Many of us know that more eyes means more chances of attracting clients – but many of us also don’t know how to obtain this. In this episode, Doug C. Brown has a fascinating conversation with the Editor-in-Chief of Authority Magazine, Yitzi Weiner. Doug and Yitzi discuss the importance of branding to creating a connection with your audience, why a brand goes far deeper than just marketing, and how media exposure can propel your business to soaring heights.
Yitzi Weiner is a journalist, author, and the founder of Authority Magazine, one of Medium’s largest publications. Authority Magazine is devoted to sharing in-depth thought leadership interview series featuring people who are authorities in business, tech, entertainment, wellness, and social impact. Yitzi has conducted interviews with prominent authorities such as Kelly Rowland, Bobbi Brown, Daymond John, and Peyton Manning. Yitzi is also the CEO of Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator, which helps business leaders to become known as an authority in their field by interviewing prominent CEOs, writing a daily syndicated column, writing a book, booking high-level leaders on their podcast, and attending exclusive events.
Visit his website: www.authoritymag.co
In this episode, we’re going to explore how you can get exposure in the media. We brought in an expert. His name is Mr. Yitzi Weiner. He is the Founder and Chief Editor of Authority Magazine. They have over 30 million readers. We’re going to talk about marketing and branding. We’re going to talk about why exposure makes sense, how you get exposure, and some of the steps that you can take to do it, either by yourself or to have others do it for you.
Also, putting the whole package together so that you take action upon getting yourself more into the public square because it is so much more important than ever before because of that trust factor that comes along with that earned media. We’re going to talk about that in-depth. Without further ado, let’s go talk to Yitzi right now.
Yitzi, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for being here.
It’s my pleasure and honor, Doug.
I’m so happy we’re doing this interview together because you’re a master of getting exposure for people. It’s exposure in the terms of the press. Many people don’t understand the world of PR or the world of, “What does a PR person do? What are they looking for?” I have these conversations with people all the time. They’re like, “I want to get published. I want to have this. I want to have that,” but they have no idea how and sometimes even why they want to. Why don’t you tell people what you do so we can set the frame for this interview?
Thank you for that opportunity, Doug. I am the Editor-in-Chief of Authority Magazine. What we do is we interview leaders in five verticals, entertainment, business, technology, social impact, and wellness. We do in-depth interviews and we have about 320 different topics. We have produced a lot of content doing interviews. That’s one.
We’ve done over 100,000 interviews. Here’s one of our business models. One way we make money is we have a program called The Thought Leader Incubator. What it does is it helps leaders, the people who are the SMEs, and the subject matter experts. It trains them how they can become a journalist or a media correspondent themselves. We found that being a media correspondent is like a press pass to the world. People clear their decks to talk to you.
We train these leaders how to be a journalist in their field of expertise. We guide them on how they can interview other leaders and create a whole series of interviews and articles around that area of expertise. We then turn that into a book or a series of books. We turn that into a podcast series where they’re interviewing prominent, high-profile, and famous names.
What it does is 1) It gives you a lot of exposure. 2) It does the halo effect. When they talk to famous people, it gives them that credibility and believability because the person’s talking to a well-known and world-famous person. It almost acts like lead generation in the sense that you could talk directly to the person that you need to talk to, your ideal client profile. You could talk directly to the CEO instead of dealing with the secretary which is a way to make high-level relationships face-to-face and one-on-one.
Making high-level relationships one-on-one is the crème de la crème. That’s what everybody wants to do. They want to get to somebody, have that conversation, and eventually have a lead to something else business-wise. That part makes total sense to me. People are getting exposure because you were in the press prior to doing this, right?
Yes. I still am in the press. That hasn’t changed, but if you’re referring to being a publicist, I did have an incarnation as a publicist.
People want to get exposure, and this is why people write books, write articles, and things like that. Why do you think the world is so fascinated with people who are getting published?
It’s marketing in general. The rubric of marketing has two main parts. There is earned media and paid media. The paid media we are very familiar with. That’s your Facebook ads, billboard, or some advertising in a magazine or online. Paid media has a great advantage in the sense that you have full control over what’s said and of the picture generally. You can guarantee that it will be there.
If I pay a magazine for a space for an ad, they’ll put it there. That’s paid media. The drawback is that people know that an ad is paid for so it doesn’t have credibility. It’s not believable. They know whatever was in there, but they take it with a grain of salt because they’re selling something. However, if the same magazine in their article section is writing an article about a business, how this business is doing these weird things, how it’s distinct, or how it’s disruptive, the readers trust them more because, for the magazines that are doing an article about it, they have to vet it.
In the United States, it’s illegal to write about somebody unless it’s disclosed. There’s no payment involved there. Therefore, an article is more trusted. That’s what’s called earned media. Earned media is going to mean you could hire a publicist and the publicist will pitch to editors of publications. If they find it fits within their beat or their media calendar, they’ll accept it. That has an advantage. It’s much more credible, but as a drawback, you don’t have control over the words and it’s not guaranteed. You can pay a publicist $5,000 a month and you may get nothing because no editors are interested.
The answer to your question is people want to be published because it seems like a platform where a third party is giving the person credibility. It’s not them talking about themselves. It’s other people talking about them and that’s more trusted. Therefore, that’s not only good for advertising, but it’s good for marketing and also branding. The difference between branding and marketing is saying what you do and branding is saying why you should be believed, what your story is, and why people should trust you. Being published in a prominent magazine is a former branding in the sense that it tells people why they should be trusted.
I have a whole host of questions based on what you said. If I understand, there’s paid media and earned media. Paid media could be like, I pay for something and I get published. Advertorial would be paid media or something like that. I know it’s going to get placed and I’m paying for that placement. It’s more of if I pay for a billboard, it goes up. People see it. Earned media is media that is sought out because of my expertise or my ability to communicate something.
Also, if you’ve done a great thing. You’ve earned an award or you’ve done something distinguishable. Even if you didn’t pitch it, if you’ve done something special, they’ll write about you.
Is it fair to say that with paid media, it’s less trusting because people know that I’ve invested my money into it and it’s more like an ad?
Exactly. People can say whatever they want.
It’s because I have full control over the editorial portion of that within reason, I suppose. Earned media is something that is earned, but the entity itself, your company, or whatever is putting some type of trust out there because you’re putting in the funds to get that media out there. It’s the difference between who’s making the payment when it comes down to one factor. The other is, “I don’t have to have something interesting to say to get into paid media so much. I have to have something of value that’s interesting to say to get into earned media.” Is that correct?
It’s an amazing distinction, yes.
You can tell me if you don’t want to get into this, but I have to ask this question. I see things out there like councils. Then you join that group, you pay and they’ll publish you. There’s the same company that has high credibility that publishes. Everyone knows councils are a paid thing so they have less credibility than the large named entity publishing it directly. That’s the difference. Can I pay to get on television stations? I don’t even know this.
Definitely, yes. Usually, the way they’ll phrase it is they’ll say, “This program has been sponsored by CEO Sales Strategies that we’ve been in partnership with.” That’s a way to say that they paid for it. Often in morning shows on local television, you could pay. I know a few people that will set you up with that. The term is P2P. It is pay-to-play.
There are pay-to-play media.
They have to disclose it. By the FCC law, you’re required to disclose it, but they disclose it in subtle ways.
When I’m seeing stuff on television and it’s all this little, tiny, fine print down the bottom or whatever, is that potentially paid media?
I would say almost always. If either television or media are writing about a company, there was some payment involved in the following sense. Either the company paid a publicist and the publicist pitched it to the editors. In that case, they don’t pay the media directly, but they pay their publicists. The publicists will pitch it to the editors or it’s a pay-to-play model where they paid the media company themselves to be part of the program unless it’s part of an overall breaking news story whenever they feature businesses, which is very often.
This is what we see in political ads like, “Paid by whatever.”
That’s disclosed. That’s for sure paid because that’s an advertisement. Even if it’s not in the advertising section, it’s in the editorial part, people are there because they paid a publicist who pitched them to be there.
You also said something that I thought was key, branding and marketing. Branding is why you should be believed. That’s the brand. What is marketing?
Advertising is saying what you do. Branding is saying why you should be believed or why people should trust you.
This is why people say a brand is what people are thinking about you when you’re not there. I have a question, and I don’t know if you’ve been asked this ever before. Here’s my theory. People like exposure and people trust people who get exposure. The reason behind that is because at the beginning of time when somebody put a book together, it was a big deal. When we look back in time historically, we see these old books that were published, but people became famous for publishing those books. The legacy of old publications and being famous is carried over even into this day’s market. Am I on base? Am I off base?
One hundred percent. It’s lost a bit of its veneer since olden times, but nowadays, a book is almost like a fancy business card in the sense that it’s advertising to the world what you do and showing that you have something to say. Authors don’t make books because they want to sell a million copies. Very few books do that, but they do it because they want to be known. The root of the word authority is an author because you become an authority by being an author. It’s one way to show that you’re an expert.
Branding’s different then. Marketing is more of what you do. You’re putting it out there to get either a response. Could branding be a subset of marketing or do I have it confused?
Marketing is an overarching term. Marketing means efforts to bring your product or service to the market. It’s advertising and branding. Advertising would be saying what you do and branding would be describing why you should be trusted. “I know what you do, but why should I trust you?”
Marketing means efforts to bring your product or service to the market. It's advertising and branding. Advertising would say what you do, and branding would describe why people trust you. Click To Tweet
On television, when they have a commercial like one of the perfume commercials or whatever, we all look at it and go, “What does this have to do with perfume?” It’s Calvin Klein or something. I’m not saying Calvin Klein is bad. That is a disclosure that I’m putting out front right now so I don’t get sued, but what I’m saying is they put out this ad and it’s a guy and a gal. They’re walking through a forest or something. It has nothing that I know of to do with perfume, a moisturizer, or something like that but they put it on. They keep exposing us to it over and over again. Is that branding or is that advertising?
Branding encompasses every single aspect of the company. Branding can be the customer service and how they answer the phone. It can include the way the logo looks and the colors that they use. That’s because they are telling a story of what the company represents, what they stand for, and how trusted are they. For example, nowadays, you’ll see a lot of companies doing social impact things.
They’ll do things to help the environment, the homeless, or whatever. Part of why they do that is because they want to be seen as caring about people. They are conscience-driven. They’re trying to convey the impression that they’re ethical people and people that could be trusted as opposed to people that are thinking of a business that’s sleazy and underhanded. Usually, they’re not the ones who are helping people and giving out to charity.
We’re talking about exposure, branding, and marketing. From what I understand now, the reason that we’re having this conversation in such depth is a lot of companies don’t look at the branding side of their business or the exposure side of the business. They’re out there trying to get clients. I’ve always looked at it in two different ways. There is outbound prospecting and then there’s inbound prospecting. This branding component of it is what I would deem as inbound prospecting. It has equal value in many capacities to the outbound. In your experience in getting the branding and the inbound, does that bring in more leads and more qualified clients?
I can tell you from my own experience. We have a business. Thank God we’re doing okay and good. Almost every single one of our clients came through just because of our work. We don’t advertise. Seeing the work that we do, they reached out to me. Ultimately, they all reached out because they appreciated what we stand for and they wanted to learn more.
The distinction between outbound and inbound is outbound can be very effective. It’s less trustworthy for the fact that people say, “If you’re so good, why didn’t I hear about you? Why are you reaching out to me? I should be reaching out to you.” “If you’re so good, why are you calling me for my business? You should be full of business and I should reach out to you.”
The point is that you’re in sales, and sales is a whole art in itself, but this is trying to address that question. “The reason why we’re trusted and the reason why you should listen to our sales team is because we are a very trusted brand. Here’s why we’re trusted, etc.” The answer is, yes, 100% and it’s another facet of sales.
You hit this nail on the head because here’s what I know. Since the shift has happened through the pandemic, selling is different than it was a couple of years ago. People now research information online quickly and sometimes offline. They might have a magazine, like an offline publication. I recently looked up an insurance company because they were in a magazine. I read an article on them. I’m thinking of switching over all my business insurance.
I’m reaching out to them, but I do know CEOs of companies and buyers in companies now are doing the majority of their research before they even talk to a sales team. Being in Authority Magazine, being out in that public square now seems to give so much more credence to people who now are no longer unknown entities whereas before, a salesperson would come in and they would be an unknown entity unless they work for IBM or something. What are the steps that one takes now to go and get themselves in this public eye, knowing that it’s no longer voluntary if they want to continue to keep being out there and having that trusted brand?
The easiest and simplest way would be to hire a publicist. A publicist could range between $2,000 to $5,000 a month. It is not cheap. Again, this is not what I do. When you are paying a publicist, it is paying for their relationships with editors and then they’ll pitch a story to a publication. Any good publicist or anyone who’s good and has the experience will be able to get you into some kind of publication.
It may not be the different tiers. It may not be tier one and it snowballs. We start out with a lower one, and then it goes to a medium one, and then eventually go to a higher one. That’s the easiest and simplest way. Number two, you could also try it yourself. You could research, “How do you write a pitch to an editor,” and you could find their emails. It’s not impossible. You send them an email. “I had this business, and this is why we’re unique. I’d love for you to consider a story about us.”
I would say maybe 1 in 100 will respond. Depending on who it is, just get the numbers. Eventually, someone will respond. You can do that yourself. It’s a little more laborious. Another simple way is there are a lot of services like HARO or Qwoted or a bunch of others. What they do is they’re a nexus between the press and between individuals. The press will say, “We’re working on ABC stories. This week, we’d love to hear from these experts, these people who have this experience.” People can respond and say, “I have this experience,” and then they’ll respond.
That’s another thing. With Authority Magazine, it doesn’t cost anything to be featured. You could send a pitch to us. We’re pretty accommodating. We don’t accept everybody, but we are accommodating and we have so many different storylines that we try to make a place for almost everyone. Those are a few ways.
How did you come about starting Authority Magazine? I love the story because I know it, but I want others to know it too.
I was a writer for The Huffington Post. Arianna Huffington sold it to Verizon Media and she started a new thing called Thrive Global. When she started her new platform, Thrive Global, she invited me to write for her new platform through Thrive Global. When she first started it, it was on the Medium platform. That’s when I became familiar with Medium. I have been connected with the principals of Medium, the people that are beyond the scenes.
I was very enamored by the platform. More importantly, because I was writing for a prominent publication already, I was getting pitches from publicists that represented famous people like Shaquille O’Neal, Paris Hilton, and other famous people. I realized that if I had those relationships with publicists, they are like a gold mine to connect to the most famous, best interviewees.
I realized if I could start my own publication, I would be starting that from ground zero. I could start from the ground to 100 because I already had connections to prominent people. I’ve been very blessed. That’s how it started. It started out very small, but slowly but surely, we built it up. We’ve done 100,000 plus interviews now.
How many years has it been?
We started in 2018.
Do you have about 30 million readers on a regular basis at this point?
Yes, we have 30 million unique readers per month.
With you being the Founder and CEO of your own company, I always love this question. Sometimes CEOs want to slap me when I ask this. Was all that easy or a cakewalk from the beginning?
I heard a great line from a friend of yours, a person that you recommended me to, Alan Weiss. He said, “People dream to leave their boss. They hate their boss and they go work for themselves, but then they realized that their new boss is a relentless boss. He never gives them any free time.” When you work for yourself, it’s very difficult to carve out time for vacation and to take care of yourself.
It wasn’t easy. It had ups and downs, but you have that flexibility. You can come in when you want and leave when you want. You have the ability to direct. Instead of having fate, you have a destiny. Fate is what you’re dealt with. You can craft your destiny when you’re a business owner. You don’t have fate. You have a destiny.
I know you enough to know. In any business, they get tough. How do you get through that tough time? What has gotten you through?
For me, it’s my wife. She’s always very encouraging. She gets me going. Being an entrepreneur has highs and lows. It has high highs and low lows. If I wasn’t married, if I was by myself, I don’t think I could have done it. She gives me that strength. I realize that business is important, but it’s not the most important. The most important things are your family, the people that love you, and everyone’s health. It’s putting that into perspective.
Thank you for answering that because every CEO almost without fail has always said something to this effect, “When times get tough, I get outside of myself and look at what’s important to me in my life.” You have your wife, obviously. You have your lovely children, a whole flock of them, all seven, but all CEOs say a very similar thing to me. It’s like, “I look outside to see what’s important and then that motivates me on how to keep going through this.”
As you said, “I’m writing my own destiny” but I might also be writing the destiny of my children, my wife, and myself. You gave the answer so I’m going to ask. Do you think it’s important for us as the owners of companies to stay focused on another mission versus just the goal of the company or do you think the goal of the company’s enough?
Ultimately, as human beings, we’re hardwired for purpose. We need to have a purpose. We need to be doing something that lasts, is meaningful, and is substantial. We could build a great company, but if we don’t feel like there is a purpose, we’re not going to be happy. Building the company should be a means to an end, a company where you could support your family, community, and employees, and where you can make a difference in the world. That’s a means to an end, but ultimately, the end is supporting people that you care about and making a difference. A purpose that’s important and significant will make us happy, and without that, we’re going to be dissatisfied.
That’s profound. I’m going to challenge all our readers out there. If you passed that, come back to that and read it over and over again. The reason why is because we all get lost at times in the chaos of running a company or whatever happens. The government changes a regulation, this happens, that happens, or whatever. I don’t know about you, but I have at least once a month something like this happen in the companies that we have.
If we go back to the purpose and understand that the purpose of the business is to do this, then it’s not about ourselves any longer. It’s about the mission of accomplishing that purpose. That’s why I said it’s profound because a lot of business owners don’t think that way because they’re in the middle of the fray all the time. They don’t step back and say, “What is the purpose? Why am I doing this?”
“I started this thing out to maybe get freedom from my job,” and now, as you alluded that Alan said, “I have a worse boss than I had before because I’m the boss.” We can get lost in that and we can say, “We give up. We’re not moving forward anymore. We’re going day to day in the drudgery of what we feel we’re making a living.” However, if we focus on purpose, that has us ask different questions. Thank you for sharing that. Yitzi, how do people get ahold of you if they want to be in Authority Magazine? If they want to know more, how do they do so?
You can just google Authority Magazine. It will come up. I’ll give you my email. My email is Editor@AuthorityMag.co. I have all social media platforms. I’m in that world, but I don’t engage that much on social media. I’m a private and quiet person. That’s my email. You could reach out to me on any of the platforms. I’ll respond on Facebook or Twitter. Type in Yitzi Weiner.
Yitzi, thanks so much for being here on the show. I appreciate you coming here and sharing your knowledge with the world because as we were talking about, go out there and get into the public square. Get some exposure for you and your company. If you want to progress forward in the years to come, it’s no longer, “Should I.” It’s a must. Thanks again for being here, Yitzi.
It was a pleasure, Doug. It’s always good talking to you.
There has been a shift in selling, a shift in selling to pretty much anybody, but certainly to CEOs of companies. Did you know that about 70% of the time, companies have done research on the actual person that’s going to be presenting to them? In other words, the sales channel. They do in-depth research not only on the company but you as the seller. They know more about you than you might know about you by the time you get there.
Why do they do this? They’re making decisions now by taking down and unqualifying or disqualifying someone so that they don’t even talk with them. In other words, they might be looking at 10 or 12 different entities. They’ll look at all of this information just like they would do in a job hunt. If they were hiring somebody, they look at the resumes and say, “Nope, this one doesn’t fit. This one does. Nope, this one. Yes, that.”
They’ll break them down into the ones that they want to talk with. That’s how you get into the company if they’re doing it in their process. Why not be better positioned? The more that you’re out there in that public square, the more exposure you have that is positive and the more that people type in who you are. It comes up on the first five pages, and they can see over and over who you are and that you have more credibility over someone else which positions you as a trusted entity.
This is why exposure is so much more valuable than it used to be in years past. The cool thing is you can do this for lower costs than you ever could do in the past. If you feel it’s something you want to do on your own, I can tell you that I have done it on my own and it does work, but it is a process. Especially when we started a company out, we didn’t have the funds to hire a publicist so we did it ourselves, but you’d be surprised. It takes a few months to get it going, but when it starts rolling, you can get interview after interview. You can get into different mediums such as podcasts and magazines.
I’ve been in Forbes. I’ve gotten myself on high-rated podcasts. What you’re looking for is to use other people’s credibility. With websites, that’s called domain authority. The higher the domain authority, the more credible. If you think about it, if you’re hanging out with credible people, you by nature become more credible. That’s how this works. It should be a facet of your business now far more than it ever had to be because the information is so easy for the potential buyer to get versus 30 or 40 years ago.
If you love this episode with Yitzi, please go up and give it a five-star review. Share it with other people who could be helped as well. If you or someone you know is an expert or you have a subject matter that you want to have an expert on like Yitzi, reach out to us at YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com. We will answer any inquiry and we will let you know, “Does this make it for us?” If so, we will invite you on if you are the expert or your friend or we’ll find an expert as we did with Yitzi, bring them in, and respond to your inquiry.
If you want to get yourself from point A to B to C to D, in other words, if you want to learn how to be a top 1% earner through selling, whether you have the experience or don’t have the experience and you want to get to that next level, we are rolling out a university as well as a software which is an automated prospecting follow-up, meaningful, relevant communication system that leads to more conversions. It allows you to manage your relationships proactively versus reactively.
If you’re interested in either one of those, please reach out to me directly to get onto our mailing list and we’ll let you know when both of those are rolling out. My email is Doug@CEOSalesStrategies.com. As always, go out and sell something. Sell a lot of it, sell it profitably, and play win-win. That means they’re looking to either gain an opportunity in their life or solve a problem.
If you can help them win at either one of those, they win and you win because they pay you for that privilege. Go out and play win-win with everybody because life is too short. Why not play win-win? Win-lose is no fun. Win-win is long-term relationships. Think of it that way. Until next time, to your success.
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