Mel Robbins is a serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, internationally recognized social media influencer, and one of the most sought-after motivational speakers in the world. Her digital platform inspires more than 20 million people a month with transformative videos, articles, positive psychology research, and inspiring content. Here, she discusses common mistakes marketers make in their day-to-day work and why being smart about your platform is so important.
Everyone cares way too much about what their peers will think about what they’re doing.
You can only get things right through experimentation. In the beginning, it’s all about having the courage to put yourself out there.
Nobody understands the amount of work that actually goes into gaining traction with your content.
Kyle: Thank you, everybody, for tuning in and joining us today. I have a very special guest here with myself. I have Mel Robbins. Hi, Me. How are you doing today?
Mel: Hi Kyle, how are you?
Kyle: I’m doing good, thank you. And just to kick things off a little bit can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your professional background?
Mel: Well, we don’t have time for the professional background because I am old enough to be your grandmother for God sakes.
Kyle: We could do the cliff-note version.
Mel: So I’ve had like 22 career changes. But I went to Dartmouth then I went to law school, then I got into the tech business in Boston, then I was an executive coach for a while then I got into the media business. I’ve hosted shows for A&E for Fox. I was a contributor to CNN, I was a syndicated radio hos. And now I own my own media company and we are in the personal development space. I wrote the “Five-Second Rule,” which is the number one audiobook in the world right now and one of the top five most read books on Amazon and we have a new talk show launching with Audible next month called, “Kickass with Mel Robbins.”
So what the hell does that mean, if you were to mash together Howard Stern, Dr. Phil and throw in a little bit of Oprah, we are doing that online. So our syndication model is not to go with the big players and have them on the content but it’s to create our own short-form content in the personal development inspiration entertainment space and syndicate it online. We reach about 20 million people a month, that’s what we do.
Kyle: Awesome and with that first off that is…that’s not easy to get out so I mean I’m glad I caught all of that. With everything that you’re doing and with all of you know everything that’s going on right now, what channels do you see being the powerhouses of digital these days especially with what you’re involved in?
Mel: Well, it depends on who you’re trying to reach. So my audience on Facebook is very different than the audience on Instagram, very different than the audience on YouTube, very different than the audience on LinkedIn. And so I think that it’s really important to understand what your audience is coming for on each platform and then really figure out your syndication strategy based, first, on listening to your audience and, second, on understanding the platform as best you can in terms of some of the things that aren’t obvious on the surface that helps your content bubble up to the top.
Other than the fact, it’s like, for example, a lot of people don’t think about the fact that just posting a YouTube video on Facebook is the dumbest fucking thing you could do because, first of all, people can’t share it and all of the stuff that goes viral on Facebook is something that’s natively uploaded. The other thing that people don’t think about is the engagement rates on stuff that actually is closed caption. In addition to being inclusive, most people aren’t listening to what they’re watching, they’re watching it. And so having closed caption on a YouTube natively uploaded video it’s going to spike your engagement rates. And then understanding that the best possible 60 seconds is what you need to be putting on Instagram, and by the way, it better have a title card that grabs your attention and that’ll hang for the first 10 seconds and it better have a CTA on the…You didn’t think I knew this much, did you? A CTA on the end that’s 10 seconds long so that as the video is rolling and looping, you’re actually grabbing somebody. So I think being smart about your platform while you’re just throwing shit against the wall in order to figure out what people respond to, that’s really important.
Kyle: Absolutely and I think that’s a common thing a lot of people experience. They have an idea that they want to roll with it, they don’t really completely think out their plan and what they are trying to achieve with it or…
Mel: And look here’s the thing, Kyle…
Mel: ...I think people’s biggest mistake is that they’re doing too much thinking.
Mel: The only way you figure this shit out is if you try it. And it’s so important for you to put up stuff that nobody watches to be better on camera and it’s so important to test things that have more of a funny tone or more of an irreverent tone so that you find the courage to actually be yourself. Because ultimately until you can figure out how to truly express yourself when you’re posting your content, whether you’re writing it or filming it or photographing it or captioning and whatever, you’re never going to hit the sweet spot that you’re meant to and you only do that through experimentation.
So in the beginning, it’s all about the courage to just put yourself out there. As you start to put yourself out there and you build that muscle of the, “Fuck it. I’ll put it up and see what happens,” then listen, then watch and then see based on kind of what’s happening with the content that you got the courage to put out there how to pivot. But don’t become a master of the platform first. All these platforms change all the time and it’s really about listening and watching what’s going on, but you got to get that shit out there.
Kyle: Absolutely and that kind of actually leads me to my next question then, from a skills perspective where do you think more marketing professionals should be investing their time? Because it definitely sounds like a lot of people aren’t really putting in the time and effort to actually put their experiments out there, they’re thinking about it a lot. Where do you think they should be focusing their time like from a skills perspective to make sure that they are set up for success?
Mel: That’s a great question. I think it depends on what spectrum of marketing you are talking about. I think the number one thing that you should do if you are wanting to get into marketing, if you want to be an influencer, you got to know how to fucking edit. Do not expect to hire somebody else to do this for you. You have to learn how to do this stuff for yourself and you also have to post your own social before you can get somebody else to do it. And so I think that there is also…because it seems like the influencer world is becoming clearly the next like, “I want to be an overnight celebrity world.” Nobody understands the amount of work that goes into actually gaining traction with your content. And yes, there are overnight success stories and there are little pieces that go viral, but to sustain something, you have to put in the work, you have to have patience and you’ve got to know how to do this stuff for yourself before you can expect somebody else.
The reason why we’ve grown so quickly…because we only started investing in video and really pushing our content out from the syndication model standpoint across all the platforms 18 months ago. So 18 months ago, whatever, I had a “Ted Talk” with 14,000,000 views. We now have content coming out every day and we’re reaching 20 million people a month and I have won a creator award already and have a quarter of a million subscribers on YouTube almost, we’re like 5,000 people away from it something like that.
Kyle: I counted.
Mel: But it never would have happened obviously if we didn’t start. But the thing that nobody understands is I was in college as a film major in 1989, cutting film and putting it on the little things, and putting the tape across with the holes because that’s how you used to have to edit. When I was a radio show host, I was a Saturday morning radio show host for free for a year before I got a weekday show. I was pulling my own clips, I was pasting together that show.
I was doing a call-in advice show on “Serious” that nobody fucking listened to and thank God they didn’t because it was terrible before I was ever on “Good Morning America” or CNN. And so you have to suck and you have to learn. And so the things you need to learn, you need to learn how to talk to a camera, you need to learn how to tell the truth and have the courage to be yourself, and you need to learn how to fucking edit and put graphics on something, and do your own social, and write your own captions, and respond to every single comment. And then you need to learn how to listen because your audience is telling you what they like and what they hate.
Kyle: Yep, absolutely. Do you think and I mean that’s kind of leading me on to think just more about some stuff, do you think it’s a fear of…?
Mel: Really, what are you doing that you’re not…what do you need to be doing that you are not doing?
Kyle: Say that again.
Mel: What do you need to be doing that you are not currently doing, Kyle?
Kyle: What do I need to be doing as of this moment?
Mel: Yeah, when you think about your own marketing or your own career.
Kyle: Oh, I feel like there is actually a lot. Where do I begin? I don’t think that’s a good thing to admit on this but…
Mel: Yes, of course, it is.
Kyle: ...as long as my boss doesn’t hear this I think it would be okay.
Mel: It doesn’t matter.
Kyle: For me personally, I think the one thing that I need to do is just dive in just to make sure that I have a very thorough understanding of the content that I want to put together and put out. So a lot of my responsibilities are more on the webinar side and kind of curating that for our audience and understanding specifically what are the actionable takeaways I want a person to walk away from this session with. ANd just making sure that I put it into a perspective of here’s what we want to put out but here’s also what I want to make sure that the audience is actually taking [crosstalk 00:08:51].
Mel: I’m so happy you’re saying this because one of the biggest mistakes that people make is they are thinking about themselves and not about what’s in it for you. If somebody’s invited you into their newsfeed, into their inbox, into their social stream, you are sitting in their living room and you are talking to them. And so the most important thing for you in terms of what I’m hearing is slowing down a little bit on the actual development side and spending a little bit more time paying attention to whether or not people are getting the outcome and they will be able to walk away with I learned this, I learned this, I learned this, and then reverse how you’re producing the content so that you’re producing from a takeaway standpoint, does that make sense?
Kyle: Absolutely. Oh, it makes total sense.
Mel: Okay. Go ahead.
Kyle: I find that super helpful. What was I going to ask? Oh yeah, so originally I was wondering so then you were talking about how you know [inaudible 00:09:39] need to be comfortable on camera, they need to be able to experiment with these things. Do you think it’s a fear of being uncomfortable or failure that’s really like the barrier for people to…?
Mel: The barrier is everybody gives a shit what other people are thinking. And so, they’re on camera or they’re on a microphone trying to be smart or concerned about whether or not they look good in the shot, concerned about how they sound, whether or not they stuttered, if their neck is turning red, like, whatever it may be. And they are so up here that they are not actually being true to just saying what’s right here. Whether it’s speaking from the heart, speaking from the gut, like that is the skill to develop, is the ability to be more like an 11-year old that gets on camera and can just be themselves instead of being a 49-year old person censoring themselves.
Kyle: Got ya.
Mel: And that’s what I’m talking about when I talk about the truth when I talk about authenticity that people really want to feel that connection. And the only way that they are going to feel that connection is if you do the work to remove the own veneer and the own barriers that you put in between you and other people. And the number one thing is everybody gives too much of a shit about what everybody else thinks, and you know who they worry the most about? Their fucking friends. If I put this thing up, not for my friends but for the people that I’m trying to build a rapport with online, my friends are going to judge me. Fuck your friends, seriously. If you’re out to make a difference, if you’re out to share something that is important to you, if your friends don’t like it or don’t support you, they’re really not your friends, you know?
Kyle: Absolutely, yeah. That definitely makes total sense.
Mel: And it’s a really hard lesson. It’s a very hard lesson because everybody’s always judging everybody else, that’s why you can’t worry about it.
Kyle: Do you have recommendations for how people just get started like for moving from that like to basically move from the mindset of I care too much to I don’t care as much. Are there steps that you recommend people take [crosstalk 00:11:40]?
Mel: The only step that really works is action because if you’re stopping to think about what people are thinking or whether or not you’re worried about what people are thinking, you’ve already fallen into the trap. The second that you push yourself to get started through the action itself, you are proving to yourself that even though you care what everybody thinks, you’re going to do it anyway and so that’s why I talk about the five-second rule. The five-second rule is how you interrupt the excuses, the patterns, the concerns and the fears that you have. Whether it’s perfectionism, whether it’s disappointing your parents, whether it’s being judged by your friends, whether it’s looking stupid when you post something, whether it’s screwing up and saying something that a bunch of trolls come after you for, right? All those things that everybody is concerned about that can stop you forever.
If you go for five, four, three, two, one, you break the part of the brain where all of those trappings are and you awaken your prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain you’re using when you’re creating content, when you’re speaking with courage, when you’re learning something new. And so that’s why this simple brain trick that I invented is exploding around the world because every last one of us is exactly the same, exactly the same. You and I, we want the same thing. We want to actually live a life where we get to express ourselves at the highest level. We all want the same thing and we’re all stopping ourselves the same way, by thinking too much, by buying into the lies that self-doubt tells you. And so I am here to tell you, you can fucking cut that off at the knees, five, four, three, two, one, you can make a five-second decision the second you feel that doubt, the second you feel that concern, the second you feel that fear, and you can literally feel it and actually move anyway.
Kyle: Cool. That’s awesome, Mel. Thank you so much for the time and for sharing that.
Mel: Yeah, I got to get on stage now, right? I’m exhausted.
Kyle: Yeah and I’m going to make sure I go grab myself to make sure that I hear a little bit more about this. I know I have a lot I want to listen to. So thank you so much for being here and I really appreciate it.
Mel: My pleasure.
Kyle: Cool. Thank you.
Mel: My pleasure.