Michael Greenberg talks about the power of authority marketing with Brian Basilico on the Bacon Podcast.
Some people talk about authority as getting published on a big site (Forbes, HuffPo, etc.) and using that single piece of content as “authority” for years to come. Like adding that publication’s logo to anything and everything they produce.
That’s not authority marketing.
Authority marketing is actually having expertise in reality and in the minds of a particular audience. Authority is relative and in the B2B world, you can build a business around a small audience who sees you as a go-expert on a particular topic.
Listen to Michael and Brian’s full conversation:
Brian Basilico 0:00
Welcome, everybody. I’m your host, Brian Basilico. And this is the podcast where you learn to make your business sizzle online. So are you ready to fry up some new business? Hey, peeps, I am excited. I have a great guest. His name is Michael Greenberg. And today, we’re going to be talking about generating authority through authority marketing. So Michael, how are you doing, man?
Michael Greenberg 0:41
I’m doing great. How about yourself?
Brian Basilico 0:43
I’m a good man. And so your company is Call For Content. And so you really help people kind of get their message out in a handful of different ways. And we’ll kind of dive into that. But before we move forward, I want people to get to know you. Let’s go Talking about your origin story. How did you go from somebody who is importing and selling Chinese goods out of your trunk to helping people get the junk in their trunk, meaning authority online through Google and all that kind of stuff? How did you go through that transition?
Michael Greenberg 1:16
Yeah, so I come from a family of entrepreneurs. And you know, growing up like a real little kid, I was shoveling driveways and selling lemonade. And when I got to high school, I wanted to make more money than the drug dealers. So counterfeit goods were the best way to do it.
Brian Basilico 1:35
That’s ambitious. I like it, though.
Michael Greenberg 1:39
It worked out. Beats by Dre, you could buy them for you know, 30 bucks a pair and sell them for 100.
Brian Basilico 1:46
That’s a good margin.
Michael Greenberg 1:49
I learned a lot about the basics of running a business running a budget, and I decided I want to be a chef. I got an apprenticeship and started doing that thing. And then the time came to choose a college, and I found out that chefs don’t make any money. So I got myself an economics degree. While I was in school, I dropped out, went to a coding boot camp, and joined a startup. At that point, I found my real love with digital technology and digital entrepreneurship. And from there, left the startup, started consulting, and then built Call For Content. That’s where I am today.
Brian Basilico 2:36
So yeah. It sounds like a very typical entrepreneurial journey. And so let’s kind of dig in on authority marketing. I mean, there was a thing, a handful years ago, called Google authority where you were an authority on something I hear you know, influencer marketing, I hear authority marketing, what’s the difference? The general core of what authority marketing is?
Michael Greenberg 3:03
So the core of authority marketing is quite simply put, and I hate to use the word authority to describe it, but I hope for those of you listeners out there you get that when I say authority, I mean a combination of respect and recognition in your field, for success. And the core of authority marketing is proving and positioning yourself as that authority while simultaneously reaching out and developing relationships with the highest value network of clients that you can reach.
Brian Basilico 3:43
Okay, so sometimes, you know, I’ve heard it said before. Authority marketing is if you can go to somebody, and you can get heard on fox news, on CBS, on NBC, on MSNBC, and you basically submit articles to blog posts to good media outlets. Now all of a sudden, you’re an authority because you can use their logo on your website. Is it not that right?
Michael Greenberg 4:13
No, that’s not our game at all. And the two things that I like to talk about with authority. The two key points to remember is that when I’m talking about authority, and when you’re really looking at authority and positioning, because positioning is the part of marketing that marketers tend to ignore, in my experience. And it’s the part that a lot of people skip over because of that. But when we look at authority, we know two things. One, that authority is relative, and two that it’s going to come from specialization. And so to walk through those, authority is relative. A veteran barista might know the name of Starbucks CEO, and consider him an authority in coffee. But he probably hasn’t heard of Neil Patel. And so, when you look at authority. You have to know who that high-value audience is, who you’re trying to position yourself as an authority to so that you reach them. Because if you’re a marketer for, say, accountants. Accountants are the people who need to know you’re a great marketer for an accountant. Lawyers don’t need to know that. And so relatively is a big part. And along with that, as I’m talking through the examples, you can hear the specialization come up.
Brian Basilico 5:43
Okay, it totally makes sense. So really what you’re doing is you’re helping people to better communicate to their perfect avatar. So is part of what you do to help them decipher that? Or are your best clients the ones that already figured it out and just need you a voice on it.
Michael Greenberg 6:00
So our best clients are definitely the ones who already haven’t figured out. But most of our clients do not. And our first engagement with the client is normally some sort of customer research. Either to verify that they are on track or to get them on track. And make sure that what their customers want and what we’re trying to do bind up.
Brian Basilico 6:24
Gotcha. So for example, one of the things is people tend to change, I mean, I’ve been in business for 18 years doing this particular rendition even more, and my customer base and focus has changed. I mean, you know, when I started websites, podcasts, all that stuff wasn’t even a thing. And now I’ve got books, I’ve got podcasts, I’ve got good ebooks, I’ve got blogs, I got a whole bunch of different stuff, and my audience has kind of shifted based on that technology and things of that nature. So that’s number one. One is basically defining. So, in other words, what you help people do is create a sense of authority, and authority is kind of like expertise. I hate the word guru, but, you know, the well-respected person who seems to have some knowledge in the specific industry. You’re trying to position that person in a way that looks attractive to their potential audience. Right?
Michael Greenberg 7:27
Exactly. A lot of times, people come to us with thought leaders, as their term of choice. I want to be a thought leader in my industry. That means nothing until we define your industry, and we define what you’re a thought leader for. And so that’s what we’re about.
Brian Basilico 7:44
Gotcha. Okay. So you really need to define it because I mean, again, you know, it’s like you can say, I’m a marketing thought leader. Oh, gee, that’s narrow. Social media, print, whatever you want. So it’s always best to have, A the niche and B the specialty. And the more detailed it is obviously, the smaller the audience, but the higher you can make them sound in, in retrospect to everybody else, I’m assuming.
Michael Greenberg 8:15
Exactly. We work with primarily B2B clients. And so that means that the value of a new customer for them is high enough. And they need a small enough number of new customers generally, that we’re able to really keep that focusing tight, and we’re able to get laser-focused on, okay, here are the 10,000, here are the 5000 potential customers in the market that we’re trying to reach. And we can then create content that is exactly for them.
Brian Basilico 8:54
Gotcha. Okay, so now we get down to the nuts and bolts. Now we’ve decided who we’re going to talk to and now you have talked to. So you kind of have two different directions on this, which I love is one is if you want to speak to people and create content, you can do it through a podcast. And that’s one of the things that you do is you actually can help people formulate their own podcast, get it out there, create content based around that, and use that as a way to talk directly to their clients. The second one is if they don’t want to do their own podcast, you can actually help them become guests on other people’s podcasts. So that way, at least, they can have a voice either way towards their direct audience. Is that kind of right?
Michael Greenberg 9:44
Yeah, that’s spot on.
Brian Basilico 9:46
Cool. Alright, so then let’s go down to creating a podcast. I mean, people don’t want to go through the whole motion of getting the gear. Learning to do the editing, all that kind of fun stuff, promoting it, and all the other things. So talk about if somebody wanted to do that. What’s involved for them? And then what do you guys provide? I’m sure it’s turnkey. So I come to you, I don’t want to get into the weeds. And I just say I want to be able to talk to left-handed accountants who specialize in horse training. I’m sure you can figure out a way to make that happen for me.
Michael Greenberg 10:20
Yeah. And that’s normally something that we love to do, especially if you actually say I want to talk with someone as specific as a left-handed accountant who enjoys horse training. That’s a show we want to produce. Podcast production is not one of our core focuses as a company, we specialize really in more custom production work. And we white label our production services to other agencies as well.
Brian Basilico 10:57
Okay, so the bottom line is. If I, Brian Basilico, want to produce podcasts for accountants, I can go to a bunch of accountants and say, Hey, I can get podcasts produced for you and basically hire your company to do the production, and I sell it to them. That’s what white labeling is for those who don’t know,
Michael Greenberg 11:16
Your name, your company, our services.
Brian Basilico 11:18
Right? Okay. So what if I’m the guy who wants to have the podcast on what does that entail? What’s involved? What do I get?
Michael Greenberg 11:26
So we’ll have anywhere between one and three show planning sessions to walk through, okay, you’ve sent us these details. Here’s the format we recommend. Here’s the plan we have for the show. This is the script we have for the intro and the outro. And then this is the style of social post we’re going to create as a teaser. And that those teasers for us now are almost always videos of some sort. At that point, if we get the okay. Then we’re going to set up the initial interviews. And we’re going to plan for the show to launch with anywhere between four and 10 episodes. So that’ll be launching from day one with that block of existing episodes. And after that, our plan would be to release an episode every week. As each episode is released, it’ll have show notes or a blog post created that is associated with it. If they are show notes, they come out at the same time as the episode. If we call them a blog post, then we’re likely going to release them anywhere from two days to a week later. So we get that second bump to talk about the show. The whole process for you as the guy is, you’ve got your schedule, you’ve sent us a calendly link so that we can book your recordings for you. If you’re one of our full-service clients will send you a microphone. And then your only job is to show up and record week in and week out.
Brian Basilico 13:21
Gotcha. So is this kind of show? Is this just a mono cast? Or I’m sitting here talking about my expertise in this like, Hey, I’m Brian, and I’m cool. And I know all this stuff, or is it where they’re interviewing people?
Michael Greenberg 13:31
It’s almost always an interview show. We found interviews to be easier to produce consistently. And just more fun for people to listen to. One of the biggest benefits of podcasts to their audiences is that they provide conversation, and monologues aren’t a conversation.
Brian Basilico 13:53
Very true. So how do I, as the guy, find the guests to interview?
Michael Greenberg 14:00
We handle that.
Brian Basilico 14:01
Michael Greenberg 14:02
And that’s actually a service we offer. Guests recruiting is a service we even offer to people who aren’t our clients.
Brian Basilico 14:09
Gotcha. So you do podcast matchmaking, so to speak.
Michael Greenberg 14:14
Brian Basilico 14:15
Alright, so now I’ve got this podcast show, I’ve got all this content, it’s out there and basically is creating the authority. And that’s one way of doing it. What if I don’t want to go down the podcast train, and I just want to be the guy getting interviewed? That would be the last piece of it. So what does that look like for the news?
Michael Greenberg 14:34
So for the end-user, what that looks like is, first, we find out who you’re trying to reach. Second, we’re going to see if you have any existing media presence, any existing appearances, that sort of thing. And then, third, we’re going to put together a strategy to reach out to shows that fit your profile, and that is about the right size for where you are in your media build-up. So you might not start on a bacon podcast, you might start on some Joe schmoes marketing talk, and Joe might only have 100 listeners per episode. But that’s a great way for us to make sure that you understand what podcasting is like, what appearing on a podcast is like, and we’re able to help coach you. And so once you’ve got a few of those smaller ones under your belt, then we start reaching out to the big guys. And our goal is for our clients to generate leads from those placements. So with every placement, we’re generally going to have some sort of specific download that they can call out or some website that they can call out for people to go to. And we’re going to use that to either collect leads directly or to help run a retargeted ad campaign afterward to those leads.
Brian Basilico 16:13
So the bottom line is. What you’re doing is, you’re getting people in front of other people through podcasts, and then you’re capturing anybody from that, who decides to follow them, or take advantage of a free download. And you’re generating leads that you pass along to that client. So basically it’s a, get interviewed and get leads, kind of deal.
Michael Greenberg 16:35
Brian Basilico 16:36
Okay. So the last question I’ve got for you, is what I consider to be proof of concept because this sounds really great. You know, get a podcast, get on a podcast, all this other stuff. But okay, here’s the question, does it work, and why? And give me an example of somebody who’s used it and had some real success. Not over the top, kind of stuff.
Michael Greenberg 17:02
Yeah. So everything we do, we eat our own dog food. I built the agency on authority marketing. That’s the exact strategy I used. And that’s the one that we started selling to customers afterward. Similarly, we did podcast production for ourselves, we started doing it for white label partners, and then we rolled those services out to the wider audience. So everything we do really has been tested and optimized internally before it gets rolled out. In terms of really great examples of authority marketing, the big one we like to point back to is a case study that we’ve recently put out. And unfortunately, I cannot share the direct name of the client because they’re an executive coach. And in a major city, those markets are surprisingly competitive. To the point where most of them aren’t going to show their client base, or at least their active client base. But for them, we ran a six-month campaign. And during that time, we captured a little over 500 emails. So it was a combination of ads, appearances, and a podcast. We captured a little over 500 emails, of which 54 were marketing qualified leads, and 11 turned into new clients.
Brian Basilico 18:39
Wow, those are good numbers. Those are really good numbers. And again, when you get a big client like that, when you’re dealing with someone that’s dealing with large big-ticket engagement, I mean, that’s serious.
Michael Greenberg 18:53
Yeah. So I think it was nine of those clients made up about half of the revenue generated. And then the other two were the remainder.
Brian Basilico 19:04
Gotcha. Wow. That’s amazing. So the bottom line is that if somebody wants to utilize their voice to get in front of a good audience. This is a great tool to help them kind of up their game and do it in a way that’s going to A give them some notoriety, B gets them some name recognition and sees, what like to say, is build an arsenal of content that they can use over and over and over again.
Michael Greenberg 19:34
Yes. And there’s no faster way to do that than with audio.
Brian Basilico 19:38
Yep, I agree. And that’s hence why you’re on my podcast.
Michael Greenberg 19:43
So I started tracking my conversion rate from leads who came through podcast appearances where I was on another show. And it turned out that within two touchpoints, I had an 85% close rate that was just mind-blowing to me because I’d never seen anything like it. I don’t get that many leads through the channel. But when somebody decides to pick up the phone or send you an email after listening to you talk for 30 minutes. That’s a pretty warm lead.
Brian Basilico 20:19
Yeah, I have to concur. And the one thing that I think that people have to realize, too, is it doesn’t happen after one podcast. It’s usually after they’ve heard you three, five, 10 times. And sometimes it could take three months, six months, a year before they actually pick up the phone. But when they do, you have a much higher place of authority, because they’ve been listening to you for a while. They have watched what you’re doing. So I can see, when you actually get that phone call, why it’s so high.
Michael Greenberg 20:50
Yeah, but you’re right. It is a really long tail. None of this stuff we do. Is that fast unless we use ads, but we know it works.
Brian Basilico 21:00
Yeah, and I mean ads generate, I’m of the mindset. I mean, there are ads that do good things. But it usually, if you depend on how they’re done, they’re more tire kickers and people that want to buy Mercedes. A lot of times and, I just want to stress this, that to people in the reality of things it works but it takes time. And I say that to all my clients, and even in the boot camp, I did today. I said, here’s the bottom line, you want to make sales, it’s pretty simple. All you gotta do is basically create content, have a plan, and have patience. And it’ll work.
Michael Greenberg 21:38
Consistency is the hardest part.
Brian Basilico 21:40
Right? Exactly. Yeah, it takes time, and you have to be willing to invest the time and the consistency to get done. And it is a good way to do it. You know, it’s just another way of getting your voice out there. And I think it’s a very valid case. It’s not the service I want to provide, hence why I got you on here because I think it’s a valid thing. Especially if somebody says, you know, an executive coach, a business coach or even somebody who’s selling sales consulting or anything along those lines. It is very different, it’s a long term game. That’s the one difference, are sales consultants usually say, Okay, well, where can I get leads? And I’ll call a thousand people, and I’ll close one. Because that’s what they do. You know, this is a little bit different, but if you have the patience for it, it can be incredibly effective. I’m with you, 110% there brother. So, all right, let’s let them know if they want to learn more about your services, which is Call For Content, how do they find out about that?
Michael Greenberg 22:44
So you can find us and connect with me at callforcontent.com. And right there, you’ll find the authority marketing playbook, which lays out the foundational strategies for authority marketing. You’ll find the B2B podcast playbook, which lays out our recommended strategies for B2B cod testing. And you’ll find our ebook, playbook, which is about writing ebooks. If you start with a podcast, if you go in that order authority marketing, podcasts, and then ebook, and you just sort of layer one on top of the other, you’ll have the surface that people pay us four or 5000 a month for. And I offer office hours if you ever want to go through any of this. It’s on our website, the little chat widget in the corner. It’ll ask: “Would you like to schedule office hours with Michael?” Say yes, they’re free and they really are just like office hours in college. Come in, ask the professor whatever you’d like. Get your answers. I’ll send you off with a recording and then when I need to write my name next playbook. I’ll have my content already there.
Brian Basilico 24:03
Gotcha. All right, Michael, this has been a great man. And thanks for taking the time to explain all this. And kind of get down in the weeds with me. So I think it’s going to make a lot more sense to people. And then definitely, it’s one of those things I think they should think about. So people want to contact you directly other than just going to the website. Are there any other places they can follow you on social?
Michael Greenberg 24:23
Yeah, I’m most active on LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn. And you can find me at gentoftech there. That’s my handle anywhere. I’m on social media, but LinkedIn is the place where I’m the easiest to get in touch with.
Brian Basilico 24:41
Cool. Alright, so definitely check out that link peeps. And Michael, it’s been a blast. I really appreciate you and your time you dropped some sizzling hot bacon knowledge bombs on my peeps. And I look forward to meeting you in person soon and talking again.
Michael Greenberg 24:56
Yeah, Brian. It’s been awesome.