How To Stand Out - Interview with Dorie Clark

April 27, 2015

Are you in an industry more competition popping up every day? Is your market becoming saturated with copy cats? Do you find yourself surrounded by price wars, but know you're adding more value than anyone else? Or maybe you're trying to find out how to add more value than anyone without giving everything away for free?


If you're facing any of those obstacles in your business or career, you are going to LOVE today's interview: How To Stand Out & become recognized as an expert in your field w/Dorie Clark. 

Today I'm sitting down with Dorie Clark to talk about how YOU can Stick Out from the crowd and competition and truly become recognized as an expert in your industry. 

In her new book Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It Dorie interviews the greats such as Seth Godin, Dan Pink, David Allen, Robert Cialdini, and other thought leaders, Clark teaches readers how to develop a big idea, leverage existing affiliations, and build a community of followers.

Tune in and let me know what you learned and inspired you to stick out! 

Show notes below:

Jairek: Perfect! Hey everyone, Jairek Robbins here! Welcome back to another episode of JRCTV. This week we have a very special guest who I recently got to know. We've had some fun conversations back and forth. She actually lectures at the Fuqua, hope I am saying this right, School Business in Duke. She has an awesome new book coming out on April 21st called “Stand Out” and we're going to a have discussion to get to know more about both of those and her and some cool things so have fun with this. Please welcome Ms. Dorie Clark.

 

Dorie: Thank you, Jairek! I'm pumped to be here.

 

Jairek: Thank you so much for sharing some time with us and sharing some knowledge and information. What I generally ask is, if you would share a little bit about what you have fun bringing to the world for people, so that everyone, who's tuning in, kind of get a little bit more understanding of who you are and what they're about to learn from you?

 

Dorie: Absolutely! The thing that I am really most excited about is the fact that I feel like we have this paradox in our society now. As has been talked about a lot, you know, people can put their ideas out there, they can blog, they can do all these things, the gatekeepers are gone. You know, that's fantastic. But the problem is that, because that's become easier it's become commensurately harder to breakthrough and harder to get noticed. There's so many good ideas out there in the world that are just not being heard because people don't understand how to break through the noise. So, I want to help people be able to be heard and to have their value understood. That's actually why I wrote my first book, "Reinventing You", and it's a topic of my second one, “Stand Out.”

 

Jairek: Nice! Give us some clues on that. You know, I've had personal experience and I’ve talked to many friends around the world who picked a topic they are passionate about. They educate themselves while we're on the topic, they certainly know how to deliver immense value, they prepare, they put it together, they do a vlog with a blog and podcast and everything else amazingly put together. Then, they put it out there and they get like a hundred views or listens. But then their girlfriend or fiancé or wife or friend puts out a video of them doing something ridiculous and get like 50,000 views and they're like, “Uh! I failed.” So, how do you standout? How do you get to a place where you are heard? What are some tips for people?

 

Dorie: Yeah! Aside from the important advice to always have a cat in your videos whenever possible, what I would suggest and what I talked about in “Stand Out” is it’s basically, a three step process or a three phase process in terms of getting your ideas known and recognized. The first one is, I call it, a one-to-one idea transmission in building your following because ultimately if you do just kind of put your ideas out there, “I got this great idea, here you go world.” A couple of things happen, one is that it's possible that the idea even if the germ of it is good. It's not that as refined yet. It may not be in the ultimate best form for people to connect with. So, what you really need is to have a small group of allies, you know, kind of mastermind group or trusted based of supporters, that you can first bounce your ideas off of. They can make it better and they can be these crucial first evangelists. They can help you begin to get the connections that you need to spread the word and move it a little bit beyond. Next, you start going one-to-many. That's the place where a lot of people actually, sort of, dive in prematurely which is blogging and speaking and sharing your ideas with the masses. The final part and this is really where the idea hits the tipping point and you’re able to build the following is when you go from many-to-many. What I mean by that is that's the point where your idea is resonating so much, you no longer have to be the only one talking about it. Other people take it on as their own and they start spreading it amongst themselves so it becomes this sort of domino effect.

 

Jairek: Right, you cause the ripple at that point. The point it’s handling itself and it’s causing more ripples just by being out there as a thought. 

 

Dorie: That's exactly right. 

 

Jairek: Very interesting. So in that first step, I love a couple of pointers for people because, you know, I agree with you. People take a random concept they've heard or a good thought they came up within a shower and they're like “Oh, this is going to change the world”. They ran out and they write in their blog and they put it up everywhere. You're right, so one piece is you said it wasn't refined enough. So going to a group of people to help you refine it but what are some other tips on how to refine a good idea? How do you even know if it's a refined idea?

                 

Dorie: Yeah, exactly! Well, you know, in the book “Stand Out”, I actually tell the story of a woman named Carey Anderson. She has done something that I think is pretty fascinating. Literally, for more than twenty years she has had two different essentially mastermind groups that have met every single month for more than twenty years. One is a group of professional speakers, the other is a group of people that actually started out as journalists, which she was, but many of them have subsequently gone on to other professions. She says this has literally been the singular professional experience of her life because over the course of twenty years meeting every month, at a certain point these people begin to know you better than your family does. They are able to call you on things. They are able to say wait a minute, that's not what you said last year or whatever, and provide you with this kind of trust. I think for a lot of us the problem is that we don't have enough people in our lives that really are able to give us honest critical feedback, where you feel safe enough to know that it's coming from a good place. They're not trying to tear you down, they're trying to make it better.

 

Jairek: I like that. So, find that group, find that space, where you give information and you're comfortable in receiving their feedback to make you better and to grow from it. That's awesome!

 

Dorie: Absolutely!

 

Jairek: Absolutely! I've been curious, I led on with what you were saying, got excited, reason to the two groups, I thought she might be testing ideas of two different types of people to see what…

 

Dorie: Oh, yeah! An AV Test, I love that. That's the next idea.

 

Jairek: Yes, it could be a fun way to do it. You know, I always say, you know, people in life are either a warning or example or it's usually big groups of people who are warning on a certain topic and big groups of people are example on another. I would almost take the idea to the warnings and see if they disagree with it and it would be like perfect, and if they agree with the idea they'd be like -- got it. If they disagree and they agree -- winner!

 

Dorie: That's awesome!

 

Jairek: Probably a horrible thing to say about other people. So, one-to-one, one-to-many, what would you say is the big transition step like when someone’s ready to put it on the blog or speak about it or go out there? What’s two or three tips that they might need to know to really make it affect us because like, you know, like over sharing, people will put up something that seems amazing and get five views that are kind of frustrated about the topic.

 

Dorie: Yeah, yeah! Absolutely! I think one of the most important points is the fact that for almost all of us, we don’t know what's going to work. I mean there's really not a way to predict it. I'll just tell you a story from my own life. It did always been my goal that I wanted to publish a book. I always thought that would be a real cool thing to do ever since I was a kid. I really was trying to do it. In 2009, I got really serious about it. I wrote not one but three different book proposals and I'm like, “Yeah! This is going be the year. One of these is going take.” So, I send them out to agents and try to get stuff going. I got little nipples of interest but, ultimately, they are like, “You're not famous enough. We don't want to give you a book contract.” I realized, I had to take a step back and sort of, you know, push back my schedules and start from ground zero. So, I started blogging. It turned out that the second blog post that I ever wrote for the Harvard Business Review was a piece called, “How To Reinvent Your Personal Brand” and that-- I mean this is not meant to be like my definitive message to humanity which is just like another like blog post out of the blog posts that I wrote but that one caught on, it got a bunch of comments. They asked me to turn it from a 700 word blog post into a full-length magazine article. When the magazine article came out, literally that week, I had 3 different literary agents come to me and say, “Are you represented? Would you be interested in turning this into a book?” All of a sudden it was like, “Oh, this is what it feels like when something clicks” and that is what enabled me to start writing my book.

 

Jairek: That's awesome! That's a great, great, great advice. I've certainly been to the process of somewhat recently of going to publishers, trying to get them to pay attention. I think something, I don't know how you'd phrase this but doing something that is notable enough that they pay attention to you. First is sitting at their front door, and being like, “Hey look at me” because there's thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people knocking on their door every day trying to get that contract and get their attention. But going on doing something that's attention worthy that they want to pay attention to you for, so much so that they come to you and they want to fight to get your business to be a part of the team.

 

Dorie: That's exactly right! I couldn't have said it better. I have a number of friends that, you know, how do they got their book contract. Literally, the editor from the publishing house sent them an email and said, “Oh, I read your article on such and such, this is great. Do you want to turn it into a book?” You think those things don't happen but it's actually very different. I mean in some way you might look at it and say, “Oh, what a lucky break, you know this person got picked randomly.” but they did the thing that made themselves get noticed. 

 

Jairek: Yeah, and it’s not luck. We just did a series on JRCTV a few weeks ago, from the time the people are seeing this and what's fascinating is it was focused on are you more concerned with the end results of success or you're more concerned with falling in love with the habits of success? Some of the habits you're explaining here of putting content out that is rich and refined, really making sure your pure group that helps ripple into the world is there. Making sure it’s ready to go one-to-many before just throwing it out into the world and some of those concepts, I'm guessing if that same editor went by your same blog and thought unrefined piece of content that was like, “just the idea I randomly had”. You might not had the same conversation from someone being like, “Wow! I wanted to turn this into an article and a book and a series and grow it.” So, really making sure it's ready to make the transition is huge and that's, you know, I would put it back in a topic a habit of someone who's successful like they do that work ahead of time and know it's necessary to be able to progress.

 

Dorie: Yes, that's right. You have to be ready for that moment to find you. I mean, in fact, the way that I got started blogging for the Harvard Business Review is really kind of funny. I was wanting to buy a new bike and I decided “Oh, okay, the responsible thing to do, if I'm going to buy a new bike, is to sell the one that I already have first.” I put an ad out on craigslist. The woman, who ended up buying my bike, it turned out, was a copy editor at the Harvard Business Review and she mentioned that to me. I said, “Hey, you have a blog! How do people get started blogging for you?” I pursued the connection and she introduced me to an editor. The only reason I was ready to take advantage of that moment was that for the past year, I have been writing pitches, I had, you know, draft posts, all these things that were ready so that the minute that she made the introduction I was able to send the editor a bunch of stuff for him to look over.

 

Jairek: That's fantastic! You know, opportunity and hard work meet each other, at the right place, right time, magic happens. That's really, really cool.

 

Dorie: Thank you.

 

Jairek: I liked that. I loved it. It fits so well with the message we're constantly sharing with people. It's amazing. Love it when magic happens like that. So one-to-one, one-to-many and then there's many-to-many. Now, I certainly want to share a few tips on this but I also want to leave it a little bit of a mystery to make sure they go buy the book because I'm certainly going to buy a book. Well, we're here right now, where do we go to buy that book?

 

Dorie: Oh, thank you. Well, it’s available right this minute for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. People can also find out more information and get 400 free articles on my website, dorieclark.com.

 

Jairek: Wow! 400 free articles at dorieclark.com and they also go to dorieclark.com, which is D-O-R-I-E-C-L-A-R-K dot com, to grab a copy of the book as well?

 

Dorie: Yeah! There's links right on there.

 

Jairek: Perfect! So I'll definitely do to that. I'm going to grab a copy, you guys do grab a copy, too. Now, something a little bit on a different note, we have a philosophy which is learn it, live it, give it. You know, learn what it takes to turn your dreams into reality, live it fully and pay it forward. What would you say is one of the greatest personal lessons along your journey that you've had to learn? How you really lived it and applied it in your own life and what do you do to pay it forward?

 

Dorie: It's so important, I think, that in terms of my own life and my own background, what was really critical for me and part of what animates me doing what I do, is that I grew up in this small town in North Carolina. It was a perfectly nice place. My parents liked it, it was a golf-resort town, I mean it's very safe and all that but for me, growing up, it was just this really culturally stultifying place. There was 3000 people there, I feel like there was really nobody like me and so I couldn't wait to get out of there and to be able to find like-minded people and to be able to traffic in ideas, I guess you could say. For me, it's always been really important to try to find a way to help other people feel good about sharing their ideas, sharing what's inside themselves, being their authentic selves. In knowing that in the act of doing that, they're going to find their community and they're going to make it easier for the next person to be able to feel safe and comfortable sharing themselves.

 

Jairek: That's awesome. I think it's quite clear how you live that message. Now we’re going with lesson is, you know, your books and speaking and ask anyways are there any unique ways you like to share that message beyond speaking or lecturing or your books or your blog.

 

Dorie: Oh, my gosh! Well, you know, in terms of, you know, there's a sort of like the public broadcasting things. But I will actually tell you about one thing that I do, that is fun for me personally, and in fact you're invited, Jairek, if you'd like. But on a just a small personal level, I feel like one of the things that I really love is community building. Every month, I moved to New York about 8 months ago and so every month since then, I've had an authors’ dinner. I bring together authors to meet each other and just trade ideas and hangout with like-minded people. For me, that's something, you know, it’s not at all about any end goal other, just connecting people with each other but people seemed to really enjoy it. I feel like, I wish everybody had a way of doing that for their own community. We often don't think of ourselves as being able to be conveners but it's so easy, I mean, literally I just pick a date, we can meet at a restaurant, I tell the people, “Okay, come on down.” Then couple of days before I send out a reminder email and give people a list of who is coming. It probably takes an hour or two to pull together but it's a way of helping other people make these connections that can really be powerful in each other's lives. For me, that's a fun way of sharing and giving back. I hope that other people who watched this might think how I can do that for my own community whatever that is. 

 

Jairek: Very quite I liked that. We’ll include it in the interview notes and we'll type that up as a challenge in the download, the people grab on our website and put the question in there. “How can you apply that lesson to your own community or peer group to start nurturing and building your community and inspiring them to really step up and step in and be even more productive in doing whatever it is that all these awesome people listening to?”

 

Dorie: That's fantastic!

 

Jairek: I love it. It's very, very cool. So definitely, April 21st is the release date of the book, “Stand Out”. You can grab it on Amazon, you can grab it on Barnes and Noble, or dorieclark.com. Dorie, are there any other last amazingly awesome words you'd like to share with people before we leave.

 

Dorie: Oh, men! Well you know the one thing that I'll mention, Jairek, is the way of course that we met was like that I interviewed you for my Forbes blog. I hope in the show notes you might have a link to this. I just want to draw people's attention to it because I felt like your insights in that interview were so good. It was right after the start of the New Year and the title of it was something like “How to Succeed This Year Even When You Failed Before.” I think you shared some great ideas there and I hope people might be able to check that out.

 

Jairek: Oh, absolutely! We'll include that. Thank you for that, we had a ton of fun and it was awesome. We got some really, really quality feedback from people be like, "Wow! That was really well written. We loved it." I think you helped us reached people that might not always be on our stuff. So, thank you for that. We'll definitely include it.

 

Dorie: Oh, that's great!

 

Jairek: For everyone who's tuned in, thank you, thank you thank you for taking time to tune in to another episode of JRCTV. Make sure to download the show notes and answer those questions that we mentioned in today's interview. Also, visit dorieclark.com. Grab a copy of her new book, “Stand Out” and I look forward to seeing you guys next week for another amazing episode. See you all soon.

 

 

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