InterviewsManagement & LeadershipPsychology & Communication

Sonia Simone shares how to connect with the giants in your market

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(Literal) Text Transcription of the video :

Olivier Roland:  Bonjour mes rebelles intelligents.

Today, I’m sharing with you an amazing interview with Sonia Simone. Now, maybe the name of Sonia Simone doesn’t ring a bell with you. But, if I tell you CopyBlogger, does it ring a bell? I bet it does because this blog is just one of the most popular blogs about marketing in the world. And as you will see in this interview, Sonia is one of the most important partners in this blog.

And in this video, she shares how she managed to connect with people and to achieve this amazing position in the company while she was basically nobody. As you will see, it’s quite fascinating.

So, Sonia you are the co-owner of a very famous blog on the English Market.

Sonia Simone: Yes.

Olivier Roland: Which is CopyBlogger.

Sonia Simone: Right.

Olivier Roland: It’s a huge blog with a really strong community. And I wanted to interview you because you have a really interesting story. Because now, you are the co-owner, but it was not you who started the blog, right?

Sonia Simone: Right.

Olivier Roland: It was Brian Clark.

Sonia Simone: Brian Clark, yes.

Olivier Roland: Yeah.

Sonia Simone: So, Brian started this blog, he actually started the blog with the intention of growing his audience, and then figuring out what he would sell to them by asking, by getting their input. It was a fantastic blog.

I was just a reader, I thought it was fantastic, I thought it was really smart. It was really helping me as a copywriter.

And you know, I did what anybody can do which is, I started to comment, I started to interact with him in social media, interact with him on Twitter. I had my own content and so he was able to click through and say “Oh, I like her writing. I like her style. I like the way she looks at things”.

Olivier Roland: Because you already had a blog.

Sonia Simone: Because I already had a blog.

Olivier Roland: All right.

Sonia Simone: So, I had something he could go check out and I think that’s very important. You know when you start your networking, you have to have a reason people want to pay attention to you. There has to be something about you, something you’ve done that’s interesting, that’s compelling. And for most of us, a blog is a way to do that.

Now, it may not be a blog you know. Maybe you won world championships for dog training so, you know, you might have something different but for a lot of us, it’s a blog. That’s our expression of who we are, what we care about and how we think about what we’re doing.

Olivier Roland: Yeah, and how we can help people.

Sonia Simone: How we can help people. That’s so important. You know, here’s who I am, here’s what I stand for and here’s who I can help.

to help people with a blog sonia simone mentor

Olivier Roland: So, what was the subject of your blog?

Sonia Simone: My blog was called Remarkable Communication and then, the idea was that marketing is really nothing more complex than communication with your customers. That’s all it is. It’s what you do, it’s what you say. But, it’s your support team, it’s how you, you know… it’s the design of your blog.

It’s every way you communicate with your customers. That’s all marketing is. It is just developing a relationship. And then, I think the tagline was “Remarkable marketing comes from remarkable communication”.

Olivier Roland: All right.

Sonia Simone: So, don’t over complicate. Just… you know.

Olivier Roland: So, strong messages, simple and a lot of articles already on your blog. So, you commented on the CopyBlogger.

Sonia Simone: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: And Brian just clicked one day to your link, right?

Sonia Simone: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: And to your name.

Sonia Simone: At some point, one day, he clicks on my name. He’s like oh she leaves… you know. It wasn’t just a nice blog comments. It was thoughtful, you’re thinking about what he’s writing and you’re adding something.

Olivier Roland: It’s very important, yes.

Sonia Simone: Very important.

Olivier Roland: It’s not just “Oh, great thank you for the article”. It’s really… You try to add value to the article.

Sonia Simone: Yes.

Olivier Roland: So, did you do that on purpose? Was your goal to connect with him?

Sonia Simone: I did. There was a blogger who I really thought was interesting and she actually ran a post on how to make connections with bloggers and that was her advice, it was: Go to their blogs and actually leave a comment that adds to the conversation. And then follow them on social media. Twitter is great because it’s very open. Anybody can send somebody an @ message. On, you know, Facebook we have to be friends to have a conversation. But Google+ and Twitter, anybody can just send you a message.

Olivier Roland: Exactly.

Sonia Simone: If you have something interesting to say, you will get noticed. Eventually, it takes time. You know, it takes time, so I have five, I think, five bloggers on my list. I had Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, of course, the master, Brian Clark, Hugh McLeod who does a blog called Gaping Void.

Olivier Roland: Okay.

Sonia Simone: That might be it, might be four.

Olivier Roland: All right.

Sonia Simone: There was a fifth one, but it doesn’t… I don’t care.

Olivier Roland: So, you try connect with all of them?

Sonia Simone: I tried to connect. I tried the same strategy with all of them. And I think that’s important because it might not work with one person. You might… so now, you know, Seth Godin, he knows who I am.

Olivier Roland: Oh, great.

Sonia Simone: I get a mail from him like once a year. It’s sort of… you know, like Yoda. You know, you are doing a good job, keep going and I feel great.

Olivier Roland: So this looks right, do it.

Sonia Simone: Yeah, exactly. It’s not a working relationship, it’s… But, he knows who I am, so that’s nice.

Olivier Roland: So yeah, okay.

Sonia Simone: Hugh, it took me forever. He was the last one I could get his attention. For the longest time, I just tried and tried, I could never really get him to…Because the thing that you need to understand about the big blogs, about anybody with a big audiences is there are hundreds and thousands of people trying to talk to them. And so, it takes some time and you shouldn’t feel discouraged if it doesn’t work right away. It just means you keep being. You know, just be nice and interesting, and sometimes it’ll hit and sometimes it won’t hit and that’s okay.

Olivier Roland: Exactly. And, you should try to add value.

Sonia Simone: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: I mean.

Sonia Simone: You know, in the fifth bloggers was Darren Rowse, from ProBlogger.

Olivier Roland: Yeah.

Sonia Simone: So, Seth is my Yoda. He talks to me once a year.

Olivier Roland: Yeah.

Sonia Simone: And it’s fantastic. Hugh, I made a connection, but it’s just more. We’re a sort of social media friends, that’s good.

Olivier Roland: All right.

Sonia Simone: Darren, Chris and Brian, I ended up doing business with.

Olivier Roland: Wow.

Sonia Simone: And so, we together, we’ve formed a membership community called the “Third Tribe”. So, out of five, three, I ended up doing business with, making some really significant revenue, so…

Your number might be one out of five or it might be four out of five but do diversify. But you know, once I had Brian…

Olivier Roland: Yeah. It was easier.

Sonia Simone: Then, Daren and Chris were easier.

Olivier Roland: Sure.

Sonia Simone: So, once, you know… once you’re sort of in the circle. But, the other thing that’s important too is you don’t just go for the big names.

Liz Strauss, who has a great, you know, she’s a great presence, she has a saying that little bloggers grow up.

Olivier Roland: Yeah.

Sonia Simone: And so, I had friends… You know, the people who were starting out when I was starting out are still really good friends and they’ve been great allies. And some of them have grown very large businesses. So, Men With Pens and Johnny Truant who’s got this great rebel attitude blog.

There were people who we were all starting out together, we didn’t know anything. Clay Collins, we really didn’t know anything. We were not making any money. But, we had a passion and we were interested, and we had something to say and we helped each other.

So, it’s not just about making connections with the biggest names, it’s also about making connections with people at your own level or a little bigger. And when I say level, I just mean size your audience. It’s not … this person is like the Emperor of the bloggers.

Olivier Roland: It’s the size of the audience.

Sonia Simone: It’s just the size of the audience.

Olivier Roland: Because, it’s more difficult to reach people that are really bigger than you.

Sonia Simone: Much more difficult.

Olivier Roland: So, I want to recap the good advice from you is that. I receive like hundreds of email each few days. And sometimes people just get angry because I can’t answer all of the emails. And, it’s crazy that when people send an email, it’s like they deserve an answer.

how to connect with the giants mailing

Sonia Simone: Yes.

Olivier Roland: And sometimes, they send like huge amount of texts and they ask for free coaching basically.

Sonia Simone: Right.

Olivier Roland: And they just… go nuts if you don’t answer. I mean, it’s not the right attitude if you want to connect.

Sonia Simone: It will kill you.

Olivier Roland: It will kill you because, I mean…

Sonia Simone: You will get noticed but you will get noticed as a problem.

Olivier Roland: Yeah, a problem.

Sonia Simone: And as a person who… You’re asking for something you haven’t earned yet.

Olivier Roland: Exactly.

Sonia Simone: You know, you’re asking for attention. That’s why we talked about having a blog in place. You have to have something in place that gets attention. You know, like my content gets attention on its own because it’s good, and because I want to help people and I can communicate what I have to teach in a good way.

You have to have that. You have to have something to contribute to the conversation. You don’t deserve anybody’s attention until you do. And even when you have that, you got to be patient.

Olivier Roland: You have to be patient. It can be as slow game but it can really pay off at the end.

Sonia Simone: And, everybody, I will tell you this. There were people who were getting started with me, and they came out much faster than I did. They had bigger success faster. They were having great products. And, you look and you know, you saw, you know they’re really doing well, you know. I’m a little envious.

But, the person who’s in the game the longest tends to do the best. And a lot of those people didn’t have, they weren’t playing it for the long game. And so, they might have done really well now.

Some of those people, it’s not that it’s bad to have early success but the more struggles you do in the beginning, you teach yourself how to be tough and you teach yourself how to keep going, you teach yourself how to have faith. And then if you know that you care a lot about helping people, and that you have something to offer, and you learn to rely on that instead of external validation, you’ll be a stronger business person. And so…

Olivier Roland: Wow, that’s a great advice.

Sonia Simone: Really. It’s not that early success is bad but it worked against you in a way, because you don’t get tough and you need to be tough. You really need to be tough.

Olivier Roland: Yeah.

Sonia Simone: You need to be strong.

Olivier Roland: And to think long term.

Sonia Simone: And to think long term.

Olivier Roland: Yeah. It’s…Yeah, I agree with you. I mean, it’s better to grow slowly but to be here in five years to than to have like instant success and two years later, nobody remembers you.

Sonia Simone: Right.

Olivier Roland: So, yeah, all right. So, okay. So, you began by writing comments. Brian went to your blog, he thinks that it was great. So, what happened next?

Sonia Simone: Well, I’ll tell you what I did. And you don’t have… It doesn’t have to be this way but he had a product that happened to be coming out right then and I bought it.

Olivier Roland: Yeah.

Sonia Simone: And one of the things about that product is that it included of… it included interaction.

Olivier Roland: Great.

Sonia Simone: And so….

Olivier Roland: So, you bought it only for the interaction?

Sonia Simone: Well. No, I didn’t. I mean, I really did buy it because I wanted to learn what he had to teach. But, buying somebody’s product is a good way to get closer to them.

Olivier Roland: Exactly.

Sonia Simone: I mean, it is. It just is.

Olivier Roland: Yes, it is. Especially I mean, I did that on the French market to connect with a big guru, his name is Christian Godefroy and I bought his main product of the time. And, he gave his number, his phone number. So, I just called him and I was connected with him.

Sonia Simone: Because you know, the people who give a product and whatever it might be, they love it when their students take the advice and follow it.

Olivier Roland: Yes.

Sonia Simone: And now, you really will stand out quickly that way.

Olivier Roland: Yes, the best way to connect is not only to buy the product but…

Sonia Simone: But use it.

Olivier Roland: To follow it, to use it and to have success with it.

Sonia Simone: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: If you have success with it, I can guarantee you that you will have attention from the big guy.

Sonia Simone: That’s right.

Olivier Roland: Yeah, exactly.

Sonia Simone: That is right because that is fair.

Olivier Roland: So, it is what you did?

Sonia Simone: Yeah, you know, and so, I used it. You know, I used it and I built a business with it. First of all, it was fantastic because that business that I built with it solves so many problems for me. So it was selfishly, it was good for me. It was great for me.

Olivier Roland: Yeah.

Sonia Simone: But yeah, it puts you in… that puts you in the 1%. When you use a product, even if it’s a small success, you don’t have to be a millionaire. But if you have a small but meaningful success with that product that puts you in, that rare thing and it will definitely make an impression.

So, I started writing for… even before, I put the product into place but I was interacting in the forums. I was being very helpful in a forums which is also good if there is a community, you know, make yourself the helper in a community, help other people solve their problems. It’s always about being helpful. The more helpful you are, you have to be helpful and then you have to ask for what you want. But, you have to get them in the right order, you know.

Olivier Roland: A lot of people don’t get that.

Sonia Simone: That’s right.

Olivier Roland: They ask first.

Sonia Simone: They ask first or they never ask. Don’t do that either, don’t be the person who always helps and never gets, but do it in the right order.

So yeah, I mean it was really hard. I almost had to get drunk to ask him if I could write for him. I was so nervous.

Olivier Roland: Really?

Sonia Simone: I was so nervous.

Olivier Roland: Wow, okay.

Sonia Simone: But you know, so that’s the thing is, it’s “I understand”. It does make you nervous. When somebody is kind of a hero to you even though, you know, he’s just a guy. He’s really just a guy, he started out the same way I did, you know, where his only subscriber was his mom. Everybody starts that way.

how to connect with the giants and your heroes

He was one of my heroes and I was nervous, I asked him if I could write for him. And I started writing for him. And when I started doing that, the keys were “I did my best work, I did my best work on CopyBlogger.” And if you’re going to do guest writing, do the best work where you have the most readers.

Olivier Roland: Sure.

Sonia Simone: Right?

Olivier Roland: Yeah.

Sonia Simone: So, I have my blog which was wonderful, I loved my blog. My blog had one one-hundred of the readers. You know, my blog got a thousand readers, his blog had a hundred thousand readers.

Olivier Roland: Wow, it’s like…

Sonia Simone: So, you show up for that blog, right?

Olivier Roland: Yeah.

Sonia Simone: I got a bigger audience right away.

Olivier Roland: So yeah, you put links to your blog. It was a great way for you to reach a wider audience and to reinforce the connection you have with Brian.

Sonia Simone: Right.

Olivier Roland: All right, okay.

Sonia Simone: Because a lot of people will show up for a guest blog and they don’t do their best work. They’re like “Well, can I publish something? Can I published on your blog?”

Olivier Roland: That’s a big mistake.

Sonia Simone: Big mistake.

Olivier Roland: Yeah, big mistake.

Sonia Simone: So you know, so I really was… I started… you know and I wrote every week and I was very reliable. He knew he could count on me. I did things like I would format my posts, it’s for WordPress. So, all you have to do is just cut and paste it. He didn’t have to do the little header tags, link tags. So, I made it easy for him. He knew he could trust me.

And I was one part of those five people, Brian was the one, I understood his mindset the best. But, I didn’t know that until I… you know, until I did the work of doing the connections but I understood Brian, I understood how he thinks.

The things that I wrote, I studied his blog, so I knew that I wasn’t writing work that was contradicting what he had to say.

Olivier Roland: Yeah.

Sonia Simone: I was reinforcing his message. In my guest post, I always linked his. I linked to my blog but I also linked to his blog. So, I knew that he had written a great post about getting more blog subscribers.

So, if I use the phrase “more blog subscribers”, I would link to his content, not just to my content.

Olivier Roland: Yeah.

Sonia Simone: So really then, it was a question of showing a very consistent, very reliable, really helping him. Really helping him by giving him the kind of content he would write if he had more time. You know, and he was struggling with, he had been producing this great content. Week after week, he was getting a little burned out. He needed somebody to help create the kind of content he needed and I showed up at the right.

So yeah, was it at the right time?

Olivier Roland: Either, yeah. Of course.

Sonia Simone: Yeah. So, it was a luck to some degree, but you can see that you can make your luck.

Olivier Roland: Yeah. Luck is a skill.

Sonia Simone: Luck is a skill. Very well played.

Olivier Roland: Yeah. It was luck and work and you were smart in your strategy. Okay. So, what happened next?

Sonia Simone: So just over time, we started doing more projects together. The first thing that we did was I approached him and I said, you know, this product I bought from him called “Teaching Sells”, it was really good. I could do… I’m good at audio, that’s an asset I have. I can create really good quality audio, I can do an audio of all of your content and a worksheet where you can translate the ideas into action.

So, you know what do you say if I do audio, and next section worksheet for all of your content that you create now and everything you do in the future. And the next time you launch, I’ll get X% of the launch.

Olivier Roland: So, you asked.

Sonia Simone: Because I add value so I asked.

Olivier Roland: You asked and you gave value.

Sonia Simone: Yeah. I know, I wasn’t like, I didn’t ask for like “Would you just give me fifty thousand dollars?”

Olivier Roland: Some money.

Sonia Simone: No. It was like I asked for an opportunity to make the product better, so, be more marketable, have something new to talk about, in exchange for a piece of the launch.

Olivier Roland: Yes.

Sonia Simone: And so, he said “Yes” which was great. And from there, you know…

Olivier Roland: He said yes?

Sonia Simone: He said yes.

Olivier Roland: Yeah.

Sonia Simone: So, that was great. We did a launch on that, that was great from me. Just financially, launches are good, we make money. Again, he got me a bigger audience because his product had a bigger audience. My product was great, I loved my product. And so, we moved in steps and we kept doing slightly bigger projects together. And when, Brian called all of these different companies that he had,

Olivier Roland: Because he had other companies that were…

Sonia Simone: He had other companies.

Olivier Roland: … selling software.

Sonia Simone: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: Okay.

Sonia Simone: So, when he pulled all of them together into one organization, I was part of that. I was part of that crew. So now, we are five partners on…

Olivier Roland: On CopyBlogger?

Sonia Simone: Yes, the new company is called CopyBlogger Media and it’s really the five companies. So, my Remarkable Communication company, a company that ran teaching Sells and then Genesis which is the WordPress name.

Olivier Roland: Genesis, yeah. It’s really famous, I mean. I’m sure a lot of our viewers.

Sonia Simone: A lot of people know Genesis, who don’t know CopyBlogger, yeah.

And then, Scribe which is our SEO software. So, we pulled all of those into one which is very fantastic.

Olivier Roland: You put in one company, interesting.

Sonia Simone: Yeah. So, my marketing course, which is about how I used to make a living, is now part of our product suite.

Olivier Roland: Great, okay.

Sonia Simone: Because… And actually, we made it part of Teaching Sells because it was such a good compliment. So… but, you know, bringing us alltogether allowed us to, instead of saying “Well, I will license this to you as you know and it was…” it made it much less complicated. That’s like “I have resources, you have resources, let me take my writing ability and use it to promote Genesis.”

Let, you know, let Scribe take your SEO ability and use it to make our SEO better on all of our properties. So, it led us… we use different skills, different talents and different resources. And now, we can all use them to benefit each other. And so…

Olivier Roland: Great synergy.

Sonia Simone: It’s a very, synergy really is the right word.

Olivier Roland: Wow. That’s a great story, I mean wow.

Sonia Simone: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: How long did it take between your first comment on CopyBlogger and you being a partner in the company?

Sonia Simone: About five years.

Olivier Roland: Five years, wow. But it did… it paid off big-time, I mean.

Sonia Simone: Well, the payoff has been amazing.

Olivier Roland: Amazing. Because our viewers, are French, so perhaps they don’t know CopyBlogger. Just to have an idea, can you tell us about the traffic or the revenue of the blog?

Sonia Simone: Yeah. And what our uniques are …We have one hundred, we just passed one hundred thousand customers. So that gives you an idea for all of our products.

Olivier Roland: Wow.

Sonia Simone: And many of our customers buying, you know. When they buy one thing, they know that they like our approach, so they buy something else. So yeah, we’re very… I’m not going into specific numbers but, it’s multi-millions. And more important than that, it’s extremely profitable. So, that even though we have, we’re not small, we’re twenty employees now which is, you know…

how to connect with the giants success story

Olivier Roland: And you are one of the boss.

Sonia Simone: For what we do. For what we do, it’s a big company, but it’s very profitable. So, we keep the money that we make which is the most important thing.

Olivier Roland: Yeah.

Sonia Simone: And, I think that it’s profitable because we can have this synergy. You know, we have killer SEO that we don’t outsource, we have killer content that we don’t have to outsource, we have…

Olivier Roland: Do you still write a lot of articles on CopyBlogger?

Sonia Simone: I write, yeah… I write probably three. I write three weeks out of four and I do…

Olivier Roland: And it’s great articles if you can read English. I urge you to go to CopyBlogger or read some articles from Sonia.

Sonia Simone: Yeah. We kept that attitude of really wanting to provide the value first and, you know, we have a hundred thousand customers but we have probably three or four hundred thousand readers. And that’s great. We help a lot of more people than just the people who buy from us.

That’s a big strength, that’s a big source of our strength. We have a lot of influence even beyond who we sell to.

Olivier Roland: Wow. So, I think we have heard a lot of great advices on how to connect with great bloggers and even people in your market, they can help you. And wow, that’s a lot in a really short period of time.

If you still are here, I mean, it’s because it was really interesting. I think you should review the video again because it is really packed with a lot of great advices. Perhaps you missed some. So, after you see this video, just go do something and rewatch it.

Sonia Simone: I agree.

Olivier Roland: And take notes and choose at least one action you will do after that you will not have done if you didn’t see the video. All right.

To finish this interview, you gave already a lot of advice. But, I want you to put your blogger hat now, not your networking hat and perhaps give one advice to a beginner who is starting right now. What advice would you give him to start now, and to have success?

Sonia Simone: I want you to be the star of your… I want you to be a star. I want you to put yourself the way I did with Remarkable Communication, I want you to take what you know, and what you’re good at, and what you really care about, and teach it, and put all your personality into it. Put all your heart, put it out there. Don’t try to be safe, don’t try to be…I made a mistake of being too, I thought I should be businesslike, so I’ve gotten over that. But, putting yourself into your content 100%, your whole heart, your whole brain. Everything that you have, put into your content and make yourself a star.

And you know what, at the beginning, you’re going to be a star in front of five people. So, that’s okay.

Olivier Roland: It’s a good start.

Sonia Simone: It’s a good start.

Olivier Roland: Most people will never be a star of five people.

Sonia Simone: Make yourself a star for five people. Those five people, if you are passionate, those five people will go on to whatever it is, maybe it’s Facebook or wherever, and they’ll say: I love this person’s stuff because they have so much heart and they really care. And that’s how every… that’s how all of us start.

So, start with that. Start with and bring your best self, don’t save it for later. Bring absolute the best you have to offer today, offer it. It’s hard at first, be tough.

Olivier Roland: Yeah.

Sonia Simone: Be tough but you are creating the start of something valuable. And keep that in your mind, and keep showing up and keep doing your best for it. And really, you can have an amazing pay-out. I don’t know what it’s going to be for you, but if you keep doing it, you will create something unbelievable. You could never have envisioned today.

Olivier Roland: Wow.

Sonia Simone: And let us know what it is because I would love to hear from you in five years. You know, send us an email, we would love to hear it.

Olivier Roland: Yeah, we love to hear too. Wow, thanks for this awesome motivational speech.

Sonia Simone: Oh, okay.

Olivier Roland: Thank you, Sonia.

Sonia Simone: Oh, merci. C’était bien.

Olivier Roland: Voilà mes rebelles intelligents.

I hope you learn useful stuff that you can apply to connect with amazing people in your life.

To complement this video, you are free to receive an extract of my upcoming book in English, the extract is named “Three principles to succeed in every field of your life”. And maybe, it sounds good to go to be true but just see for yourself. So, to receive it, just click on the thumbnail here. You can also watch this complimentary video and of course don’t forget to subscribe to the channel so you don’t miss any future amazing videos.

Thank you for watching, see you soon. And in the meantime, don’t forget, be intelligent, be rebel and be part of people who connect with other amazing people.

Ciao.

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