Michael Greenberg talks about authority marketing and taking the “talk test” to find out if you are ready for authority marketing with Jake Carlson on the Modern Leadership Podcast.
Jack Carlson 0:24
Hello, my friends and fellow elite achievers. Welcome back to another episode of Modern Leadership. It is so good to be with you again this morning. As you know, I learned along with you in every episode we record. So I’d like to bring on guests who challenge our conventional thinking and push us outside our comfort zone. To have the success you desire. You need to do things differently because what got you here won’t get you there. And one topic we hear a ton about is Authority Marketing. So what is it? And how do we do it? Today, let me introduce you to Michael Greenberg. Michael is the founder of GOT, Gentlemen Of Technology, venture creation, and strategy consulting firm. He is the chief strategist of Call For Content, which launched in 2017. After two years of market research and process development, he provides unique insight into growing businesses of all types by setting a new value standard in marketing. Good morning, Michael. Welcome to Modern Leadership. How are you today?
Michael Greenberg 1:25
I’m doing great. Thanks. Thanks for having me on.
Jack Carlson 1:28
Absolutely. So good to have you. And before we jump too far into this, what did we miss by way of the intro? We learned a little bit about your business. How about you, personally?
Michael Greenberg 1:37
Well, I love to cook. You might notice that almost every example I use. If it’s not about podcasts, it’s probably about food. And I read a lot, maybe too much.
Jack Carlson 1:52
Well, I don’t know that you can read too much, right? I mean, the constant desire, the constant drive to learn more, and improve our abilities. I guess you could only say you read too much if it stops the action, right?
Michael Greenberg 2:04
Yeah, and that is probably my problem. Since kindergarten, or maybe a little after. I’ve had my nose in a book, I read most of the library in elementary school. And so it was a problem getting my homework done between books, and it’s a little bit of an issue getting my work done from time to time as well.
Jack Carlson 2:24
Well, let me ask you about this. So there are millions of books out there. I mean, I know I go to Amazon. And I’ve got a long list of the wish list of books that I’ve put on there. But it seems to me that there are so many books, how do you dial in and figure out which ones are the best to take a ride with.
Michael Greenberg 2:42
So I’ve got two major rules. One, I like old books, because if people are still recommending them 10 or 20 years after the fact, then it’s not just marketing. And two, I focus topically, so if I want to learn how to be a better advertising strategist, then I’ll read books not just on like basic advertising, but also on copywriting and some of the various disciplines of advertising as they’ve come up over time. To get a more holistic view. And when you’re approaching a topic like that, you end up just having a big list of books, to begin with. And so it just takes a lot of time to get through. But it provides a more well-rounded view, I think of the subject as a whole.
Jack Carlson 3:31
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I mean, I’m a huge reader myself, I usually try to read about a book a week. And that’s part of the struggle is really identifying which one I want to read next, but you’re absolutely right. I mean, time tested books. In this podcast, we ask a lot of our listeners and a lot of our guests, what are they reading? What do you recommend? And we get “Thinking Grow Rich” all the time or “How To Win Friends And Influence People”. I mean, these classic books that have been around forever. And so I appreciate you diving into that a little bit. Michael, we want to talk about your superpower, we want to talk about what you’re really good at. And right now, your hot topic is this authority marketing. And you talk about the talk test. Take us into this a little bit. What is the talk test?
Michael Greenberg 4:20
So, the talk test is my litmus test for figuring out, is somebody really an expert? Do they have the knowledge to be able to walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes down to it? And that’s really important because you can’t have authority if you don’t actually know what you’re talking about. So the talk test is simple. It’s, are you comfortable giving a keynote address at a major conference on a topic? Or are you comfortable preparing a half-day a four-hour workshop on it? And if you can’t answer yes to both those things, then you’re probably not qualified to call yourself an expert in that, and therefore, it’s probably not a good fit for you to try to position yourself using authority marketing.
Jack Carlson 5:08
Okay, so that has to do with kind of our knowledge base, right? But how about when you’re working with people that that’s not their style. That’s not their cup of tea as far as to get up on a stage. Maybe they’re shy, introverted, maybe they don’t like to speak publicly. I understand that from a content perspective. But what do you do when you’re facing people who just are fearful, like, what’s holding them back isn’t the knowledge isn’t the content, it’s the desire or ability to get up and share it.
Michael Greenberg 5:37
So we’re not looking for the desire, so much as the knowledge and ability with the test. Because if you can do those things, then you have enough knowledge for us to write a book, or for us to write 100 blog posts. And you can create content with something like a podcast right now. It’s me and you talking, and there’s nobody else here with us right now. And that’s a lot easier for an introvert to get on. Or it’s writing where you’re not interacting directly with the audience and when you don’t have them in front of you. And so for us, we look at, okay, if they can create this kind of content, or they have the expertise, then they’ve got enough for us to do some of these things where they don’t have to get in an uncomfortable situation,
Jack Carlson 6:26
Right, because everybody has their skills and their weaknesses, right? And everybody has their ability to influence and to go out into the marketplace and really provide value, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to do it in this way or that way. You can really identify what works for you and really go after it for yourself. And so as we look at experts and expertise, and you talk about having this half-day of content. Where do we start? How do I know if I’ve got a half-day of content? Do I actually have to sit down and prepare a workshop?
Michael Greenberg 6:56
I think outlining one is definitely worthwhile. But I actually recommend you go through and start by making a list of areas and just saying, these are the skills, these are the fields that I have experience in, or that I feel like I can succeed in, or that I really want to move into. And then think through each one, would I pass the test? Because there’ll be a few that you can cross off the list right away. And one of those might be the one you really want to do, which means you’ve got to go learn some stuff. And that happens a lot with clients of mine, who are in a transition, and are moving to say, they left corporate work about six months ago, they’ve decided to consult on their own, but they’re not quite sure where to niche down yet. That’s normally what I see happen more often than not, you’ve got half a dozen things that you could be good at, but only one or two that you really want to.
Jack Carlson 7:58
Well, I want to dive into that just a little bit. I want to ask you about that, because one thing you said is, it’s common for you to see somebody who basically left corporate, they’ve basically been out of the corporate market for a couple of months, six months or so. And they haven’t quite niche down yet. Is this common? Is that what you’re seeing that people are actually jumping from corporate without a strategy? Without expertise and without a direction to go?
Michael Greenberg 8:24
So they have a direction, but it’s not specific enough when they go. I see people jump and go to become an executive coach or a consultant of some sort, but they haven’t really locked in tight enough positioning or specialization. They haven’t necessarily done the market research that they need to know how to reach their clients. And then those six months end up dead.
Jack Carlson 8:49
And so let’s jump into this a little bit because I think you’re absolutely right. I see people jumping all the time. In fact, it seems to be kind of a trend right now for people to leave. You know, the stable and, and conventional type of employment and really go off on their own. They get excited about entrepreneurship. We have a lot of listeners to this podcast that does the same thing. They kind of jump. And what we’re talking about here is not trying to talk people out of going into entrepreneurship, not to talk people out of going in this direction. But to start first, with diving down and getting clear on what you’re going after. Now you talk about one thing, Michael, and that is knowing your market, its market research, and talk me through that a little bit. What do we need to do? What do we need to know about our market? How do we do this market research so that we’re prepared to make the leap,
Michael Greenberg 9:37
You have to know who is going to be buying from you, what their problems are, and how they talk. Then you also need to know where they hang out. If you know those things, you’re good to go. But I really love, and I recommend everybody, just go talk to the people you think are going to buy from you. Be it saying that you want to run an informational interview or just straight market research. People will respond to cold emails for that sort of thing. And many consultants or new to the area of consulting and coaching in this entrepreneurship world. Many people haven’t done that sort of on the ground research yet. And that’s really where I say everyone starts.
Jack Carlson 10:25
And you know, when you’re saying this, Michael, I can see a lot of our listeners kind of, leaning back in their chair, and maybe their heart starts beating a little bit, and this sounds very nerve-wracking to them, but I have to share it that if you don’t go down this path. Your cells are going to be much more difficult. Your life as an entrepreneur is gonna be much more difficult. You have to start with this. And if this is making you uncomfortable, if this conversation is making you kind of feel like you’re stretching outside your comfort zone a little bit. Well, this is good for you to know now. And frankly, this is good for you to know while you’re still working in your corporate job before you make that leap. Because once you make that leap, boy, I tell you, if you’re uncomfortable with this step and this stage of the process, it doesn’t get any easier. It doesn’t mean it’s not fun. It doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. It just means this is what needs to be done. If you’re an entrepreneur, this is the work you’ve got to put in. So let me ask you a little bit further about this. So you’re the chief strategist for Call For Content. And tell me about Call For Content, and what it means to be the chief strategist.
Michael Greenberg 11:27
So Call For Content is the first real venture coming out of Gentlemen Of Technology, which has been my consulting company, and we’ve built a few media ventures as well. And Call For Content is a content marketing agency that specializes in owned media marketing for B2B. And that’s all we do. So we might have a partner to help place you in somebody else’s stuff. But all we do is create your content in your voice and make sure it generates leads.
Jack Carlson 12:03
Okay, so we’re looking at entrepreneurs here that basically are busy doing a lot of different things. And one of the things that they need to get done, one of the things we all as entrepreneurs need to get done. It is basically the creation of content, and the distribution of that content out to the market as far as identifying people who should be learning more about you, or drawing those who do know about you closer to what you’re doing, what you’re teaching. And what you’re doing is you’re basically creating content. So take me, for example, I have all these different projects that I’m working on. And as an entrepreneur, I may be spread so thin that I don’t have time to sit down and write, let’s say, blog posts or books, or create podcast episodes. So what you do as a content creator, you do a lot of writing, but you put it in my voice. Let me ask you why it’s important that we have content as entrepreneurs? Let’s say I have a brick and mortar. Let’s say I’m opening up a food truck. Let’s say that I’m doing something that’s maybe not highly online. Maybe I’m not a consultant. Why is it important for me to continue to create content?
Michael Greenberg 13:08
Yeah, this was one of the things that I really made a big mistake on when I was starting out. You are your brand, hands down, no contest. If you are an entrepreneur, you are your company’s brand. The reason Mark Zuckerberg has a team, a literal team of people managing his Facebook for him, is because over half of the US population associates him more closely with Facebook than anything else. And so his perception is super tied to their stock purse, and you as an entrepreneur, and be as an entrepreneur, and Jake, you as an entrepreneur, everyone as entrepreneurs is their business brand and is super tightly tied to it. So increasing your brand and increasing the content you have out to show that you are either an expert, or that you’ve succeeded in various areas, or just that you think a little bit differently than some of your competition. That sets you apart. And that builds your brand and positions you in the marketplace.
Jack Carlson 14:10
And this is really authority marketing. So this is what you are an expert in, Michael. So tell us, what is authority marketing? Break it down for us a little bit. And why is it important that we have this brand? I mean, as I said, if I’m a food truck out there, why is it important that I create this brand?
Michael Greenberg 14:28
Yeah, so authority marketing is the act of positioning yourself as an authority or expert in your field. In order to bring in more business. It’s usually accomplished using some sort of social proof. So if I am an entrepreneur, and I want to open a food truck, I want to serve just cheesesteaks out of my food truck. I need to be able to reach the cheesesteak loving audience of St. Louis since that’s where I am. And let them know that not only do I have this cheesesteak truck, but it has the best cheesesteaks. And I need people actually to show up to that truck in a timely manner. So for me, it would be great if I had 10 cheesesteak competitions to my name. But let’s say I don’t. And I don’t have that to say, hey, this guy’s making the best cheesesteaks in the area. Instead, what I can do is I can start putting out photos of the food. And I can have customer reactions when they take the first shot. And I can put out those little bits of content, or I can put out the recipes. And maybe I’ve got a great story on how I got the money to start this truck. So then I can use that to put out a few interviews, and maybe one of those is a local TV channel interview. And that could be the hit that my truck needs to really get going. And so at the end of the day content, you might think of his blogs and podcasts, but the content is really any sort of media that you create. And all the media you create is the story you’re telling your audience.
Jack Carlson 16:07
Let’s say that I’m just starting out. And I agree with you. And let’s say that I have this story that I’m trying to get out to my audience. But let’s say I don’t have an audience. Let’s say I’m just starting out, this is new for me. And I want to create this expertise, this authoritative marketing through my background. Let’s say I have spent years and years perfecting my craft. I really am an expert in this field. But then I throw out a blog post, or I throw out a podcast, or I do something. And then, crickets. I don’t have an audience yet. So how can I leverage my content, my knowledge, but actually get it out to the mass audience?
Michael Greenberg 16:45
So good content is great to have, but you need good promotion more than you need good content. And I say that as somebody who really tries only to make great content. You don’t need great content to succeed in the marketplace. You need great content to prove that you’re really good at what you do to people who understand what you’re talking about. And those are distinct things, right? A lot of buyers don’t actually understand the service that they’re buying at the end of the day. But that’s a whole nother tangent. Anyway, in order for you to go about getting started with content in that case, if you’re in B2B, just start a podcast. And I say that because the networking and the content you create will pay dividends. And the networking lets you invite people you want to meet. It’s really easy, and it’s pretty cheap overall. Also, everybody can talk. Otherwise, get started on promotion, you’ve got that blog post, just promote it. To find the communities and forums online, where your audience lives, and start interacting with them. Start giving back to the community when people ask questions. Ask questions of the community as well. And then when somebody is looking for that piece of content, show it to them, or if it’s really, really good and it’s like a great how-to guide or something, explain to the community why you thought it would be useful. Spend two or three sentences, pitching it to them. And in that process, share it with them.
Jack Carlson 18:18
And it’s so vitally important what you’re talking about here, what you’re saying is, when it comes down to networking, when it comes down to promoting, you have to be involved. And I think a lot of us kind of lurk on the sidelines, we don’t get involved. But if you want to be part of the community, you’ve really got to dive in, you got to be there to answer questions. You’ve got to be engaged and involved. Now, one of the things we talked about is marketing here and promotion. And understand that marketing is bringing the right person to your store to your business at the right time. With the right problem. So you offer a solution as a business owner, you better be solving a problem because that’s what people are buying. That’s what people come to you for. They come for a solution to their problem. And so that’s what you’re selling, solutions. And so marketing should bring the right people at the right time with the right problem to your door, and they need to have the ability to pay you. So as we talked earlier, in this episode, we talked about knowing who your target market is. That is really understanding who you’re trying to sell to. And with that, you need to understand where they hang out. You need to understand what their desires, their passions are, what their obstacles are, the challenges that they’re going to have. You need to understand your target market, as well as you understand yourself. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to be your target market. I was listening to an episode of How I Built This with the guy Roz, and he was talking about the founder of Lululemon. And Lululemon does work out yoga clothes. Specifically and most targeted to females. Well, the founder and the owner of the company is not a female, and nor does he do yoga. You don’t have to be a part of your target market. But you need to understand their desires, their passions, and what they’re looking for. So Michael, let me ask you this. So as you understand your market and as you become an authoritative or authority within your marketplace. What does this do? How does this affect your confidence level? Your passion? And kind of the direction you’re moving in the future?
Michael Greenberg 20:19
So better leads, higher prices, and generally more ease in the doing of business. I like to think of authority as, unless you’re really specific and intentional about the way that you’re building and using it, authority is going to be a general multiplier on your business. You might not see it in any one instance, you might not say, Hey, I got 30 more leads this year because of my authority. You might be able to say I got 30 more leads because of the content I put out, but not just because I’m more authoritative. But you will be able to say you know, hey, these leads came easier, or these people already knew who I was when we got on the phone for the first time.
Jack Carlson 21:06
And I think that’s the struggle with what you’re talking about, right? Because it’s hard to objectively or quantitatively measure the impact that authority has on your brand. When I was working on my MBA, we talked a lot about this brand value within a company. And you look at Facebook, you look at Coca Cola, you look at these massive brands. What sets them apart? What makes them so valuable? It is their reputation, their brand, you know, the experience that people have, and it’s hard to put $1 value on that. It’s hard to quantify exactly how well you’re doing in this regard. But the reality is, and Michael, what I think you’re saying is, you’ve got to do it anyway. I mean, if you’re not involved in this, you’re going to get left behind. You’re not going to be running with the pack. And so well difficult to quantify. It is so vitally important. Is that what I’m hearing, you say?
Michael Greenberg 22:00
It is. And that’s actually the, probably the second customer group that I bring up that I work with is, mainly, executive coaches who have been around for about 10 to 15 years. They have one or two big clients, but they never created any content. And those clients have kept them fed and happy, but they realize they’re going to lose them eventually. And content is the only marketing activity that the experts like us can really do, that has a really long shelf life. And so that’s why we end up going back to it again and again.
Jack Carlson 22:40
So let me ask you this, Michael. So on this episode, on this podcast, we talked a lot about surfing, and you know, getting out in the water and being amongst the waves. And the only way to catch the next wave is to be out in the water and to really be looking for it. And so as I listened to you and I agree with you, but where’s the next wave coming? So we went through a period if you went 15 years ago, and were writing a blog. Well, even if we go back further than you went 25-30 years ago. Having a book was the ultimate authority. And then 15-20 years ago, having a blog was the ultimate authority. Then we went into a period, let’s say, seven, eight years ago, having a podcast was the ultimate authority. And maybe in the last two or three years, we talked about webinars and having a video presence if you’re on Facebook Live, or you’re on some of these, like Instagram Storie’s presence. Where do you see us going in the future? What’s the next wave that we should be prepared to catch?
Michael Greenberg 23:38
The next wave you should catch is the wave that has your customers on it because I would love to do work with video all the time. It seems really fun, but almost nobody that I sell to or that my customers do so too, watches a video, so you know what we’re not going to make, a bunch of videos. And really when it comes to content at least and authority, and translation of that authority. Books are fantastic, the courses are a fantastic, giant piece of content. I like to call them temple content, they are always good to have, and it’s a temple if it’s big enough to do a PR campaign around. But outside of that, when you do that customer research, and you do that market research, you’re going to find out that your target market has specific kinds of content they already consume. For the kind of stuff, you’re trying to put out. And you can probably get as specific as knowing that they have 30 minutes in the morning when they listen to podcasts, or on their commute or something like that. And you’ll be able to know generally when they look at the content and in what format is best for them at those times.
Jack Carlson 24:48
And I think what you’re talking about here, Michael is probably the most important thing we’ve talked about this entire episode. And that is when you understand your target market. When you understand your customers, you’ll understand, you’ll realize that you don’t need to be everywhere. But you do need to be where they are. You need to identify where they’re spending their time. And that’s where you need to spend your time. And if they’re not into podcasting, don’t jump on the mic as much fun as I’m having on the microphone and as much as I love it and meeting new people. If this isn’t where my target audience is, then this isn’t the right medium for me. And so as you move forward in your business, as you focus on what you want to create in the content creation world. Really identify, take a step back. It’s worth the time to take a look at your audience to really dive into their wants, needs, and desires. To find out where they’re going to be and then find out how you can best serve them in that market and in that place. So Michael, I really appreciate this conversation authority marketing. I couldn’t agree with you more. I think it’s really a differentiator. A few episodes ago, we had Mike Mccallawits is a guest on our show. He’s the author of the Pumpkin Plan and Profit First, a bunch of great books. One of the things that jump out to me about what he writes and what you’re talking about. And that is, focus on being the best. Whether you’re going to be the smartest or the fastest or have the most quality, the best quality, focus on being the best in your market. Be the expert. bB, the person that people think of when it comes to your product, your service. When I say Cola, you think of Coke, or you think of Pepsi. You want to be like that for your customer base. All right, Michael. Now, as we look at the time, it looks like we’re running a little bit short for this episode. And before we let you go, we want to switch over to a section called Learning From Leaders. It’s really a personal dive into some of these business topics that we’ve been talking about. Are you ready?
Michael Greenberg 26:46
Let’s do it.
Jack Carlson 26:47
Alright, so the very first question then is the book currently on your Kindle or bedside table? What are you reading?
Michael Greenberg 26:54
So I am currently reading Hey, Whipple Squeeze This.
Jack Carlson 26:57
I have never heard of it. Tell us about it.
Michael Greenberg 27:00
It is a book on copywriting primarily. It’s by Luke Sullivan. And it’s all marketing, all advertising, all copywriting. Every time I pick it up to start reading, I never get through more than about 10 pages before it gives me some great idea I have to write down on ways that we might be able to improve our advertising and marketing with my businesses.
Jack Carlson 27:26
Yeah, absolutely. All right, next question then. Your leadership superpower?
Michael Greenberg 27:31
I like to say its strategy. And I know I took your quiz, which gave me a different word for just about the same thing, problem-solving.
Jack Carlson 27:43
So why is problem-solving or strategy so vitally important in your business and in the businesses of everybody listening?
Michael Greenberg 27:50
Because it’s one of the few things that only we can do. You can outsource a lot of things in a business. But at the end of the day, there are some problems. And there are some things that we can, as entrepreneurs, can solve faster and do better than somebody else. And problem-solving and solving the big, tough, complex problems, that’s what I love to do. And that’s what really can help set us apart as leaders.
Jack Carlson 28:20
Yeah, I absolutely couldn’t agree with you more. And I love the problem-solving superpower. Because, as business owners, as leaders, we are going to face challenges, it’s inevitable, and how we approach those challenges, how we approach those obstacles, whether we’re going to go over them around them, throw them, under them, whatever we’re going to do, however, we’re going to solve that situation. That’s going to differentiate us from the competition. And further, when we look at it, sales are really just problem-solving. We talked about this earlier in the episode. If you can solve people’s problems, you will have a steady stream of clients at your door. So love that superpower, Michael. The next question then is a philosophy quote or mantra, something that you live by.
Michael Greenberg 28:59
Better every day is my personal mantra. It’s part of my lazy entrepreneurship philosophy. I’ve been rolling my own for the past couple of years now.
Jack Carlson 29:10
We had a guest that basically challenged us to be 1% better every day. And I couldn’t agree with you more, better every day just focusing on those small, incremental improvements over time that have just massive results for you and your business. And we talked about the penny doubled, and we won’t go into it right now. But if you took a penny and double that every day for 30 days, the magnitude of money that you would have at the end of the month would be staggering, and that’s really what we need to do with our skills and with our development is really double or improve. Take those incremental improvements every day. Alright, the last question, then is the book most often gifted, the one that you give to your friends, colleagues, or family the most often?
Michael Greenberg 29:54
I’m only 25 right now. And I have a lot of friends in my 20’s, no surprise. The book I give them is called The Defining Decade. And it’s just a great overview of all the things I think a 20 somethings should probably know. And professional, I met Jay, who’s a Ph.D. in psychology and is specialized in this, also thinks they should know. And it’s just got some great information. It’s good for everyone. But it really helps most at that time. And outside of that, What Is Strategy by Michael Porter.
Jack Carlson 30:31
Wonderful. Well, I appreciate you sharing those before we let you go today. Michael, do you have any last bit of advice for us, and how can we find out more about you and your business?
Michael Greenberg 30:39
So the last bit of advice, authority is relative. Like most things in business, the only person who needs to know that you’re really good at what you do is the person on the other end buying from you. Nobody else. And then you can reach me on social media at gentoftech. You can find Call For Content at callforcontent.com. And you can actually download the Authority Marketing Playbook, that walks through most of what we talked about today, actually. As well as going into some templates. And some details on how you can implement the beginnings of authority marketing in your own business at callforcontent.com/amp.
Jack Carlson 31:26
I will link all of that up on the show notes for this episode, and I downloaded a copy of that workbook. It has some great information on it. It really walks you through step by step on how to identify who you’re trying to serve and how to reach out to them. Michael, sure appreciate you coming on the Modern Leadership podcast. Thanks for being this week’s expert.
Michael Greenberg 31:45
It’s been a lot of fun, Jay.