Drink Like a Lady Podcast

6 Tips for Becoming Known for Your Ideas with Dorie Clark

January 25, 2022 Joya Dass, Dorie Clark Season 1 Episode 2
Drink Like a Lady Podcast
6 Tips for Becoming Known for Your Ideas with Dorie Clark
Show Notes Transcript

You have great ideas. You write about it. But how do you ensure the right people are reading it? This talk shares six tips In this workshop, you will learn Writing about the people you’d like to connect with (or the companies you’d like to work for). Proactively sharing articles you create. Using the “ladder strategy” for your content.

Joya:

Hi, Dorie, how are you?

Dorie:

Hi, Joya. So nice to see you.

Joya:

Nice to see you as well. Um, we are waiting patiently for you today, and so, so, so excited because you have so many great things to say, and I've created a slide for that, but first I want to introduce you. And for those of you that don't know Dorie, she has worked with a very coveted list of clients that include Google, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Yale University, the IMF and the World Bank. She writes regularly for the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company and Business Insider. And right now I'm reading her newest book, which is called, The Long Game: How to be a Long-Term Thinker In a Short-Term World. And that's actually where I'm going to start today, Dorie, because first of all, I really enjoy the book because I feel like you're speaking directly to me. But I think my biggest takeaway has been that you've got to really create some psychic space in order for the big things to happen, the big strategic things to happen. So before we launch into your six tips today about being known for your ideas, I wondered if you could talk shortly about that.

Dorie:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you so much, Joya, for having me and for your kind introduction. It's so nice to see everybody here live. Thank you so much. Sorry to keep you waiting. I was putting, I was putting away groceries and talking to my mom on the phone and I'm like, I have to go right now. So made it happen. But, uh, but yes, I, you know, ultimately. What I have come to realize about, um, so much of what we do. I'm going to give you one statistic that has stayed with me. I was asked to give a talk. I think three years ago at a conference in Vienna about strategy. And so I started sort of kicking around this idea about like, okay, well, you know, what, what is most salient? What's most interesting about strategy and, you know, an early thing, like kind of the first thing that came to me, it was like, wait a minute, everybody talks about how important strategy is. And yet, so few of us actually do it. So few of us actually do long-term thinking. And so I started digging into it and I came across a pair of statistics that I thought was just ridiculous and profound, which is, there was one study of, it was 10,000 executives, right? 97% said that the most important thing they could be doing for, for advancing their jobs, advancing the company is strategic thinking. And then there was a separate study, and in that study, 96% said they didn't have time to do strategic thinking and long-term thinking, and it was just so ridiculous and it kind of encapsulates the human condition and I thought, all right, let's explore that. Let's see what's what's going wrong there. So you're exactly right. I think for, for, you know, this is, uh, not just a handful of people who can't cut it. This is kind of all of us that on one hand we know what we should be doing, on the other. We are just so pushed, so jam packed. And so the charge for all of us, this is really, this is the first, literally the first third of the new book, The Long Game, is about how do we forcibly defend our boundaries and carve out the space for, for thinking for white space. This is not about a lot of time because I know that that's unrealistic. It's not like we need a lot of time, but what we do need is just a little bit more mental space so that we can make better choices. We don't even know how compromised our choices are,because we don't have the perspective to evaluate them. We need to take that back and reclaim it so that we can actually do even just in small, in small pieces, the long-term thinking we need, because these are instances where small changes can actually have profound, downstream consequences.

Joya:

I pulled up one story that I wanted to share and I'll let you finish it. But you talk about an intervention that you had with a friend of yours, who wasn't growing her business the way she wanted to. And after you asked her a series of questions, you realized that she kept signing up for new courses and signing up for new certifications. And she spent like a ton of money in that thinking that was going to magically change your business, but it didn't. So I'd love for you to speak to that before we go into the tips.

Dorie:

Yes, this was, this was a big one. Um, so there's a concept that I talk about in the long game called thinking in waves. Yeah. You know, the, the basic idea is you, you cannot get away with just doing the same thing over and over again, if you want to be a successful professional, especially if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, but this applies to everybody, you need to actually learn to do different things. And so a big point where I feel like. A lot of us experience failure is the transition from what I call the learning phase to the creating phase. It's, you know, on one hand, it's great to be a perennial student and you know, I'm never going to tell people, you know, don't be a lifelong learner and that's important, but some people, I think you probably know people like this. Some people use learning as a form of procrastination. They use learning as a way of convincing themselves they're doing the work. And I mean, yes, it's better than cat videos. I grant you that, but it is not necessarily doing the work that will get you results. So I think that's, that's a distinction that at a certain point we've got to, we've got to just say, alright, well, you know, screw it. It's time for me to share my opinion. Now I've taken in all this stuff. Now it's time to curate it. Now it's time to share my own opinion so that people know what my ideas are. We're a society that really rewards being busy. We're also a society that has bright, shiny object syndrome. Oh, I should do this. Oh, I should do that. I should do this. Oh, wait, that sounds good. Before we go into your tips again, could you speak to how you can, how you just decide that the bright shiny syndrome needs to be put on pause for a bit. Yeah. So in, in, uh, The Long Game, I have it here, so I'll just wave it around in The Long Game. Uh, I, another framework that I talked about, which I picked up from a friend of mine named Jared Kleiner, this is actually one of the best ways of, um, of learning is like, is, is writing books because I interviewed Jared for this book, my previous one, Entrepreneurial You. And he told me about this concept and I didn't really focus on it that much. Cause. The point of that book, but it stayed with me and I, when it came time for me to write the new book, I was like, oh yeah, this is something I want to go deeper into. But he talked about he, you know, how he thinks of his life in terms of heads up and heads down mode. And I think it's, it's a really useful frame because we do need to have both and do both. Right. I think for a lot of us, there's a tendency, you know, you sort of have a natural predisposition. Right. Some people are just all heads down all the time and they just execute, execute, execute. And that is laudable. That's wonderful. But the problem of course, is that if you keep executing for like, you know, whatever, 10 consecutive years, um, you know, gee, did you hear that the Berlin wall fell? You know, like you miss shit and it could be really big, you know, you need to be aware of that. Oh, you know, people don't have fax machines, like at a certain point, you need to lift your head up so that you can see how things are changing. Um, and meanwhile, there's of course the other, the other kind of person, which is the always heads up, always like, oh, but you know, it could be better. It could be better. It's like the perennial, you know, Tinder swiper, because you know, there's always someone better around the corner at a certain point, you got to commit, you gotta put your stake in the ground and say, all right now, I have made the decision. It may not be the perfect decision, but it is a good enough decision and I'm going to go heads down and make it happen and make it real. So we toggle between them.

Joya:

All right. So getting known for your ideas, how did you and I arrive at this.

Dorie:

That's like a pop quiz. Well, I think we arrived at it. You can refresh my memory. Um, but you know, we, this is certainly an area that I've spent a lot of time thinking about, uh, you know, since we're rolling on book props, so I'll describe another one. This is my book stand out, which is really kind of focused around this area. So I have spent many years trying to essentially crack the code first for myself, and then in this book and I run an online community as well, you know, focused around this, but it's basically about how do you become a recognized expert in your field? That was something that was really important to me early on, as I was growing my business, because I realized. If people don't perceive you as being different than anybody else, you are always going to be a commodity to them. You're always going to be interchangeable. And you're always going to be charging commodity level prices, which is, you know, clearly not what we want. So you have to do something to disrupt that pattern and get people to understand uniquely what you offer so that you are something different and they understand. You know, I have to seek this out. I have to pay a premium to, uh, to work here. So these are six tips that I have personally implemented, and I've seen, you know, folks in my community implement with a lot of great success that I hope might be helpful. Um, so should I like walk through them or do you do.

Joya:

I'll prompt you. Um, the first one is to write about the people you'd like to connect with.

Dorie:

Yes. So writing about the people you want to connect with, this is one that has been very helpful to me. So back in 2011, I realized that one of the levers that I could use to grow my profile was to start writing for high-profile publications and that was something that, you know, I knew it would be good from a branding perspective. Obviously you want to be creating content, but the networking value, uh, occurred to me along the way. And I realized this was quite powerful because there were a lot of people that I wanted to meet. You know, people, I didn't know, but obviously if someone is busy, if someone is in high demand, It is an almost impossible ask to be like, oh, hi, famous person, can I take you out for coffee? Like you just look like a loser, like, you know, like why would they do it? You feel weird asking, it's just kind of uncomfortable all around. But if you have a piece of value that you can offer, then all of the sudden, you're not some supplicant. You are someone who is, who is a peer. You have, you have a co you know, you have an asset that they would like, which is the ability to present you to their audience. And so writing about people and you know, this obviously can extend if you have a video program or you do like a LinkedIn live, or you have a podcast or something like that. But somehow interviewing the people you want to connect with is a great way of. And I will say that there are moments when people I'm saying in air quotes are "at their weakest," and one of them is when they are publicizing a book, because they're often very willing to, to talk to you then another, I mean, just by way of example, this literally just presented myself today. There, uh, there's a TEDx that I'm gonna be speaking at in a few weeks and the organizer emailed me and he's like, oh, Hey, you know, I really, I want to try to get pressed for the TEDx. And so I want to get pressed for the speakers as the vehicle. And he's like, you know, could you write about them? And I'm like, dude, I'm really busy with his book launch. But I said, I could find some other people to write about them because this is the thing, right? He has some high profile people who are at it, but because it's in the organizer's interest, he is willing to broker the introductions. And so if you, if you know that someone's speaking at a conference, if you go to the conference organizers rather than directly to that person, and you say, oh, Hey, I want to write about your conference. Can you connect me to so, and so then, they will often do it. And then the person will usually say yes, because they don't want to, you know, piss off the conference organizer who invited them to talk. So that's one strategy that might be helpful.

Joya:

Before we leave this. What about Twitter? I know that that's a part of this.

Dorie:

Um, so uh, what about Twitter? Like connecting with people on Twitter? You mean?

Joya:

Right, something that I often share if there's somebody that's appeared that you want to connect with Twitter is the platform where you want to reach them, but there's a way that you want to reach them. You don't want to just be like, Hey, I want to take you for coffee and write it on Twitter.

Dorie:

Ha ha ha, yeah, exactly. Um, although I was actually, you know, my secrets come out, I was in fact reading a Buzzfeed article last night about celebrities that actually dated their fans. Um, did you know that all three Hanson brothers actually met their wives because they were fans at con uh, concerts. Very interesting fact. So, uh, occasionally I suppose if you do tweet at a celebrity and you are good looking enough that it can, it can work out, but, uh, nonetheless, you are correct that usually that is a weird way of doing it. So, uh, but yeah, interacting on Twitter. Absolutely. Of course the caveat is that you have to make sure that they're active on Twitter because there are plenty of people that like, they have an account, but you know, they haven't actually tweeted for like you know, three years, um, connecting with them on Twitter would be harder. Uh, so you need to make sure that they're using it, that they're interacting. But typically it depends on the field. Right. But I would see politics and media are really the two places where Twitter is still strong. If you're like a designer or something. I mean, I'm not saying everybody, but most people have kind of abandoned Twitter and you know, like the visual professions are often more on Instagram. Um, but you know, again, depending on the, the field Twitter or whatever, the, the, you know, the vehicle is, could be a good way to do it. In terms of, you know, just following them, interacting with them, being aware of the kinds of things that they're talking about or asking for occasionally, you know, Twitter is, is very common with things like this, that people will be like, Hey, I'm in San Francisco, where's good to eat. You know, like, this is your moment, you know, this is where you can shine if you have good advice. So just, you know, paying close attention enables you to seize opportunities. When you see them, how do you think about this? Or how have you deployed this, Joya?

Joya:

I usually use Twitter when I need to complain about United airlines. And I usually get their attention that way too.

Dorie:

Yes. Yes. That's exactly right. They got so scarred from United breaks guitars. Now, now you can really twist their arm pretty fast.

Joya:

So your next point is proactively sharing the articles that you create.

Dorie:

Yes. So one element, you know, uh, a theme that I, uh, that I talk about in this one in The Long Game is the fact that oftentimes, I mean, you know, it takes a while. It really takes a sort of annoyingly long amount of time to get attention for what you're doing and just to put numbers on it. I mean, this is a guesstimate obviously, but from what I'm experienced, from what I've seen from people that I've coached, typically it takes, if you are focused on platform building, it takes typically two to three years of doing that before, uh, you really kind of even see any progress and it takes about five years before you start to see substantial progress. But that doesn't mean during the time. It can be very dispiriting. If your whole goal is like, well, I want to be famous, but during that time, you have to look for other ways that you can gain value from what you're doing. One is the networking value, for sure. If you're doing things like interviewing people, but another is you theoretically should be writing articles that tie in very closely to your products and your services. And so ideally what you want. I mean, this very rarely happens, but in our dream scenario, you write an article and it is so tightly hewing so what your clients, your perspective clients need, they read it and they're like, oh my God, that is literally what I need. And then they seek you out and hire you, right. That's the magic way that we hope these things work. And so, anyway, um, until that happens, cause we, you know, we want that to happen and eventually it will, if you do it enough. But in the meantime, there's a much larger universe of people that you are already cultivating as prospects. And they are people who, you know, they're, they're kind of in the consideration phase, you might be talking to them and they might've requested a proposal. You know, you're having some conversations and when you create content that ties into their needs, um, and it's, you know, you could even literally. You know, almost as a sort of secret marketing tool where like, if you want to land to this client, you could write an article that really speaks to their needs. And then you can casually be like, oh, Hey, you know, the other day I wrote an article that, you know, sort of relates to what you're talking about here. Let me send it. And by doing that, it's a way of proactively getting it in their hands. And it just makes the consideration process go faster. And it lowers the bar for them hiring you because they already feel like, oh, she gets it.

Joya:

Using the Ladder Strategy for Content? What does that mean?

Dorie:

Yeah. So the, the ladder strategy is it terminology that gets used sometimes where it's basically like, you know, quote unquote "laddering up" in terms of the level of prestige of publications that you're writing for. So, you know, you're probably not going to start out writing for the New York Times if you've never written before. Um, we all need to start somewhere. And so probably that somewhere is either your own blog, if you have one or a LinkedIn, you know, like you could do articles on LinkedIn, also Thrive Global and Medium are really good because anyone can open an account and publish there. So those are good possibilities. But over time, what you want to do is write for higher and higher echelons of publications, because as you do that, it just makes A. You're getting more organic exposure because they already have an audience and B. It makes it easier for you to be able to tap into better interview subjects, because they're like, oh, I've heard of that. I'll say, yes. Um, so laddering up is, is important. And as you're pitching editors, this is useful because you can share some clips from your previous, uh, publication. You've done stuff for, and then they can see, oh, right. So the way I think about it is you start out writing for places that like, there's just no barriers, you know, like Medium, like, Hey, open an account, right? And you're doing that just so you can show people, oh, she can write, but then you begin to do things like, you know, local publications, regional publications. In my case in the early days when I was writing, I was living in Boston at the time. So I'd write for my local paper. I wrote for the Summerville journal, I wrote for the Boston business journal, I wrote for like really random things like, you know, mass, nonprofit news or whatever, you know, These sort of industry publications. I wrote for the associated industries of Massachusetts newsletter, you know, those kinds of things, but you do that and you begin to get your clips and it enables you with more confidence and more credibility behind you to pitch higher profile things, you know, like writing for a, you know, a fast company you're an entrepreneur or whatever your particular goal might be. If you know, depending on your profession.

Joya:

Before we leave that point, though, what about guest posting on other people's news letters?

Dorie:

Yeah, that's a, that's a great one too. I mean, obviously you want to make sure if you're expending the effort that their audience overlaps with yours and is relevant, but if it does, that's a terrific way to do it, just especially if you're doing it for somebody else's audience, the key there, you know, unless they're like really famous. That's not going to get you social proof the way that a publication would, but what it could get you is eyeballs. And so just make sure that you put a link to a lead magnet, you know, some sort of vehicle so that people can subscribe to your newsletter list, uh, at the end of your article, because that's really, the goal is new readers if you're posting on somebody else's blog.

Joya:

Tie your content to the work that you want to do. What does that mean?

Dorie:

Yeah, so we touched on this a little bit earlier, but a mistake that I made early on was, you know, I was just kinda like, write anything I'm like, oh, I can write it. Okay. I will write it. You know, I just did not have a real strategy for. But ideally, if you want to be efficient, it is very useful for you to be as clear as you can. And it's, I know it's not easy, always, but as clear as you can early on about, um, who are your prospective clients, what are the services you can offer them? And what are the pain points that they're experiencing? Because then you can write articles that really do accomplish what I was talking about earlier, which is the thing where they, you know, in our magic universe they read your article and they say, oh, that, you know, so you could like, literally, if you're a career coach, you could literally write an article, like, you know, five questions to ask someone you're interviewing to be a career coach, you know? And it's like, oh good. You know, because if someone is in this like decision mode about, gosh, I want to get a career coach, but I don't know who. If you're the person who writes the article that they find with these like insightful questions, like, oh, here's five things to ask as you're vetting people. Obviously it gives you a kind of leg up like, oh, well, you know, if she is good enough to tell me these things, why don't I interview her too? And repurposing content that you've created in different formats. You're already going to this big quantum leap and creating this article. That's going to be published, but now how do you extend the shelf life of that? Yeah, so something that I, you know, have not always been great at, but I try to be, and I want to encourage you to. Oftenwe get sort of tired out by all these things, because it's like, oh my God, it takes so much effort to write the article and it does, but this is where we, we should not let up because if we've, if you've written the article, um, you've really done the hard part, right? You've you've put things into logical order. You've created something and let's call it, you know, 800 words or whatever it is. There's a lot of stuff in. And so, uh, what you can now, do you want to get press, you want to get eyeballs on that article? And so don't give up just because like, okay, you put that out there and you're done. Don't think of it as none, literally 10 or 20% more effort can get you sometimes 10 X the results, if you just say, okay, how can I take this blog or whatever that I've done, or this podcast interview that I. I think of that as your primary content and then, you know, pick like an interesting pull-quote, you know, that's a term from newspapers where it's like, oh, it's like the really good quote that you like blow up and make big. Like what's the pull-quote that you could use as a tweet to link back to the article or on Instagram, could you take that poll quote and turn it into a cool, you know, little card that people can share if it's like inspirational or something? Uh, or could you make a one minute video of you on LinkedIn, uh, giving, you know, your top takeaway from it, you know, whatever it is, but it's thinking about how do you create content that's native to a platform that refers back to and builds on the primary content that you're doing. And then your final point, before we go into questions is lean into specificity. Don't talk about the general. Talk about the specific. Yeah. So this is an area that I, I, you know, the direct, um, the direct prompt for me, including this is because of problems that I see with articles that people try to publish. But this is honestly true across the board, right? So often we are too general and I debate, you know, I think it's probably both and right. Partly it's because people just don't realize the value of specificity. And so, you know, they look around, they emulate the people around them. Okay. Other people are being vague, they'll be vague. Sometimes. I think it's, it's partly that people feel a little weird owning and claiming things. And so they kind of want to leave it high level. I'll give you two examples. One is people's bios. This is my hobby horse here. I think most people have terrible bios, truly terrible. I want you to have good bios and what makes a good bio, I think is specificity. Because if you just say something. You know, Sally has been a coach for more than 20 years and she has worked with companies ranging from top fortune 500 to family owned businesses to nonprofits, to government agencies. She is an enthusiastic believer in a, B and C, and she has been published in international. Well that hasn't told me a goddamn thing. She could have literally made all that up. I don't know how can I fact check it? And so what I want is specifics. If Sally has worked for things I've heard of, that's what actually sets you up. Give me the names. Give me the titles. I want the names of the clients you work for. I want the names of the publications you've been quoted in. How about the names of the universities you've guest lectured at? Give me the specifics because it shows that you're not bullshitting me. This is really important. And so doing that in your bio is important. And then also when it comes to submitting articles, the biggest mistake, a lot of, a lot of my coaching clients come to me and they really want to write for Harvard business review, which is probably the hardest one to get into and a mistake that I often see. Is it, you know, they have people have good content, but they write it. It's like 30,000 foot level. And it'll be like, you know, five ways to be a better leader. And it's like, Harvard distributed has been around for like 80 years. You think they haven't published that before. Like that is way too vague way to highlight. You need to ratchet it down to a hyper-specific situation so that it feels different and it feels fresh. I'll give you just one example. An article I wrote like five or six years ago for them was what to do when your colleague comes out as transgender. I can promise you that was not written in 1935. It had not been written before. It felt fresh because it was specific. All right. Thanks.

Joya:

Well, I know Courtney here and we've talked about this in our peer mentoring calls that she worries about being specific because then you're maybe leaving money on the table. Like what if that person who sits on the periphery of whatever your niche is, does it hear you or see you? And so what is your answer to that?

Dorie:

Yeah. Well, you know, in talking about specificity, first of all, the point that I was making wasn't necessarily about niches in terms of your positioning, but when it does come to niches, you know, I, I agree, honestly, I. I have for a long time, had difficulty just emotionally, because, you know, I didn't want to limit myself. And it is a little artificial sometimes being like, well, you know, I, I work, you know, I coach left-handed, uh, non-binary nonprofit executive directors and it's like, wow, well, you know, that's very specific, but it's probably also not that useful. Um, so, you know, some it's sometimes it can just feel a little harder. If you're forcing yourself into it. And so when it comes to positioning, what I actually like to suggest is, you know, first of all, don't be so hard on, on ourselves, right? Like sometimes we're like, I have to have a bit niche after I've got a niche. And if you don't, you'll get the niche, right. Because if you're doing something long enough, your market will find you that's the whole point. And you get the niche because you have found product market fit. And the people who love you love you. And they come to you. We all want to rush it. I know. Um, but if, if it feels, if it feels like you're forcing yourself, I would say, you know, you can, you can ease off a little bit the end, you know, just really think of it as continuing to be testing. Because once you do find an audience that loves what you're doing, they are probably going to be flocking to you. I didn't the positioning that I have now. Like, you know, it seems relatively well-established. I didn't. I didn't pick it at all. I just, you know, did a bunch of things and I saw what was working and then I did more of that.