Michael Greenberg talks about the Do’s and the Dont’s of marketing with Brandon Poole on the Brandon Poole Elevation Podcast.
Brandon Poole 00:10
Welcome to Brandon Poole Elevation. My name is Brandon Poole Motivational Speaker and Lifestyle Entrepreneur. And each week I bring an inspiring person or message to help you make your dreams become reality. Thanks for listening, now let’s get out there. Welcome to the show, everybody. Today’s guest is Michael Greenberg. He is the founder of Gentleman of Technology, which is a B2B Venture Creation and Strategy Consulting Firm. Michael recently exited his ownership of the business radio X Studio for St. Louis, Missouri, and has just written a book entitled Authority Marketing Playbook. In January of 2017, Michael launched a new business called Call For Content. This company helps business owners and influencers create concepts that stay true to their voice and their values. So without further ado, here is Michael Greenberg. Welcome to the show, Michael. I am glad to have you here. Why don’t you tell our audience about you, and why we should listen to you.
Michael Greenberg 01:43
Yeah. I have probably made the mistakes that you’re going to make. I started my whole career by dropping out of the first time I went to college when most of my professors got pushed back to the private sector. I decided to take some time off, go learn to code and try to join a startup in Mountain View, California, which I did. I led their initial MVP development and moved over to the operations and marketing side where I helped get us to about 30 enterprise clients. After that, I moved into growth strategy consulting for small and medium-sized B2B businesses. For everyone out there who doesn’t know, B2B means business to business. I’ve stayed in that range ever since. My clients sell to large businesses or small businesses. They’ll sell to anyone but I work with companies under about 100 employees. Those are the people that I focus on. What I’m doing now is a Content Marketing Agency called Call For Content. That’s built out of me seeing how many customers struggled with positioning themselves in the market, and seeing that content was the best way to help them. That’s me setting that up so that I can consult growth strategy and make sure all my customers have everything set up for when I come in.
Brandon Poole 03:13
Yeah. So what do you look for when you’re going into these growth strategy sessions?
Michael Greenberg 03:20
I look for inefficiencies first. Because of the kind of companies I work with, the first thing I look for is technology. Are they using software from 10 years ago? Would putting in the new version save them 100 hours a day. And that’s step one. Step two is mapping out a customer journey and seeing where they first made contact with our brand, all the way to what does our customer support or customer success looks like on the back end?
Brandon Poole 04:00
Tell us about Call For Content. How did you come up with this idea?
Michael Greenberg 04:07
As I mentioned I was working with clients as a Growth Strategist and the number one issue I saw was that they weren’t positioned well in the market. I was working with a client who was a Digital Media Network at the time and I saw how well they were able to use their content to position themselves. But then because of their position as a Digital Media Company, how poorly positioned they were to take advantage of that. So taking the same practices from digital media and applying them to a business and their own media allows a business to become the media, become the voice in their industry. You might hear it called thought leadership, you might hear it called content marketing, you might hear it called any of 1000 things, but at the end of the day, we’re using content to get customers. I have a few specialized processes that we use internally with both podcasts and blogs, but that’s really the basis point.
Brandon Poole 05:14
What do you do to stay up to date on what the latest thing is and what businesses should do to promote their business?
Michael Greenberg 05:24
I don’t read the news, or bad blogs, or tips online. If somebody is telling you it, unless they’re using it to get you to buy some other thing they do that’s more complex, they’re probably not giving you the best advice. The way we prove that everything we put out at Call For Content works for our content is that all the content we put out is the stuff we actually do. I see Influencers, Forbes Article Writers and Entrepreneur Writers and almost everything they put out is bad. I’m willing to say that without much of a question because good content isn’t 500 words. Good content is however many words it takes to explain the thing you are trying to explain.
Brandon Poole 06:15
Gotcha. So were you on the leading edge of seeing the podcasts, and blogs, things like that coming around?
Michael Greenberg 06:28
I’m not quite that old for the blogs. That was about 20 years ago now and I’m only 25. But for podcasts, I’ve definitely watched them come up over the past few years and podcasts are really going through the same phases that blogs went through. If you look at the errors of everyone just getting things started, you get your first few icons, then you move into networks, then you move into consolidation, then you move into really building out the ad networks around these properties, podcasting is going through all of that now. And podcasting is a lot harder to do for a lot of those things so we’re learning as we go. But that’s where my technical background has come into play the most because the issues around podcasting are all technical now.
Brandon Poole 07:19
Okay. What do you see as the next big thing for marketing?
Michael Greenberg 07:28
I know it sounds like a buzzword but it’s machine learning and AI. Pattern analysis at scale is extremely difficult for humans to do and that’s where we’re going to see results first. In the past year and a half, two years I’ve seen massive changes in automation around social media, and email in particular in terms of the sales that you can make using email marketing and the tactics you can perform. As that has all increased in sophistication, we’ve seen marketers start to rely less and less on technology, I think. Because as we have more technology, you have to become more specialized to use it. So as marketers, we have to step away from that and go back to the core foundations to understand the principles rather than trying to learn specific tools.
Brandon Poole 08:27
Okay, yeah, that’s interesting. I definitely see AI and VR becoming the next big things. And for the old people out there that’s artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Going back to one of the emails you sent me, where you’re talking about the discussions that we could have. One of them was how to be known for who you are and what you do. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about that?
Michael Greenberg 08:53
Yeah, that’s creating content. I wrote a book early last year, called the Authority Marketing Playbook, and that’s actually the subtitle of it. What had happened, as I mentioned, was that I saw people running into issues and as a consultant, I ran into the exact same issues that my clients did when I was starting my business. So I took a look and the biggest factor to impact within a B2B sale is trust. The best way to establish trust at least in a B2B sale, in my opinion, is to make sure the other person knows that you are competent and an expert in the thing you’re talking about so you can perform a service or provide the software to solve their problem. If they trust you to do that, then they trust that you’re an expert. Now, I can’t make people trust you, but I can educate them so I’m going to create content to do that. And the Authority Marketing Playbook, you can find it at callforcontent.com/ANP, is my one on one, essentially. That’s what authority is. What are the basic principles we need to understand about it to use it? And how do we get started today with creating content or with proving our authority to a targeted audience? That comes down to partnerships and creating content. Why those two? They don’t cost any money?
Brandon Poole 10:35
What do you think is the biggest key to creating successful partnerships?
Michael Greenberg 10:40
Choosing the right partners. Most people go in blind. When I approach somebody for a partnership I have my deck done. I know exactly what I want from them and exactly what they need to do and all they need to do is say yes.
Brandon Poole 11:04
So what’s one of the main things you look for? Maybe honesty, loyalty, trustworthiness, something like that?
Michael Greenberg 11:12
In a partner?
Brandon Poole 11:13
In a partner. Yeah.
Michael Greenberg 11:15
Clients, revenue, traffic. I focus on content partnerships when I get started. So that’s either creating a piece of content together or exchanging guest posts of some sort. For those, the most important thing is a captive audience. For something like a referral partnership that I have put together, the most important thing is actually having referrals to pass on to me. For some of the larger venture deals that I put together, that becomes a matter of skill set and what they can bring to the table. If I’m partnering with somebody to launch a company, then we need very different things than if I’m partnering to launch a podcast or just write a book together.
Brandon Poole 12:05
So what would your advice be to someone starting their own business? They want to become an influencer of some sort. They want to start their own podcast. How would you say they should start marketing themselves?
Michael Greenberg 12:18
They shouldn’t. They should just create content and then network. Targeted networking will produce better results if you’re selling in B2B. And I go back to that again and again, that B2B because most businesses don’t have 10 or $20,000 clients unless they’re selling to other businesses. You need those big numbers to be able to wait out for content because it’s not today it’s six months from now that matters. Taking that long term vision is what you need to do when you work with content. It’s what you need to do when you’re planning to build a business and become an influencer or do that sort of thing with it. So my newest content marketing campaign for Call For Content started in January. We really got rolling in April and the leads are just starting to pick up now. We might have had a handful over the prior three months but it’s this month when we’re actually starting to see consistency. And so it’s a big lag. You have to have the capital and the resources in the planning to be prepared to carry all the way through that and forward.
Brandon Poole 13:36
Right. Tell us a little bit about the talk test that you mentioned.
Michael Greenberg 13:45
The talk test is how I prove that you actually know what you’re talking about. It’s pretty simple. If you’re not willing to do a four-hour workshop or give a keynote speech on the topic at hand, you’re not enough of an expert in it to really brand yourself or to use authority marketing or content marketing to really get out there with it.
Brandon Poole 14:10
So, back to the marketing side of things. What are your thoughts on Facebook ads, Instagram ads, YouTube ads?
Michael Greenberg 14:22
I really like LinkedIn ads, because I’m B2B. I like Facebook for selling to small to medium-sized businesses. I think that if you’re trying to be an influencer of some sort, you should be using ads. Not a big fan of Twitter’s ads but I’ve seen good results with Instagram, for e-commerce in particular and the same thing with Facebook, you can really get results there. But if you’re doing content, or if you’re in B2B, I’d say skip ads to start. If you’re in ecom, or if you’re trying to promote your brand or if you’re trying to grow a podcast, then Facebook and Instagram are great ad outlets and you get pretty cheap prices once you get going. But you need to build up enough of a list to start building a look-alike for targeting, so expect to put in a few thousand to really get going.
Brandon Poole 15:20
What books do you suggest for marketing if someone wants to learn how to become a marketer, such as yourself?
Michael Greenberg 15:32
Brandon Poole 15:35
Michael Greenberg 15:36
Ogilvy Mather, if you heard of them.
Brandon Poole 15:41
It sounds familiar.
Michael Greenberg 15:43
They’re one of the biggest ad agencies in the world, maybe the biggest, and they’re not bad at marketing. They’ve been doing it for a while. They know how to write excellent ads and David Ogilvy put out some of the best books on ads. Luke Sullivan put out a book called Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This, which is a great one on copywriting and ad design. Traction is the only book on startup marketing strategy you will ever need. That’s by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares. Those would be the core books for marketing.
Brandon Poole 16:29
Have you read the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing?
Michael Greenberg 16:36
That sounds really familiar. I might have back in the day. I read about a book a week so I get through a lot.
Brandon Poole 16:43
I know people like Tim Ferriss and a few of those other guys have mentioned the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing before.
Michael Greenberg 16:52
My real question would be are those guys marketers?
Brandon Poole 16:57
That’s good. Yeah.
Michael Greenberg 17:01
That’s my rule of thumb. This is just me hating someone, and Neil Patel is a really smart guy, but his content is bad. His guides on SEO are out of date on Quick Sprout and some of those websites that he’s got. He’s a big influencer in the space and you’re going to end up touching his information, but I would really take it with a grain of salt because most of its outdated.
Brandon Poole 17:32
Yeah. What’s a daily habit that has really helped you in your life, and business and in anything?
Michael Greenberg 17:49
It’s hard to think of one that hasn’t but I’m a big fan of daily rituals. In the morning I start out by watching 15 minutes of stand up comedy. I like to start the day with a laugh. From there I’ll move into meditation, day planning, working out, and then eating breakfast. I’m a big fan of high-fat protein and very low carb breakfasts. I eat low carb overall, but I think that focusing on fat and protein for breakfast is probably one of the biggest things that’s made a difference for me, honestly. It gives you so much more energy for the day ahead and you don’t have any of the pre-lunch crashes or anything like that.
Brandon Poole 18:35
My last podcast episode is about meditation actually and I was just wondering what your meditation looks like.
Michael Greenberg 18:46
I’ve been meditating for a little over a decade now. Yeah, I started young but nowadays I try to focus on my biggest issue for the day ahead. So I’ll think about that for three to five minutes, maybe write it out myself and do sort of a guided writing exercise around that. Then I’ll sit and clear my mind for the next, anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes depending on how much time I have on that day. Normally when I finish that, I’ll go and work out right away. So I’m getting an extended time away from this thought after just putting in some focus to it. When I come back to it I normally have a good path forward or at least a few good ideas on how to move forward from there. That is a long process, but it’s really helped me put meditation to use because I found that if you just meditate to calm yourself all the time, it dulls the edge so to speak.
Brandon Poole 20:02
Yeah, I know through meditation, it almost helps rewire your brain to think differently and to help you solve the problems that you’re facing in your life at that point in time. And like you’re saying, if you just take a break from thinking about that for a moment, it’s almost like putting it on the backburners of your mind and your brains figuring it out while you’re doing other stuff. It’s really powerful once you implement it into your life.
Michael Greenberg 20:25
Yeah. And really, I think not enough people pay attention to that. If you take in a lot of information, or you have information to sort through, your brain does not do that actively so stop trying.
Brandon Poole 20:44
Yeah. Who are your top three role models? And this can be for the marketing side of things or just in life?
Michael Greenberg 20:52
Alive or dead?
Brandon Poole 20:54
It doesn’t matter.
Michael Greenberg 20:55
Brandon Poole 20:57
Michael Greenberg 20:58
All right. So number one is Ender Wiggin from Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. It’s an older book and my personal favorite book of all time.
Brandon Poole 21:10
Did you see the movie?
Michael Greenberg 21:12
No for many reasons, but mainly because I didn’t want to have this perfect image of my favorite book ruined.
Brandon Poole 21:20
Michael Greenberg 21:22
Yeah. And that movie project dragged out for many, many years. I was going to see it when I first heard about it though that was a long time ago. Anyway, Ender, I really like his philosophy on leadership and going to war. Then after that, I’d say Ogilvy is probably my favorite guy, for copywriting and marketing. And then Chuck Feeney would be number three.
Brandon Poole 21:54
Chuck Feeney, who’s that?
Michael Greenberg 21:56
Yeah. So have you been out of the country and seen a duty free store in an airport?
Brandon Poole 22:02
I don’t think so.
Michael Greenberg 22:04
Okay, he opened this chain of Duty-Free Stores, duty-free being free from import taxes, I believe. He started this chain of Duty-Free Companies and became a billionaire through that and a couple of other business ventures and then gave away all his money. Literally all that to philanthropy. He kept it secret for decades and then in the past 10 years this has all come out. He took a pretty active role in the bad times in Ireland and helped establish peace there. He’s done a huge amount and not talked about it.
Brandon Poole 22:54
That’s incredible and his name’s Chuck Feeney.
Michael Greenberg 22:59
Yeah The book that I read on him that’s amazing is the Billionaire Who Wasn’t. But for investing, I’d say Warren Buffett. I’m a value investor hands down. A lot of people who say they follow Warren Buffett don’t because they’re not value investors but if you actually follow that, you’re probably not going to lose.
Brandon Poole 23:33
Talking about influencers and role models, what are your thoughts on Tai Lopez? Because I know he does a lot with Social Media Marketing.
Michael Greenberg 23:40
Brandon Poole 23:41
Tai Lopez. He does a lot with Social Media Marketing.
Michael Greenberg 23:45
I’ve never heard of the guy.
Brandon Poole 23:47
I thought you would have heard of him.
Michael Greenberg 23:48
That shows you that I stay pretty closed. I might have mentioned this, I don’t really consume media. Yeah, I’ve never heard of him. He seems interesting though. Yeah, I don’t like him. I can tell you this as I’m looking at his website now and I don’t like or trust him from the front page of his website.
Brandon Poole 24:12
Why is that?
Michael Greenberg 24:13
Because anyone with a picture of themselves standing in front of nice cars like that without actual license plates on the cars is not the guy I trust to give me good advice. Also, he’s obviously monetizing his brand, in a variety of ways. Some of which I’m guessing are ad-based and I can’t trust somebody who does that.
Brandon Poole 24:40
You’ve probably seen him on YouTube before. He’s the guy that always says here in my garage and has all his Lambos in there.
Michael Greenberg 24:47
I don’t watch YouTube.
Brandon Poole 24:49
What do you do in your free time?
Michael Greenberg 24:51
What do you mean?
Brandon Poole 24:53
You don’t have free time?
Michael Greenberg 24:54
No, I have work time. There’s a time when I’m working and then there’s another time when I’m working. My work is my life. If you are an entrepreneur and your work is not your life, then you’re doing badly. I follow a discipline I built for myself called lazy entrepreneurship, which says we put the minimum effort into all projects required to make them succeed. And because I have money, that means I put more money than time into most things, which gives me more time to read, network and be friends with cool people. I do business with my friends, sometimes. It’s bad advice, but most of my friends are also entrepreneurs and that has really helped me, I think just merging work in life. So I don’t have free time. I don’t own a TV. There is no argument that somebody could make that would make me want to spend all my time on social media, or even spend time-consuming most of this. The only people I follow and actually look at are my clients who are asking me to give them input on their social media strategy.
Brandon Poole 26:26
So do you follow any podcasts or anything like that to add value to yourself?
Michael Greenberg 26:32
I read books, I have a podcast or two, and I meet with people who are experts in their field. I really prefer books to human conversation. I don’t really listen to any podcasts regularly, including my own. Yeah, I’m really a book guy and I have a library card.
Brandon Poole 27:01
Not too many people have those nowadays.
Michael Greenberg 27:03
Yeah, although you can get ebooks now, which is really nice.
Brandon Poole 27:07
But from the library.
Michael Greenberg 27:08
Yeah, there’s an app called Libby by Overdrive, I think that’s the search for it, and that allows you to get ebooks out from your library.
Brandon Poole 27:26
What would you say is your definition of success?
Michael Greenberg 27:30
Well, for me, success is reaching the goal that I would like as my life’s goal. I’ve got a list of those, and I intend to reach them. The cost of those is somewhere around 5 million US $ in 2008. So that’s what I’m moving towards. I really think that most people don’t spend enough time defining success for themselves. I know where I’m going and so I know how hard I need to work to get there. But if you don’t know both, then how do you know you’re going to be able to get there in the first place or that you’re going in the right direction?
Brandon Poole 28:20
What would you say is one of your top two or three goals on that list that you’ve created?
Michael Greenberg 28:26
I’d like a farm in a green zone. The expensive item on that list is a working farm in a green zone that’s off-grid. The other one is to make sure that I spend at least a year straight, living out of the country. I’ve only lived in the country a few months at a time, so I’d really like to go for the full year. Those are probably the two biggest right now. Though I think more will come up over my lifetime. And I did think of one blog that I follow.
Brandon Poole 29:05
Alright, let’s hear it.
Michael Greenberg 29:06
Wait, but why?
Brandon Poole 29:08
Wait, but why?
Michael Greenberg 29:10
Yeah, it’s all long-form. It’s long-form articles on life and work. The Career article that came out recently is amazing. I highly recommend going through everything in it. If you don’t know what you want to do with your life that’ll get you there. Really everything on that site is great. Of their irregular updates and articles, I think the shortest ones are 8000 words.
Brandon Poole 29:39
Michael Greenberg 29:42
Yeah, so it’s really a very different blog than the traditional
Brandon Poole 29:48
When you’re writing Call For Content, what did the whole process look like? I know there’s a lot of people, and a lot of people who follow this podcast as well, who are interested in writing their own books but they are not really sure how to. What would you say to them?
Michael Greenberg 30:04
Outline, talk through the points, record yourself talking, and transcribe it. Take the transcript, put the points that you’ve talked about under the points in the outline, and start editing. Repeat. It’s a really effective system. It lets you put out content quickly. When I sit down to get started on an E-book, I generally get anywhere from 50% to 80% of the way in my first draft using it. We talk at about 150 words a minute but we don’t write that many. So just get your thoughts out first and then edit it down and then start moving forward. But getting through that first draft by speaking really helps get the ball rolling.
Brandon Poole 30:53
Yeah, I never thought about speaking the first draft. That’s interesting.
Michael Greenberg 30:58
Yeah, that’s a big part of what we do.
Brandon Poole 31:02
What did the publication process look like?
Michael Greenberg 31:07
I self-published because I’m in B2B. I don’t care if anybody reads the book even. The only people I really want to read the book are the people who are on my list who might become a client or the people that I give it to because I think it would benefit them. As long as those people read it, and as long as I’ve written it so my team can read it internally, we’ve got everything we need out of it. So the publishing process was really me paying a guy in Guatemala, 300 bucks to lay it out as a really pretty PDF that we could use as a printed workbook, and then putting it up online for sale.
Brandon Poole 31:52
Yeah. And where can we find this book, besides the website? Is it available on Amazon?
Michael Greenberg 31:58
No. This book is only available through the website. It’s free there and that’s why you can’t get it anywhere else now. You can download it, as I mentioned, callforcontent.com/ANP. The downloads are free and I’m not sure we even asked for an email to get the book. So get it.
Brandon Poole 32:19
I’m sure people are going to be happy about that.
Michael Greenberg 32:20
Yeah, I answer every question I get on it, or on content and authority marketing so shoot me an email at email@example.com if you’d like to ask any specific questions. We’ve also got a chatbot with the book, on the page, that will collect any questions for you and then I’ll answer them during our next q&a. So I’ve really tried to make the book a way for me to interact with the audience and community and get to know the people who will want to know me.
Brandon Poole 32:54
Awesome. What’s one thing you see people doing wrong in marketing that just absolutely drives you crazy?
Michael Greenberg 33:05
Cold email. People do cold email wrong all the time. A cold email campaign is targeted. It’s personalized. And it’s designed for a purpose that is not sales in my opinion. And the last one, I think is really the thing that sets why I think everyone does cold email wrong. From my point of view, spamming out 1000 emails a month and hoping that you get that 3% return is wrong. Yes, we can guarantee numbers that way and I love cold emailing, when I need a baseline of numbers. But once you’ve got the baseline through inbound or some other way, I think cold email is best used in highly targeted formats for partnerships or to develop new relationships and just get the ball rolling. It’s not for closing sales necessarily. It’s just to open the door.
Brandon Poole 34:04
What’s one question, and this can be about marketing or anything, that you’ve always wanted someone to ask you?
Michael Greenberg 34:23
What should I do instead of going to college?
Brandon Poole 34:27
That’s good. What would be your answer?
Michael Greenberg 34:34
Well, first, I’d find out if they were paying for it themselves or not because my answer is very different. If you have no money and you’re getting loans to go to college, which you should never do because it will not produce ROI in almost every instance unless you’re going to a top 10 school. If you have the money, you should probably go travel or you should go try to start a business. You should go, volunteer full time at a nonprofit, and really put in some life experience, because you’re definitely not ready to go to school at 18 you don’t know what you want to do.
Brandon Poole 35:12
Right. That’s why people change majors all the time.
Michael Greenberg 35:16
Yeah. Wait until you’re 22. If you really want to go to school when you’re 22 or 25, maybe you need it. But beyond that, just start putting out content about what you’re doing in your free time. If you do those two things, you will get a job eventually. That’s because if you’re getting out there, you are networking and the content acts as your trail of breadcrumbs to show what you’ve done. That combo should eventually put somebody in your network who’s looking for somebody like you because you are hanging around with people who have the same interests. And then maybe you’ll get a job or you just make a job for yourself. That’s where the real money is.
Brandon Poole 36:00
How can we connect with you? We’ve got callforcontent.com, and if you want one of the books /ANP at the end. Where else can we find you?
Michael Greenberg 36:09
You can find me at gentoftech or /gentoftech on all social media that I’m on. So that’s LinkedIn and medium and Twitter. I won’t respond to you on Twitter, but maybe in another month, I’ll be back on it. I will respond to you on LinkedIn. I don’t know if they have messaging on medium.
Brandon Poole 36:40
All right, awesome. And thank you for being on the show. Thank you for everything that you do. Thank you for being a role model for fellow marketers out there.
Michael Greenberg 36:50
Yeah. Thanks for having me on.
Brandon Poole 37:04
What’s up guys, I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, be sure to subscribe, leave a review and share this with all of your friends. I love connecting with everyone. So when you’re done here, go follow me on social media. My handle is @bebrandon. That’s it for today. I’ll see you next week. And remember, you are blessed and highly favored.