in the background. You know, are you traveling to some place interesting? Are you doing some kind of interesting hobby? So let's take a little grunt into this story and then if other people have suggestions or questions I love that suggestion, thanks so much J.D., you're now part of the panel, by the way. So go ahead and -.
David Mathison: J.D., you absolutely should be part of the panel. J.D. knows better than anyone. J.D. also co-founded, if you get a chance, go to ourmedia.org, which is a fantastic community site where users contribute content and all the content's created common licenses, so, it's all about the community. And I agree with you Michelle, you know originally, when I started I was posting personal things and then I started posting more business oriented stuff and tips and tricks, I think are the kind of things that, you know, your user community wants to know and wants to share and then give you feedback on and maybe even have better ideas.
But I don't think that there's too much value in using Twitter if all you're doing is to promote your own site. It's all about a community and you build your network by getting others to follow you and also contributing to those communities and to the conversations. I should say, it's not just about community, it's really about conversation, as well, and an interactive conversation with people in the community. So I just learned more stuff from J.D. that really, things that I need to do, they're all on the to-do list, but who has time to do all these things?
Michelle Tennant: Well, that big, too. You've gotta actually choose which crayon you want to go out with. So tell us about this story cause we're really -.
David Mathison: Yeah, J.D. might have a comment on that and then we'll move.
J.D. Lassiter: I got another -. Thanks to the shout on our media, you know, I'm still earning all this Twitter stuff myself, so I don't know how many experts there really are out there.
Michelle Tennant: You know, you know and there's gonna be the next big thing, right? Whatever is after Twitter and then we're all going to have to reorient ourselves, too. Okay, well here's another crayon out of the box, right?
J.D. Lassiter: Hear me?
Michelle Tennant: Oh, yeah, we can hear you.
Jacob M: I wasn't sure I was talking to myself. I actually had a comment. This is Jacob. Hi J.D. We're actually connected on Twitter and this is how I actually found about this whole call, which is interesting. But I'm actually doing a webinar specifically for authors and one of the reasons why I got on this call is that I was going to use your examples, sort of on the webinar. And I actually have a e-book that I put together with somebody on Twitter, specifically for authors and different social media channels that they could look at and how they could use Twitter and sites like Red Room and Facebook, specifically for authors, and a lot of the questions I keep getting were "Are there any specific case studies for authors?" So David, if you don't mind, I'd definitely like to include you as a case study on somebody was able to social media to sell books.
David Mathison: Absolutely. I should probably tell the story before you commit to it. Maybe you won't want it.
Michelle Tennant: And Jacob, I want to make sure that this recording gets to you, so I need to make sure that I'm connected with you. So, you're at Twtitter.com/what is it? J-A-C-O-B?
Jacob M: Jacob M on Twitter.
Michelle Tennant: Okay. I'll make sure that everybody has access to this recording. It is available on our DIT member place, on publicityresults.com, but I'll just make sure also that I'm using Twitter for this, so I can up the ante on what I'm doing on Twitter.
Jacob M: I thought you mentioned The Secret because the author that's hosting the webinar, she's Ariel Ford. I don't know if you're familiar with her.
Michelle Tennant: Oh, she's one of my resource partners over here at Wasabi Publicity. Yes, it's a small world after all.
Jacob M: Yeah, exactly. So webinar is with her on March 4th and she has her book coming out, too, so I kind of teamed up with her and I explained how to use social media for authors. So, yeah, small world.
Michelle Tennant: I'll have to give a shout out to Ariel after this. And she's got soul mate, How to Find Your Perfect Soul Mate. And so yeah, she's over at the Ford group and she was on the Today Show talking about that, so she's just a PR master mind.
Jacob M: Yeah, I told her to give a plug for Twitter while she was on all these traditional media sites and she didn't.
Michelle Tennant: Well you know, we all have to pride what we're actually putting food on our table for, too, right? So anyway, without any further adieu, David you know, get this story. We're all like now at the edge of our seat.
David Mathison: Sure, and thank you Jacob for the invite. That's very nice of you. So basically what happened was, what I usually do is when somebody follows me, I think the majority of the people out there, and I may be wrong, but are just aggregating followers and [beep] really following up on who these people are. If they don't know them, you know, a lot of people in the beginning, you follow people you know, and they follow you back, and that's fine. But as you start building a base and you get 2,500 or 15,000 followers, it gets a little bit challenging and there are automated tools, but I was basically following up on people, and I did have an auto responder.
So, on January 20th, I got a direct follower and the name was Ruth Ann Harnisch, and so I followed up on that with a direct message. You know, I didn't send it out. It was an auto responder that basically said "Thanks for your follow. I like you already. And go get a free copy of the intro of my book, from Bethemedia.com. So again, the key thing there is make sure that you give people something. I think having a digital download or a free gift is important for people to go find a little bit more about you and also just to give back. It's that right after that direct message came out, this follower sent me a direct message saying "I like you, too. I just bought four copies of your book."
So, as I said before, when you get a book sale you're happy, but four book sales you kinda go over the moon. So, I did a little bit and this is where I go back to, again, treat every lead, treat every person with respect and find out who they are. Do the hard work, because you do the same thing when you go to a conference, when you go to meet someone at a networking event. You find out more about them, you'll start chatting with them. And don't just treat it as aggregating leads because it could really, really build you community this way. So, sure enough, I went to her website and I found out that she was the founder of the Harnisch Foundation, which is a catalyst for sustainable social [skip] work for both coaching and -.
Michelle Tennant: Hold on, David. I hear some feedback. I'm gonna address that. Everybody hit *6 to mute yourselves. That's minimize the feedback we're hearing from David's story. Go ahead David.
David Mathison: So the Harnisch Foundation is a philanthropic organization that funds sustainable journalism and coaching initiatives. They have a website, a nonprofit site called, I'm pretty sure, if you look at the Harnisch Foundation, which is the VHF.org, you'll find all about them, but they fund representative journalism. And there's a thing called the coaching commons, which is at coachingcommons.org, which was launched last year and they're basically building a nonpartisan tent where coaches can build the future together. And then when I found a little bit more about them, they have the foundation of coaching, again, which is a nonprofit, noncommercial independent resource for coaching. And then I also found out that they fund a thing called Thrillionaires, which is one of their projects that teach people how anyone can be a thrillionaire from just giving things away from writing a song to designing a website.
Michelle Tennant: Are you saying "Thrillionaire" or "Zillionaire"?
David Mathison: Thrillionaire, T-H.
Michelle Tennant: Like a thrill. That's neat, okay.
David Mathison: The thrill of giving, right. And so then I went to her Facebook and I looked her up on Facebook and I found that after I befriended her, she was basically going to Baruch College in New York City that week because they were having she had just given some money to Baruch to start up their journalism program. And I found out, obviously, from the beginning in my bio, you heard that I used to be at Reuters, cared very much about journalism and with thinking started a community funded journalism initiative here in my local Long Island area. And she invited me to drop everything that was Thursday night, I guess and come to this meeting on Friday, with a lot of people that I'd already known, actually.
So at that meeting, we chatted a little bit more and she liked what she heard and she basically, we did a handshake deal on 5,000 more books. And then within 20 days of our initial meeting through Twitter, she had wire transferred money into my bank account for another 5,000 book order. So, in total, it was 20 days from the minute she followed me on Twitter, somebody who I didn't know at all, to basically ordering 5,004 books. But not only that, the wonderful about this relationship is, and the wonderful thing about following up on leads that you get, wherever they come from, is that you never know where it will lead. Right now, our goal is to actually give these books away to needy journalism students and to folks that really could use the power of Be the Media, teach them how to blog and create a website and create, you know, use videos on the internet, but give them to people who may not be able to afford the book.
So the wonderful thing is that we've already identified a number of different journalism schools and enough different needy folks out there that might be able to get this book into the right hands of those people that may not be able to afford it. So, we look at this as not just the beginning of our relationship, but we're looking at potentially doing a lot more things down the road with the Harnisch Foundation, beyond just selling four books. So, it's a much bigger story even than just a 5,004 book deal. But to most authors, for those on the call who aren't authors, a successful book is usually a book that sells 10,000 books over it's print you know the life of the book. And we just basically got half way there with one phone call.
And there are two wonderful things about that is, one is it's one person. You're not like an itinerant peddler selling trinkets door to door. To get 5,000 books, you need 5,000 people. We got one bulk sale and we only have to ship it to one location. The other wonderful thing is it came right before our first print run, so we were about to go to the printer and to print books, the bigger the volume, the less the per book run rate, so we immediately cut our per book print run rate more than half by getting that 5,000 book order. And a lot of folks also look at that first initial print run, you know, publishers and foreign sales representatives look at your first print run as an indicator of how well the book is doing. So, again, that's a real shot in the arm to be going to the printer and coming out with more than 6,000 or 7,000 books for our first print run.
So, it was a really, really valuable relationship and it all comes from, again, not just aggregating followers and getting as many friends as you can on Facebook, or getting as many followers as you can in Twitter, but really understanding who those people are and doing the legwork to nurture that relationship as far as much as you can.
Michelle Tennant: Well and I think, you know, what it comes to mind for me is I've always said there's an old adage in business, is, it's who you know. Oh, you'll be successful and dozens of things. Well I always it's not just who you know, it's also who knows about you. And when somebody actually follows you, then you have an opportunity to get to know them and just kind of seeing and check it out. Okay, is this a viable contact for me? And then you just never know. Now that person knows about you and like just how this happened for you, that's just -.
You know, one of things that I think that social networking allows all of us, is the opportunity to really nurture those relationships, cause you know, they come out of the woodwork don't they? Like all of a sudden, you're like hey, this person wants to get to know you. This person wants to get to know you and whether you're an introvert or an extrovert naturally, there's something there for you. You know?
David Mathison: And let's say there's so many things that could've gone wrong, like let's say I didn't follow let's say I didn't go on Twitter. This relationship may never have happened. Let's say I didn't have an auto responder that said "Hey, please go to my website." Well, Ruth Ann Harnisch, she's my angel. You know, she came at the right time. It's almost like she was listening cause we really were about to print and this was just such a Godsend for us to get this relationship. But if I didn't have an auto follow that said "Hey, go to my website and take a look at it more", she would've just followed me on Twitter and never had a never had a place to go.
And then. if I didn't follow up on her four book sale, by trying to find out more about her, I never would've been invited to Baruch and I never would've been able to explain what we were doing with Be the Media in a way that was intimate and that let her understand how serious we are about sustainable journalism. And that built that relationship, literally that day of the Baruch conference. That night, the next night at Saturday at 10:00 p.m. at night, we had a phone call and we had a deal done, that night. So there were so many things that you really, you know, that could've had that lead just fall through the cracks, if we didn't follow through.
And then, literally the next day, she left for the TED conference in Palm Springs, which is a huge conference and she was talking up our relationship with a lot of the participants at TED. So, now all of a sudden, my book is sort of top of mind on people at that sort of leading edge of sustainable journalism and community journalism initiatives throughout the country, and that kind of press you just can't buy. You know, this kind of relationship is priceless.
Michelle Tennant: No, and what you've really taken care to do is actually make people feel human in their interaction with you. You know, they're not just a number. They're not just another follower. You're investigating a little bit about who they are and you know, I can see that you can be efficient in your time with that, too, just like when we talk to the media, cause you've been on both sides of it David, but one of the golden rules for publicist is always, you read the person's magazine or you look at their blog or you watch their TV show.
It's just respect so that when you can talk to them, you have a working knowledge of what their beat is, who they are as a journalist, what they care about, and if you really are interested in building a relationship with them, you would do them that common courtesy and that's what I think that needs to be extended to these social networking sites, as you've demonstrated here. Because you're not quite sure who these people are and when you reach out and actually don't treat them as a number but as a person and as a relationship, then who knows what's possible next? How do you prioritize yourself now though, now that -?
David Mathison: Yeah, that's the challenge. There are tools, like I go back and forth on the auto responder issue, because my auto responder was great, but it also was kind of impersonal and for those out there that are looking into auto responders, you know, it's just like Aweber or 1shoppingcart auto responders in email, you can have an auto responder in Twitter at things like tweetlater.com or socialtoo.com, J.D. and others probably have other [beep]. And I've used it pretty effectively, but I also found that it distanced me, that one after Ruth Ann came in, it gave me that one level of distance and as you said, Michelle, when you don't pitch a business week author or a journalist who covers Wall Street, you don't pitch him your gardening book, you know?
If you're not doing your homework, you're gonna get a bad rep with journalists pretty quickly, if you're just spamming folks. So I found that when I took the auto responder off, it took a lot more work on my part because I had to follow up with every individual follower, which can get really challenging if you've got 10 or 20,000 followers. So I don't really know how to deal with that yet. I'm open to ideas and suggestions, but I've used auto responders off and on. Right now, I'm responding directly and I also have an intern, who I believe is on the call, Andre, thank you very much for all your help. He helps me with a lot of stuff I'm doing on Twitter.
Michelle Tennant: Well lets take that to the whole club members who are actually joining us today, so *7 to unmute yourselves, and this is a challenge that we all have today. One of the reasons why we actually created pitchrate.com because the media would use other services that connect them with experts and authors and so forth and then, if you ever used that and made a request, all of a sudden because I was doing that when we were doing Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day', it's coming around again, and I got like 100, 200 responses to my request for a family and a business who was actually doing Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day' and I was overwhelmed that day.
So, that's what people like top tier journalists deal with on a daily basis. I think my Good Morning America producer told me she got 1,500 emails in a 3 hour span. So how are people prioritizing out there? How are you actually getting through the muck of all your social networking things and your pings and you're emails and how are you doing it? Anybody got suggestions?
J.D. Lassiter: This is J.D. I'll just throw in something really quick. Yesterday I got the first complaint I've even gotten about my auto responder. I do use socialtoo.com, that's T-O-O dot com and I explained to her that "Look, I get like 100 followers a day. I've got two websites I'm trying to get up. I've got a full time job, other stuff going on and to me, it's more personal to have a sort of personal sounding auto respond than to not respond at all. So I think it depends on how you do it. If it's like a pitch for something to sell or something, I admit that's kind of a turn off. If you have the time, then yeah sure, go in one at a time and have a conversation with all your new followers, but at a certain point it doesn't really scale.
David Mathison: And J.D. how do you -.
Michelle Tennant: We got a question for you, J.D.
David Mathison: Yeah, and there comes a time, too, like when you do hit a follower, like I notice, you know, I try to give respect even to those people who aren't tweeting, you know, maybe have just gotten started. God knows there are relatively real famous people are not famous people out there who you probably want to follow, but you don't see any tweets yet, or you don't see any other followers or it looks like a spam alert, it's like you think you're following someone like Joel Conn and it's actually a spammer using Joel L. Conn, you know? Like some of those where since I stopped having the auto responder, I was able to identify pretty quickly what are kind of spam bots or people that are just hacking through and it allows me to at least get rid of those followers that I think are really just in it to promote something, you know what I mean? But it is a pain in the neck because you gotta go through every -.
J.D. Lassiter: There are two kinds of auto responders, too, right? There's a way that you just have a response, which is like a message that goes to them, and then there's a secondary option of actually automatically following people who follow you. So that's two different things.
David Mathison: Right.
Lynne Melville: I've got a question.
Michelle Tennant: Sure, what's your first name?
Lynne Melville: I'm Lynne and had read your message at Reuters conference in San Francisco and I listen to you with my cell. God bless these telephones. You mentioned having an intern and I really need one, but how do you find one? How do I go about doing that?
Someone help me.
J.D. Lassiter: Facebook.
Lynne Melville: With my Facebook and my Twitter and all those things like to a certain point and I -.
Michelle Tennant: I think you could use Craig's List.
David Mathison: Yeah, Craig's List and you know another great resource is like I'm lucky in well both in the San Francisco area, pretty lucky the Bay Area has got a lot of universities and right now, there's a lot of people, there are a lot of budding journalism students who are really bright and who know how to write and there are great business school students, so I look at Hathsha and Ithaca and Stony Brook and Columbia and St. John's and CW Post. They are right in my area.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, you've got a lot of great universities there and they are also, sadly, a lot of people getting laid off right now, experienced journalists, experienced writers, people in the media industry that are looking for maybe part time work or just to work for free just to keep their toll in the game and even with people like that I'll offer to give them and email address and a recommendation. At least they have an email address and a phone number where if they're looking for work at least they can tell people that they're doing honest work, you know, blogging here or helping build our list or just responding to Twitter posts.
Michelle Tennant: You know, I will recommend, Lynne, you know, I've been doing PR for 20 years. My first job was in Chicago when I was at DePaul and I went every little university is gonna have the work/study programs and I went to my you know, the motivated college students are gonna be going to that center, wherever that is in the university, to look for opportunities and you can actually phone that office that you have an internship opportunity and then they'll actually connect you, they'll put it in a big binder well, probably now it's more electronic than 20 years ago was, but I remember I found a person who was looking for an inter to do PR, and that's where I first learned PR years ago.
Lynne Melville: Oh, okay. That's what I'm -.
Michelle Tennant: Cause really, what David is saying about reaching out to, you know, you can reach out to a local community by using something like Craig's List, cause they'll have the localized slant to this. There's networking people, but also don't forget to just use the old pen and paper method of getting to your university and picking up the phone and saying "I've got this opportunity" and even getting on the phone with the Dean of that particular, you know, the English Department or the people who are actually in charge of the Journalism Degrees.
David Mathison: And who knows? Maybe there are people on this call who want to help you, so if you want to shout out your contact, if you want to do that over the call.
Michelle Tennant: Yeah, how do we reach you, Lynne?
Lynne Melville: Yeah, I'm at my name is Lynne Melville M-E-L-V-I-L-L-E at Comcast.net, that'd be my email. My question is, how do I know who's capable? What questions do I ask?
Michelle Tennant: Well that to me, seems like a really good Wasabi Club topic for maybe even next month. I think I might take that on, Lynne. We're gonna have a Wasabi Club next month on internships because I think that it is one of the ways that I I think back to all the internships that I did when I was in college and it did give me the step up and today, people are really hurting for work. So then, how do you set yourself apart from the competition? My recommendation to you would be to ask for where they see themselves in five years and then actually to see if what they're working toward is actually a fit for what you're working towards.
Lynne Melville: Well I need to know what they know about Twitter, what they know about Facebook, what they know about blogs.
Michelle Tennant: Well it depends on if that's the type of work, if you know what you're gonna be doing some type of media work or some type of author a book, that kind of stuff that we're talking about with marketing and so forth, I think that that is imperative today and that's one of the things that's really great about the millennials that are coming right out of college and high school today. You know, they've got a foot up because they've just been immersed in this culture of social networking from day one.
I was talking to a friend last night who's dating somebody new and you know, happens to be a 20 year gap between the relationship, okay? And the person, they had like a little fight and then the young person, the millennial said to the Gen X-er, "You know what? If you don't get along with my friends then we can't date, because dating me is dating my whole network of friends" and that couldn't be farther from the truth with millennials. You know, when you're hiring a millennial today, you are hiring them and their entire network cause they've actually been raised in a community of social networking.
Lynne Melville: Right, exactly, exactly, yeah, and that's it. Well there a Laura Smith is big on social marketing and she has actually she wrote a new book on actually having an intern just being your personal -. Sending books and doing all of that stuff that makes it look personal, but yet, have it done. You know, I'm a writer. I'm a speaker. I'm a coach. I don't have time to do all that. I need someone to handle that for me. So, if you do the teleseminar on internships and how to manage it, my concern is I have friends who are plotting this out but they're going on the internet and they're paying somebody in India to do it, and I want the money to stay in this country. You know, you can actually get it online. I don't want to do that. I want our people to get it, but I thought that would an excellent conference next month.
Michelle Tennant: So, yeah, I think it is also the terminology "intern", most of the people on the call they're interested in Twitter. I think the other thing that we can talk about with regard to Twitter, and maybe you want to look at the partners that you have, Lynne, so it's not just about your support staff, but also your affiliate partners. Like earlier, we were talking about partners that we have. I think it was Jacob who said that he's gonna have Ariel Ford on and so forth. Well, Ariel Ford is a publicist who is in charge, we did Depok Chopra and publicized Chicken Soup for the Soul. She's one of our affiliate partners. So, maybe to get to the same goal it's not also just having an intern back at the office, but it's also how are you expanding your own network so that you're actually building those relationships in a new and different way, sort of like what David was talking about, to get to the same goal? Maybe you need an intern. Maybe you need an affiliate partne r.
Lynne Melville: Yeah, I'm familiar with Ariel Ford and [skip] and all the big people on there and I've taken the Telephone Large on their workshop. I'm pretty good at promotions. But this promotion to Twitter and Facebook is really my issue at this point in time, so I'm really glad you have this workshop. Thank you.
Michelle Tennant: Oh, you're welcome Lynne, and I want to just invite everybody, you know, if you couldn't cause Lynne she's on a cell phone. She's going in and out. Lynne, when you get back to your office, go ahead and email me so that if anybody needs to reach you, then I can actually connect the two of you. My email address is pretty easy to remember, it's Michelle, two L's, I'm a two L-er, at publicity results dot com. email@example.com And there's an S at the end of results, so that I can actually connect people with you.
Lynne Melville: Well you know the other way is they can just mail me, Lynne Melville, and I'm all over Google with my book and my website. I got two blogs. There's lots of contacts there, too, so they can -.
Michelle Tennant: Okay, great. Alright.
Lynne Melville: Thanks.
Michelle Tennant: Oh, you're welcome. And before we complete our call, are there any other burning questions?
Male: Hello, hello.
Michelle Tennant: And I'm gonna talk about how to get to David. We already know about Twitter, but are there any burning questions before we complete the call?
Tonya Fitzpatrick: Yeah, I have a couple. This is Tonya Fitzpatrick with the traveling on radio show. And hi. I think, Michelle, we're Facebook friends, too, which is -.
Michelle Tennant: I know you sound familiar yeah.
Tonya Fitzpatrick: Yeah, and I guess I've been following you on Twitter. I just looked you up and lo and behold. And David, I just started following you. I am new to all of this technology. I am a lawyer turned travel journalist. I'm not as savvy with technology and so Twitter has actually been, it's been a bit of thorn in my side and I'm still trying to learn how to work it out and I thank you, David, for sharing socialtoo.com with regards to implementing an auto responder. But one of my questions is kind of a logistical one.