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Thought Leadership PR with Claire Mason

George Grombacher August 11, 2023

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Thought Leadership PR with Claire Mason

LifeBlood: We talked about thought leadership pr, why getting your message out is an act of service, brand building versus lead generation, why you only need three messages, and how to get started, with Claire Mason, the Queen of thought leadership publicity.      

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You can learn more about Claire at, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Claire Mason

Claire Mason

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Well, blood for this George G. And the time is right welcome today’s guest strong, powerful Claire Mason, Claire, are you ready to do this?

Claire Mason 0:08
Thank you so much. Yes, I am.

george grombacher 0:10
All right, let’s go clean. Claire is the queen of thought leadership publicity. She’s helping people build b2b fame with Tier One Media. She’s also a public speaker, Claire, excited to have you on. Tell us a bit about your personal life smart about your work, why you do what you do.

Speaker 2 0:28
Thank you, George. I’m very excited to be here. So I’ll actually start with the last question, why do I do what I do. I am a thought leadership publicist, and I do what I do. Because I love stories. And I really do believe stories make the world go round. And far from the idea of us creating, you know, creating a footprint for ourselves and school leaders being all about me, me, me, I actually really have a strong defend a lot of evidence to back it up that establishing yourself as a thought leader is actually an act of service to people who really need your help and your services and the products you create. They can only find you if you really make yourself visible. And you do that by building a personal brand, becoming a thought leader. In terms of the work I do. It’s finding people’s stories and translating them into ways that the media wants to cover. And then in terms of my personal life, I love dancing. I am having a tango moment, currently. So I’m hitting the tango clubs in the evenings. And then I have great love of my life is Duke the great Dean. So that’s, that’s what I do in my personal time dance and walk. Do you

george grombacher 1:37
love it? Do you see parallels between dancing and the work that you do?

Speaker 2 1:44
Yes, that’s actually a great question. Yes, I do. The parallels that I would think off the top of my head, is there are many different ways to get to a destination you don’t it’s not always a straight line, you might have to do it. And you know, two steps forward, two steps back. And then I suppose the other elements really creativity, you know, I work in B space, which is business to business, but stories and approaching angles and themes and commenting on the big stories that are going on in the media already. Those doors get opened by being creative and innovative and coming at angles with with new ways of looking at things. So yeah, a lot of parallel love.

george grombacher 2:30
Imagine you have to be a good dance partner with with with with the different media outlets. And you know,

Claire Mason 2:36
well, that’s true as well. And that’s really relationship building comes in. And, you know, we’ve got a lot of commentary at the moment. And I think rightfully so around AI and the exponential leaps that it took this year, but you still can’t replace relationships. So that’s, that’s, that’s key to you. I always say, you know, the media is far from perfect, but it does still represent more of a meritocracy than many other visibility or marketing channels. You know, you can be a solopreneur of one. And on the basis of a good story you could be landing those tier one titles like Fast Company, Business Insider Forbes, you know, the the big media as much as a fortune 500 with huge resources at their disposal can do. But on the other hand, if you if you build a relationship with an editor, or journalists and you can do that very easily on social media, follow them come in, like share their articles, though, that also goes a long way to helping you get the media coverage you wish for your own brand, a

george grombacher 3:41
lot of good stuff there. So that the media is still more meritocracy. Still more of a meritocracy than then then maybe people realize the importance of relationships. And that certainly does make sense to me. When when you say the media in is that the tier one those are the traditional brands.

Speaker 2 4:04
Yeah, so I work with I work with podcasts, and I work with what I would call online and print. I mean, you know, they are still clients of mine who feature in print publications. But of course, every print publications got an online property as well. And then you’ve got publications and journals that exist exclusively online anyway. So let’s call it written content, written media. And then I’ve worked with a few streaming platforms and you know, TV shows and all this. So when I talk media when I’m talking to one I am meaning the media brands that we all know so the ones I’ve just called out Forbes, Business Insider Fast Company, New York Times, you know, financial times whatever the case might be. But then I also work a lot with niche or what we might call trade publications. And interestingly enough, those those publications are often the publications we your audiences searching. So I’m working with a client at the moment, who is a coach and we’re really targeting HR publications. And you know, they might they not they might they definitely have smaller readerships, then the big tier ones, but that’s where you’re very warmed up audiences sitting. So it’s a combination of trade or niche media and then tier one media. And a good publicity strategy will always include both because because your trade media is really where you can be doing more of your lead generation. And your tier one media is where you’ll be doing more of your brand building and credibility building, if you say, you know, you’ve just been featured in a in a column. In Fast Company, people really have an idea of how to position you in their own minds. As always say, compared to saying, I’ve just been featured in my own LinkedIn feed, you know, you immediately get an idea. I’m a prolific LinkedIn publisher, and it’s a platform I love, but you can immediately get a different sense of oh, this person has something to say that a third party publisher wants to hear not just something they’ve rustled up and published on their own social media profiles.

george grombacher 6:09
Yeah, social proof is, is a really, really powerful thing. And that that makes sense how you would want to have a presence and have publicity and trade publications for direct lead generation, and that to build your brand, the more broad exposure, that that that that makes a lot of sense. And I also liked the idea that it’s, it’s a shame, or it’s bad if I have this wonderful work that I’m trying to do as as an entrepreneur, but I’m doing it quietly.

Speaker 2 6:47
Yes. You know, I meet people all the time, and they have brilliant ideas, brilliant ways of coming up things, frameworks that have that could really help people and have this information sitting in their prefrontal cortex. And it’s not in the public domain. And that means it’s not helpful to anyone else. And ultimately, it’s not even saving you as the originator of this intellectual property, if I give it that title, because people really need to know how you can help them for them to approach you. So the more public you make yourself or the movie, you sign a huge China visibility spotlight on yourself. And I help people do that through LinkedIn and, and publicity. Firstly, you make their lives so much easier, because they now they know there’s somebody who can help them and they know how to find that person. And then of course, on the other hand, you’re you’re building a more sustainable and robust consultancy or business for yourself. So rather than thought leadership being about me, me, me, it really is a win win. exchange of energy for both parties, the person on the receiving end of the services and the person giving the services.

george grombacher 7:58
I imagine that there’s there is challenging opportunity, from your perspective in helping these folks, these entrepreneurs, be comfortable with putting themselves out there, and obviously then getting their message into the media.

Speaker 2 8:18
Yeah, I mean, we, I don’t like giving impostor syndrome more time than it gets already. But of course, that’s something that we will confront, because the more you make yourself visible, you know, certain fears, in your own mind, your own psyche, will will come to the surface, but of course, you can deal with those and move on. I think that’s why a big part of my messaging around how I thought leadership is actually an act of service that really learns with people because it takes the focus off of themselves. And it helps them to realize just how, how much their message is needed in this world. And then the second I’d come across a lot is that people really have a belief that the media is a sort of closed club, that you know, you need to have a real in with someone and you know, know somebody who knows somebody to reach an editor or you know, reach somebody who has the power to perhaps publish your story. But there are, you know, there’s tried and tested proven ways to approach the media and I mean, none of this needs to stay a secret from the publicity a publicist point of view, either, you know, really a large part of my day is spent following editors, media professionals that I wanted to speak with on social media and making sure that I’m letting them know I’m reading the articles. I think this was what was great about it, you know, I like it and share it with whatever the case might be. And anybody can do that. You know, you’re you really that’s one of the ways to I know social media doesn’t always enjoy the healthiest of reputations, and a lot of that is justifiably earned. But it’s also again, something has made publicity in the media a lot more democratic in terms of who can actually access these people. And then the third thing I’ll say is, as much as us as individuals want the media to need the media to publish our stories, the media, whether you’re talking to a journalist, reporter, editor, whatever the case may be producer, they need our story. So again, neither side is it’s not an unbalanced transaction, in terms of one side has all the power and the other side is powerless. We’ve both got something to really help the other side to help each other.

george grombacher 10:33
That makes a lot of sense. How do you how do you define what success is?

Speaker 2 10:42
In my, well, when I work with clients, I say to KPIs, we said KPIs together at the start of the, of the engagement, or the start of us working together. That’s a very, that’s a very kind of tangible way of following up in terms of you know, are we is this campaign successful or not? And then I mean, to follow your full knowledge of you the questions you asked me at the very startup Foundation, my professional life. So KPIs from a professional point of view. And then, in terms of how I live my life, what success is, for me is how much in alignment are my actions with my values? And I include that in the work I do, from a publicity point of view, I’ll really stand over every story that I, let’s say, Shepherd into a media spotlight.

george grombacher 11:36
I’m confident that that every engagement is going to be different. But what are their typical elements that you say, Okay, we’re going to be focused on brand building, and lead gen. What is, what is the time horizon? Sort of the frequency of of posting or publishing? I know, that’s a big question.

Speaker 2 12:02
And she’s willing to shed some light on that. So firstly, I have listed here is always a medium term to long term game. So I would never and I have very upfront conversations with potential clients, when we’re in that initial discussion phase. If you need to put beads into your pipeline straight away, then you probably are best to save taking your money and investing in some kind of paid advertising, whether that’s on social or another platform, I would not advise PR or any kind of organic content from their point of view. But if you are willing to invest from a medium to longer term point of view, then you know, you can’t, you can’t do much better than investing in thought leadership. And that includes, you know, publicity, how you’re how you’re showing up on media, webinars, content, all this kind of stuff. So and then, of course, the other element too, is that once an article appears, let’s say again, just us personally, that that article stays up for a long time. So people could be searching and finding you in 1218 months time, whereas Of course, the moment you switch off advertising budget, that pipeline comes to an end. So that’s one element of it. The other piece is around how you use the publicity that you get, I’m always saying, and I’ve seen this proven time and time again, it’s always a wonderful win. When you do learn one of the I call them the big E’s, you know, the tier ones, it’s a wonderful moment for me to go to clients and say, you know, Fast Company wants to cover your story, it’s, it’s a great win. For me, as a publicist, it’s a really great win for the client. But again, in a week’s time, you need to be making more use of that content, because something else is going to appear on the homepage. So this is where I talk about content, flywheels, and how you take their content, and you might roll it out into a webinar, or perhaps you’ve taken an article and turned it into 15, LinkedIn posts, maybe you’ve made a carousel, you’ve included the article link in your email signature, you’ve included a mention of it in your newsletter, whatever the case might be. So each engagement is different, that there are some elements that really are the markers of a successful campaign, no matter whether you’re doing your publicity, yourself, whether you’re working with a publicist, or no matter how you’re trying to get your your name in front of your audience, you need to be amplifying all the time.

george grombacher 14:29
It makes it makes a lot of sense. Right. And yeah, certainly almost take for granted that I got featured in Fast Company, I’ve made it well. That’s awesome that you did that. But we’d be Squandering a massive opportunity if you didn’t have that. Have that have that flywheel or just the plan for how you’re going to maximize that for the long term because to your point, it is going to, at some point kind of go away, so So imagine that that’s that that’s a big mistake that people make. What are some of the other mistakes that that you see pretty commonly when it comes to PR?

Speaker 2 15:12
Well, again, the point I made earlier thinking that the media is closed off to them, it’s not. And it’s a lot easier to access than you might think. Another mistake might be people, this is a big mistake, and people don’t realize how far an image can carry them. So over the years, a lot of publications have had to do away with picture editors or picture discs, if you take whatever it takes, and I don’t think it necessarily has to be a big financial outlay. But if you do invest in some professional photography, really at the start of your publicity journey, that can go a long way to opening media doors for you, just in the interest of being entirely transparent, and editors not going to accept a really poorly thought out story, or a story that doesn’t align with the audience at all, just because you’ve got a great photo. But if you have a good story and a good photo, you’ll absolutely push that door open very, very quickly. So photographs go a long way to getting you into the media. And then the final mistake that I see people make is that they’re not clear on the messages that they want to get into the media. And I always say you only need three, excuse me, I’m going to sneeze, you only need three, you only need Oh, I’m sorry. You only need three messages. And then you can say the same three things in 150 different ways. But it’s just about identifying your three main messages. And if one of those can be a statistic, you can put some numbers to something, then again, that’ll open media doors for you. So, you know, you might be for example, a client I’m working with is a coach who really helps very high, you know, high powered and highly stressed executives sleep data. And we’ve got a lot of statistics that we can share around around that. So you know, the moment you can put numbers to something, it really helps because there’s certain things much easier in an editor’s mind. So three main messages, one of which is a number and professional photographs, and you are further than probably 90% of your, your peers in terms of being able to open media doors for yourself. Nice,

george grombacher 17:28
I appreciate that. And I love I love a good framework. So the idea of of having an of having three messages. So we don’t we can go on any topic if I’m a mechanic, but we were talking about sleep studies or just getting better sleep. So what are some of those? What what are some examples of messages that that I would use if I’m a sleep coach?

Speaker 2 17:56
Okay, so this is another tip actually, is to get as specific as possible. So instead of if you were pitching a story to an editor, instead of something like you know why eight hours of sleep a night is unnecessary, which is so broad, I mean, we are you going to start something around that line of A, how eight hours of sleep at night, reduces your crow’s feet, wrinkles around your eyes or something like that, you know, I’m the I was on a webinar about a year and a half ago with the Lifestyle Editor of a refinery 29. And she was saying that she’s looking for articles now not about you know, three, yoga moves to combat. tiredness, for example. She’s interested in three ways downward dog combat tiredness, you know. So getting more and more specific, the more niche you go, the more you’ll open those those media doors for yourself. So that was just an example on the sleep coach, and then, you know, from the horse’s mouth as well from a media specialist.

george grombacher 19:00
Yeah, I appreciate that. So, being specific overbroad, and when you say that it makes perfect sense, but it’s just I don’t know if that’s necessarily intuitive. So very helpful. I love it. And it’s just, it’s difficult when we’re inside the jar to know what’s on the label. And I think that that’s probably a lot of the value that that you’re bringing to the people you’re working with. You kind of pull that out. So well. Claire, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you?

Speaker 2 19:34
Thank you, Georgia. I really appreciate it being on your show. Oh, two ways through my LinkedIn profile and through my website. My website address is Craig That’s that’s dot co. And then my I can be found on LinkedIn and I love connecting with people and my DMs are always open. And you can find me if you search clear Mason thought leadership in the search bar. On LinkedIn, I’m the claymation that comes up because there are 1000s of us. But I’m the only claim based on thought leadership when there comes up.

george grombacher 20:09
Got it. I love it. Well, if you enjoyed as much as I did, she’ll clear your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas. And that person that you think is so brilliant, but they’re keeping themselves a secret and help help them get their message out as an act of service as Claire likes to say. Go to Claire Mason dot c o c l a i r e m a s o And check out everything that Claire is working on finding out there’s opportunities for you to collaborate and then find Claire on LinkedIn. Claire Mason, thought leadership and cut through all these other Claire Mason’s get right to the correct person. NexGen cliff. Thank you, George Keepo and until next time, remember to do your part by doing your best

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