Authority Marketing Strategy – Expert Interview with Andrew S. Kaplan (Part 2 of 3)

FunnelProfit’s Founder and CEO Lawrence Klamecki interviews expert author, podcaster and digital marketer Andrew S. Kaplan.  In Part 2 Andrew discusses how to partner with a copywriter effectively, getting knowledge content out of the heads of your executive team, and the vital importance of open sharing as part of an effective authority content marketing strategy.

Authority Marketing Strategy for B2B Executives

Lawrence: Looking at our business from a B2B marketing standpoint, it’s not normal for, let’s say, a senior sales executive or even a CEO of a tech company to have an effective authority marketing strategy in place.

They know enterprise software, the product and the features and executing a value selling approach.  But you would you very rarely find them blogging about their area of expertise, about their market, and all these different options.

Beyond that you rarely find them creating a personal media platform like a podcast that discusses the value that they provide to the world and the expertise that they bring.

Andrew:  Right.  You know, I think you can’t blame them for being hesitant to implement a full authority marketing strategy because it takes a lot of bandwidth. For example, a podcast is obviously way more of a commitment than blogging because you can just write articles here and there.  You could even outsource that type of thing…

Lawrence:   I’ve got something to say about that… There’s this impression that creating a podcast — and I haven’t done it so I’ll take your word for it –it’s a lot of work. The fact is, creating any deep authority marketing content entails significant work and expertise.

Creating quality, deep content that resonates — what we call “pillar content” that’s highly authoritative so people link to it — doing that is not a snoozer.  That takes a lot of expertise. And in fact it’s very difficult to find and work with copywriters who are not the strategic minds of your business. Particularly in the area of innovation, it is very difficult to take a strategic consultant and hire a copywriter to work with them and put out content that is consumable and delivers inherent value.

There’s a huge gap and a tremendous amount of work that goes into things like video marketing, or blogging, or writing articles, or whatever authority marketing strategy channel you choose. That shouldn’t be overlooked. People get paid hundreds of thousand dollars to write high-quality copy at the top levels. I’ve found that it tends to be more of a journalistic process than a traditional blog writing process. Sorry to get off topic there….

Andrew: No, it’s okay.  I mean, hearing you say that… you know there’s no perfect shortcut and no magic bullets, but there are things you can do to help yourself up that mountain if you’re climbing it.

Like, for example, I think part of the reason that you might have a consultant and a copywriter not mesh well, is because either one or both are being hired without a clear understanding or a correct motivation. If I’m hiring a copywriter and I want to make sure he will work well with the consultant, I’m telling him “just so you know, what I’m hiring for here it is not a typical standard copywriting position, it’s something that takes an extra level of insight because you’re not just doing copywriting you’re helping this consultant with XYZ.”

And then on the other side of the fence I’m telling the consultant “listen we’re utilizing a copywriter because you’re good, you know how to speak in front of people, and we want someone that we know is skilled in translating that into words, but he needs your help.”

So I’m telling both of them that the other person needs their help and I’m putting them in that state of mind.  I’d call that the perfect solution where you’re doing whatever you can to hack the process, and whatever you can to make people more cooperative and facilitate a better exchange.  Especially in the beginning, if you have the bandwidth you also want to be involved in that process and overseeing both of them so that one isn’t bullying the other, and it’s clear to you that they have a cohesive style of work. This is essential for an authority marketing strategy to produce the business growth you’re looking for.

Extracting Expert Authority Content From Your Team

Lawrence:  Yeah, there has to be commitment on both sides.  There’s also a personality aspect, clearly… the ability to translate tone and things like that… but there’s a commitment level on both sides that has to be there.  From one side there’s the person who’s wanting to transmit their knowledge into consumable form. From the other side, to develop the marketing messaging right, to develop that authority marketing content.

Typically it costs much more in terms of time with money than they initially anticipate. And a lot of people who are strategic thinkers actually have so much in their head that it’s hard to get it out. In fact, you know your brain thinks so much faster and from so many different angles then you can actually write out.

Andrew:  Right, and you know just because you mention that… a great tactic is for them to plop down a recorder with no intention of anyone ever hearing what they’re about to say. You know they’re not going to broadcast this but they’re just gonna wax poetic for three hours and then send that to be transcribed and give that to the copywriter. It’s like “here, here’s all my thoughts and you’re all my insights make it look good like me.”

I recently wrote a lead magnet for a guy — and I don’t want to give away too much detail — but he basically gets people into med school. He understands the process very intimately. Now did I just kind of go off on my own and research what people are looking for?  No, I spoke to him and I interviewed him and I basically went very deep into what the challenges were, and the problems, and what people really are looking for.

I basically used his interview which I got transcribed as the foundation.  That then had to be reworked into solid, cohesive, convincing copy. But it’s really good if you’re an over-thinker and you can’t really get it on paper.  Just spit it out into a recorder and get it transcribed. Even if it’s a mess, you can hire someone to edit it that understands it and has a lot more to work with.

Lawrence: Yeah we found that the interview process, having a skilled interviewer, can really facilitate that.

There’s a fear element, too.  I mean, just staring at my mobile phone with a recording button… “right, oh shit, what do I say?”  With a lot of people, there’s that fear.

Then there is the idea that they might be giving their expertise away. Absolutely giving their career away — their reason for somebody to hire them — giving that away.  

You know, my personal opinion is that no knowledge is sacred.  Unshared knowledge or strategy is useless. Sharing deep knowledge is mandatory for an authority marketing strategy to work. Sharing fluff gets you nowhere — it just costs you money. The Internet is a double-edge sword.

What I find, particularly in the enterprise consulting world, is that there’s this strong opinion that says “you hired me, you’re paying me, to bring my expertise.”  And a lot of people just won’t share that. It’s like pulling teeth to get them to even schedule 30 minutes for an interview. So you need to help them jump that gap.

But you know, if you’re open to the idea that sharing your knowledge establishes your position as an authority in your market… which then creates trust… which then causes people to trust what you say…

Even if you’re selling something, if you want people to pay for your expertise, then that’s your purpose. Then these type of platforms — whether it’s a podcast or written word or video marketing — become extremely powerful.

Embrace Open Knowledge Sharing To Fuel Your Authority Marketing Strategy

Andrew: Yeah.  And you know, to those that have this scarcity mindset… which is fine by the way, we all fall into those traps… if you’re worried about putting stuff out there, if you’re worried about everyone having access, I would say embrace it.

Imagine you put something out there and somebody doesn’t pay you one cent, but uses it and they’re successful.  Well, this is good because they’re always gonna think of you and remember you is the person that gave it to them. This is the positive effect that a good authority marketing strategy can produce.

So if you’re really that worried then give out the content and at the end say “I can do this for you. I can implement it for you if you want. If you want to try it out fine, but if it works you might want to come back to me because I also know XYZ.”   You essentially tease them so that if they actually use your work and make money off of it for free, then they see what it’s done. Of course they’re gonna be interested in hiring you for more. That’s a wonderful calling card to have something that they know works and they’re associating with you specifically.

Lawrence: What I found to be really powerful is the fact that it triggers referrals.

Andrew: Yeah, a lot of times if you just help somebody on some little thing… you know it’s maybe not that important for you… it’s just a small subset of what you know, right?

Lawrence:  It’s a splinter of what you know. Give some splinters of your knowledge away as proof of your knowledge. And the ability to help somebody creates goodwill. Then they tell their friends “hey, I use this from this guy or this company, and use this technique.” It really works if you brand it a little bit, obviously.  It’s like, where everybody knows who Eben Pagan is…

Andrew: Without a doubt.

Lawrence: …because he’s given enough people some very core pieces that have reoriented their thinking. And in his case, it’s about how to develop the right strategy for your business or for your marketing.  When people know your name they say “oh I use this thing from this person.” If you have much more then it’s like a calling card like you said. It’s a referral prompter. And it happens without your knowledge and without your presence, and it happens continuously.  It’s like Eben Pagan’s concept of “moving the free line.”

Andrew: Oh yeah, he’s got many examples of that.  His greatest illustration of that was under his pen name David Deangelo when he was doing free dating advice for men. He had a thing called “cocky funny” where it was basically a hack to show guys how to be more comfortable in their own skin.  Guys would go through this process of his “cocky funny” approach and they would get crazy results and then they would buy his eBooks for 20 bucks. And they get even more results and then they’d buy his products for hundreds of dollars.

So he gave his best, his best, most easy to implement thing away and because it worked, it really wet their appetite and they went down the rabbit hole and of course they wanted more. So you want to move that free line like Eben Pagan, but also make it your best, highest impact, easy to implement information.  You want people to use it.

Lawrence: Give way your best stuff. And that to me is what a good podcast, a successful podcast, is designed to do. It’s the core of a solid authority marketing strategy.

Andrew: Absolutely, absolutely. You know give away the process.  Like Frank Kern, a lot of times he gives away his process but he still makes boatloads of money.  Because just because you know the process doesn’t mean that you want to do the heavy lifting of actually doing it. There are some processes… they’re complicated and cumbersome and they’re a huge mess.  It’s just easier to hire somebody. So it’s okay if you actually give away the game plan because sometimes it’s not very fun to implement even if it’s actually effective.

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