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The SuccessLab Podcast: Where Entrepreneurs Collaborate for Success

May 17, 2014

Welcome to the SuccessLab Podcast episode #2. In this episode, I talk to Entrepreneur magazine editor Stephen Bronner about trends he’s seeing in entrepreneurship, what drew him to Entrepreneur magazine, and how to pitch ideas to him.

I’ll also delve a little deeper into buyer personas taking off from last week’s podcast. We’ll talk about some ways to actually gather audience insights, particularly when you don’t have one already built up to survey or dig into to find information.

Interview with Entrepreneur magazine editor Stephen Bronner.

Buyer personas: Last week I briefly discussed the importance of creating buyer personas and the difference it can make when trying to sell to your audience, motivate them to read a blog post or even sign up for your newsletter. As powerful as they are, many get stuck on how exactly you find the information necessary to put together an accurate persona, especially if you don’t already have an audience to cull for insights.

  1. Put on your networking hat - attend industry conferences and trade show. A number of attendees may be shopping for the very solution you offer. Put on your networking hat and talk to people. Do any of your competitors have booth setups at the expo? Take note of the people stopping by that booth and see if you can talk to them after. Also look for networking events, meet-up groups and associations within your industry or target market, attend their networking events or meet-ups and join their associations. You’ll make powerful connections and great information.
  2. Social networks - identify top influencers in your target market. What are they talking about in regards to your industry or the type of solution or product you offer? On Twitter, search hashtags, in Google+ browse communities, and on Facebook you can search look-alike audiences and see how they’re interacting with pages they like. 
  3. Industry forums - peruse Q&As and discussion threads in which people are discussing your solution or similar solutions. Take note of the questions, concerns and comments they make. This will help you identify the types of concerns you need to address in your content or marketing language. 
  4. Comments - on that same note, comment threads on popular sites can be rife with conversations about challenges people are having or solutions they are search for. You might also peruse e-commerce sites that specialize in products in your niche or look at Amazon for specific products or book titles that might relate to your area of business or expertise. Check the Q&A sections as well as the reviews for great insights.
  5. Surveys - this one comes from Jason DeMers from Search Engine Journal and Forbes, and I thought it was genius. Of course surveys are like the holy grail of audience insights and we’d all love to be able to survey our target audiences, but sometimes it’s not feasible (especially if we don’t have one yet). Jason suggests searching for surveys conducted by others - online, in magazines, and newspapers, to name a few. To his point, typically these surveys will yield a few hundred responses and provide ideas about the content you should cover or include in your marketing. 
  6. Look to your competitors - this can prove to be a honey pot for many. Look at their website, do they have blog posts or forums with comments or questions from customers? Or even an FAQ page? You might also peruse their social networks to see what kinds of topics they address, but more importantly questions and commentary people who follow them are asking. 
  7. Research media outlets - this is one I regularly implement because it can give you great insights into topics your target audience is interested in.  If you know the types of media your target audience consumes, you can peruse that site’s articles and posts for comments, or check out their media kit, which often provides demographic information. You might also read the letters to the editor section, and make note of the type of content they cover, as well as the language they use. Are there any themes there? Also look at the types of companies advertising - this can give you insights into who your competitors are if you don’t already know. 

This week’s Biz Hack: If This Then That or IFTTT. Chances are you’ve heard of it, but if not, it’s essentially a web service that allows you to automate a lot of your web functions. For instance you can set it up for simple tasks like automatically cross posting all of your Tweets to Facebook, or images on Instagram to Twitter. You can also automate certain iPhone apps as well as your email. It’s really a robust tool and really you’re only limited by your imagination when coming up with recipes, as they call them. One I’ve been playing with recently is sending Instagram photos with a specific tag or taken near a specific address to a designated Dropbox folder. This let’s me see Instagram users who are talking about a specific subject and who are frequently in the area. This could be valuable for restaurant and shop owners who could then begin to, in a non-creepy way, engage with these users. 


Quote of the week: “If things start happening, don't worry, don't stew, just go right along and you'll start happening too.” ~ Dr. Seuss.

My action item: Complete the Wired PR handbook. What’s yours? I’d love to hear yours. If your comfortable doing so, leave your action item here or call it in here. I’ll be sure to hold you accountable.


Finally, I wanted to talk about Hell Week. I got into CrossFit style workouts last year when I tried out a few workouts at a gym in my neighborhood called SICFIT. It’s challenging, but I love it. This week is Hell Week. It is absolutely voluntary to sign up and essentially involves 2-a-days for 5 straight days. The first workout is a military style workout at 5 a.m. or 0500 hours. It’s meant to push you to your limits and test your strength physically and mentally. Needless to say, I’m pretty exhausted, but so far I’m loving it. It’s amazing the skills these types of physical exertions teach - leadership, confidence, the power of a team working together, and not to sweat the small stuff. At the end of this week - if I make it through - I will interview our coach and owner of SICFIT Luke Kayyem about how all this plays into running a business and how to harness it. So be sure to tune in next week and wish me luck. Cheers and here’s to a prosperous week.