Three Marketing Tips To Increase Your Insurance Business, Phoebe Chongchua, Ep. 11

//Three Marketing Tips To Increase Your Insurance Business, Phoebe Chongchua, Ep. 11
Where the Insurance Pros Meet Podcast


Brand Journalist & Marketing Consultant, Phoebe Chongchua, shares three tips to increase insurance sales by becoming an online authority in your industry. Learn how new media marketing builds trust with consumers and helps close deals. Learn more at MarkMiletello.com.

 

Phoebe_Chongchua_2017_WebGuest: Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia Brand Journalist, Consultant & Marketing Strategist who makes brands Remarkable. Using her skills as TV News Journalist, she connects brands and consumers through powerful storytelling. Companies gain a competitive advantage when they learn to “Be the Media.”

Phoebe is a “Top 50 Podcaster to Follow.” Listen to “The Brand Journalism Advantage” podcast in iTunes or at ThinkLikeAJournalist.com

 

 

Note: “Where The Insurance Pros Meet” is an audio podcast and is meant for the ear. A transcript of the audio is provided for referencing a particular section or for you to follow along. Listen to the episode to get the most out of our show. We use both speech recognition software and human transcribers to create the transcripts so they may contain errors. If you’re going to quote us in print, please be sure to check the corresponding audio.


TRANSCRIPT

 

Mark Miletello:

Welcome back to the show. I’m excited; we have a special show lined up today. We have one of the world’s greatest minds in marketing and media and journalism. Our guest is a brand journalist and consultant who teaches businesses how to think like a journalist and be the media. I’m going to dive into that because I want to know what does that mean to us, how to think like a journalist, and how do we be the media. It’s awesome. She launched the brand Journalism Advantage Podcast in the fall of 2014, and within nine months she was named a top 50 podcaster by Cision for shows on public relations, marketing, and social media. She also made the list of 35 outstanding podcast picks by entrepreneurs on Inc.com. She’s an award-winning former TV news journalist from right here in San Diego who loves the pursuit of a good story. Welcome our special guest Phoebe Chongchua to the show.

Phoebe Chongchua:

Hey Mark, how are you?

Mark Miletello:

I have to step up my game. I’m doing great, but I don’t even know, how many shows do you have live out there that you produced?

Phoebe Chongchua:

For the brand Journalism Advantage we have about 400+ episodes to date. You know that is no easy feat, right?

Mark Miletello:

It’s not an easy feat. For the listeners, Phoebe is the inspiration behind and really my mentor in launching one of the first and greatest, I believe, platforms for our industry. What’s so unique about you, Phoebe is that you’ve been around our industry now for at least nine to ten years. With your background, and now you know a lot of our background, it’s just going to be an unbelievable show too, so thank you for joining us. It’s an honor and a privilege.

Phoebe Chongchua:

You know what, Mark? I think that what you are doing truly is an inspiration and should be listened to by many agents because this is what it’s all about, getting your voice out there, being heard and giving valuable information to the agents so that they can thrive in the industry. There aren’t a lot of people out there doing this.

Mark Miletello:

We’re jumping right into this, and I love it, but you know our industry. I feel like our industry is way behind on a lot of the social, maybe it’s a lot of industries Phoebe. You work with very, very large corporations, some of the world’s largest corporations. You’ve worked with Mom & Pop shops, you’ve worked with anyone in between. Is it me or is our industry way behind online marketing, social media, things like that, or is it really everyone struggles in that area?

Phoebe Chongchua:

I think a lot of brands and large corporations are definitely excelling in this space, but then there are a lot of brands that just don’t get it, and they’re really creating these streams of broadcasts where they get on a platform, and they think, “I’ve just got to hit it with marketing,” and that’s where they’re going wrong. They’re really not telling a story; they’re not sharing their real reason for why they are doing what they’re doing in the industry and how it’s going to help people. That’s what’s most important, and that’s kind of where this whole think like a journalist mentality comes in. When you think like a journalist, your number one rule is to find the story and make it a value to the end user. Who’s the end user? When it’s media, it’s your viewing audience, or radio, it’s your listener-ship. In the cases of brands, if they can think like a journalist and craft stories that are valuable to their end users, their core audience, their future customers, their current customers, they’re really engaging them and bringing that story to them to help them through the buyer journey and that cycle of making decisions to choose their company, their product, their service.

Mark Miletello:

We’re going to dive into this because I’m going to extract everything I can in this short amount of time we have together because you have so much to offer any industry, especially where the insurance pros meet the insurance industry. I definitely want to just pause and say thank you for inspiring me to launch this, coaching me. I don’t want to use the phrase that I’d like to use, but you’ve polished me, and there’s a lot of work to go, but I’m getting better. I’ve got to tell you, I’ve interviewed some of the greatest in our industry, and you’re one of the greatest in your industry, but also knowing that you’re one of the television’s and online and podcast, you’re one of the great interviewers out there, I’m a little bit intimidated.

Phoebe Chongchua:

Oh no. You know what I like about the podcasting platform? You take up space on someone’s prized possession, their smartphone, their iPhone. You own space on that, and you’re plugged into their ears, and they’re listening while they’re walking or running. You can be as real as ever. You don’t have to be that broadcast journalist to get into this. What you have to do is have a message, care about it, Mark, as you do, and then drill down. Get the information out of each guest, make it valuable to your listener-ship and they’ll keep coming back.

Mark Miletello:

Well, thanks for the confidence. I needed that right off the bat. Phoebe, let’s jump into this. Let’s talk about what you do and how you have become one of the greatest in your industry and how you can help our industry. This is where the insurance professionals meet; you are a professional in the media space, give us a professional tip right off the bat, something, a piece of technology, something, a tip that can transform our business.

Phoebe Chongchua:

This is probably one your industry, at least the agents, haven’t heard of, and they might do a, “Huh,” scratch their head and might have to hit the 30 second back button when I say it, but trust me. If you do any blogging, if you do any writing for the web, I’m going to give you a tool that is incredibly valuable. I actually got this from a guest on one of my podcast shows because I ask a similar question about a resource or tool that they can use, but I’ll tell you what, it’s really worth its weight in gold. This is called a headline analyzer. I’m sure in your show notes, Mark, you’ll put a link to it, but it’s basically from the Advanced Marketing Institute. What’s a headline analyzer? This is a little bit crazy, when I got into TV, we wrote headlines, that bait that draws you in to watch those, what we call, teases so that you’ll watch the 5 o’clock news or the 6:30 newscast. A headline analyzer takes your headline that you think it’s so awesome and then tells you whether it really is awesome or not. It tells you if it’s awesome not just for people, meaning the actual humans, on the web we write for the robots too. We write for the algorithms and all the bots that are searching the web, so you have to make your headline work for two things.

When I first started writing on the web a long, long time ago, I thought it was really cool to be clever, that clever journalist like I was on TV. I realized clever doesn’t pay, you have to be straightforward, you’ve got to be hard-hitting, and you’ve got to make your point, and that’s what’s going to make a good headline. Why am I telling you this? As an insurance agent, you may or may not have a blog, you may or may not write on LinkedIn. If you are not, you’re making a huge, huge mistake and I’m sure we’re going to get into that as we go through this episode. The headline analyzer will tell you things like is this hitting emotionally at the level you want? Is it hitting intellectually? Guess what, in the insurance industry, there’s a lot of space for writing about things that are both going to hit intellectually and emotionally.

I’m sure when you guys go on sales calls you guys are hitting on both levels, the intellectual and emotional. What’s going to happen if you don’t have life insurance, for instance, and your husband passes away? How will your wife be taken care of? That’s emotional. If you’re writing about stuff like that, but your headline doesn’t match the content of your writing and doesn’t work for the search engines and doesn’t work at an impactful level for humans, then your writing isn’t going to go anywhere and isn’t going to be seen. That’s why I recommend this. It’s very easy to use, you just type in the headline, and it’ll tell you whether you’re writing it at the level of a complete novice or whether you’re writing at the level of an expert copywriter.

Mark Miletello:

Thank you and we will definitely share the link. I’m going to get your commitment right now that maybe five or ten or twenty shows down the road I want you back because you’ve given me since I’ve known you, Phoebe, you’ve given me like ten sites of just things I would have never known or found. Recently you said, “Mark, you need to use Grammarly. Your writing needs help.” Yup, you’re right, I drag a document over, it proofs it, sends it back to me and then it needs more proofing, but the point is you have your finger on the pulse and anyone out there, whether you’re an insurance agency, a management team or a Fortune 500 company, you need to look into this lady because she is something special, so thank you, your professional strategy. Phoebe, let’s talk a little bit about you. Let’s give the listener a little bit of background about maybe your rise to success. Can you share that with us?

Phoebe Chongchua:

My background is a television journalist, and I wanted to be a television newscaster since the age of 12. I really had this mantra, I don’t even know where it came from, but I think in your industry it’s sales meetings. You guys are heavily into creating what you want in your life and making that a reality. I lived by the mantra imagine it, and you can achieve it, similar to Walt Disney. This was something that really drove me. When I wanted to become that newscaster since the age of 12, I just bee-lined, like laser-focused, and doubled down on it. You’re going to hear me say that about a couple of things as we go through the tips section, but that’s what got me into broadcasting. My first job was literally delivering radios for KPBS. I look back, and I think, “This is crazy,” but they were radios for the radio reading service for the visually impaired. I believe that still exists today. I would go into homes, and this taught me a lot about the psychology of humans because I would go into homes where there were people who were completely blind or mostly blind, and I would deliver a radio to them so that they could listen to this station that read the newspaper over the air.

Quite an interesting thing, not anywhere along the lines of what I wanted to be doing, but I took it to get my foot in the door. From there, I worked hard, long hours and innovated and iterated into whatever I needed to be to make it to that next step. Over the course of about four years I ended up landing a job in TV news after doing many internships for all the television stations and three networks at that time, so you can see times have changed. There are a lot more networks in one local market today. I ended up becoming a TV news reporter for the ABC affiliate here in San Diego called 10 News. Within just a short period, maybe two year’s time, I was promoted to an anchor. Really made all the mistakes you could imagine because I was green as ever, Mark, so believe me, sitting in your place, I know exactly what it’s like except I was on TV very young, very green. I really do thank the San Diego audience for hanging in there and believing in me because I made lots of mistakes.

From there, I really began to see my entrepreneurial skills develop, which I didn’t even know that I had in me, but I started to innovate. I created fitness programs that became very popular on TV, and I created one of the things that I’m most proud of in my career, which is a resource festival that became know, at that time in California, as one of the largest resource festivals of its kind. We attracted 20 thousand people to it in just four year’s time. I remember one of the funny stories is it was held out at Qualcomm Stadium, it was meant to differentiate the brand, so differentiate 10 News from watching any other network news, why we cared about the people, because again we were trying to answer and solve questions for our viewership so that we would stand out.

You could watch a drive-by shooting on any network, right, so what makes the network different? If you care about the community, which is the same message that I teach today. The real highlight was it was held out at Qualcomm stadium, took up this very large area of the parking lot. I had the, then San Diego Chargers involved, the Padres, I had major businesses, about 500 businesses and non-profits coming together for this one day where we gave the community all the answers we could pack into a day to help them, and fun entertainment. There’s a thing called a sig alert. A sig alert is when they dispatch over the air by the law enforcement that there are big problems, traffic problems in a certain area and it could mean that there’s big breaking news going down. What happened was Channel 8 heard this sig alert. This is the competition, and we were in fierce competition at the time with Channel 8.

Mark Miletello:

You know there’s a movie about this, right?

Phoebe Chongchua:

Right, so Channel 8-

Mark Miletello:

San Diego newscasters, right?

Phoebe Chongchua:

Yes, exactly.

Mark Miletello:

I won’t go there.

Phoebe Chongchua:

Yeah, Anchorman. Anyway, Channel 8 shows up to cover the story thinking that it was breaking news and I’m telling you, I go, “You know you’ve arrived when the competition is coming to your event that you’re trying to brand yourself about in the community.” You’ve got 20 thousand plus people, you’ve got it all backed up, it looked like it was a football game or something. They came to cover it and then they’re like, “Oh, it’s only Channel 10’s event.”

Mark Miletello:

I love it.

Phoebe Chongchua:

What was so cool about that, Mark, and where this ties into branding for companies, is that we were creating something that our viewership needed. Our viewership is what drives the business of media. A lot of people forget that media is a business, and it is just like any other business. It has to bring in its profit, so we have to answer to them. We did this by connecting with them and engaging with them. This was long before the days of Twitter and YouTube and Facebook and LinkedIn and all the platforms that you can now, or podcasting, that you can now go live on and create your own stories and tell your messages. When we did this, it was so different and so unique that it drove a lot of attention. I still remember the customers, the viewers, coming in and saying to me things like, “This has changed my life. I didn’t know that this business existed.” We did a job fair and got 340 people hired in a single day. It was a pretty cool event.

Mark Miletello:

You said so much in there. I find when I work and talk with you Phoebe, I take notes, so that’s awesome. I’m always learning from you. First of all, you said a quote that when you said it, it just reminded me, this is the number one quote I heard from my father growing up. It was a William Arthur Ward quote that says, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” Thanks for sharing that because I hadn’t even thought of that and that’s kind of a staple quote in the insurance industry. That’s where that came from, and actually, my father repeated that often throughout my life. One thing that you did, and I don’t know if you have or have not, but I just recently read Blue Ocean Strategy.

What you were doing and the idea is that we all compete in this red, bloody ocean of fierce competition. What you did was clearly before it was even coined that, you performed what was a “Blue Ocean Strategy.” You’ve become the competition, so now I get to be the media, I see where that comes from. That’s just a Blue Ocean Strategy that you, just like Amazon, just like Uber, just like, you broke out of an industry to create a whole new platform where you brought in connections. The last thing I’d want to say is, wow, what a great concept where you were able to build a community event, I bet you got some pretty good business relationships throughout that.

Phoebe Chongchua:

Oh, absolutely. One of the things I recommend when businesses come to me, and they say, “We’re struggling with this concept of being the media. How do we be that voice? How do we tell our own stories?” I look at them, and I think for years, maybe even decades, a business has been using, what’s called a press release. We heard several years ago; I can’t remember how many now, but Coca-Cola said, “We’re killing the press release.” You’ve seen large companies like GE now, instead of using press releases, they tell stories. GE is a brand and a big, big brand. A lot of times a brand like that would not need to engage with its consumers. You’re going to go out, you’re going to buy washing machines and other things that they make, but the fact is when they tell stories about how certain things are made, or they tell stories that are along the lines of what the consumer wants to know about, they’re engaging with that consumer in a way like the media does. That’s the point, when you build these partnerships and you be the media, you have an opportunity to carry that story to your consumers and bypass traditional media, bypass that press release, that by the way, most of the time, quite frankly, when I was a news reporter, newscaster, it ended up in that circular file. You know, the one on the floor, right next to your desk?

Mark Miletello:

Yup.

Phoebe Chongchua:

Sadly, because it wasn’t stories. Businesses were pitching advertisements and saying, “Hey, television station, do you want to cover our press release that’s an advertisement?” No, that’s not a story. You have to really dig deep and differentiate between what is a brand journalism story, which literally means just taking the journalistic skills and writing a story on behalf of a brand using those journalistic skills. Remember, we started off the show by saying journalists look for stories that matter to their end users. Brands need to do the same, what matters to the end user. As an insurance agent, what matters to that audience? What do you want to tell them? I know I’ve sat down with financial advisors, I’ve sat down with insurance agents, I’ve sat down with lawyers, they’re all trying to help make the lives of the people they serve better. The problem is, sometimes they market to them instead of really answering the questions that that consumer might have. If they did answer the questions in an intellectual and emotional way, then they’d be able to close the sale a whole lot easier.

Mark Miletello:

That’s kind of the show with Richard Weylman, that’s exactly the point that he put. Let’s talk now about the insurance agent, the insurance industry. Let’s use all of your experience and knowledge in media and let’s pinpoint some professional advice that you would give us so that we can … I know sometimes I take your notes because you’re so far ahead of where I’m at in social media and where I’m at in branding myself or my team. I have to take notes and go back and think and study on that and ask you more follow-up questions. What I want to do is kind of slow it down and really pinpoint a couple of areas, Phoebe, that you would advise with your knowledge of our industry you’ve had over the past decade and the knowledge that you have blending those to teach us how we can utilize your advice and skills to help us. Can you give us some advice?

Phoebe Chongchua:

Sure, so there are three things. I want to keep it really simple because what tends to happen is I have all these great thoughts, and I’m really an innovator. People hire me to strategically think for the brand and the business regarding marketing and content creation. Sometimes I get a little too far ahead of myself, so I want to break it down and make it very simple for anyone listening. Whether you are the leader of a very large company or you’re a solopreneur or an independent contractor, wherever you fall in this, and the industry actually doesn’t matter, but in this case, we’re talking about insurance, you need to do three things. If you do these three things and you do them well, I can guarantee you success because you will be found on the web, you will be found in the offline and the online world, and really that’s what’s most important at this point. The tips are that you have to build authority, you have to be the media, and you’ve got to double down on distribution and promotion.

Let me go into this a little bit deeper. What I mean by being the authority is you have to be recognized and seen as that expert in your industry. That’s the big kahuna of it all. That’s like, “Awesome.” If you’re seen as that, you open doors. When I launched all of this years ago, and I talked about be the media, a lot of people didn’t understand. They thought, “Why do I have to be the media?” Today we’re seeing everything from fake news sites to real news sites, to brands that are popping up that are literally dominating and getting more views than traditional media. Imagine that, Mark, more views than traditional media. That’s crazy to think that’s happening. I’ll give you an example of a bank in Denmark called Jyske Bank. They’re a bank, but guess what they are today? They’re really the media. They wanted to get their news and information about their financial service products to the marketplace, but here’s what was going on. The media just wouldn’t have it. They didn’t see stories; they saw marketing. They saw a press release. They saw, “You’re in it for yourself.”

They said, “Huh, what can we do?” Someone had the ingenious idea to turn themselves into the media and to literally set up broadcasts, so today they broadcast both locally and nationally by the worldwide web. They tell stores about their products and service, and they give financial information, and now, you know what? They’re quoted by people in traditional media jobs, by journalists, by producers, and they’re actually turned to as a resource. This can literally pave the way, and you think, “I’m just an insurance agent. I’ve got to do my job, and now you want me to run a media company?” I want you to build your authority. It would be like saying, “I’m an insurance agent, but I don’t have time to keep my resume up. I don’t have time to do my business card.” This is part of living, part of building a successful career. There’s no room for can’t; there’s only room to get it done. You start by building your authority, building your expertise. If you have a website, you can put your content there. The second part would be the media; you do this by telling the stories that matter to your end users.

Look at who you’re trying to attract. If you’re working on, let’s say maybe you’re going after the agriculture industry, then tell stories that matter to farmers and make them understand what they’re missing if they’re not using your product, but don’t be so focused on your product. Be more focused on what they need and through that you’ll build a relationship with them. They’ll come to know, like and trust you because of the content you’re putting out. Third, you double down on distribution and promotion, and I have to admit this is where sometimes even I’ve failed. I’ve created a lot of content and I’ve done what a journalist does, which is sometimes just broadcast, get it out there, but I’ve long wanted to create courses and to make myself more valuable to my clients by offering something that I don’t have to teach in coaching sessions one on one. Had I doubled down on the distribution and promotion, that would have helped me get to where I was going faster.

This is an area, we all can find the areas where we’re stronger and weaker. Someone likes to podcast, so they like to get on the radio and talk, and that comes easier than maybe writing. You’ve got to force yourself to work at these things and really bring to light all three. Be that expert, be the media by having a story. Another great thing is analyzing other people’s work. For instance, you can take something that’s happening in the insurance world; you can pull that piece of content into your blog or your podcast and then analyze it. This is what the media does; they have a, “And that’s my perspective,” type thing. People will listen to that for your analysis of it. The third, spend probably the most amount of time on doubling down on what’s working, whichever social media platform you’re growing the fastest and promote it like crazy.

Mark Miletello:

Yeah, and sometimes we need to hire that done, sometimes we need to be part of that, right?

Phoebe Chongchua:

I’d say both. You can hire for it, but you need to be part of it. You need to take the time to go out-

Mark Miletello:

At least understand it, learn it, launch it and then lay the groundwork.

Phoebe Chongchua:

Yeah, because here’s the thing, and this is a really important point. When you say, “Hire for it,” you can hire people to do your social media, but they better know your brand inside and outside. Even still, a do a lot of that for brands, but I’ve still got to have that person who is the brand weigh in and make comments and talk and engage. That’s important Facebook Live came about in the last couple of years, that can’t be done hired out. That’s got to be you; you’ve got to jump on, you as that person who’s trying to be the guru, the expert, the authority has to jump in front of the camera and talk to your audience. If you do it all the time, if you do this formula, authority, be the media, double down, you will find success and you’ll look back and you’ll say, “Wow,” in whatever year it was that you started, say it’s 2018 at the time of this recording, you’ll go, “I’m so glad I did that because I’m making my mark in the online world,” which translates to business in the offline world.

Mark Miletello:

Right. You said, “To go out and gather their information and analyze it.” I think since doing this I’ve been really doing that by following your podcast, the brand Journalist Advantage, listening to different CEOs or different marketing or all the guests and the talent that you bring on your show. Of course, I listen to it to learn from you as well, but you pick up something from all these industries, and you can rebrand that or rework it to either, number one, content for you, but also not just talking about the same thing all the time. There are different aspects and different angles to look at marketing and sales and all those different aspects of an entrepreneur, the business they build and things like that. Thank you for sharing that advice. You mentioned where maybe you lack and I definitely lack on the distribution and promotion. Sometimes we learn from our mistakes, and that’s why I like to have this question that I’m going to throw at you. We all have fumbles, we all now and then drop the ball. Can you tell me, Phoebe, of a time that you’ve learned from a mistake that you may have made?

Phoebe Chongchua:

Like my guests say on my show when I ask my, “When it didn’t work moment,” there are so many, but one pops into my head. This was many years ago. I started out when I moved from TV to the web doing video production, and we still do that today where we create stories for brands and businesses. I had this one agency come to me, wanted me to do a shoot with a small business owner. We had to travel for that, so of course, the expenses were paid. I worked directly with the PR firm to set this whole deal up. I never spoke with the client until I actually go there. Once I got there, I realized she was deathly afraid to be on camera. She was super uncomfortable. What she probably needed first was coaching sessions from me on-camera interviews before she would ever be comfortable, but we were set to shoot.

We had a limited amount of time, so we went ahead, and we shot, and it became painfully obvious that this was not going to work. I’ve done thousands and thousands of interviews, interviewed people like Walter Cronkite, interviewed Mother Theresa and interviewed people on the streets who are homeless, even rapists in jail cells, so I have a lot of experience in this, but I can’t make somebody in the time we’re there with the pressure we were under work at the level that they’re going to be comfortable with that’s going to present their brand in the way they wanted. We ended up shooting with, actually, the PR person, which wasn’t bad, but the lesson in all this that I learned is I made a big mistake in not doing some of the homework upfront, in relying on the agency to have set everything up. Sometimes we take a shortcut because it’s like, “Oh, okay, it just dropped into my lap, and it’s a good deal for me. Let’s go.” That ended up costing me in the end because it took more time, the shoot took longer because we had to scrap a lot of it.

I learned that you’ve really got to focus on getting to know everyone involved, making sure that they really understand what’s going to happen and making sure that they’re comfortable with it because very often, CEOs especially, and this isn’t a jab at anyone who’s a leader, myself included at times, jump in front of a camera or behind a microphone thinking, “We’ve got it all made. It’s all under control.” That’s just not the way it is. Everyone can benefit from some coaching, no matter if you’re a professional or not. If you need that first, that should come before you’re actually setting up to do a shoot. I learned to look at that and do my homework beforehand to make sure that the person is really camera-ready. Otherwise, the segments aren’t going to go the way they want. It’s not going to be a success. The PR person, fortunately, was there and could jump in front and he did a great job, so all was well.

Mark Miletello:

Thank you for not bringing up the time I enlisted your help to shoot my first video. That was a little harder than I thought because I had some brighter lights than I’ve ever had pointed at me.

Phoebe Chongchua:

I hear you.

Mark Miletello:

Thanks for being patient. Anyway, we’ll move on.

Phoebe Chongchua:

It’s all good, right? That’s the key, right, Mark-

Mark Miletello:

You made me look as good as someone can.

Phoebe Chongchua:

Yeah.

Mark Miletello:

You polished me again in that aspect, and wow, did you do … I’ve seen that video of training on the Value Sells presentation. I watched it last night because I just did some enhancements to the site. Phoebe, I watched that last night, and I’m thinking, of course, that’s me, and you want to criticize yourself so much, but the way you filmed that, it took just a lot … I don’t know if that comes as second nature or you really put the amount of time into building me performing at two different, one on, anyway you just did a great job, and I was just thinking that last night. I guess it’s been a few years since then and I forgot how awesome of a job you tried to make me look.

Phoebe Chongchua:

Well, thank you. It’s good stuff; the content really is what counts too. It’s very important and can help people.

Mark Miletello:

That’s what I hope about this show is that they realize I’m just a doer in the industry. I’m a manager, leader, an agent, a producer and I’m just having fun. Again, you’ve interviewed Walter Cronkite and many others, I’m going to make it through this show, and I’m going to have fun. I do have my mentor on the other side of this call, so thank you for that, and I really hope you inspire others the way that you’ve inspired me, but let me ask you this. If you’re starting and understanding the social media the way you do, how do you start? What do you do first? How do you grow, Phoebe, in this day and time?

Phoebe Chongchua:

This goes back to the three tips that I was giving, and I see one way to success, and that’s to develop that niche and become that authority in it. You must do that. Out of everything that we’ve said in this podcast, that’s the important thing. Develop your niche, become the authority in it, then stick with one main platform. If you’re going to write on LinkedIn, write on
LinkedIn and double down on it.

Mark Miletello:

Be the best at it.

Phoebe Chongchua:

Yes, do the information and get it out there on that platform so that your audience knows where to follow you. Then introduce it on other social media platforms after you grow the first platform. A lot of times I come into brands, and they go, “We want to be on Twitter and Instagram and all these different things,” and I go, “Let’s just go one and work that one platform first.” Seek to be on other people’s shows because you can gain a lot by being published. I’ve been published in books like Donald Trump’s The Best Real Estate Advice I’ve Ever Received, I’ve been published in other books on financial services. I have a lot of work out there on the web in platforms like realtytimes.com, so a lot around the lifestyle, home improvement, financial services, industry so that my work can be seen through their audiences as well. Again, double down on what you’re doing, on the distribution and the promotion, and don’t give up. Keep going, going, going.

Mark Miletello:

Wonderful advice. What I want to do, Phoebe is, and especially this is a perfect question for someone with your expertise. What is your professional prediction in ten years? The year is 2028, what do you predict, if you had to wave your wand and tell us, what does the industry, the media, the branding, social media, what does the industry look like? How do we as business people fit in?

Phoebe Chongchua:

If you do something now and you take that action now, you’ll set yourself up for better success down the road. If you become known as that expert, building that niche, and maybe you’re catching on to the theme here that you have to be an expert in your industry, but more importantly you have to be known for something. Here’s the thing, if you’re in insurance and you decide later to change into something else, you’ve got to be known for your skillset. Why does LinkedIn offer what are your skillsets and how people endorse you in those areas? Because that’s going to translate to other jobs down the road whichever direction you go. A lot of times people start off into one area, and they migrate like I was a TV journalist, and I’m now a brand journalist and a consultant helping build other people’s brands.

I think the number one thing that you have to think about is in 2028, don’t get focused on will YouTube be around, will Facebook still exist in the way it is. The internet will be here and what will you be known as on the internet? What is your virtual resume? How does it look there, but more important, you don’t want just your resume. You want to be known as that person who has deep thought and analysis. You want to be known as that thought leader, and you only build that by writing, by talking, by speaking, by getting in front of people. If you want to be known to your customers, your homeowners, people that you are working with as the expert, you better be found on the web because it’s basically like this. In the 70’s and 80’s, if you had a business, Mark, would you say no to the yellow pages?

Mark Miletello:

Absolutely not, in fact, I changed my name to AAA, Assurant Insurance Agency so that I would show up first.

Phoebe Chongchua:

Right? Exactly. Remember the tool I talked about, the headline analyzer? That’s where things like this come in. It’s all the same, but it’s different at the same time. What I mean by that is you’re still playing the game. Mark was doing AAA insurance, and on the web, you’ve got to use a web headline analyzer to make your content seen and to try to rank above the competition. The bottom line is you don’t say, “I’m not going to be part of it.” You don’t say, “I’m not going to be in the yellow pages,” in the 70’s and 80’s when you’re a business and, “I’m not going to do social media because I think it might go away.” You’re only hurting yourself, so take action now, start writing, make it a habit or start podcasting. Do something so that you’re getting your thought leadership out there to become that authority.

Mark Miletello:

The cheese always moves, the puck, the idea is to skate to where the puck is going and not to where it is. You are doing that and have done that. Who inspires you? Give us a professional recommendation of a book or a person, or article, someone that you would recommend.

Phoebe Chongchua:

There are so many great people, but I’m going to say this one just because I’ve listened to it recently and because anybody who does follow me knows that I’m a huge fan of Apple. It’s Steve Jobs, The Man Who Thought Different. That might seem like, “Really? Another Steve Jobs reference?” Listen to this book; it’s well done. If you want to, you can listen to it on Audible. You can get a free link from me over at my site thinklikeajournalist.com, but I recommend this book because what he does is so incredibly amazing. You learn a lot more about his younger years and how he thought, even when he was a kid. He, from the very beginning, he just thought differently. I love the way he brings attention to the product. What you’re going to get out of this is you’re going to recognize that it requires a lot of developing yourself and going deep into yourself to do what I’m talking about with this authority branding and authority marketing.

I think Steve is an inspiration to anyone who wants to build a very successful business. If you follow some of his principles about his deep care for products, services and the way they’re presented and the story that’s told, you’ll be on the right track. One of the things that Steve Jobs did is he rehearsed like crazy before those Apple presentations, which, by the way, the world watches. People line up all over the place to get into these conferences. He rehearsed those. He didn’t leave things to chance. For anyone who’s a platform speaker, that’s so important because a lot of times you just try to wing it. You think, “I’ve got this, I’ve seen these slides. I’m just going to roll with it.” He didn’t do that.

Mark Miletello:

Exactly, and it’s not just platform speakers. In our industry, it’s the first time you meet with a client. It’s very time you meet with a client. It’s rehearsed, it’s learned, it’s practiced. If I had to say, and I’m not going to make it number one, but I’m going to say it’s in the top three to five mistakes I find new agents, new reps making in this industry, is they don’t rehearse, they don’t practice enough and they go out and make mistakes. This is learned skills, so that sounds like a really good read. As I promised, it was a special show. I cannot believe, I’m just honored to have one of the greatest minds in the world in the media space, one of the most sought-after coaches and all those great things. I just want to say thank you for being a guest on the show and thank you for all you’ve done to mentor and coach me. I’m honored and privileged to know you and to be coached by you and to have you in my corner.

Phoebe Chongchua:

Mark, it’s been so much fun, and I’m just thrilled with your success. You’re doing great.

Mark Miletello:

And now you’re in the corner of the entire industry with this show, so thank you for that as well. If you like what you hear on the show, you can definitely connect. All you have to do is Google Phoebe Chongchua. She’s easy to find. If you want others to find me and this show, please go to iTunes, rate, and review, and you can follow me on markmiletello.com. Thank you for listening.

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