If you’re going to go pro bono, at least get credit

I have yet to meet an agency owner who did not have a generous spirit. Whether your clients live in your community or not, every agency I know does a ton of pro bono work for the non-profits in their area. My agency has always been that way too. But I have to admit, I got tired of always being asked and feeling like a jerk when I had to say no. On top of that, I felt that in most cases, we were just slapping a bandaid on the non-profit’s issue. A run logo here or a golf tournament t-shirt design there or even a simple website now and then. But I never felt like we were leaving a true mark — I couldn’t see how we were deeply improving the non-profit in the long run. So I created a completely different way of approaching pro bono work. A way that allowed us to create events that attracted hundreds of thousands of dollars to some of the charities — year after year. Long after we were done working with them, they were still reaping the benefits. And we got a little publicity for our efforts as well. I described the pro bono transformation we experienced in an article for Hubspot and I’d love to hear what you think. I believe we can do good, make it really last, and benefit from it as well. I love that combination!

How to promote your book as part of your thought leadership strategy

With all the buzz about establishing yourself as a thought leader and the long-term value of that effort, many agency owners have written or are thinking about writing a book to demonstrate their expertise. There is assumed esteem that comes from being a published author, whether you self-publish or choose to work with a hybrid or traditional publisher. No matter how your book comes to life unless you’re James Patterson, the promotion of your book is pretty much going to be on you. Odds are you didn’t write the book to make millions of dollars, but instead to use the book to build your position as a thought leader, open up opportunities to speak, or be sought out as an expert by the media. Some agency leaders write a book merely to be used as a three-dimensional business card! No matter what your end game, you have to get your book noticed before you can enjoy the benefits of going through the hard work of writing it. Here are some ideas on how to launch and promote your book. Ideally, you’ll have time to plan for all of this before your book comes out. But many of these tactics can be effective, no matter how long ago your book was first published. Build your audience before you need it: Depending on the subject matter of your book, start creating relationships with potential readers before the book is out. Focus on growing your social reach on the channels that you typically use and where you think your core audience is hanging out. You’re also going to want to build up an email list of people who are interested in your book’s topic. Hopefully, you are already [...]

Should I compare our agency to others?

How many times have you had a prospect say something like: You are a breath of fresh air compared to our current/old agency You actually understand our business Our other agency never asked us questions like this Wow - I actually know where our dollars are being spent with you It feels good, no make that amazing, when we know we are exceeding our clients' expectations, even if it is because they were with a lousy agency before us.  That makes it tempting to go out there and shout "we are not like the other guys! Come experience the difference! I totally get why you ask yourself "should I compare our agency to others?" I'm here to tell you, whatever you do, resist the urge. Think back to the 2018 mid-term election cycle and recall what I am guessing we all said or thought as we watched yet another political ad.  “Stop talking about how bad the other guy is and just tell me what you will do.” I get the temptation. But avoid it in your own messaging and marketing.  You talk about you.  Your philosophy of the work.  Your defined and tested process.  Your unique POV. Your depth of experience.  What is it like to work with you. Let them read between the lines and sense the difference. Where you can put some spotlight on the “we’re better than the other guys” is when you share other people’s words and reflections on you. Think: Google and FB reviews (which you should be actively seeking) Testimonials Client referrals The clients you offer to let prospects talk to You can create a cheat sheet of the above mentioned points of difference and ask them to [...]

The Biggest Advantages of Out of Home Advertising with Betsy McLarney

If you’ve been in the business for more than a decade – you’ve done a fair amount of outdoor advertising at some point in your career.  But, when we say outdoor advertising, most of us think billboards. We’re very right but we are also very wrong. Today, that’s just a sliver of what outdoor (now called out of home) advertising can deliver for clients. Out of home advertising includes wallscapes, and visual messaging on commuter rails, subway, taxi tops, airport advertising, cinema ads, sporting arenas, grocery store ads, fitness clubs, and the list goes on and on. But out of home goes far beyond any sort of sign. Think of on site activation, boots on the ground people doing sampling and so much more. My guest Betsy McLarney, the President of EMC Outdoor, has had a bird’s eye view of the different changes in outdoor advertising over the years. Betsy is on the podcast to share with us some unique ways out of home advertising can be used to help us deliver our client’s core message. Join Betsy and I as we think of bigger and broader uses of out of home advertising by learning about: Out of Home (OOH) media: what is it? What are some advantages of out of home advertising? How digital outdoor advertising really makes the experience come alive for consumers Using OOH to hit consumers with messages on multiple touch points throughout their day It’s not just for B2C: how B2B can utilize OOH to enhance their campaigns Using street teams effectively to get your message out to live people Why OOH isn’t just for national brands and can be used effectively for even local campaigns Matching the budget to [...]

Podcasting 101: The Ultimate Podcasting How-To Guide with Rob Walch

2000 to 1. That’s the ratio of bloggers to podcasters. If you’re blogging and not podcasting, you should keep that ratio in mind.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a blogger from way back and I will always blog. But we should not ignore the competitive advantage that podcasting offers. Podcasting has become very mainstream now that technology makes it so easy to access, listen and share the content.  The ability to multitask (treadmill, dog walking, driving, train commuting, etc.) makes a podcast easier to consume than a blog or video. I’ve seen how agencies have leveraged a podcast to create a position of thought leadership which has led to some amazing new business opportunities. If you’re ready to start podcasting, are just dipping your toes in or have been doing it for a while, my guest Rob Walch is your go-to guy. He lives, eats and breathes podcasting. He’s been doing it for over 10 years and has consulted with Jack Welch, Governor Bill Richardson, Noah Shanok (Stitcher), Tim Ferriss and Dr. Mark Hyman just to name a few. He is the VP of Podcaster Relations for Libsyn (one of the largest podcast publishing tools) and has his own award-winning podcast, podCast411. We packed a lot into this one conversation and there’s something for everyone no matter where you are on your podcasting journey. Check out everything we covered: How Rob moved podcasting from his hobby to his career The biggest and most important trends in podcasting Why you should record a couple podcasts before you release your first one -- but not so many that you never release one Podcasting 101 The importance of having a way for your podcast listeners to contact you [...]

How to Get Speaking Engagements that Fill Your Pipeline with Gene Hammett

One of the best ways to get on a prospect’s radar screen is for them to see you on stage at a trade conference or show. The implied endorsement of your thought leadership can open many business development doors. But how do you know which stage you should be on and how do you get there? How do you position yourself to become the choice, not a choice, when people are looking for speakers with your specific expertise? My podcast guest Gene Hammett uses his 20+ years of experience being on many stages (right and wrong) to walk you through how to find your profitable niche, translate that into new revenues, new leads, new business and make you the insider in the space you are shooting for so the right clients will come to you. Gene says, “Most people believe they should be getting paid to speak, but I believe that you can and should speak for free at the right stages. Be in the right place and the right clients will walk up to you after your speech and present you an opportunity. Of course, that assumes you've done your work and you really carry the moment and deliver something fresh and useful.” Join Gene and I as he lays out a great road map for becoming THE choice, and not A choice with: Why Gene became a coach after losing 3 million dollars The real reasons you should be speaking (it’s not a speaker’s fee) How to get speaking engagements that will fill your sales pipeline Why you shouldn’t shy away from the “breakout” sessions at conferences as a speaker The opportunity for diverse speakers Why being a generalist is dangerous for speakers [...]

How Partnering with a Nonprofit Can Create an Impact for Your Business

Want to leave a lasting legacy in your community, engage your employees, thrill your vendors and be able to serve and help those who really need it? It’s possible, practical, profitable and probably the last place you would look for a business opportunity – pro bono work for the nonprofits in your community.     As an agency you are inevitably going to be asked by a nonprofit for free work. Make that inevitability a win-win for everyone involved by serving the nonprofits in your community in a way that is bigger and better both in the short-term and the long-term.    Join me in this solocast as I walk you through: Why short term nonprofit projects don’t do much good for your agency or a nonprofit Creating a contest for nonprofits where the winner will become your client for a year How this contest and resulting year-long relationship will bring in a ton of PR How this lengthy commitment with a single nonprofit allows you to gracefully turn down other nonprofits that you don’t have time to work with What to ask for in applications to find the right nonprofit to work with How your relationship with a nonprofit can be a great business development opportunity Why you need to get in front of the nonprofit’s board of directors How this relationship will dramatically change the impact that the nonprofits you adopt can make What your process for setting up this yearly project should look like Why your team will love doing work with a nonprofit Drew McLellan is the Top Dog at Agency Management Institute. For the past 21 years, he has also owned and operated his own agency. Drew’s unique vantage point as [...]

How to Use Public Speaking to Strategically Grow Your Business with Tamsen Webster

Public speaking is the number one fear in America. Death is number two. From sweaty palms to cracking voices, speaking in public can be terrifying, yet it is a crucial skill to have in the agency world. As agency owners, our speaking skills are in the spotlight, be it in presentations, pitches, at conferences or just in front of your kid’s school. No matter how many people you’re in front of or how long you have to talk – every presentation matters. Tamsen Webster believes passionately in the power of human-to-human communication and has made it her life’s work to see to it that you become a better speaker. She coaches TedTalk speakers, business leaders and teams on how to get the audience to focus and relate to your ideas and feel connected to you in the process. Join Tamsen and I as we flesh out how to use presentations and speeches in a strategic way to grow your business. We cover:   Why speaking is the best tool for convincing someone that your agency is the best agency for them Why you need to make your speeches about your audience and not about you Mistakes that agencies make in pitches all the time How to structure your new business presentations so that you win the business Why you want people to remember the one big idea of your presentation — not specific tactics How to develop a thought leadership presentation Why niched presentations are a lot more effective than broad ones “Why,” “what now,” and “how” talks: what’s different about these kind of presentations How to structure a talk when you are given a general topic that you have to speak on Why you should stop before [...]

The Importance of Managing Your Online Reputation with Daniel Lemin

“There’s a hair in my soup.”   Not the kind of review that any business owner wants to hear.  Worse – to have it broadcast to other potential customers all over the web. But that’s exactly what is happening with the rise of Yelp, Citysearch, Google reviews and a million other sites out there. The impact and power of online ratings and reviews is not going away, meaning the importance of managing your online reputation is more important than ever. It’s only going to get more pervasive and more influential as we move forward. The good news is that this is a great opportunity for agencies to step in and help business owners manage and maintain those online reputations. Daniel Lemin is my podcast guest and he has seen the evolution of online ratings and reviews. He believes there is vast potential for agencies to provide strategy and counsel to their clients, all while making it very profitable for the agency. Daniel and I walk through the strategies that your agency can put into place to help your current and future clients tackle this issue by learning: The importance of managing your online reputation Why online reputation work is such a great opportunity for agencies How Daniel got into online reputation work and how came to write “Manipurated” What makes this kind of work more profitable for agencies than SEO work Tools that are great for this kind of work Why every person inside an agency needs to be good at this — and why Daniel advises against having a dedicated team that does only this kind of work How agencies can price this kind of work out What agencies can do to get B2B [...]

How to Write and Publish a Book with Anthony Paustian

Almost every agency owner I know wants to write a book. How about you? Is this the year? If so, where do you start? Where do you go? How do you do it? How do you stay disciplined enough to get it done? There’s a huge difference between wanting to write a book and actually writing one. Enter my guest, Anthony Paustian, who in addition to writing many books himself, both through the traditional route and as a self-publisher, coaches busy professionals to produce great books. He takes aspiring authors from concept to final product with as little pain as possible but just enough nagging to get the job done. Anthony and I cover the step by step process for how to write and publish a book by answering: Why Anthony decided to become an author and a coach What keeps someone that wants to write a book from actually doing it How to get past the thought that your book won’t be valuable enough The process for getting a book from your head and into an actual book How to turn your blog into a book How to successfully proof your writing Why you need to speak about the topics you write about What the editing process is like once your book is in the hands of an editor What you need to have for your book to appear in a library Why you don’t need (or even necessarily want) your book to be on shelves at Barnes and Noble The best way to sell your book What kinds of e-books you should sell First steps people can take right now to get going Dr. Anthony Paustian was given a rare opportunity in life [...]