Our guest today is Veronica Sopher. She is an award-winning visibility strategist who helps entrepreneurs garner national media placement that promotes their brand legitimacy. Brands that have strong personal branding have impressive growth in profits.
Learn more about personal branding strategies and how to win 2021 with it!
Veronica’s website: https://www.veronicavsopher.com/
Katie Brinkley 0:02
Hey there. This is Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado based small business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to Rocky Mountain marketing. My guest today is Veronica Sofer. Veronica is an award winning visibility strategist. With more than 20 years experience in public relations, she works with entrepreneurs and business owners who are ready to scale their brand with a strong visibility strategy to garner national media placement. Veronica knows that that strategic media placement legitimizes you and your brand as an expert in your area. Veronica, I am so pumped to have you on the show today, because I think a lot of people might hear that intro and say, oh, man, I mean, I need to have a visibility strategist for my brand. So I think that this is going to be a great conversation, and people are going to find a lot of value from what you have to say today. So welcome so much to the show.
Veronica Sopher 1:06
Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Katie Brinkley 1:08
We’ll start I like to have my guests tell us a little bit about their background where they started from where they grew up. So tell us a little bit about your your history growing up.
Veronica Sopher 1:17
Yeah, I’m from Texas, our family’s originally from the Midwest, or from Kansas, technically, the High Plains. So, which is a little bit different than the Midwest. But we’re from the High Plains. I come from a family full of entrepreneurs and professionals and people who are really focused on community and servant leadership. And so those are some of the values that were instilled in me moving through my youth, I got into public relations. As soon as I got to college, I was either going to be a lawyer or a journalist, because that’s pretty much how my family operated. We have a family full of journalists and lawyers and lawyers. Very quickly, I realized that while I love journalism, when I was covering the Oklahoma City bombing, because I went to school in North Texas, which was pretty close to Oklahoma City, I realized that I wasn’t sure that the day to day crises was for me. So being able to help craft the information and tell the story was really where I found my passion. So by the time I graduated, I knew that’s where I wanted to be. So I ended up graduating from the University of North Texas with a degree in Public Relations. And from there, I went into finance, and then public health, and then public education. So I’ve got more than 20 years experience in the field, and I have loved every moment of it. Storytelling is really at the heart of who I am. And I’m a connector. So when I can do both at the same time, I’m living my purpose.
Katie Brinkley 2:37
Well, how do you think I mean, I know you kind of touched on it a little bit there. But how do you think that your upbringing, you know, affected your eventual career journey?
Veronica Sopher 2:46
You know, I have a passion for telling the unique stories of where people come from, how their values are formed, and how they make an impact in the world. You know, for example, when one set of grandparents were very politically active, my grandfather was the first Hispanic mayor of the very small town were from in Kansas, he was active in the military, as was all six of his brothers. And public service was really just embedded in who I am. And so when I got to see how people were using those experiences in their lives, I always make sure that that’s part of the stories that I tell for them. And then the other side of my family was very entrepreneurial. My other set of grandparents had the one of the only Mexican food restaurants in our small town in Kansas. They were friendly, they were engaging, they knew everyone in town, everyone in town knew them. And I loved that communal sense of supporting each other businesses. And so that was something that I bring to my business as well.
Katie Brinkley 3:45
Now, I think that you’ve, you’ve mentioned a couple times you love the story. And I think that a lot of people might over, they might say, Oh, well, I don’t have a story. There’s nothing special about me. I’m just like everyone else. But I think that that’s something that you really kind of help bring out with, with all of your clients. Talk to us a little bit about what exactly is personal branding and what you do for your clients?
Veronica Sopher 4:10
Well, that’s a really great question. You know, people don’t think that they’re unique, or that they’ve got something to celebrate. And they do, we all do. And you need to really make sure that you’re working with a team or a professional that can help you tap into that so that you can stand out from the crowd. So when you think about your personal branding, your branding, just like a company or a corporation is your promise, who you are your value system, the expectation people can have for you on how you conduct yourself and how you do business. So you really need to invest in those questions about how people can support getting to know you and how you can support them and understanding who you are. And at the end of the day, it’s not just your colors, your your color palette or the fonts that you use. It’s all of it combined. It’s the impression it’s The words you use, it’s the colloquialisms that you use. And it’s all has to be aligned to the values that you’re bringing for your company. You know, I love
Katie Brinkley 5:09
that you brought up that it’s not just the fonts and the colors, because for social media and what I do, I mean, that’s part of it. But I, when I start with a new client, I have an hour long conversation with them to hear how you know if they write all the time, or, or how they talk with somebody, and I try, because if I’m writing for a client, I have to make sure that I incorporate that into their captions and kind of try to bring out their personality, through text and through pictures. Now, who would you say needs a personal brand? I mean, I think that a lot of people might say, like, oh, well, my business doesn’t need a personal brand. I mean, I have a logo, I want to be considered an agency. Talk to us about who needs a personal brand.
Veronica Sopher 5:54
Honestly, anyone with a visible presence. I mean, this goes, you know, when you think about a car salesman, when you think about an insurance agent, or realtor, those are people who traditionally had a personal brand. And you they might sponsor the local baseball team. And so they’ve got their logo everywhere. But it’s also managers and leaders and leaders of organizations. So doctors and their medical practices, they need a personal brand. There are lots of Orthopedic Surgeons out there. And if you’re one that wants to be set, apart from everyone else in the competition, your personal brand needs to reflect what sets you apart from other orthopedic surgeons, maybe it’s your bedside manner, maybe it’s your practices commitment to the community, or to sustainability, or some value that you hold any leader, when you think about maybe a school, for example, a principal, they have their personal brand, right, that you’re going to be the fun playful principle, or you’re going to be the super serious principle that can be used in any space in an indie industry. So generally, as a leader, you’re going to want to make sure you are investing in your brand. And I loved that you touched on our speech and our voice. I’m in Texas, and we say y’all, and you’ll hear people say howdy. And that’s a part of the brand. And if you’re in New York, that’s probably not going to play so well. So you’re going to want to make sure that you have identified what makes you you what you’re willing to put forth. And let’s be vulnerable to the world. And then just own it, own every part of it and go for it. So how I love
Katie Brinkley 7:31
that you said you have to own it and be you. How do you get people to come out of their shell, and embrace the fact that they are their brand?
Veronica Sopher 7:41
You know, that’s a really great question. And I think for some people, it’s a struggle, because they’re not clear on how transparent social media is, and how transparent the world is now, you know, maybe 20 years ago, you could get away with not having a personal brand and not being so prominent. But with social media, whether you like it or not, someone can Google your name and find images of you, or find quotes from you, maybe in an article or on a social media post. So the sooner you come to terms with the fact that you’ve got a digital footprint, the more successful you’re going to be. And I think having the right person supporting you with your social media and your social assets, it’s gonna really be helpful.
Katie Brinkley 8:22
So talk to us a little bit about how you, you help people with their visibility, how you help them get their personal brand out there. I mean, we touched on social media. And thank you for doing that. Because I mean, that’s my jam. But what other tools do you use to help someone and your clients gain visibility as their brand.
Veronica Sopher 8:41
So certainly, social media is a huge part of that. But we also tap into traditional media, which includes newspaper articles, radio appearances, it could be magazine posts, any of those traditional ways that people get visibility with media, then non traditional seems to be just as effective for many of my clients. And that includes podcast appearances, virtual summit appearances, guest blogging, any of those kinds of things really rounds out the visibility strategy. Now some people are going to be more focused if they’re solely on the online space. Or if more people are focused on the brick and mortar, we might focus more on Google ads or something like that. But at the end of the day, you really need a balance that complements all of it, because people are going to be attracted to you and your services, if they trust that you’ve got a presence everywhere. So if you’re a brick and mortar professional service provider, and you don’t have a website, they’re going to question your credibility, they’re going to question whether you’re, you know, Fly By Night kind of a business or something like that. So you’re going to want to make sure that you’re diversified just like you are with your investments because people are going to do their due diligence, and they’re gonna research you and try to find out exactly what you’re like online versus in person and vice versa. So I always encourage my online entrepreneurs instead As providers to also make sure that they’re engaging in their community with some sort of presence in a traditional sense, when when they can,
Katie Brinkley 10:08
you know, and you brought up guest blogging. And I think that a lot of people might say, wait, what do you mean, I have a blog, I’m writing a blog for my website, why would I want to write a blog for someone else’s? Talk to us a little bit about why that is important?
Veronica Sopher 10:20
Well, you know, there’s a couple of schools of thought, number one, it’s just great to share services and get introduced to a warm audience already. So for instance, if you invite me to write a blog, I will certainly do so with content that I think will be very beneficial to your audience, but then also with the support of you providing a backlink to my website. And if there’s a backlink, and you use key terms that are complementary to my key terms, it’s just going to improve both of our SEOs. And those are search engine optimization opportunities. And when people are googling our businesses, it will just improve that SEO placement. And we ultimately both want to be on the front page of a Google search. So all those kinds of technical tips are helpful for blog guest blogging. And likewise, I would, of course, celebrate on social media, the opportunity to support your blog, and that just really opens the door for warm audiences. The other thing I try to tell people is that it just opens the door for more collaborations. So maybe in the future, you liked what I did, or I liked what you did. And then we’re brainstorming a future project, like maybe a virtual Summit. And it’s just an automatic collaboration, because we are already comfortable with each other’s work, and we know the quality of it. And when you can do that, and really create synergistic relationships for other business owners, they’re gonna want to be inclined to work with you moving forward.
Katie Brinkley 11:42
You’ve been doing this for over 20 years now. And I think that it’s that’s something where people might say, like, Man, I feel like the personal branding side of it has just started, how have you been doing this for 20 years? But it’s, it’s stuff that you probably haven’t even really thought about, like, oh, yeah, like we’re getting booked on on television shows are getting booked for on podcasts or radio shows. And that’s what you’ve been able to help your clients with, over the past 20 years. So I want to know, you know, how have you seen things change with the emergence of social media and Instagram and everyone having a platform to talk on now,
Veronica Sopher 12:17
I think there’s a way to balance it all. And so what I have seen happen to some of my clients is they get really overwhelmed with all the platforms. And that’s when we really work on their leadership. And we talk about what it means to manage a business to be a project manager and to delegate because I think what happens is we get overwhelmed and we just want to throw our hands up and say, forget it. I’m not doing this Twitter thing, I’m not doing this clubhouse thing, it’s too much. I can’t be everywhere all the time. So when you can build a team that can help you with that. And when you can realize that one set of content can be repurposed and repackage in multiple ways from multiple mediums that it no longer becomes such a cumbersome task. And I think taking a deep breath, learning what it is you want to learn, if you don’t want to learn social media, you don’t have to learn social media. But if it’s something you want to learn, there are lots of resources in which you can learn it otherwise delegated delegated out, because when you ask what I have seen happen is for those people who are unwilling to either delegate it, or who are unwilling to learn it, they miss opportunities. Because the reality is, most of business is happening online, especially during COVID. People aren’t going to go to your website, look at your contact page, and then drop down and then pick up a phone and then dial that number. That is just way too many steps. If I can go straight to your Instagram or your Facebook, I’m just going to send you a DM, it’s so much faster that way, I don’t have time for it. And the ability to do business that way, is really a step in the right direction. So I encourage all my clients to move towards that even if they’re not comfortable with it or find someone who is. So I’m so
Katie Brinkley 13:59
glad that you brought up how people that are networking. I loved what you said with just sliding right on into their DMS to get in touch with them. You don’t go to the contact page on a website anymore. And you know, with the emergence of clubhouse, it’s been connections are being made even faster than ever before. I’d love to just hear your thoughts on networking and how you encourage your clients to do it the right way.
Veronica Sopher 14:22
There really is no wrong way except with with the caveat of being not being authentic. That’s really the only wrong way to do it. If you try to create some sort of Persona, some type of person or character that you think people want to connect with. It’s just not going to work people can see right through it, whether you’re engaging on Facebook or even more so in clubhouse because if you think about it, our voice our the way we pronounce words are athletic, all of those things, the inflections of our words, they people can interpret it and they know when they are dealing with someone on a genuine level. So there’s really no wrong way to network. except to be an authentic, what I tell people all the time is tap into your natural resources. Are you funny? Are you? Do you have a funny cadence? Do you have a high squeaky pitched kind of mousy voice, take advantage of what it is that you have and tap into it, own it and then genuinely be who you are. I like to start right off the bat with how I help people and who I am and the things that I value. And if we’re not a good fit for each other, that’s perfectly okay, I can introduce you to someone else who is and that person’s probably gonna refer business back to me. And the other thing I tell people is not to be afraid. There’s really not a space for fear inside of all of this. I know plenty of introverts who are killing it right now with networking, especially during COVID. And clubhouse has just opened the world. And I want to say to you mentioned how fast clubhouse is taking off and how fast people are connecting. It is really just phenomenal to watch the galactic speed at which people are creating networks on clubhouse. My business has just boomed since being on clubhouse. And what I love most is I’m making genuine connections with people that I want to do business with henceforth. So I encourage everyone to just trust your gut, do what you’re comfortable doing. But don’t be fearful. And don’t let fear stop you.
Katie Brinkley 16:20
And that’s a powerful statement right there. And if you guys are not on clubhouse, check it out it right now it’s it is for iPhone only. It’s still in beta mode. But if you’re an iPhone user, and you have not heard about it, check it out in the Apple Apple App Store. So I want to just kind of talk a little bit about you being an entrepreneur and a business owner. I know we talked about clubhouse a lot and how it has been a huge for you gaining new clients and new prospects. But what other marketing tips or tricks or tactics have you found to be successful for you.
Veronica Sopher 16:55
The other thing that has worked really, really well is picking up a phone, picking up a phone because there are still some people, some decision makers, I should say producers, editors, assignments, editors who are old school, who don’t have social media apps on their phone, they may even still have a flip phone, there are some people still living in that world and we can’t ignore them. So some other things that I have done that have been really successful is literally picking up a phone calling a newsroom and saying, Hey, I’ve got a great client who provides XYZ service. And I know based on your readership, that they would really enjoy learning and would appreciate some context on this resource, especially in light of COVID. So the other thing I would say another tip is always try to relate it to some current event or maybe as something that’s politically challenging for that community. Write that in there, try to find a key connector that will have the assignments editor or the person making the decision. Say, hmm, yeah, go ahead and send it to me, let me take a look at it. When that happens, it’s just easily nine out of 10, I get a hit. And and I’m old school sometimes, and I just pick up a phone and call and business is still done that way.
Katie Brinkley 18:07
That’s awesome. So before we wrap things up today, is there any final piece of advice if you’re if someone’s listening to this, and they’re like, I still don’t know if I really need a personal brand. I mean, I just am a florist or I just am I just started up this company, this this graphic design company, I don’t do I really need to have a personal brand. What would you say to them?
Veronica Sopher 18:29
I would say absolutely, you need a personal brand. Whether or not you’re a book author, a florist, a realtor, even if you’ve just starting a housekeeping service, you need a personal brand, because people need to know who you are, what you’re about and what your promises. So if you’re if you just lost your big corporate job, and you’ve got two or three friends who get all their stress out by cleaning houses, and you’ve rounded him up, and you’re going to start a cleaning business, you’ve got to have a promise of who you are. And so whether you’re going door to door or just putting ads in on Facebook or on your local neighborhood, community forum, you need a brand you need a promise and people need to be able to very quickly assess whether or not it’s your someone they want to connect to. So I don’t discount the fact that people question it. But I would encourage them to be creative and identify what makes them unique. What makes them special. No, that example I just gave, if that happened to me, and I needed to make mortgage for the next month because I wasn’t already a month behind. I’d grab my professional friends and say we’re gonna go clean houses, we’re gonna get all of our stress out, we’re gonna get all of our steps in and we’re gonna make some cash. My brand would be corporate women take a break and we’ll clean your house just to get our steps in. I mean, it’s it’s unique. It’s a little different. And someone might be like, Wow, okay, well, they’re problem. Sure they probably are bonded. Yeah, they probably have references, let me call them. So there’s an opportunity for lots of creativity. If you’re not super creative, you know someone who is. So make sure you hire them and bring them on board to find to help you find your message.
Katie Brinkley 20:08
I love it. And you know you, you’ve sprung up so many good points today. And I think that one of the biggest takeaways for this for our episode, it would be, don’t be shy, don’t be afraid to just be you. Because especially on social media, you know, if you show up, put your face out there, say I am the brand and just start posting and making those connections. People are going to feel like they know like and trust you, they’re going to want to do business with you. They’re going to respect you don’t hide behind a logo, and just really try and and be authentically you because that is what people are going to want to buy and sell from. That’s exactly right. Well, this has been such a great conversation. Where can we find out more about you and your business online? If someone has some questions for you about? Yeah, you know, maybe I do need a personal brand. Where can they find you?
Veronica Sopher 20:58
You can definitely check me out on my website, which is Veronica V. Sofer, SOP H ER, people always asked me about that last name. It’s a pH not enough. So Veronica V. sofr.com. And also on Facebook, same thing, Instagram, same thing, Veronica B, Sofer and clubhouse so you can find me there. And then I also have a great group on Facebook, where we drop tidbits. And I have a video show that I do every Saturday I interview reporters, visibility people, branding experts, marketing experts. And so that’s a great place to get tips. So come join our community on Facebook. It’s managing your message with media, so make sure you check that out, and I’ll provide you a link so you can share with the listeners.
Katie Brinkley 21:42
Awesome. Thank you again so much for coming on the show today.
Veronica Sopher 21:46
Thank you appreciate it.
Katie Brinkley 21:49
Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at www.nextstepsocialcommunications.com or connect with me on LinkedIn or Instagram. Just look for Katie Brinkley. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.