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This business coaching episode explains how to prepare for media appearances.

Results-Focused Training, Tools, and Workshops from Expert Business Coaches.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Lesson Nugget: Getting your company's idea represented in a positive way on different media platforms can promote your business instantly.
  • Editor's Note: Michael Levine is a Thrive15 mentor, bestselling author of "Guerrilla P.R. 2.0", and publicist of choice for Michael Jackson, Prince, Cameron Diaz, and NIKE etc....
  • Recommended Reading: Guerrilla P.R. 2.0 Wage an effective media campaign without going broke. - Michael Levine
  • Commandment #1: Never be boring. Never!
  • Commandment #2: Know your subject thoroughly.

marketing and small business ideas taught like lynda.com

-What's up, guys? My name is Daniel McKenna, and today you get to chat with Clay Clark and Caleb Taylor as we're discussing Michael Levine's Ten Commandments for Dealing with the Media. Now Michael Levine, he's kind ofa big deal. He's represented Nike, and Pizza Hut, and Michael Jackson, and Prince, and a lot of big names, so he probably knows how to deal with the media. Time to learn. Let's go.

-Clay, how are you doing, my friend?

-I'm doing great. And this pen, I've balanced it perfectly on this--

-I know.

-Cradle of water, and really, I just feel perfectly balanced in my life.

-Did you ever think of being a builder, or an architect or anything, because that's incredible, really.

-Yeah. Really. I don't know how I did it. I know that you--

-What do you think about that? How does that make you feel?

-It makes me less inclined to be courteous to you in the near term.

-That's fair.

-Well, I would encourage you--

-In the first quarter of the year.

-I'd encourage you to think of the thrivers. And let's be kind to them as we bring some of this information regarding PR and small business ideas, OK? Because right now we're going to dive into Michael Levine's Ten Commandments for Dealing with the Media. All right?


-So channel the anger, turn it into love, and direct it towards the thrivers.

-OK. Yeah.

-Here we go. First off, though, why do you believe it's such a good move to kind of harness the PR to grow your business?

-The thing about the PR that's needed is the media, public relations, the field of public relations, basically, is how you relate to the public. How you relate to the public and share with the world your story. And the media doesn't work for you and me. They're not people we can pay. We can't say, hey, say this about us, or say that about us. But what they can do is they have just massive, literally billion dollar networks.

Satellites in space, they send messages instantaneously across radio waves, across the satellite radio, all these different platforms. TV. And they can quickly tell the whole world about your product or service, and really announce to the-- from the mountaintops that your product is relevant.

And because you can't pay the media, or at least the perception is that you can't pay the media to share your story, if the media ever gives a product a favorable review, quickly the world listens. And so if you can get your product into the world and get great reviews, then your product can take off, and you can really begin to sell things all across this planet.

-And if there's anyone that knows how to capture the media's attention or harness PR in a positive way, it's Michael Levine.

-Oh, yeah.

-Thrive15 mentor. Tell me a little bit about Michael. Why we should be listening to him.

-Well, I think one of the things that was most exciting to me about the opportunity to partner up with Michael and have him as a mentor on the team is that I've read all of his books.


-You know, he's got numerous New York Times bestselling books, he's represented Academy Award winning actors, and he's representing Grammy winning artists, and he's represented Michael Jackson and Prince, and Nike, and Pizza Hut, and Cameron Diaz. And I could go on and on, and it's just, like, this guy is literally-- Charlton Heston. I know some of you guys are like, Charlton who?

Basically, there was that movie called The Ten Commandments, I believe, right? The Ten Commandments. It's called The Ten Commandments, and the guy who played Moses was Charlton Heston. So he represented some of those guys. So it's pretty awesome stuff.

-So what we're going to do, we're going to dive into these Ten Commandments, and there will be notable quotables on the screen, but they're all pulled from Guerrilla P.R. 2.0.


-His book. So the first commandment here, Michael Levine's first commandment is, number one, never be boring. Never.

-OK, here's the deal. When you are reading a newspaper, or you're watching the news, as a general rule, about 80% of us are watching it because we want to be "edutained." We want entertainment, and we want to be educated, or we want to be informed while being entertained.


-Example. You shouldn't, but you do. This is what happens, is if there's a snowstorm, and it's just pummeling part of the United States, part of you is like, that's terrible. I feel bad for these people. The other part of you is like, I can't wait to see what's happening.


-It's just weird. So it's a deal where if it's not entertaining-- if you're not even entertaining, if you're not even excited about it, why should anyone else be?


-So you've got to have something that-- for the media to consume it, it's got to be appetizing. It's got to be entertaining.

-OK, so as you're kind of pitching a story of your business, make sure that it's entertaining.

-Yeah. Bring some energy, man.

-Commandment number two, know your subject thoroughly. Know your subject thoroughly. Why is this important?

-Example. For Thrive, I know online education in a way that's probably not healthy, but I know where, as an example, if you're watching this, the average human's cognitive load is 15 minutes. So most people cannot watch online education videos, or any kind of video without being interrupted about every 5 to 10 minutes with some kind of emotional engagement.

So if you're watching a movie, and at no point does it emotionally move you to laugh, or cry, or to at least reminisce and think about something, you'll quickly fall asleep.


-So if you're watching someone say, the key to starting a successful business is doing this, you're going to fall asleep, AKA most online education and small business ideasare terrible.


Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Commandment #3: Know the media contact. Read the paper. Watch the newscast.
  • Commandment #4: Cover your bases.
  • Editor's Note: Carol S. Dweck is a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, earned a PH.D. from Yale, and wrote the bestselling book "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success."
  • Notable Quotable: "Role play with yourself to answer questions to a cynic, optimist, and be able to play devil's advocate." - Maurice Kanbar (Founder of Skyy Vodka)
  • Commandment #5: Don't just take "yes" for an answer. Follow up; follow through.
  • Lesson Nugget: Media outlets are constantly bombarded with individuals wanting to share their idea. It is important to remember that persistence prevails when getting your story in the media.
  • Commandment #6: Never feel satisfied.

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-And I would also say that the research of Dr. Carol Dweck-- she's a PhD there who's done this research and she wrote a book called "Growth Mindset". And she explains, in exhaustive research and detail, that humans who believe they can get better and believe they can grow and improve, they will. In humans who believe that they're stuck and they have sort of a fixed mindset, can't. But I have to know it and know it and know it and know it and know it. That way when I'm talking to a reporter, it can pass the smell test. And they know this guy's not just some hack. He knows his stuff.

-Good. So know your subject thoroughly. Commandment number three here-- know the media contact. Read the paper. Watch the newscast. What does this mean?

-Recently I was featured on a major publication and there was two people who were doing the interview. One of them absolutely cannot stand online education. And the other one loves it. One could not stand entrepreneurship and the other one does love it. And so the deal is that I had to know that going into it so I could prepare myself and I had to be ready for the cynicism and sarcasm of one and be ready for the praise of the other. Otherwise, I would have been thrown off and discombobulated and my brain might have exploded right there on the interview.

-And that takes prep.


-You had to actually watch it. You got to know who's going to be interviewing you.

-I had to duct tape my entire head so that my cranium wouldn't explode.

-That's a great idea. Duct tape your forehead. Number four here, cover your bases. So is this similar to number three or how is this different? Cover your bases.

-Cover your bases is where you want to go ahead and do a-- it's called a rude interview. You want to imagine them asking you the worst questions they could possibly ask you-- the ones that would totally derail your interview and be ready for them.


-And the best example I can give you is if you get a chance to Google this, watch it on YouTube, I guess. We did an interview on Bloomberg with David Robinson, NBA Hall of Fame basketball player. And it was right at the time that Donald Sterling-- the super racist owner of the Clippers at the time-- was making horrible statements.

And I had prepared for that knowing that we were going to be-- David Robinson is a part owner of the Spurs and knowing that he's African-American, the Thrive team, we thought, well, we might want to be prepared in case we get asked something about this situation. And sure enough-- even though we were doing an interview about online education-- that was newsworthy and they brought it up because people don't want to be bored. And we were ready for it.

-That's good. So you're saying you have to just prepare for every different question they can throw at you? How do you do this?

-Prepare for the worst case scenario, literally. It sounds really weird. But Maurice Kanbar, the guy who invented SKYY vodka, explain this theory to me. He said that you have to be able to role play with yourself to be a successful entrepreneur. You have to be literally-- think about this-- you have to be the devil's advocate to say, would I buy this product? If I didn't buy this product, why would I not buy the product? And you have to answer all of the questions for the cynic and the devil's advocate and the answer all the questions for the optimist.

-Commandment number five here. This is Michael Levine's fifth commandment. This one is don't just take yes for an ansor-- an-sor, hmm. Follow up. Follow through. Why would I not just take yes for an ansor?

-Well, first off, I love that you owned the word ansor.


-Are you a Klingon, are you--

-Yeah, it's special accent. It's for educated folk. I graduated-- ansor.

-I wouldn't understand it as a non-graduate. OK, well, here's the deal. When you call the media, they're busy. They get hundreds of emails a day. The national people get thousands of emails a day. One of my friends is a producer for one of the top national media shows. And she says she literally gets thousands of people a day. Imagine that. Thousands of people a day saying, oh my gosh, did you hear about in this story? And nobody thinks that their idea is a waste of time. So they all have big emails, big questions that need to be answered. They feel like big solutions to the world's problems. And so you have to understand that the persistent one-- the squeaky wheel-- gets the oil.

-So you're saying, I might get a yes to just shut me up.


-The squeaky wheel gets the oil. So somebody might just tell me yes to make me go away.


Wow. Somebody getting him some oil. That's awful. Commandment number six here-- never feel satisfied. Never feel satisfied. What does that mean? Well, the thing is is that once you get the ball rolling with media, you'll find that a few reporters will start calling you because they'll start to look at you as the authority of that given area. Let me do one example.

Many, many moons ago there was a man named Mark Cuban who no one knew about who invented some software applications that made him a multimillionaire. Then, he stayed hungry and he became a billionaire. Then, he bought the Dallas Mavericks team and now he's very successful in a variety of different ventures. But there was one point in his life when the media never called him.

Now they call him all the time. We can't watch sports without having a Mark Cuban sighting. Or you can't read a magazine without them talking about him. And they say, well, he's makes all these crazy statements. So he's sort of easy for the media to cover. He makes strong, opinionated statements. He says things he believes, which are counterintuitive to most people, because he believes that most people are wrong... Small Business Ideas.

And so he makes these statements, but he has stayed hungry the entire time. He didn't just sit back on his couch and go, well, I had a few stories about me, made a few millions. I'm done. A lot of people don't realize Mark Cuban became a multimillionaire long before he became a billionaire. There was like different plateaus.

-And just use that snowball effect-- just kept going and going and building the momentum.


Find Small Business Ideas on Thrive15.com

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Notable Quotable: "Stay hungry. Stay foolish." - Steve Jobs (Cofounder of Apple and former CEO of Pixar)
  • Notable Quotable: "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." - John Wooden (As the head coach at UCLA he won 10 NCAA National Championships in a 12-year period)
  • Commandment #7: Always maintain your composure.
  • Lesson Nugget: Preparation will help you perform to the best of your ability during time of stress: keep practicing until you can no longer do it wrong, not until you can do it right.
  • Commandment #8: Be persistent, but move on when you're convinced you're getting nowhere.
  • Action Step: Memorize and write down: Cry, buy, or die.

Looking forSmall Business Ideas?


-Steve Jobs says, "Stay foolish, stay hungry." That's the mentality you have to have. You have to stay foolish, where you're going, this is irrational that I can believe this could happen, foolish. But stay hungry like, I'm not satisfied. Let's go for it.

-That's good. And that leads right into Commandment Number Seven here, "Always maintain your composure." So be foolish with having big goals, but what does he mean when he talks about maintaining your composure?

-This one is hard and if you're watching this and you struggle with this, I get it. Let me just show you some examples of what most of us do.

Most people when we have to do a speech at a wedding, we'll get up and we'll go. I want to-- and our feet start dancing and we start kind of shaking. Our heart rate physically will actually raise. You can't control it. Your own heart rate will raise. You'll start to get kind of sweaty palms. You'll start to kind of-- your eyes move around. You start to talk fast. And it's like, so-- I'm excited. The best-- the groom-- the best man asked me to be here in the wedding. I mean, groom, the groom, maid of honor. Crap.

And this happens all the time at weddings all across the country. We're nervous. And so when you get nervous, you then default to almost like primal behavior, where you start to-- you'll see people that never curse curse when they're nervous. People that never lie, when they're nervous, they're just like, and so our company's the best in the world. Never-- I mean, no, because they get just flustered.

The only way to counteract that, I have found, is through preparation, preparation, and preparation. So as an example, today, you and I are on camera in front of thousands of people all across the planet. And I'm not exaggerating. For every hour that we've spent here together, I've spent five hours prepping in my shower that I leave running the entire time. So I have to prep and prep and prep and prep and prep and prep and then make sure you practice to the point you can't do it wrong.

Check it. You want to practice to the point you can't do it wrong, not until you get it right. Practice until you can't get it wrong.

-That's beautiful and that's what'll help you keep that composure.

-That's the only thing you can do, because in a time of great stress, you're going to default to your level of preparation. At a time of great stress, wherever your preparation is, that's where you fall back on.

-And then, that preparation will help you lead into this Commandment Number Eight, which is thinking several moves ahead. And I'm guessing that plays right into this preparation, preparation, preparation.

-Well, example-- with Thrive, I knew at first, people would say, do you actually believe that you can pay $50 a month-- or for the military, it can be free-- and you can get a better education than what you can get at an Ivy League school? Which I secretly thought, yes. And then, I needed a few Ivy League graduates to hop on the site and to test it out. And they said, I learned more in my first two weeks on Thrive than I learned in my four years in college.

MAN: At Cornell, something like that.

-And so my first goal, though, was just to say, I don't want to be the judge. I don't want to tell you that it's better than college. I just want you to come check it out yourself. But now, people are telling themselves and it begins to take off. That's how it works. Think moves ahead... Small Business Ideas.

-Moves ahead through preparation-- what about this Ninth Commandment here? "Be persistent, but move on when you're convinced you're getting nowhere." How does that apply?

-There's three things you need to remember, three things you need to memorize. And I hate memorizing so I'm just going to-- bear with me. If you can't memorize them, write them down somewhere. Right them on the tablet so the people can see them. Cry, buy, or die.

-Cry, buy, or die.

-That is what you do. So if you're like, well, do I need to call this person? Just say, are they crying, are they buying, or are they dying? So example-- if somebody is crying going, don't ever call me again. I hate you. We had a reporter-- and I hope you log on to the site, my friend-- but he's like, your site is stupid. I can't believe that anyone would ever go online to learn. Not anyone-- he said, not anyone can start a business.

MAN: Oh, wow.

-To which I responded on the phone, well, who can't? Well, I mean, you can't just go out there and start a business. You need a degree. Well, I think Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and Richard Branson and Henry Ford and Walt Disney and those people might disagree. I think Abraham Lincoln might disagree. I don't know. Should I stop? No, but Thomas Edison might disagree. Rockefeller might disagree. Henry Ford might disagree. But maybe, maybe he, the chosen reporter, is right. But what happens is--

-So he's crying and you're just leaving him?

-And I'm like, you know what? I think this guy, he sounds like a winner. I'm not kidding.


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