Storytelling Around Disruption and Innovation

Storytelling Around Disruption and Innovation written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Michael Margolis
Podcast Transcript

Michael Margolis headshotToday on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I sit down with Michael Margolis, CEO and founder of Storied.

Storytelling has become a business buzzword of late, but there’s a lot of complexity behind the term. Margolis’ focus is specifically on storytelling as it relates to disruption and innovation. It’s often hard to tell stories about change—audiences grow wary or defensive—but Margolis helps leaders in Silicon Valley and other hotbeds of innovation make that change feel exciting and achievable.

Margolis is also a keynote speaker and the author of Story 10X: Turn the Impossible Into the Inevitable. On this episode, Margolis and I discuss his book and talk about what great business storytelling in the modern era looks like.

Questions I ask Michael Margolis:

  • When did you realize that story is a tool you could and should use?
  • What are the parts of the undeniable story?
  • Does every person need their own individual story in business?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • The big difference between storytelling in business and storytelling in novels or Hollywood.
  • How to talk about the future in a way that’s difficult, if not impossible, to reject.
  • Why Margolis believes in Truth with a capital T when it comes to storytelling.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Michael Margolis:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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Transcript of Storytelling Around Disruption and Innovation

Transcript of Storytelling Around Disruption and Innovation written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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John Jantsch: This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo is a platform that helps growth-focused eCommerce brands drive more sales with super-targeted, highly relevant email, Facebook and Instagram marketing.

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Michael Margolis. He is the CEO and founder of Storied, a strategic messaging firm specializing in the story of innovation and disruption. He’s also the author of a book we’re going to talk about today, Story 10X: Turn The Impossible Into The Inevitable. So Michael, thanks for joining me.

Michael Margolis: John, thank you. It’s an absolute thrill for us to connect today.

John Jantsch: So when did the Story come into your life? I mean, we all have stories, childhood stories, but when did you start realizing it was a tool that you could or should use?

Michael Margolis: Yeah, what a great question. So for me, like it is for many of us, I came to Story and my sense of this path out of huge failure and disappointment.

John Jantsch: Which is a story by itself, right?

Michael Margolis: It always is, right? And it was … And for me specifically, it was at the age of 23 after my first career, I’d been a social entrepreneur. So I came of age at the birth of the internet economy and co-founded a nonprofit, had very quick fast success working on poverty, race, the digital divide, complicated stuff, right? It’s not like selling cupcakes. And despite all the quick success that we had within a couple of years, it all fell apart.

Michael Margolis: And I remember sitting there after it all kind of crumbled and there was this sense, John, that something like was missing from the conversation. Like I knew it intuitively, but I didn’t have the language for it, specifically how to tell the story of innovation, because when you’re dealing with innovation, in this case, this was social innovation, like culture change, much less business innovation. But when you’re dealing with innovation, by definition, you’re overstepping, doing something you’re not supposed to be doing. It’s heretical, it’s taboo, it’s off limits, it gets lost in translation. And it was really that struggle and frustration that set me off on the journey that’s been now 20 years of mapping and decoding and developing narrative frameworks that we deliver and teach inside some of the biggest companies in the world today.

John Jantsch: So storytelling, books about storytelling, are quite hot right now. So in your estimation, what does Story 10X kind of offer that maybe carves out its unique spot in the storytelling realm?

Michael Margolis: Yeah, absolutely. So what people have described it as is actually the world’s first book on storytelling for disruptive innovation. So one of the things that we often forget is that when it comes to storytelling, which is universal. I’m a cultural anthropologist by training. I’m fascinated with the universality of story and its use across time and history. But storytelling is contextual to the format or the medium.

Michael Margolis: So for instance, if you are writing a screenplay that’s for a film, that’s a very different format in which you’re going to construct and tell a story than a thousand page novel. Well equally, there’s a completely different context, not just for applying storytelling to business, but applying storytelling to innovation and disruption in the context of business. Because it’s, if you think in the traditional storytelling terms, John, when someone sits down to watch a movie or read a book, in a certain way, there’s a contract with your audience, which is they’ve agreed to suspend disbelief to go on a journey with you.

Michael Margolis: And now we live in an age of Netflix and like ADD attention span, so that that window is shorter and shorter before you go, “Ah, I’m going to go watch something else.” Or, “Ah, I don’t like this book.” But nonetheless, your audience is willing to suspend disbelief to go on a journey. Now when you walk into an executive board room or you’re leading a town hall with 5 thousand employees, or you’re in front of investors, pitching them on your next series of funding, I promise you, nobody’s giving you that benefit of suspending disbelief.

John Jantsch: I suspect the opposite’s true, right? You have to wade through the I don’t believe you.

Michael Margolis: Yeah, and that’s the paradox. So what are we taught to do, John, is we’re taught to lead with data and conclusions. But if you lead with data, the story is dead on arrival. So that’s the paradox, because we often forget our audience doesn’t have context, they don’t see the big picture. And they also don’t have emotional self identification. So instead you’re presenting the data that doesn’t mean anything to them. And what you’ll usually hear back in response is, “Well, how’d you come up with that data?” Right? Or, “I don’t know if I agree with that conclusion.”

Michael Margolis: So this is what we describe in the book. It’s actually a three-step narrative framework, which helps people to understand that people have to see it and they have to feel it before they can believe it. So data is a critical part of the story, but it’s the third step in the sequence. And when you actually address getting people to sort of see it, capture their imagination and see the possibilities and get people to empathize and emotionally identify or relate, then they’re going to be begging you for the data that supports what you’re selling. But that one shift makes all the difference.

John Jantsch: It’s almost kind of like they have to be bought in, they have to realize the problem, and then it’s like, “Okay, well then tell me how this is going to work for me.” I mean-

Michael Margolis: Exact … Well, yeah, and to your point about the problem, how often are you in front of an audience that you don’t have shared problem definition? Or how often is that audience complicit if not responsible for that problem? So of course, where you go presenting the problem, they’re going to get defensive.

John Jantsch: Yeah, I mean think about how many products have gone out there and failed because they were solving a problem the audience didn’t know they had. And I think that that’s … But that’s, it’s not necessarily a big leap, but it takes some skills sometimes because of just what you said. I’ve gone out on stages before and said, “Well, you need to do this and you need to do that.” And you can immediately see the arms cross. It’s like, “You don’t know my business. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Michael Margolis: That’s exactly it. And we don’t see, we have this blind spot. So people like you, people like me, and many of your listeners, those of us who are the innovators, the change agents, those who carry the torch where we’re like, “I see the future, I see where things are going, I know what we can do.” We get so passionate and enamored with the new story that we forget that the moment you present the new story, anybody that lives in the old story is likely to feel wrong, bad, judged, stupid, or defensive. And then we’re like, “But what’s wrong with people Why don’t they see what I see?”

Michael Margolis: And like the old saying, John, we teach what we need to learn most. So a lot of this storytelling stuff for me was I’ve always been someone with a strong point of view and sort of get ahead of my own britches sometimes. And I used to struggle when I was younger of like, “What’s wrong with people? Why don’t they see what I see?” And that frustration of feeling like I’m hitting my head against the wall. And I started to realize, “Oh, well there were actually ways I could adjust how I frame and convey my ideas to create more of a receptive feel to make it more relatable and accessible.” Because disruption, innovation tends to trigger fear. It’s the unknown, it’s the unfamiliar for folks. So it’s been a humble learning process for my own.

John Jantsch: So you have an entire section of the book on this framework called the undeniable story. So you started to allude to it and I think I interrupted you. Do you want to kind of say like, here’s part one, here’s part two, here’s part three?

Michael Margolis: Yeah, for sure. So, as you said, undeniable story. So the very premise of this is how do you talk about the future in a way that’s difficult, if not impossible to reject? Because remember, the biggest thing we’re up against? Disbelief. So how do I talk about this way? And again, we do a lot of work in Silicon Valley. We work with heads of product and heads of design at places like Facebook and Google and Hulu and Tesla and the like. And then we also work with a lot of Fortune 500s that are trying to be like Silicon Valley and lead digital transformation and all of this kind of change. So leaders are often having to present this vision about where we’re going and what’s next. And inevitably, they’re up against the VP of no. And so from that perspective, how do you, again, get people to see it and feel it before they believe it?

Michael Margolis: So those are the three steps. Step number one, see it, is actually all about naming the change. So this is actually the most critical step of the three, John, where we often take for granted that people can locate themself in our story. And that also that we’re giving them directionality. See, story is like a GPS. So it’s a location device. Like where are we? And story’s also a transportation vehicle. It takes us places. And the question is where is it taking us and do we want to go there? So part of what we have to do when getting people to see it is we have to frame a context that people can see and that speaks to how the world is changing. So this is one of the storytelling hacks that we figured out here, which is when the world changes, you have to change your story to reflect that new world. It’s a way to externalize the change or the conflict so that you don’t put people on the defensive, but that did something wrong.

John Jantsch: Is there simple way for you to give an example of that?

Michael Margolis: Yeah, for sure. So it’s everything, like inside big companies, it’s things like predictive analytics, and/or things like AI, automation, like pick any of them that are these big trends, and then help people understand, “What can we do now that we couldn’t three or five years ago?” Because of the forcing functions of technology, economics, culture changes, there are all these forces of change that are creating new opportunities and possibilities. And we take it for granted, but like the things that we can do.

Michael Margolis: I was just on a call earlier today with one of our clients that is a Fortune 100 in the insurance and financial services space. I was speaking with their chief digital officer. And one of the things they were pointing out is, “Look, you know, we pay out $40 billion in claims every single year.” So when someone, someone dies early and unexpectedly, or there’s a car accident, or property damage, so on and so on. Well, what if actually through our predictive analytics, we now actually have the ability to identify signals and indicators that we could do, for instance, monthly screenings in different ways that actually would help to identify breast cancer earlier in the lives of of a middle aged woman for instance?

Michael Margolis: Now that’s something that’s completely outside the traditional remit of this company, but they’re realizing as an insurance company it’s like, “Okay, how can we get further ahead in the curve of that customer experience based on the commitment we have to our customers, but let’s actually like create the interventions earlier on.” So that’s the kind of example and obviously this guy is a real visionary inside his company and he has to then be able to convey, communicate this within a broader enterprise that’s going through transformation. Does that help?

John Jantsch: Yeah, it does. I was afraid you were going to say that they had with AI and predictive analytics, they were going to be able to tell who was going to die. So I’m glad you didn’t go there.

Michael Margolis: Sadly, I have a feeling they can figure that out too.

John Jantsch: Pretty darn close, I bet. Wanted to remind you that this episode is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo helps you build meaningful customer relationships by listening and understanding cues from your customers. And this allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages. There’s powerful segmentation email auto-responders that are ready to go. Great reporting. You want to learn a little bit about the secret to building customer relationships? They’ve got a really fun series called Klaviyo’s Beyond Black Friday. It’s a docuseries, a lot of fun. Quick lessons, just head on over to BF, Beyond Black Friday.

John Jantsch: Let’s talk about personal stories. So obviously a product needs a story and you need to ways to simplify concepts and information. But does everybody need their own personal story? I mean obviously speakers are very well trained to go out on stage and some sort of connection device. I mean, but is that become sort of standard fare now for anybody that, whether whatever you’re doing, whatever your career is, you should have your story?

Michael Margolis: Yeah, well the answer is yes, absolutely. And it plays out. Sort of, let me give two quick examples. The real simple one for everybody listening is before any business meeting you’ve been Googled. Which means that people are experiencing your story online before they experience you in real life. So let that sink in for a moment cause that’s an existential, “Oh fuck,” for just about every single one of us, right? Because it’s like, “Oh God, does this website make me look fat?” It brings up every insecurity and inadequacy, and we all have it in some form or another.

Michael Margolis: But your LinkedIn profile, your about page. I mean John, you and I have so many mutual friends in common, but as we were introduced, I’m sure before our call today, you Googled, right? Like you followed up on some of the other things that, I forget who introduced us, but it was a wonderful friend. But in follow up to that, it’s like you follow the breadcrumbs. We all do.

Michael Margolis: And so that’s the first place. And we actually even created an online course for this called The New About Me. It’s our bestselling online course, which is like how do you talk about yourself online without sounding like a wanker? And like writing that about page using storytelling principles. So that’s a basic, everybody has to do it. And even if you are working inside a company, your own personal brand, it shows up in many different ways as you’re building your reputation and your expertise and so on.

Michael Margolis: So that’s the basics. We spend a lot of time working with senior leaders inside companies. And so for instance, we just three weeks ago were with another Fortune 500 client. And we did a leadership summit for the CEO and their top 200 leaders. They were presenting their vision and strategy for the year, big transformation they’re leading. Every single one of those 200 leaders, SVP and above, over the next month were all going to lead town halls for all of their direct reports down the line.

Michael Margolis: And so our session was all about how do you personalize and humanize the larger company vision? And we often forget it’s tough because many of us, I know you’re very passionate about servant leadership. So many of us who have this servant leadership mindset, we go, “But it’s not about me. I’m here to serve others.” And so part of what we point out in support though is you can’t separate the message from the messenger and that by helping people understand your own personal backstory or why do you care about this vision? What is it about this new go-to-market or the three pillars of transformation that somehow connect to what you’ve gone through before in your life or how you’ve had to lead a transformation somewhere else.

Michael Margolis: People need that personalized emotional connection. And we had leaders share. We had one leader share story about how their first job was delivering cakes in like a delivery truck and like all of the comedy of errors that would happen and trying to balance like five layer cakes and making sure that they didn’t show up turned upside down. Or another one of the senior leaders told this story about her first job working at a dry cleaners and the things she learned there about customer service that were these humble lessons that inform how she applies the work today. So you’d be amazed at how these little personal vignettes will go to humanize you as a senior leader and help people connect with that.

John Jantsch: Okay. You ready for the tricky question?

Michael Margolis: Oh yeah. I love tricky questions.

John Jantsch: How much of your story has to be true?

Michael Margolis: Great question. I’m a big believer … I live in Los Angeles, so there’s the old Hollywood adage, based on a true story.

John Jantsch: Yeah.

Michael Margolis: So, what I often-

John Jantsch: They really play around with that one too. Sometimes it’s like based on some things that could have been true.

Michael Margolis: Well, so I’m a big believer first and foremost of truth with a capital T. So truth with a capital T is you better really be speaking to something that is fundamentally true about yourself, about life in the world. And then it’s understanding, just like a good Hollywood screenwriter, is that if you’re taking a book like Lord of the Rings and you’re adapting it for the screen, you have to make choices that are going to serve your audience.

Michael Margolis: Sometimes you have to simplify the story. Sometimes you make slight zhushes because it’s just not going to translate otherwise effectively. So I do think sometimes, there is a little creative flourish and sometimes you’re editing, but you have to always ask yourself, “The choices that I’m making, am I doing it in service to my audience or am I doing it in service to my ego validation? Or am I doing it in service to somehow fundamentally deceiving and misleading people on something of material fact that somehow negates or warps?” Would they feel truly betrayed if they found out about the adjustments that you’ve made. So that’s the subjective line that I counsel clients around.

John Jantsch: So people have used story to manipulate. The classic sort of, the one that I see that if I get a pitch from somebody that starts with how he or she lost everything and they did this and did that and now they’ve overcome and they’re doing whatever. The essence of that pitch is, “You’re broke too. And like I used to be, and now you can be rich like I am.” And the essence of that pitch really rubs me the wrong way. How do you see that being an issue of … And I’m not saying all of those are trying to manipulate people, but there certainly is a manipulative aspect to that.

Michael Margolis: Yeah, that’s a great question. And I’m trying to think what’s a simple way to answer that. Because we could spend the next hour unpacking that, John. But so here’s what I think. I think that we are increasingly living in an age where our audience is getting smarter and smarter, is getting more and more discerning about whether I can believe this story or not. It’s because we’re asked to process and analyze.

John Jantsch: I’m sorry.

Michael Margolis: Yeah, go ahead.

John Jantsch: I’m sorry, I hate to interrupt you, but I should have interjected a political joke right there. I’m sorry. Go ahead.

Michael Margolis: Oh, we could.

John Jantsch: About our audience believing the truth and getting smarter. But I digress.

Michael Margolis: Well, no, no, no. Look, well and I our political environment right now is a great morality tale around manipulation of story and truthiness and post-fact era and all this other kind of garbage. I still fundamentally believe at the end of the day that because of the age of transparency that we’re in, that at the end of the day, the half life of a lie is shorter and shorter and shorter. The truth comes out and we do pay attention to the clues and markers of, “Do I trust this? Do I believe in this? And most importantly, how does this story make me feel?”

Michael Margolis: And we’re more and more skeptical of stories that make us feel like crap. This is a big part of the premise of the book Story 10X, which is something that Jonah Sachs, another colleague of mine in the world of storytelling wrote the book Story Wars. He talks about this, that for the modern marketing from the 1950s to the last about 10 years ago was this era of inadequacy marketing of basically selling and preying on our fears and insecurities. And I think we’re becoming more and more resistant to those kinds of messages.

Michael Margolis: So if we feel something is heavy-handed, we have a sense of it, people are going to react. I think those strategies are less and less effective in this era where we’re looking for authenticity, where we’re looking for … We’re trying to figure out who can we trust and what can we believe? So there’s no simple, clean answer to it, John, other than I think that that character matters.

Michael Margolis: I think that natural authority comes from being able to talk about, “Here’s what I know or here’s what my gift is. And you know what? Here’s where I’m a work in progress. Here’s the stuff I’ve struggled with too.” And the key to it is to make the journey be an open loop. Basically you’re inviting people to join you in the unfolding journey as opposed to back to data and conclusions, the end, the story is over. I’ve wrapped it up in a pretty little bow. And so that shift in mindset I think is the paradigm shift for all of us to think about because you have to invite people into a story where there’s more chapters to be written, if that makes sense.

John Jantsch: Yep. Yep, yep, yep. Absolutely. Become a part of the story. So Michael, thanks for dropping by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast to talk about Story 10X. Where can people find out more about you and your work?

Michael Margolis: Yeah, absolutely. So you can find Story 10X on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all your local booksellers. You can also go to our website,, that’s And if you go to /Story 10X, you can actually download the first 70 pages of the book. And feel free to reach out to me through social media. I’m especially active on LinkedIn. You can find me there, Michael Margolis.

John Jantsch: All right. Thanks, Michael. Hopefully we’ll run into you soon one day out there on the road.

Michael Margolis: I would love it. Thanks, John. Really appreciate it.

Developing Important Entrepreneurial and Leadership Qualities

Developing Important Entrepreneurial and Leadership Qualities written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Jack McGuinness
Podcast Transcript

Jack McGuinness headshotToday’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Jack McGuinness.

McGuinness is the co-founder and managing partner of Relationship Impact, a consulting firm focused on helping great leaders build great leadership teams.

After finishing his business degree, McGuinness landed the COO role at a new management consulting firm. He was a member of the team for 13 years. And as the business grew, he gained experience as both a management consultant and an entrepreneur. He took on roles in diverse growth-focused areas, including business development, hiring, and infrastructure.

When he left to become CEO of a contract packaging company, he became fascinated with change management and developed a passion for tapping into the leadership capacity of teams across an organization.

In 2009, he partnered with Gil Brady to form Relationship Impact, where they now help businesses build a structure for leadership teams to be more productive and effective in how they work together. In this episode, McGuinness shares stories from his own entrepreneurial journey and discusses what businesses need to focus on to embed great leadership into their organizations.

Questions I ask Jack McGuinness:

  • What’s a typical engagement like for you as a management consultant?
  • Why did you decide to start your business and go out on your own?
  • What’s the hardest part of doing what you’re doing as an entrepreneur?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How to overcome some of the hurdles innate in the professional services field.
  • Why sales and marketing are a long game, and how to know you’re on the right track.
  • Why creating discipline around your sales and marketing leaves you more time to focus on growing your business and spending time with your family and loved ones.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Jack McGuinness:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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Transcript of Developing Important Entrepreneurial and Leadership Qualities

Transcript of Developing Important Entrepreneurial and Leadership Qualities written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Gusto, modern, easy payroll benefits for small businesses across the country. And because you’re a listener, you get three months free when you run your first payroll. Find out at

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Jack McGuinness. He is a co-founder and managing partner of Relationship Impact, a consulting firm focused on helping great leaders build great leadership teams. So Jack, welcome to the show.

Jack McGuinness: Thanks so much for having me, John. I really appreciate it.

John Jantsch: So full disclosure, you and I’ve worked together, our firms have actually worked together, so I do know a little more about your story than maybe some folks. But why don’t you start by kind of giving a little bit of background on you and your journey as an entrepreneur and maybe tell us a little about your work.

Jack McGuinness: Sure. So my journey started, sort of my entrepreneurial journey I guess started in around 1993. I was looking for a job, just got out of my MBA program and I got very lucky and got connected to a guy that was about 15 years older than me from Deloitte who was starting his own management consulting firm. And I really wanted to get into management consulting field. So I helped, I was one of his first employees and wound up becoming the chief operating officer and running part of the firm and we grew at our peak to around 50 people or so. And it was great from a number of perspectives. Number one, it helped me, I got experienced both learning how to be a good management consultant but also had the opportunity to learn how to build and manage a consulting practice as well. It’s relatively small business, but I had a big part in helping build the infrastructure for the firm and hiring people and kind of the whole business development side and just really helping a firm grow. And it was a great experience from that perspective.

Jack McGuinness:It was also very informative for the type of work I do right now. But a lot of the people that we hired in after me had organizational development backgrounds and PhDs in psychology, master’s in organizational behavior. So, my partner, my boss had a strong vision for what he wanted the firm to look like. And in order to compete against the big guys, the Deloittes, the McKinseys, the Accentures, our niche became large scale change projects, anything from mergers and acquisitions to large scale system integration work. We rode the re-engineering process, re-engineering craze in the 1990s, but we did it from a change management perspective. So how do you bring the people along?

Jack McGuinness: So I feel like, through that experience, not only did I learn how to become a good managing consultant and help build the firm, but I also learned another part of I’m an engineer with an MBA. And it’s sort of a right and wrong way of doing things and that way of thinking and sort of a linear way of thinking. It’s kind of a simplistic view, but kind of that’s where my head was. And so I learned really this whole new dynamic of how to bring people along and how to lead large scale change efforts, which has really been informative for the type of work that I do right now.

John Jantsch: Yeah. So give us a little taste of that. What’s a typical engagement for you as a management consultant?

Jack McGuinness: Sure. So right now, we call ourselves executive or leadership team coaches. And to be honest with you till a few years ago, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a leadership team coach. But what we do is we work with executive teams at growing companies, say, anywhere from 15 to $150 million in revenue to help them build the structure for the team to be able to be productive and build the relational dynamics for them to be more effective in terms of how they work together. And so we call it two sides of the same coin. It’s like there’s a structural side of building a great team and a relational side of building a great team. And what happens often times with growing companies is they get out of sync. Everyone would be pulling their weight and rolling their sleeves up when they’re young with not a lot of process, not a lot of structure in place. And then relationships sort of get out of whack because people are stepping over each other or whatever and then you put new structure in place and the people don’t necessarily trust the structure.

Jack McGuinness: So what we do to start is really help leadership teams figure out where they’re out of whack structurally and relationally, help them move to some commitments collectively and individually to make the changes they need to make to strengthen how the team is operating to get the results they’re looking for. And what really it is, an accountability model of leadership team coaching. We help teams help themselves, hold themselves accountable to the commitments they make. Again, really what we’re very much focused on, how does this team become as good as it possibly can be to face the challenges what environment demands from them?

John Jantsch: Your firm is how old?

Jack McGuinness: We’re about 10 years old now. Yeah, we started in late 2009, so a little over 10 years old. Yes.

John Jantsch: Do you remember why you started your business or why you decided to have on your own?

Jack McGuinness: Yeah. There’s a practical and then there’s sort of a visionary kind of part of it. In 2008, after working for that management consulting firm, I owned a contract packaging firm. It was an entrepreneurial venture but we bought it with two passive partners. I bought a family-run business and we made some great strides to turn that around, bought some new equipment, brought on some customers like Unilever and Hershey and Godiva and did some great work. But then the financial crisis hit and we got our butts kicked with that whole thing. A lot of our customers brought their packaging back in-house, there wasn’t as much demand.

Jack McGuinness: And so some great lessons from that as well. But I was looking for my next gig. I thought I was going to get back into management consulting because that’s what I knew and had a pedigree in. And I reconnected with a classmate of mine from college that I had stayed in touch with. But we sort of put our heads together. He was getting his PhD in leadership at GW University, which is near me in the DC Metro area. And we sort of just put our heads together and said, “What do you want to do for the second half of your career? What unique contributions do we think we have to offer businesses?” We knew we wanted to do some sort of consulting work and we settled on… We thought we had some interesting things to say about teams in organizations. So when we started we were more broadly leadership development, team development across organizations. Right now we’re much more over the last five or six years, frankly with your help, much more focused on a narrow target market of working with the executive teams of growing companies.

Jack McGuinness: So circumstance certainly drove it, but also a passion for teams and we felt like we had some interesting things to say about teams. And it’s really come to fruition because I have to say in the last five years, this is the most fun and most lucrative. So both, we’re doing well both financially and professionally and personally because we love the work that we do and we think we are having some really good impact with the firms we’re working with, the companies we’re working with.

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John Jantsch: So since you’re having so much fun, what’s the hard part about doing what you’re doing as an entrepreneur in your view?

Jack McGuinness: Yeah, so a hard part is, like a lot of firms, you think you got a great Rolodex to start. And so frankly business development and selling is maintaining consistency of pipeline and it was the hardest part of our business. We started off with Gangbusters in 2000. It really got our stride in 2010 and had some great clients and big clients. And then the Rolodex runs dry a little bit and then you have to like, “Okay, well, what are we going to do now?”

Jack McGuinness: And so, I think I read your book, Duct Tape Marketing probably in 2011 or ’12 because I was just really doing some soul-searching about how we were going to make this thing work. And I came across your book and used it for a few years and then I was just like, “I got to dive in.” So I called you, you did one of your assessments for us and then I hired you for, well, I don’t know how long it was, maybe 18 months or off and on for two years. So the hardest thing was business development and building a strong rhythm of marketing and selling.

John Jantsch: Well, so let’s talk about marketing specifically.

Jack McGuinness: Sure.

John Jantsch: Professional service providers are essentially selling air to some extent. Management consultant, I mean, what does that mean? That can be very broad in general. What have you done, particularly as you kind of mentioned that you felt like your pipeline was good and your rhythm was good? What’s been the most effective way for you to market your business?

Jack McGuinness: So a couple things. First of all, you’re right, selling professional services and selling leadership development or leadership consulting, it’s a very crowded space. So getting targeted and narrowing our focus was, I think, the first thing that your book’s helped us with, but then when we started working with you, you really helped us with this, you can’t be everything to everyone. You got to narrow what you do and you got to be able to tell a story that’s compelling and that connects with them, that doesn’t talk at them. And the work that we do is very much an unrecognized need in many cases. There’s not a lot of CEOs just sitting around saying, “My team’s really dysfunctional. Let’s hire someone to help them.” But I guess some of them do, but we weren’t getting calls all day. So I guess that’s one way of putting it. But I guess the first was really narrowing our focus and getting a more narrowly-defined target market.

Jack McGuinness: And then the second thing that really has helped us is becoming thought leaders in the work that we do. Now, we’re not Marshall Goldsmith or anyone like that, but we have developed a lot of content in the last three years and we did that with a lot of discipline. You call it a content plan, I think. I can’t remember the term, but we had a content plan with a schedule and the types of things we were going to use, LinkedIn, writing for magazines, doing webinars, speaking, those types of things. And until you get disciplined at that, and frankly you have to write something before you can do much of anything else. And then re-curating other people’s content, re-curating our content, words that I didn’t even know what they meant frankly. And so I think those two things, targeting and becoming thought leaders in a very disciplined, organized way has been really instrumental for us.

John Jantsch: So a lot of folks, I mean I think a lot of people hear that advice that they need to be doing that. But when it really comes down to it, as you alluded too, it’s a lot of work or can be a fair amount of work. So when did you kind of realize, “Hey, you know what, this might be paying off?”

Jack McGuinness: Well, it wasn’t too far after, probably six months after we put our content calendar together and started writing for Chief Executive Magazine. We started getting some calls. So a couple of our biggest clients now are from the writing we’ve done for Chief Executive Magazine. And so I’d say within less than six months we definitely saw some benefit. And then you guys helped us. You and Jen have really helped us figure out how to track our Google and our LinkedIn and Facebook numbers as well. And using SEO and using just simple things like having better titles. And it is a lot of work, but we have seen the impact. I mean frankly, nothing’s perfect, but our first five or six years, it was up and down every month, particularly in the first quarter of the year really. At the end of the year we haven’t had a good year pretty much. And then all of a sudden you’re like, “Okay, well, what are we going to do now?” We’re looking at each other trying to get the next sale. And we don’t really have that anymore.

Jack McGuinness: Our sales, our pipeline is much smoother or robust, I guess you would call it. And our monthly revenue is smooth out, so we don’t have those peaks and valleys anymore. Knock on wood. You can never rest, that’s for sure, running a small business. But I feel like with a lot of discipline and targeting, it’s really paid off.

John Jantsch: So let’s start a little bit about family life and owning a business. In your time before, and obviously your life has changed the 10 years you’ve had the business, but how do you manage? Because a lot of times running a business, it’s like, there’s always more to do.

Jack McGuinness: Right.

John Jantsch: So how have you managed kind of the elusive balance of trying to do all of this but also trying to enjoy a rich personal and family life?

Jack McGuinness: I’m fortunate from a couple perspectives that I have a wife who is a partner in a big law firm, so that certainly helps from an earnings’ perspective. But I think we were all over the place when we first started in terms of marketing. We would go to conferences, we’d go to networking events, we just did a lot of stuff that really just didn’t have… And handing out business cards was a useless construct to be honest with you. And so with the discipline came a much more productive way of managing what we do. Particularly as it relates to marketing because we don’t do those events or those pay for play things anymore. I have like three different breakfast groups that I formed with people that are like-minded, that are selling to similar people, that are willing to give to each other. I do writing, webinars.

Jack McGuinness: So everything’s very targeted and pretty disciplined so that I don’t feel a need to just go do lots of activity. So I feel like it’s been much more focused. Because frankly, as a small business owner, we’re both marketing ends selling and delivering the work that we do. And so the delivering takes up a lot of our time and it’s what we really like to do. So that one you can’t mess with, but you can mess with how you generate your business and get much more discipline there.

John Jantsch: Anything on the horizon for 2020 that you think is opportunity for relationship impact?

Jack McGuinness: Yeah. Again, through your advice and counsel, I’m very slowly and methodically putting together… I have an outline for a book that I’m planning on when my youngest daughter heads off to college in the fall. I will have even more time to focus and just go every couple of weeks and start the process of writing a book on how to build a great executive leadership team.

John Jantsch: Well, obviously I applaud that because, I mean, that’s the next logical kind of step in your content platform, if you will, that you were talking about. And Marshall Goldsmith, beware.

Jack McGuinness: Yeah, that’s right. Thank you for that. I don’t know. I don’t know about that. My aspiration is to meet him. I love that guy. But I think that’s the other thing is too, you pushed, you guys were really encouraging me to do more video and I made some attempts at that and it just didn’t feel right. So I hired a firm that does video and I did my first shoot last week. A couple of days worth of both customer, partners and me. And they have a lot of micro clips, some larger videos. So I’m starting that whole process this year. It took me a little longer than I wanted it to, but that’ll be a big push this year as well.

John Jantsch: Well Jack, thanks for stopping by and talking a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey and relationship impact. You want to tell people if they want to check out your work where they can find you?

Jack McGuinness: Yeah, please. It’s and lots of rich content in there, all focused on how to build a great leadership team. John, I can’t tell you thank you enough for having me on your podcast and for the great partnership and advice and counsel that you’ve given me over the years and will continue to do so. It’s just been… I really don’t think that Gil and I would be in this place without you.

John Jantsch: Oh, well, thank you. I appreciate you sharing that and hopefully we’ll bump into you soon out there on the road.

Jack McGuinness: Thanks, John.

Using a Framework to Create Inventive Content

Using a Framework to Create Inventive Content written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Melanie Deziel
Podcast Transcript

Melanie Deziel headshotToday on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I sit down with marketing expert Melanie Deziel.

Deziel is a keynote speaker, author, award-winning branded content creator, and lifelong storyteller. She is driven by a desire to help brands create compelling and credible content to share with their audience.

She is the author of The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas, and the founder of StoryFuel, which teaches entrepreneurs and companies how to tell better brand stories.

Before StoryFuel, Deziel served as the first editor of branded content at The New York Times, a founding member of HuffPost’s brand storytelling team, and was Director of Creative Strategy for Time Inc.

Today on the podcast, Deziel and I discuss her book, and she shares how any business—no matter their size or resources—can establish a framework for creating compelling content that their audience is excited to consume and share.

Questions I ask Melanie Deziel:

  • What’s the focus of your book that’s going to make it different from other books out there about storytelling?
  • Is there a finite collection of focuses a business should try to take on?
  • Not everyone listening has a content team. If someone only has the bandwidth to create in one format, where should they focus their time?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How a framework built around focus and format can help you generate new, novel content.
  • How to get more efficient in your content creation when you’re short on time and money.
  • Why our content is influenced by how our audience wants to consume content.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Melanie Deziel:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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Transcript of Using a Framework to Create Inventive Content

Transcript of Using a Framework to Create Inventive Content written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast


Zephyr logo

John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Zephyr CMS. It’s a modern cloud based CMS system that’s licensed only to agencies. You can find them at, more about this later in the show.

John Jantsch: Hello, welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Melanie Deziel. She is the Founder of StoryFuel, and the author of a book we’re going to talk about today called, The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas for Marketers and Creators.

John Jantsch: So Melanie, welcome to the show.

Melanie Deziel: Thanks for having me.

John Jantsch: Is this your first book?

Melanie Deziel: It is my first book.

John Jantsch: Awesome.

Melanie Deziel: It’s very exciting stuff.

John Jantsch: It’s very exciting. Have you got finished copies, yet?

Melanie Deziel: I have not, they are in the mail. I’m waiting, the bated breath, checking the mail a little obsessively. Any day, now.

John Jantsch: It’s a pretty awesome feeling, I will tell you.

Melanie Deziel: It will be really nice, to see them live and in person.

John Jantsch: I’m going to ask you lots of really easy, nice softball questions, but I’m going to start with kind of a hard one.

Melanie Deziel: Okay.

John Jantsch: There’s a lot of books about stories right now, so what’s your focus?

Melanie Deziel: Yeah.

John Jantsch: I’m going to use that word again … for this book, that’s going to make it different from the other books out there about story telling?

Melanie Deziel: Yeah, you’re totally right. Storytelling is a bit of a buzzword at this particular moment, everyone’s trying to figure out their story and how to tell it.

Melanie Deziel: My approach is a little bit different in that I’m not coming at you, talking about your brand’s story as a whole, right? This is not who you are, as a company. This is, very specifically, how do you take that message and bring it to the world? The framework that I’m sharing is something that I learned in my background as a journalist, which is also, probably, a different perspective than a lot of the storytelling books out there. Just sharing, how do I sit down and come up with content on a recurring basis? There are so many platforms, and you have to update all of them so frequently, you run out things to say.

Melanie Deziel: So, the goal of this book was really to say you don’t have to be this amazing, magical, prolific content creator to have something unique to say routinely. And that if you have a system behind how you choose what to say, you’ll actually be able to fill those platforms with ease. You’ll have hundreds of ideas, rather than this writer’s block of what should I post today? That’s the question I’m trying to eliminate.

John Jantsch: Yeah. Well, it’s interesting you said that because, my experience working with a lot of journalists, now that we’re all producing all this content, is that this idea, the training really was a system, because a lot of times you got assigned something you knew nothing about. Your system had to kick into place, to allow you to structure it, format it, get it going quickly, on deadline. I think that makes a ton of sense.

Melanie Deziel: 100%. The other thing I always say is, you never see a newspaper that says, “Sorry, we decided not to do a paper today, because there was nothing new to talk about,” right? That deadline pressure is real, so you become very skilled at always finding a new angle, a new perspective, a new approach, something that you can say. So that even if it’s yet another school board meeting, or whatever else you happen to be covering that day, you’ve got some new way to talk about it that’s going to engage people.

John Jantsch: Yeah. Unfortunately, that also produces the stories of the doctor who talks about more people having a heart attack in Kansas City, during the Super Bowl, because they had to fill space, right?

Melanie Deziel: It’s true, it’s true. Well, you never want to make content just for the sake of content, so hopefully this will help you come up with a lot of ideas, and then choose the best ones to bring to life.

John Jantsch: We can drill into some of the elements, but I guess it might be helpful if you have the one minute version of the global picture, of what the framework is?

Melanie Deziel: Absolutely. The framework proposes two things.

Melanie Deziel: One, that every piece of content you’ve ever created, loved, or consumed is only made up of two things. It has a focus, in that it’s about something. Maybe it’s about people, or history, or data. And it has a format, so it’s brought to life in some way, like writing, audio, like we’re doing here, video, et cetera. As long as you agree with that, that every piece of content has a focus and a format, then what I’m proposing is if I can give you a tool belt of these are some focuses, and these are some formats, you can start to come up with new and novel combinations of those things, that allow you to tell similar stories in new ways.

Melanie Deziel: The idea being you could tell a story about history through a timeline, instead of just through a written piece of content. Or, instead of just through a video, or instead of just through an infographic. So, talking about new and different ways to combine all these different focuses, and formats. That’s really what we’re trying to do, is give you a go-to system, and a language for talking about, and thinking about content creation, so that you’re not just trying to grab things out of thin air.

John Jantsch: When I hear you talk about the focus piece, are you saying every piece of content has to have one focus? Your business has to have an over-arching focus? I mean, drill down on the focus idea?

Melanie Deziel: Yeah, absolutely. I think that you can certainly combine these focuses, but the idea is if you were to think about a particular piece of content that you really enjoyed, like maybe the Serial podcast. We all remember Serial, that was a big one, we went crazy for it. That was a story about people, and it was a story about the history of that particular case, right? It did combine both the people and the history, as the focus. And it was told through audio, so that’s the particular combinations of focuses and format, there.

Melanie Deziel: You can imagine a world where that was a really long, investigative written piece, and something like the New Yorker instead of being just audio. That would be a different focus. It could have been told through an interactive timeline, where you scrolled through, and you got to listen to audio clips, and see photos. It could have been a map. I think they did, actually, include a lot of supportive content online, there was a map at some point, where you could look, here’s the cell tower, and here’s where the body was found, and plotting out all the different story elements on a map, instead.

Melanie Deziel: Every piece of content you’re trying to come up with … If you have a new product launch, or an event coming up, or you’re trying to just promote your business in general, thinking how could I tell this story through the lens of history? The history of our company, the history of this product. Or, how could I do it through data? As we talk about our company, how many people have we helped, how many products have we sold, how much revenue have we made? It just gives you different prompts, so instead of going back to the same tired stories, maybe you’re approaching things in a new way, or bringing them to life in a new way.

John Jantsch: That makes a ton of sense. Is there a finite collection of focuses? Like, here are the top … I know you talk about 10, but is there ultimately only so many of those that you should try to? I’m sure that certain industries, you could go crazy, but for the most part, would you say that there are a handful of tried and true focuses?

Melanie Deziel: Definitely. I think when it comes to focuses, and formats, I’ve picked 10 because it seemed like a nice, round number that would include some that were familiar, and some that would stretch you, to think and create in new ways. I probably can’t create an exhaustive list. At least, probably not in the timeline that it would take to create a book, there’s limits on our life. But, I did try to present some of the tried and trues.

Melanie Deziel: In terms of focuses, I think people is always a really good one to go for, we relate to stories about people very well. Basic and details, those are two complimentary ones. Basics, approaching something with just the very basics of what you need to know, really educational content. Then, details being more of an in-depth dive. You could do the same story, but approach it in both of those ways, as basics and details. I think process content is really having a moment, the last couple years. So, that’s anything that’s instructions, or DIY, recipes, we’ve seen a lot of that type of content. Those are some of the really common, tried and true.

Melanie Deziel: But, I think this also present some that you may not have thought of. I don’t know how many people are doing opinion content, as a brand. I give some examples in the book of how you can do that, without feeling like you’re going out on a limb, or getting in the middle of a debate. That’s not the goal, we’re not trying to create drama or divide your audience, we just want to express that someone has made a choice in creating this content. Maybe, “My favorite podcasts for entrepreneurs,” as opposed to just, “Here’s 10 random podcasts for entrepreneurs.”

Melanie Deziel: Yeah, those are some of the favorites. Again, like I said, a balance of hopefully ones that are familiar, and ones that might challenge you to think in some new ways, too.

John Jantsch:  Yeah. I think the structure, one of the beauties of this … I do think the challenge for a lot of people is they’re busy, doing all kinds of stuff, and then they sit down at a blank piece of paper, a blank screen, and they’re like, “I need some ideas.” This is almost like the little candy box, right? Just go grab one out of there, and start?

Melanie Deziel: Exactly. That’s the idea. If you can select from this list of focuses, here’s the eight or 10, or more that feel good to me, here’s the five, or eight, or 14 formats, that are within my resources, you could come up with 100 plus combinations. You’re obviously not going to create 100 pieces of content, maybe about the same thing, that would probably be excessive. But, like you said, it gives your brain somewhere to focus, that you’re not starting with a blank slate. You have some prompts, if you will, to think of ideas, and then you can select from those. Okay, these three are probably the most realistic for my budget, for my timeline, for my skillset.

John Jantsch: I can see a role, even … When I say content, so many people hear blog posts, and that’s where they stop. This could be your social media calendar of things, and obviously we’re going to get into some of the formats. In fact, maybe list your 10 formats, just quickly? Then, we can come back and talk about some of my questions on those.

Melanie Deziel: Yeah, definitely. The formats, this could be an almost unlimited list, because new formats are coming out all the time, new platforms are launching. So, I tried to come up with a decent combination, here, and pick 10 that I thought would be most applicable.

Melanie Deziel: Writing is first. Like I said, that’s the default for all of us. Infographics is another one, a visual way to represent our information. Audio is really having its moment, as we were talking about. Video is another big one, that obviously always creates such deep engagement. Then, I added live video as a separate one, so not bunching them together but actually thinking differently about how you might create live video.

Melanie Deziel: Number six is an image gallery, so that could be a collage, it could be a slideshow, any way you’re assembling images together. Seven is a timeline, so presenting things chronologically. Eight is a quiz, which I think is super underrated, it’s a really fun way to test knowledge, and present new information to your audience. Nine is a tool, so this would be anytime you’re helping your audience achieve something, make a calculation, convert something. You’re letting them input information, and then having a custom output of some kind. Then, 10 is a map, which again, I think maps is one of the things that we don’t use as often as we should because it feels really intimidating to create a map, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s a lot of really easy tools out there, that can help you do that.

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John Jantsch: Maybe expand on that map one, because I’m thinking, oh, I need to get to Des Moines tomorrow, I’ve got to pull out a map. But, that’s not necessarily what you’re talking about, is it?

Melanie Deziel: It doesn’t have to be, no. I think anytime you think of a story, you’re trying to convey … You’re doing an interview with someone and they’re mentioning different locations from their history, you’re talking about a particular story that has multiple geographic points, you can create a map, an optional, additional, or the only way to explore through that content.

Melanie Deziel: One of the things that I always remind people is that location doesn’t have to be, as you said, going to Des Moines, it’s states, and Interstates, and highways and things. You could have a map of a home, a blueprint is essentially a map of a home. If you’re doing some sort of real estate or renovation type content, you might want to have a map of home, to show where things happen. A map of the body is another option, right? If you’re doing any healthcare content, you’re talking about yoga positions, or pressure points, then a map of your body showing where different things happen may also be a really useful way to bring that to life.

Melanie Deziel: Just thinking about, if there’s any sort of placement or geographic element to what your talk about, then a map may be an option.

John Jantsch: Right. Not everybody who listens to my show has a content team. One of the things that I hear all the time, and I’m sure you’re hearing as you go out and talk to people is, “Okay, what’s the best format? If I can only do one, what’s the best format?” I’m going to let you answer that, but I’m going to throw the follow-up, too, is that is there a way to approach content creation, in format, that maybe is more efficient? Then, allows you to maybe do lots of formats?

Melanie Deziel: It sounds like the real challenge that a lot of us have, especially if you’re a content team of one, or if content is just one of many things you’ve been tasked with, is there’s only so much time and money for us to do these things. So, how do we make the most of our time and money?

Melanie Deziel: My recommendation, if you have the means, is to start with video. The reason for that is video can be repurposed more easily than any other format. Video has visual elements, so you can use short video clips, you can use stills from that video. It has the audio, so you could create audio clips from that as well. Then, that audio can be transcribed, to be come blog posts, articles, snippets for social media.

Melanie Deziel: If you’re starting with any of the others, writing, or infographic, or just audio, that’s still wonderful. If you can create one thing very well, consistently, by all means, do that. But if you are trying to create the illusion of more resources than you have, video is a really good starting point, that you could break down into many smaller elements, without too much extra work.

John Jantsch: Well, I think one of the challenges we face today is that there’s a whole lot of behavior in consumption, that we have to be addressing. I mean, some people listen to books. When I write I book, my audio book doesn’t come out the day the other book comes out, I hear from people. It’s like, “All I do is listen to audio!” Then, there are readers, then there are more visual learners.

John Jantsch: To some degree, we kind of have to cater to all of them, or at least to as wide as swath as possible, don’t we?

Melanie Deziel: Yeah. I talk about, everyone has their first content language, the one that your most comfortable creating in. For me, I’m a writer, that’s my background. I would rather sit down and write 100 blog posts, then have to edit two videos, it’s just the way my mind works. I’ll probably do it more quickly. Some people are different, and writing might give them anxiety, and they’d love to just hop on live video, and talk freely.

Melanie Deziel: Figure out what works for you. What are you most comfortable creating? Then, make sure you go that extra step, like you said, and see, what does your audience like consuming? Because there could be a gap, there, and even if you make the most amazing podcasts in the world, if your audience doesn’t listen to podcasts, you’re wasting your time. You want to make sure there’s some alignment, there. If there isn’t alignment, find someone, or a tool, that can help you bridge that gap.

John Jantsch: Yeah, I’m glad you threw in that idea, of something you’re good at, or you enjoy, or it’s your preference, because this stuff’s hard work, and if it’s something you really just hate doing, you’re just not going to stick with it, so great point.

John Jantsch: So, you mentioned in your book, and I loved it, “focus before format,” which I’ve been saying strategy before tactics for years. It’s kind of the same thing. I guess, you can just clear this up, then. You’re saying somebody should say, “Okay, I’m going to write about this. This is my focus, now let’s figure out all the formats it could go in.”

Melanie Deziel: Exactly. Ask, what’s the story you’re trying to tell? Then ask, what’s the best way to bring that specific story to life?

Melanie Deziel: So, a lot of times we do the opposite, just like you said, we go for tactics. We’re like, “I need a viral tweet.” But, about what? Then, you end up with a lackluster “about what.” So, we want to start with, what is this story about? Then okay, does it have visual elements? If so, maybe it would make a good video. If not, we’re probably going to have a very boring video, if there’s no visual elements to this whole story. By starting with your focus, and then asking which format is best to bring this to life, you ensure that you’re going to have some good alignment there, between the two.

John Jantsch: How closely should your focus be aligned with, say, business goals?

Melanie Deziel: I think, at the end of the day, all the content we make has to, in some way, help our business goals. So again, that’s one thing I always try to underscore. I’m not advocating that you make every possible piece of content you could with this system, or that you create every single interaction, or combination of the focuses and formats.

Melanie Deziel: But, if you know that your overarching goal is I want to create deeper relationships with this type of audience member, or I want create awareness around this event that we’re throwing, or I want to help people better understand a particular topic, then that helps you choose from amongst the focuses and the formats.

Melanie Deziel: So, for example, if your goal is, “Look, our customers really misunderstand this particular area of what we do, we need to do some education.” You’d look at that list and say, “Well, telling them about our Founder, doing a people focused story, that’s not really going to clear up that matter, so we’ll skip that for now.” But maybe a history, helping them understand the history of that particular issue, challenge, area, that might be helpful. Process would almost certainly be helpful, help them understand the thing that they maybe misunderstand, how it comes to life, what’s right and wrong there.

Melanie Deziel: Then saying, “Okay, if we’re trying to show a process, is the best way to do that process through writing? Maybe it is, but maybe we need to show that process, so we should try an image gallery, showing each step, or a video, or a live video, so that they can watch it happen.”

Melanie Deziel: As long as you start with your why, and then your big business goals, then asking, what sort of focuses make sense for that? Then, what sort of formats make sense, with that?

John Jantsch: Yeah, to your story of the viral video, so many people created ones, that got millions of views, that actually didn’t cause any business objectives to be met. It’s kind of like, well, is that worth the time?

John Jantsch: You have … and I’m imagining you, in workshops, almost playing Tic-Tac-Toe, with the boxes of this, and filling it in. You have some visuals, of the framework. Can we post those, in the show?

Melanie Deziel: Yeah, we’ll see what we can throw up there. Actually, I have a little cheat sheet, that includes the focuses and the frameworks. Maybe what we can do is we can include the link, and then a code to download that, for your listeners? That should be easy. Yeah, we’ll definitely do that.

Melanie Deziel: Yeah, it’s absolutely a fun little game. A lot of times, what I do in workshops is we’ll actually use a 10-sided die. Have you ever seen 10-sided dice? We’ll roll them, to come up with random combinations, and just see what we can come up with.

John Jantsch: That’s actually really cool, because that’s probably as accurate as somebody just picking.

Melanie Deziel: Yeah. Yeah, it’s just a good thought exercise. Like I said, sometimes, you get a combination that, “Okay, this doesn’t align with our goals.” Or, “We could do this, but it probably wouldn’t be great.” Again, at least you’re not a blank slate, and that will sometimes spur an idea for something related, that is actually a much better strategic fit.

John Jantsch: I have never seen a 10-sided die, I’m having trouble wrapping my head around what that would even look like.

Melanie Deziel: It’s quite an odd shape.

John Jantsch: It must be. It can barely sit on its side.

John Jantsch: So Melanie, where can people find out more about The Content Fuel Framework, and of course, the work that you’re doing?

Melanie Deziel: Yeah, you can learn more about my team and my company at So, Story F-U-E-L.C-O.

Melanie Deziel: The book, if you want to buy it, is at, nice and easy. But, you can learn more at, as well. There’s even instructions there, if you want to make that 10-sided die game, if you want to see what the 10-sided die look like, and make that game, there’s instruction cards there. You can try it out yourself.

John Jantsch: Awesome. Well Melanie, thanks for dropping by. Are you in New Jersey, New York?

Melanie Deziel: I am.

John Jantsch: New Jersey?

Melanie Deziel: I’m right in Jersey City, so I pretend to be both.

John Jantsch: Okay. Well, I was picking up just … I have a client that lives in Northern New Jersey, and you sound exactly like her, so I was pretty sure that’s where.

Melanie Deziel: That makes me happy. I’ve not lived in Jersey my whole life, so that means I’m starting to sink in.

John Jantsch: Oh, happy. Yeah, it’s starting to get to some of your phrases.

Melanie Deziel: There we go.

John Jantsch: All right Melanie, thanks for dropping by. Hopefully, we’ll run into you soon, out there on the road.

Melanie Deziel: Definitely. Thanks for letting me share my story.

The Role of Sales Materials in a Digital World

The Role of Sales Materials in a Digital World written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The digital world has complicated the customer journey. Where customers used to have to reach out to salespeople if they wanted to learn more about a business, they can now do the bulk of their research into a company online. They can pour through the pages of your website, read reviews from existing customers to glean the unvarnished truth about your business, and peek at your social media presence to get a better sense of your personality.

With these digital marketing channels doing so much of the heavy lifting in representing your brand, do you really still need sales materials? Will a prospect really leaf through your catalog or read your brochure?

The answer to these questions is a resounding yes! Sales materials still hold an important place in the customer journey. Whether your sales team is meeting with prospects in person or via video call, there is still a place for presentation materials and leave-behinds.

Why Sales Materials Still Matter

Some businesses have convinced themselves that digital marketing is all that matters in 2020. But printed materials remain an important piece of the puzzle. In fact, the U.S. Postal Service did some research into the effectiveness of print over digital marketing channels (of course, they have a vested interest in proving that print still holds value!), and what they found was fascinating.

People who read printed materials spent a longer time engaging with the material, had a greater emotional reaction to the content, and were more likely to place higher value on the product or service outlined than those engaging with digital materials.

Sales materials can help you do all of the following:

  • Build trust. When you spend the money to get nice printed materials made, it makes a strong impression. You signal to prospects that you’re not some rinky-dink operation. You’re a professional business who cares enough about what you do to spend the time and money on creating high-quality, lasting materials.
  • Leave a footprint. We’re all bombarded by digital messaging each day. From hundreds of emails to banner ads across every site, it’s easy to tune out that digital noise. If you can leave something physical behind, like a brochure or postcard, you’re far less easily forgotten.
  • Show, don’t tell. We all know that old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. There’s certainly some truth to that, and leaving behind print materials that are filled with eye-popping visuals can help you show off your business in a whole new way.
  • Add value. Hopefully you’ve already got a website that’s filled with great content and smart content upgrades. Sales materials can take things one step further. By sharing new information with prospects who meet with your team one-on-one, you give a sense of added value and they come to like and trust you even more.

How to Make Sales Materials Count Today

While sales materials do still have a place in today’s world, it’s undeniable that digital marketing has changed the landscape and influenced what works and what doesn’t when it comes to creating great sales materials. Here are some tips to help you create materials that catch eyes and make a lasting impression.

Invest in High-Quality Materials

This might sound like a no-brainer, but sales materials—whether printed or digital—will only work in your favor if they look great. Fliers on printer paper, hastily run through a black-and-white copy machine, will not inspire a whole lot of trust. Same goes for a poorly formatted PowerPoint. It makes you look sloppy and leaves prospects guessing about how much time and effort you put into caring for your customers.

Your sales materials must continue to speak for you long after the actual meeting with your prospect is over. So make sure they look nice! It’s worth investing in the creative—smart copy, bright visuals, great design and layout. If we’re talking print materials, it’s also worth your while to send it out to a professional print shop, rather than trying to do it on your office printer. Companies like Vistaprint and Moo allow any business access to fast, affordable, high-quality print options.

Personalize Everything

Personalization is a must in today’s sales and marketing world. Google reports that 61 percent of people expect experiences and interactions with a brand be tailored to their preferences. Your sales materials should be no exception to the personalization rule.

With the proliferation of low-cost, high-quality print services, it’s entirely possible for you to create several variations of the same brochure, catalog, or product sheets that are tailored to the needs of different segments of your audience.

Let’s say you’re a marketing consultant who focuses on small businesses (sound familiar?). Perhaps there are certain niches you focus on: home service providers, early education and childcare providers, and local car dealerships. Even if you offer the same marketing packages to each segment, you can create a brochure that highlights case studies from the specific industry and speaks to how your marketing method is applied specifically in your prospect’s field.

You can get great results in sales with low-tech personalization, too. Consider asking your salesperson to write a hand-written note (on a branded postcard, of course!) to slip into the brochure or catalog they’re leaving behind with their prospect. That attention to detail can make a strong, positive impression.

Continue to Add Value

When we talk about great sales materials, we’re talking about materials that continue to add value. Sure, your branded magnets, tote bags, and pens might be fun little add-ons. But how often does the tote end up at the bottom of someone’s desk drawer and the magnet find itself relegated to the side of the office fridge?

Branded tchotchkes don’t further your conversations with prospects, whereas great sales materials do. Make your leave-behind something that adds value. It shouldn’t be the white paper or Ebook that’s available for download on your website. Instead, make your sales materials information that prospects can’t get by simply going online.

Additionally, the content of the sales materials should fit in with your broader sales conversations and marketing strategy. The content shouldn’t come out of left field. Instead, it should help guide the in-person discussion between your sales rep and prospect, and then serve as a reminder of all their discussion points for the prospect who looks back at them later.

Encourage Collaboration Between Sales and Marketing

The best way to ensure you’re creating meaningful sales materials is to get your marketing team involved in the conversation. The customer journey today is far more convoluted than ever before, and it means there’s an unprecedented level of overlap between what your sales and marketing teams do.

Don’t leave your sales team to write and design their own brochures. But on the flip side, don’t let your marketing team create the content blind. Your sales team has the boots-on-the-ground experience and can share real-world insight into what works and what doesn’t in terms of messaging.

They can also let the marketing team know about gaps in their sales presentation and how printed or digital materials can help fill them. The marketing team, in turn, can finesse the messaging of the sales team, bring consistency to presentations and materials, and elevate sales materials to the appropriate level.

Sales materials, whether or printed or digital, still have an important role to play in today’s customer journey. While you might feel tempted to let your digital marketing and sales reps do all the talking for you, there’s still value in providing a meaningful, thoughtful leave-behind to complement sales discussions.

Creating a Podcast as Part of Your Prospecting Process

Creating a Podcast as Part of Your Prospecting Process written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Steve Gordon
Podcast Transcript

Steve Gordon headshotToday on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I visit with Steve Gordon. He’s the founder of The Unstoppable CEO, where he helps agencies and consultants to build relationships with prospects and close deals without having to sell.

One of his favorite secret weapons in the prospecting process is podcasting. The medium has become increasingly popular over the years, with countless entrepreneurs and executives tuning into podcasts as a source of guidance and information as they run their businesses.

When you create a podcast that becomes a valuable source of information, you position your business as the go-to when listeners need services or products in your space. Plus, by inviting your ideal prospects on as guests, you build one-on-one relationships and demonstrate your value without resorting to typical, icky-feeling sales tactics.

On this episode, Gordon and I speak about the many virtues of podcasting, and he shares tips for business owners who are ready to start a podcast of their own!

Questions I ask Steve Gordon:

  • Does everybody need a podcast in business?
  • What are the positive marketing elements inherent in podcasting?
  • How hard is it to set up a podcast?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How podcasting can open new doors for you in terms of relationship building.
  • How to find prospects to invite onto your podcast.
  • How to use other people’s podcasts to find guests for your own show.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Steve Gordon:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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Transcript of Creating a Podcast as Part of Your Prospecting Process

Transcript of Creating a Podcast as Part of Your Prospecting Process written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast


LinkedIn Marketing Solutions logo

John Jantsch: Hey, marketing today has gotten harder. There’s so many new platforms. How do you reach the right audience? Fortunately, there’s a simple way. LinkedIn can help you speak with the right professionals at the right time.

John Jantsch: Hello. Welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Steve Gordon. He is an author and founder, CEO of Unstoppable CEO. He’s also got a podcast by the same name, and we are going to talk about that today, podcasting and more specifically podcast prospecting. Using your podcast not just as a way to create content, but as a way to actually create clients. So Steve, thanks for joining me.

Steve Gordon: Hey John, great to be here.

John Jantsch: So I, my first question was Unstoppable CEO. You want to unpack the meaning behind that name of your company. I know that doesn’t have anything to do with podcasting, but I’m just curious.

Steve Gordon: Well, it doesn’t, and of course when we started we weren’t doing much of anything with podcasting when we started about 10 years ago. But that came out of a conversation that I was having with a buddy and when I started the business, he was asking like, “Who are you really trying to be a hero to here?” And I started describing him, it’s the business owner that sort of started with the dream and then they scratched and clawed and built it to the point where they really could have a business that sustained their life and then, wham, the world hit them with a curve ball and then they crawled back to the top of the mountain past that and they got hit again and they just kept going and going and going. And he said, “Oh, they’re unstoppable, you mean.” I said, “Wow, that’s it. That’s who we’re going after.” So we named the company that because that’s kind of our way to stay focused on who we’re really serving.

John Jantsch: No, that’s awesome. Certainly, resilience is a key ingredient to doing this as an entrepreneur because you will get knocked down. So it’s just the ones that get up and learn from it are the ones that succeed ultimately. So does everybody need a podcast? I’m going to sort of be facetious a little bit and kind of throw out what I hear and I’m sure you hear all the time, “Oh there’s so many of them out there already. It’s over-saturated. It’s yesterday’s thing.” So I’m playing devil’s advocate for you.

Steve Gordon: Well I heard Seth Godin say that everybody needs a podcast, so I’m going to believe Seth. Yeah, I think everybody needs a podcast in business. And it used to be that we’d say everybody needs a blog. You need a way to kind of communicate with your prospects, your clients, your partners and all that. The problem that I found, John, over the years and, and maybe you’ve run into this too, is that most business owners, A, are really, really busy and B, they weren’t born natural writers. And they seem to be kind of allergic to having to sit down with a blank screen and write something. And one of the things that I think is magic about podcast, one of the many things that I think is magic about it, is all you got to be able to do is have a conversation. And I have yet to meet a business owner that couldn’t do that.

John Jantsch: Yeah, yeah. Or, as you said, you ask them to write 200 words describing their business and it’d be the scariest project you’d give them, but then they would talk for two hours about their business.

Steve Gordon: Absolutely. And easily so. Happily so.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I’ve actually used that as a technique to get content produced for a lot of business owners, particularly in an industry I didn’t know anything about. I wasn’t going to be able to write any content, but I would just interview people, capture the interviews really before we even thought about using the audio content. But I would actually then transcribe that and turn it into a blog post or into an about us page or something. It’s so much easier.

Steve Gordon: Yeah, absolutely. Well we’ve really started thinking about about podcasts as kind of the foundational layer for the marketing at a business because of what you just described, you can do so many different things with the content and you can repurpose it in so many ways. So if we start with that as the foundation, it gives you this really great capability to do two fundamental things that I think are important. One is it’s a great platform for building relationships and two is the byproduct, you get this like great content out of that that’s a byproduct that you can just send out to everybody that you ultimately want to do business with and nurture them and keep them interested in you and keep you top of mind.

John Jantsch: Yeah. When people had the same sort of pushback with blogs, I don’t know, 10 years ago I was telling people, stop calling them blogs. It’s just content. It’s just content that your customers, your prospects need, search engines need, all these things. And I’ve gotten to calling podcasting just audio content because I really think that’s maybe a fuller way to look at it.

Steve Gordon: Yeah, think so. One of the things that I really didn’t fully understand when I first got into it was that you’ve got this platform that you’ve created and people will listen to it. Even if a lot of people aren’t listening to it. Let’s say you’re a small business, a local business, and all you’re doing is recording these conversations and you’re sending them out to whoever is in your local community that you want to stay in touch with. Even at that, it is so easy to invite someone on and get them to happily say yes and then begin to build a relationship with them. I started actually my first podcast, I took inspiration from you back way back in 2012. I was listening to John Jantsch on the Duct Tape Marketing podcast and thought, “I need one of those.”

Steve Gordon: And we started one and I went and interviewed 50 marketing and business experts all over the world. People I would never would’ve been able to meet otherwise. But because I had a podcast, they were open to sitting down and having a conversation with me. And that worked really well. We got new business out of it. Big mistake I made is I didn’t have a team behind me. So after 52 episodes I got busy and couldn’t keep up with it.

Steve Gordon: But those relationships are probably some of the most valuable relationships that I have still to this day in business. In fact, when I wrote my first book in 2014 I went back to that group of people, 15 of them. So small percentage, 15 of the 50 said, “Yeah, I’ll help you promote the book.” And that took that book from nothing … I mean, we had a tiny little email list of a thousand people and within short order, that book was in the hands of 5,000 people that I never knew.

John Jantsch: Yeah. People who’ve listened to this show for any length of time, know that I call it my dirty little secret. I started podcasting, not because I wanted to build some podcasting empire, it just gave me an excuse to have conversations with people I wanted to have conversations with. And what I found was that we talked off air about … or maybe that was on the recording already about my friend Seth Godin, who has been just a great ally and promoter of all things Duct Tape. And he was one of my first interviews. And I guarantee you if I sent Seth an email even 10, 15 years ago and said, “Hey, can we get on the phone for about 20 minutes so I can pick your brain?” It’d be like delete, even as even as nice as he is.

John Jantsch: But when you send an email to that same person and say, “Hey, I see you have a new book coming out, I’d actually like to interview you and promote that book.” Well, all of a sudden you get a lot more attention. You’re a member of the media. Even now that podcasts are so mainstream, people still react that way, so I would keep doing this just because I get to have great conversations with people like you.

John Jantsch: Yeah, I tell you, it’s my favorite thing to do in my day when I go to work. If I see that I’ve got podcast interviews it’s great because I know number one, I’m going to have fun doing it. Two, I’m going to make some really great relationships and when we’re coaching a business through this process of strategically how to use their podcast, we usually will tell them, “Look, you want to have two kinds of audiences that you’re thinking about here. You want to think about, from a a referral standpoint, who are the relationships that you want to nurture or start where they’ve got influence over your potential clients? And go out and invite those people and interview them.

John Jantsch: And then I think a strategy that’s under utilized is to look at who are the clients you really want to do business with, maybe those strategic clients that would be really hard to reach any other way. They’ve got all of the gatekeepers up and all that. Well, if you’re kind of approaching it as … we call it being a success journalist for the industry. So you go to an industry leader and say, “I’m interviewing all of the industry leaders about how they’ve become so successful. Would you like to share your success story?” You’ve just parachuted over all the gatekeepers.

John Jantsch: That’s right.

Steve Gordon: And now you’re going to build a relationship with that person without being a salesperson, you know?

John Jantsch: Yeah. And I’ve gotten pushback over the years with people kind of saying that, “Oh yeah, well you’re an author and you interview these people that are authors and whatnot, but my little business that doesn’t make sense.” And you just hit the nail on the head. I mean, if you want to work with mid market size company CEOs in your town, start interviewing them because, hey, it’s great content. I mean if that’s the market you’re in, you may actually have a conversation with somebody who says, “Well gosh Steve, tell me about what you do.” But even if you don’t, their peers are going to see that content, they’re going to want to promote that content for you. So it just has so many really positive marketing elements, doesn’t it?

Steve Gordon: Oh, it does completely. And it’s really fairly easy we found to take the interview that you have and at the end of that, you usually have some time scheduled once the recording stops and extend the conversation a little bit. And so, John, you’re familiar with Strategic Coach, right? Dan Sullivan?

John Jantsch: Oh sure. Yeah. [crosstalk 00:10:16].

Steve Gordon: So you’re probably familiar with the Dan Sullivan Question, right?

John Jantsch: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steve Gordon: So it’s a great little book. If you’ve never read it, go get the Dan Sullivan Question. And at the end of a podcast interview-

John Jantsch: Takes about 10 minutes.

Steve Gordon: Yeah, it’s a 10 minute read. The question sounds something like this, “Hey John, if we were having this conversation three years from today, what would have to happen for you to feel happy with your progress?” And then you just be quiet and you listen to them and they’re going to tell you what their goals are in the future.

Steve Gordon: And if you’re talking with a referral partner or with a potential client, they’re basically giving you the roadmap for how you can come and add value to them. And so you need that raw material and then usually what we’ll say is something like, “That’s really great. You know, I interview lots of people on this podcast. I bet that if I think about it a little bit, I’ll have some connections that can help you get to this goal that you just told me about. Would you like to get together on Tuesday for 20 minutes and I’ll have some connections for you?” And they always say yes.

Steve Gordon: So now you’ve got a second meeting and you come back with those connections and with some ideas and if it’s a prospect and you’ve really thoughtfully targeted who that prospect is, chances are I’ll bet one of those ideas might be working with your company. And it’s a real easy thing to say. It’s just, “Hey John, I’ve been thinking about all those things. You told me that goal you had and I think we might be able to help get you there. Would you be interested in talking about that?”

John Jantsch: Yeah. I want to go back to one of the things you said is that in that conversation they will tell you ways that you might be able to add value. You did not say ways that you might be able to sell to them. And I think that’s a really key distinction, because a lot of people just go in, sell, sell, sell, and they don’t listen to “How can I add value?” Because you’re right. That in the end is all people care about, is receiving that. So I think that’s an important distinction.

Steve Gordon: Oh, it’s really critical. I mean, selling is all about friction, I think. And adding value, they pull you along. There’s no friction.

John Jantsch: Do you know there are over 62 million decision makers on LinkedIn? Yeah. And even small and medium sized businesses are making the most out of LinkedIn ads. They’re using LinkedIn to get their voices heard and their messages to resonate with the audience. And it’s not just about awareness either. LinkedIn ads are driving traffic and engagement. If you want to check it out, try for yourself. LinkedIn is offering a free $100 LinkedIn ad credit to launch your first campaign. Simply visit D-U-C-T-T-A-P-E. That’s So there’s some terms and conditions that may apply, but I urge you to go check it out for yourself.

John Jantsch: So, not intentionally, but you jumped ahead to one of the questions I wanted to ask. So let’s back up a minute and maybe let’s just break down the steps. We’ve kind of made it sound really simple, but let’s break down the steps for people. So we talked about why they would need a podcast. How have you found in today’s world is the best way to find prospects. So let’s say they know who their ideal client is. They have decided they’re going to do a show focused on that ideal client. How do they find those prospects?

Steve Gordon: Well, chances are they probably already know who they are. Most business owners have an idea. So you start with the list you have. And then when we’re working with a business to kind of go through this process, we help them really get clear on who their ideal client is and kind of create a profile there that’s not anything revolutionary. That’s kind of marketing 101, but then from there we take that and we’ll help them build out that list based on that profile. And we call it the target 100 process. And so we want to have a list of around a hundred people that’s always a working list that we’re inviting to to come and be a guest on their podcast.

John Jantsch: All right, so what if I don’t know all those people. I mean maybe I’ve got a couple of clients, I’ve got a little bit of a network. I’ve been in an a BNI group or something like that, but I want to go bigger. LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Are you a fan?

Steve Gordon: Yeah, it works great. We use that. We use the web. One of the secrets, if you want to go bigger and level up is to go look at other people’s podcasts and see who’s been interviewed. And those people you know are going to be interested. They usually have an audience, so if you’d want to sort of level up … We’ve got one client who’s doing this right now. He’s had a local virtual CFO business and wants to take it national and so he was actually an officer in his BNI group. Well that will only get him in his town. It won’t get him beyond his town. So he’s now going through and we’re getting guests booked who have audiences and looking at who’s been on other podcasts to do that. And it’s just so easy.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I’ll tell you another benefit that once you’re doing this for a while and interviewing a lot of people for awhile, at least in my case, I had a book come out recently, and I just went and looked at everybody I’ve interviewed the last three years. And I sent them all an email saying, “Hey, will you help with the book?” Well, lo and behold, 75% of them have a podcast now. So it kind of filled up my podcast schedule just from people that I had booked. And I think that that’s probably something people can expect as sort of that reverse kind of strategic partnership arrangement almost.

Steve Gordon: Oh, it absolutely works. You mentioned something earlier, in the beginning you said, kind of being a little devil’s advocate that, “Aren’t there too many podcasts? Isn’t it’s saturated at this stage?” One of the really interesting things that we’ve discovered is that there are an awful lot of podcasts listeners, particularly business owners, and so many of them are curious about how this whole process works. And when you ask them for an interview and they don’t have a podcast, but they’re a podcast listener, they are suddenly fascinated by it. And they’ll jump at the chance and then they want to ask you everything about how it works. So you really become a leader to them in a really interesting way.

John Jantsch: I record this show in my little office in Kansas city and I have a full glass front on my office and people walk by and they they’re absolutely convinced I must be a radio DJ or something. So they sit there and stare. All right, so I’ve got my list of prospects, I know what my show’s going to be about. I’m really pumped to go out and start spreading the world. How hard is it to set up a podcast?

Steve Gordon: That’s where everybody tends to fall down. Now it’s getting easier. So there are services where you can kind of go and get it set up and they take care of a lot of the basic technical details. But our recommendation is that you build a team to do it because your job as the business owners just to show up and talk. You want to be able to engage with the person that you’re trying to build a relationship with. That’s the fundamental reason you’re doing it. And you’ve got other things to do. Most business owners I know don’t have any extra time. And so you becoming an audio engineer and a copywriter and the marketing tech person and all of that is I think kind of foolish. So get a team, whether you get an internal team to do it, whether you get a bunch of freelancers that you want to manage to do it, whether you get a team like ours or one of the many others that is now in this space. But do yourself a favor and get, get support.

John Jantsch: Yeah. And when you say team, a team can mean somebody that gives you three hours a week. It doesn’t have to be, “I need to hire these five different individuals.” I mean my podcast is just that, I do generally invite my guests, I do the interviews and once I hit stop, I don’t touch it anymore. But the person that takes it over is in New York city and does all the work virtually and in about, I want to say, two hours an episode. So I mean it’s relatively inexpensive and as you said, your time is probably better spent going in, cutting another deal for your business, as opposed to doing this.

John Jantsch: But the benefits long term are worth the investment of that time. All right. You touched on this, but I want to hit it just a little bit again because I think when I talk about this idea of it being a great prospecting tool, there is a danger in somebody getting somebody on the phone and then just immediately selling to them. And so I’d love it if you’d kind of go over again, so we’ve done the interview, it’s been a great conversation. How do I sort of elegantly make that transition to talking a little bit about what I do or asking them about what they need, because I think I could see people fumbling that.

Steve Gordon: Well, yeah. I think that’s probably the one spot where you could make the biggest mistake with it. I have this principle. I learned it from a good friend of mine who’s very, very successful in the life insurance industry, probably one of the top guys in the country. And he talks about this idea of purity of intent. And so anytime I’m approaching anything that’s related to marketing or sales, I’m kind of getting myself in this place of purity of intent. And for me what that means is being 100% focused on the person that I’m with and how do I add value to them? That’s critical.

Steve Gordon: So you have this interview, you’re already adding value to them because you’ve invited this business owner on to promote themselves. Okay. And you’ve ended the recording and now it’s really easy to say, “Wow, John, that was amazing. I learned so much. I had no idea you were into all those things. I’m really curious, where do you see yourself in three years? What has to happen between now and three years from today for you to feel really happy with your progress?” Which is the the Dan Sullivan question we talked about earlier. And they’ll tell you where they’re going and then you just need to listen and say, “Wow, I could help. I could help him get there quicker or I could help him get there easier.”

Steve Gordon: And it might be making connections. It might be you can help them from a business perspective. But I always like to give space. So I said before, I said the thing we always teach our clients to do is just say, “Hey look, would it be okay if we got together on Tuesday, or pick whatever day, for 15 or 20 minutes. I’d like to think about it a little bit.” And that way you get some space so that it doesn’t feel like you’re suddenly turning the tables. And if you’re coming from this place of purity of intent, it works.

John Jantsch: Yeah. So you have written a book on Podcast Prospecting that you want to tell us about it and how people can perhaps get that. And of course, as always, we’ll have any links in the show notes.

Steve Gordon: Yeah, absolutely. So, John, we’ve put up a page just for Duct Tape Marketing listeners where they can get … this is my newest book. It’s my fourth book and the title is Podcast Prospecting. So if they go to, there they’ll be able to get a free copy of the book. And if anybody wants to talk with me about podcasting, I’d love to brainstorm a little bit how they might be able to do that in their business.

John Jantsch: Awesome. And as I said, we’ll have that in the show notes and I know a lot of people that would love to get that, and I appreciate the gracious offer to our listeners. So Steve, thanks for stopping by and spending a little time talking about Podcast Prospecting and hopefully we’ll see you soon someday out there on the road.

Steve Gordon: Thanks, John.