Your Personal CFO
Michael Greenberg discusses his entrepreneurial journey, the support his company gives to podcasters, and what his daily routines for optimal performance are with Greg Levine on the Your Personal CFO Podcast.
Greg Levein 0:26
Welcome back, everyone, another podcast. Thank you all for joining us today. Our guest this week is Michael Greenberg. Michael is the CEO of Call For Content and the author of Authority Marketing playbook, where he outlines his strategies for reducing the b2b sales cycle by building out a library of content that answers their strongest concerns and pains. Michael, welcome to the show.
Michael Greenberg 1:20
Greg. It’s great to be here. I think you did a better job selling that book than I have.
Greg Levein 1:25
All right, Michael. Well, as I read, you had a stable job. And then one day you decided to not have that job anymore on your own volition. So you decided to go out on your own. Why make things hard? Why do this, man? Explain.
Michael Greenberg 1:37
So, not quite stable. My backgrounds in venture-backed startups and I did leave the company while they were still going strong, still successful. But I ended up leaving because I didn’t want to move back to San Francisco. Head back to the West Coast. And so, I started first consulting for myself by working with software startups and agencies, primarily marketing agencies. And then continued consulting and about two years ago launched Call For Content. Which is a podcasting agency?
Greg Levein 2:18
Alright, well, obviously, you came to the right spot. And as I’ve read in your bio and everything, you’re out there, you’re hustling, you’re given speeches all over the place and getting out there pushing yourself. Was that hard to do? I mean, when you go when you have a job, it’s easy to sit back and do what you got to do. And then when all of a sudden, you got to get out there and promote yourself a little harder. So how did that go for you?
Michael Greenberg 2:38
Well, it’s gone pretty well. But that’s also because it’s my business to do so. And I ended up making Call For Content because of the pains that I sell myself as a consultant. And so when I started out consulting, I did have trouble. And what ended up working for me was networking with key influencers. Primarily investors in startups, and then using those strategic partnerships to prove my authority to their portfolio. And I realized that you know, yes, I can drive to every investor in the Southeast, and I can go talk with them. And that works. But it doesn’t scale. It doesn’t let me build a real brand for myself. And it doesn’t let me get beyond that network that I’m directly reaching out to and touching. So I looked at content to figure that out. And I started looking at what are the questions that people are asking, what are the questions that I see come up in my meetings? What are the things that I wish people already knew that they didn’t? And I used all that stuff to start making content. And a lot of that content was used in small presentations that I would still give to those groups. Potential clients. And then, some of the content got turned into stuff online that I put out. And I found that time and time again, rather than trying to answer every single question somebody has on the phone. It was a lot easier and much more effective for me to say, you know, I’ve been asked that before. And I actually wrote an entire book on how to do it. Because if you can take the time, and you have the knowledge to create that book. Customers, especially if you’re selling in the business of services, they want to know you can do the work in that you’re better at it, and understand it better than they do. That’s the key. And so, by creating this content. I was able to show and improve my authority faster without having to have so many calls without having to have six touchpoints before we make the sale. We can have one touchpoint. I can recommend any ebook and maybe a full-length book and a couple blog posts and a podcast that I’ve put out. I can see, thanks to the great marketing automation and analytics that we have today, I can see when my potential customer checks out those materials. And then when we circle back, they’re informed. They know I’m an expert. They understand the angle that I’m coming from exactly why they should choose me over another. What the differences are between the way I operate and my competitors. And they’re able to make that call a lot easier because I’ve given them the content to educate them on the sale and help move them through that process.
Greg Levein 5:53
So you have found that they actually go to that content. Absorb it, and then finally, when they are ready. They come to you, and the sale is closed?
Michael Greenberg 6:04
Not quite, they will go to that content.
Anything big in text, they’re going to skim. They’re likely just to be the headings about that content. And we spend a lot of time working on those headings. Because of that. The most important thing for them is not that we have written out the step by step instructions, but that we’ve put in the headings for the step by step instructions. That when they skim through the article, they see that we’ve written out those step by step even if they don’t take the time to read it all. And the important thing for them is to be able to feel the confidence that we know what we’re talking about. And so we do that by making this great informative content. But in reality, if the content was not informative, that would impact maybe 30% of our sales because the majority of people don’t end up going actually to read and go through that stuff. They just want to know that you can create it.
Greg Levein 7:10
I had a conversation with somebody, they connected me to two articles as well. Opposed to really helping me. And I want to read those articles. I just haven’t read them yet. So I’m trying to see if I actually will end up reading them after speaking with you right now.
Michael Greenberg 7:27
You probably won’t, but maybe read one, make sure they really know what they’re talking about. We use a lot of really big content. And when I say big, I mean, a 30 page 40 page, ebook, maybe even 100 pages long. And the goals of these are, if somebody wants to do it themselves, here’s everything you need. But we know most of you are never going to take the time to read through this stuff. And so if you skim through it, you read the intro, you read the Conclusion. You’ve got enough to know that we know what we’re talking about. And we designed with that in mind. Because if somebody comes to me. Comes to my office hours, or gets on what’s supposed to be a sales call with me, and they say, Oh, we don’t really have that budget. Then I’m going to recommend that you read the book. And if you come to me and say, Okay, this is what we’d like to do. Great, here’s my ebook on it, what’s your budget, you don’t really have enough to work with us. You should use this ebook. And then here’s a lower-cost provider as an option. And so one of the things we really try to do is just arm our customers with the information that they need. Because of the industries that I work in. That most of the people I’m working with. If you’re a consultant, and you’ve been a consultant for the past decade. There is a very good chance you don’t want to learn digital marketing now. That’s the simple truth of it. And if that’s the case, the only thing you’re looking for is competence in the person you’re working with for digital marketing. You want to know you’re working with the best of the best. And so when that’s what we try to do for podcasting. That’s what we try to get and work with our clients to do. And other industries because that big content works so much better for the sales process. Then some of the other pieces we’ve tested.
Greg Levein 9:42
So, Mike, you’re in this kind of new industry. Podcasting and helping people grow their podcasts, and you know, all this other marketing type stuff for the around the podcast. And it’s you know, not your bread and butter thing. You’re not a lawyer, you’re not a doctor, it’s a little bit of a niche thing. I’m sure it’s been difficult. What’s the hardest thing. You have like some sort of story or low point or? I mean, how have you created a business out of this? Which is pretty difficult to do. So we’d like to hear the toughest part.
Michael Greenberg 10:12
We can start as a podcasting agency. We became a podcasting agency about nine months ago. And right around that time, our largest client who made up about 50% of revenues, dropped and decided to take their team in house. And so we knew that we weren’t doing bad work. If they’re taking everything in house, that’s a budget decision. But we also knew that we needed to make up that 50% very fast. And so what we did is we took the processes we had in podcasting. And at the time, we were a b2b content marketing agency. But we took the processes we had for podcasting for our clients. And we’re doing podcasts and seeing success. And we took that and made a white label podcasting program for other agencies to use. And that turned out to work. Because 2019 podcasting is the big thing. We launched it at the end of 2018, or mid towards the end of 2018. And we hit the market at just the right time. And so that helped us make up the difference and then start growing beyond that. And when we saw that sort of response, that’s what we knew. We need to go all-in on podcasting.
Greg Levein 11:44
Now, would you say you got that sort of response? What was the response? Are you getting a lot of emails? Getting a lot of phone calls, what was going on that all of a sudden you’re getting flooded.
Michael Greenberg 11:52
So we opened up this white label program and potential partners we were reaching out to came back and said I’ve got three clients who want to produce shows right now. We can’t do it in house. Can you help us with that? Yes, fantastic. And so we focused on these agency white-label deals so that we could focus on selling multiple shows at a time. I’m selling contracts that could really make a difference for us. Because one show at you know, $800 a month or $500 a month, that really doesn’t make a difference to my bottom line. But if I can launch a new partnership with three shows that $500 a month and those that they’re bringing clients through every day, and that they’ll be able to add on another three or six shows this year. That’s interesting. That’s a deal that’s worth my time. And that’s a deal that can make a real difference to my company. So we focus on these deals that had good potential for initial revenue, but also the long term basis, a great potential for growth. Because the deals we were focusing on were really partnerships.
Greg Levein 13:13
Forgive me, man, but I’m not totally clear on the connection. I mean, who are the people? Is it an individual person who has three shows that they’re producing themselves?
Michael Greenberg 13:25
No, we white label our services to other agencies
Greg Levein 13:28
And explain white labeled. I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with that term.
Michael Greenberg 13:32
Yeah. So we have a full offering of podcasting services, almost everything we offer direct clients. We will offer through this white label partner. And they will sell our services under their brand, and they will own the client relationship. And so all we need to do is do the work.
Greg Levein 13:57
So it’s almost like an agent. It is finding these three different shows or whatever, and then they bring you in as the backend to do all the work for the podcast.
Michael Greenberg 14:09
Yep. So we do that with other marketing agencies and communications agencies.
Greg Levein 14:16
Interesting so now that it’s only a nine months in, what’s it like man, you enjoying this business? You surprised that how the chips have fallen and things have progressed?
Michael Greenberg 14:28
Yeah, we’re actually getting ready now to launch a new, we’ve just released our brand new great card. That’s all updated and streamlined. And we’re relaunching our white label program. We ran into some issues. After the initial launch and the great response, we received once we start trying to add more partners and more partners. We started running into issues with developing and framing those partnerships. So that both sides were winning. And so that our partners were really incentivized to sell the services that we have. So now we’re getting ready to launch this whole new program that I think will make things quite a bit easier for us. As a result because in particular, the two people in charge of managing those partnerships have really been complaining to me about all the people who just don’t get the work done. Don’t bring new clients in. So hopefully, the changes we’re making will solve that.
Greg Levein 15:40
Can you kind of give us just like a quick shortlist of the things that you offer to these podcast hosts?
Michael Greenberg 15:48
Yeah, sure. So we offer podcast production. As well as what we call podcasting services. Podcasting services include audience growth, ad management for our show, SEO strategy for a show. And the big one, sponsorship negotiation, and sponsorship search. And so we really offer anything that somebody could need to get a podcast started to build the audience for that show or to monetize it. And we offer it in about three different service lines.
Greg Levein 16:34
And you’ve been getting feedback that you’ve been successful? Are people happy with everything you guys got going on?
Michael Greenberg 16:42
So far, so good. Obviously, there’s the occasional person who’s not happy with our services. But since we’re in digital, and since we’re a fully remote company, every call that we have with a client is recorded. Every bit of work that we do, we can attribute to the end goals that the client is trying to achieve. So, if somebody comes in and says, You’re not making me any money, you’re not driving any leads. We’ve got this information that we’re able to show them and be like, we have driven you 30 leads in the past two months. If our qualifications are off. If these leads are not the level of qualified that you’d like, let’s discuss that. But if they are, then the issue is with your sales process. And that’s something that we’re really lucky since we’re a digitally focused agency to be able to do.
Greg Levein 17:42
Interesting, very cool.
Michael Greenberg 17:47
I was just gonna say on the practice of recording calls. I cannot recommend that enough. Because we’ve had now two clients who have just straight out lied about whether or not they’ve approved things. And so being able to pull up the call recording and be like, Here you go, yes. You said this, you approved all of these things. We’re going to have to charge you for more work. That probably saves the company $5000 or $10,000 this year.
Greg Levein 18:56
Mike, you’re a successful entrepreneur, man. You’re out there, you’re creating your own path. Architect your own life. So we always like to hear how do you start today, man? It must be something special. Because you don’t succeed without kind of getting the day off well. You got any tips you want to share?
Michael Greenberg 19:24
Yeah, keep a gratitude journal. Number one. Start my day with it every day. So if you’re not familiar with a gratitude journal, it’s just writing down a few things that you’re thankful for. That you’re grateful for at the beginning of the day. Looking back on the previous day, and that helps set me in the frame of mind to really get started. Because if I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, I would like to go back to sleep and wake up on the right side, but I can’t do that. So if my mindsets off that day, the first thing I want to do is change that. And so after a gratitude journal, meditation is a big one for me. And that’s not an everyday thing. But if I’m trying to get focused. If I’m trying to write copy in the morning or do any sort of real, single-minded task like that. Meditation is my next step. And then, after that, I try to get out to a walk and then have breakfast. The walk is really important because exercise in the morning is going to make your entire day better. It will make you happier if you break a sweat in the morning. And it’s just good for your body. It gives you so much energy throughout the day. And getting out in nature is nice too. And then breakfast, I keep it light, and I keep it protein-heavy. So it’s probably just going to be a couple of eggs or something like that. Or a smoothie.
Greg Levein 21:03
What’s in the smoothie?
Michael Greenberg 21:07
That’s the right question to ask. There are two kinds of smoothies I make regularly. One is just a high protein smoothie. That’s gonna start with Greek yogurt, add some fruit, maybe a little bit of honey. And then, depending on the day, I’ll either use tea as my liquid or water. And I don’t drink coffee very much at all. Or like black tea or green tea. I drink a tea called Guayusa. It’s a South American holly plant. And it’s got the same caffeine content is coffee, but the same alphanine and antioxidants as green tea. So you’re getting the best of both worlds. And that’s my base shake. But then, if I’ve got a really busy day, if I want to be performing 110% instead of just 95 or 100, I’ll toss in a little bit of Makkah route. Gelatinized Makkah powder, and that’s a South American route that’s often used by men, instead of like a Viagra. From what I understand is if you use it every day for like 10 days or two weeks. Somewhere in there. Then you start to see real increases in sexual performance ability. But if you just take it one day, it’s a great energy booster. And that’s what I use it for. And so that gets me in a little bit of market will make me feel like I’m ready to conquer the world. Which is exactly what I want.
Greg Levein 22:51
All right. Very cool, man.
Michael Greenberg 22:54
Yeah, that’s, I do some weird stuff, but it seems to all work. So I’m gonna keep doing it.
Greg Levein 23:03
Alright, man. Well listen, I really appreciate you being on the show but I got to request before let you go number one, we want you to plug away tell everybody about your office hours, how they can connect with you and all that good stuff. And then, when you are done with all the plugs. Please parting advice and the cell for some good stuff. So we can learn to be successful like yourself.
Michael Greenberg 23:24
Yeah, sounds good. So you can find me on social media at Gentoftech. If you want actually to connect with me and communicate with me. The best way to get in touch is to go to callforcontent.com. And there in the bottom right corner of the page. You’ll see a little chat widget pop up in that’ll ask if you want to book office hours. Office hours are the only time that I give out free advice one on one. If you want to ask me a question if you want to know how I’d go about your content strategy book with me there. We’ll talk about it because the whole goal of those is really to give back to the community. It’s to provide input and to see what the people who might not be able to work with me are trying to do. So that we can put out content for them. So office hours, hands down the best way, just like office hours with a professor. You can ask me anything you’d like. In terms of closing tips, jump. The best way to learn how to swim is to get in a pool and start swimming. The best way to go about most things in entrepreneurship is to go and do them. And if you are not an entrepreneur, there’s a good chance that the best thing for you to do is to focus on finance and business development. Because of the role of executives and this is something I go over with agency owners all the time. The role of the executive in an organization has little to nothing to do with the day to day operations of the organization. Because at the highest level, the role of the executive is to bring in more business, make business easier to do for the company. And to make sure it’s the company turns a profit.
Greg Levein 25:35
All right, well, listen, much appreciate your man. Call For content, check it out. Thank you for being a part of the show. I wish you guys much success.
Michael Greenberg 25:43
Yeah, thanks for having me on.
Greg Levein 25:46
And that will wrap up another episode of the show questions, comments, feedback, as always, shoot me an email. Greg@actionnowcfo.com. We appreciate you being a part of the show. And as always, we’ll be back next week.