562: How to Become a B2B Influencer w/ Josh Steimle

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Josh Steimle, Founder & CEO at MWI & Founder of Influencer Inc.

A relationship with the right referral partnercould be a game changer for any be to be company. So what ifyou could reverse engineer these relationships at a moment's notice, start a podcast,invite potential referral partners to be guests on your show and grow your referral networkfaster than ever? Learn more at sweet fish Mediacom. You're listening to thebe tob growth show, a podcast dedicated to helping be to be executives achieveexplosive growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources,you've come to the right place. I'm James Carberry and I'm Jonathan Green.Let's get into the show. Welcome back to the B tob growth show.We are here today with Josh Stemley. He is the founder and CEO atMwi. He's also the founder of influencer ink. Josh, how you doingtoday? Fantastic, James. Thanks for having me here. I'm really excitedto chat with you, Josh. I have, I think, our pathscrossed because I had a post on Linkedin, I think, last week, askingmy network who they knew that had a great personal brand, and Ithink your fame came up quite a few times people tagging you in the commentssaying that that you were just crushing it from a personal branding perspective. Andwhen I doug a little bit deeper, I realize very quickly why that's thecase. And so we're going to be talking today about how to become aBTB influencer. I think you have obviously nailed it, and but I wantyou to give a little bit of context to our listeners so they understand whatwhat I have recently come to know about you. Tell us a little bitabout the work you're doing it in Mwi and also at influence rank? Sure? Well, my short story is that I started mw in one thousand ninehundred and ninety nine, and M Wi is a digital marketing agency and todaywe've got offices in the US, Hong Kong, China, Singapore in theUK. And then about four years ago I had the opportunity to start writingfor Forbes magazine and I started writing about entrepreneurship and digital marketing and that reallyblew up my business, Mwi, and just helped it grow like crazy.And so as I started writing for Forbes and then that expanded into writing frontreneurand time and fortune and Mashavill and tech runch and twenty other publications, andthen that led to speaking engagements and I led to a book deal. AsI started investing in that kind of content marketing, in that personal brand sideof things. Then people start to come to me and say, Hey,how did you do this and how is your business growing and what led toall this and how do I do this for myself? And so I launchedthis other company called influence her ink to help people with their personal brands andto help train them and to help coach them and guide them through this process. And so now I've got these two companies, Mwi, markets and brands, companies, and influence rink, markets and brands. People. I loveit, and so so, Josh. That obviously makes perfect sense given thetopic that we're going to be covering today and why I think you're going tobring an immense amount of value to this. As we were talking offline. Yeah, I think the place it makes the most sense for us to kindof kick this conversation off as it relates to becoming a BETB influencer, whichthink pretty much everybody listening to this has aspirations to become a Beb influencer.Want to first talk about why do you think it's so important to seek outinfluence, to really be focused on your personal brand in today's environment? Thefirst reason, the the selfish, the business reason, is that people liketo do business with people that they like, know and trust, or I shouldsay no, like and trust. And if you look at businesses,their faceless corporations, they're not people. People like to do business with people. And so if you go to do business with somebody, would you ratherdo business with a faceless corporation or a corporation that's represented by a smiling face? And so you think about a company like a virgin with Richard Brands,and Richard Branson seems to be this Super Fun Nice Guy and he's everywhere smiling, and that's the brand of virgin and...

...it rests a lot on Richard Branson'spersonal brand. And all things being equal, you'd probably rather fly on a VirginAirlines plane than on a Delta flight. WHO's the CEO of Delta? Ihave no clue, I have no idea. I'm sure he's a greatguy, but I have no clue who that is. In Virgin. Definitely. I think if you pulled people and you said which one would you ratherfly? If it was the same price, same time, same everything, whichone would you rather go? And I think those people would say I'vevirgin. It just looks like more fun, it looks like it'd be a betterexperience, and a lot of that has to do with Richard brandson's personalbrand. Yeah, so now, in my personal case, I started workingon my personal brand. That helped my business grow because I was out there, people saw me and especially with my articles and Forbes and such, theywould read these articles I was writing and they would say, Hey, thisguy's talking about digital marketing. He's in Forbes, you must know what he'stalking about, and then they would figure out what I did for digital marketing. Then I'm writing an agency, and by the time they came to usand contacted us, they were already ninety five percent sold on using us becausethey had gotten to know me. Yeah, and they would email us and they'dsay, Hey, I feel like I already know Josh and I knowhim through his writing and I really want to work with you guys, becausewe had developed this relationship online. And so for me, I mean,this is meant millions of dollars for my agency. I have one article Iwrote that as we can track back to two million dollars in revenue from myagency. So wow, this is the power of a personal brand that,whether you're a small business or a big business, it can really drive businessfor you. And that's reason number one. Reason number two is it's an opportunityto serve, to help people, and the reason I started influence ringbecause I believe most people in the world are good and if I can helpthem become more influential, than they're going to make the world a better place. And so the mission with influence rank is to help people, whether it'sexecutives or entrepreneurs or working professionals, to become more influential, build their personalbrand and then use that as service, use that to make the world betterplace, whether it's through the business world or through other things that they're doing. I love it. I love it and I have a question for you. I wanted to dig a little bit deeper, Josh, because I knowthat they're there can be and a some push back to personal brand actually driving, you know, real business results. I think we all would you knowyour example of Richard Brandson, I think is fantastic. I think about HowardSchultz and the starbucks brand. You know, I read Howard's book. You knowhe's prolific on social media. And then I think about, you know, the Duncan Donut CEO. I don't I don't know who that is.There's there's no human attached to it and I've got to believe that there's real, legitimate business impact. But you mentioned something that I thought was interesting.You said that you could actually tie real revenue back to a specific Forbes article. Is there a certain way that you're doing your attribution? Are you justasking? Did that just come about through conversations that you're having with new customersand them saying, Oh, yeah, I read this article. Is thathow you guys kind of tied it back to that specific article? Right,it's the ladder. So when people come into the business we say how didyou find us and they say, Oh, I read this article, and sowe've tracked that and it's probably a lot more revenue that we have actuallygotten from that article, but we can track at least two million to it. I mean it might actually be three million, but I know guaranteed it'sat least least two million. Well, that's that's incredible. So this actuallydoes map to dollars. So, now that we've covered kind of the thewhy behind it, you gave to really solid answers there, Josh, Iwant to talk about you know you need to be doing it, but whatdo you actually do to get started? What are some first steps that folkslistening to this can take to go down the path of becoming an evolucer anddriving results to the bottom line? Right. So a lot of people, whenthey ask hey, how do I get started doing this, they startthinking about social media and their profiles and putting their name out there and thenfilming themselves and putting videos out or something...

...like that. or The look atlike a Gary Vaner Chuck and say, well, he's got a strong personalbrand. I'll just film a bunch of videos of myself talking and cursing abunch or something and that's my personal brand. It's like, I mean you're kindof hitting little parts of what it takes to build a personal brand there, but the thing that people miss out on the lot is actually deciding whattheir personal brand is going to be before they go out and do these things. Yeah, it's important to have a website, yeah, it's important tobe on social media and be out there, but who are you and who's youraudience and what's your message that you're going to be communicating to them?If you don't know these things going in, then you're going to be shooting allover the place, you're going to be unfocused and you're not going toget any traction and then you will won't have any success and then you sayas this personal branding stuff doesn't work, when in reality you just went aboutit the wrong way. So the first step is figuring APP who am I? What is the personal brand that I want to have, and so youneed to go through a kind of a positioning exercise to say, you know, what makes me special, what am I? What's unique about me andmy background and my experience, and it's helpful to think about like a vendiagram. You see these Ben Diagrams where you have a bunch of circles andthey overlap and where there's overlap there's some sort of special thing they're to givea simple example, I know a lot about marketing and I also happen toknow a lot about skateboarding. Because I grew up as a skater and wasinvolved in the industry. So if you overlap those two circles, then there'sthis intersection of skateboarding and marketing. Now a lot of people in the worldknow a lot about marketing. So as just a marketer I'm nothing special becausethere are thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of marketers in theworld. And as a skateboarder I'm nothing special. There are millions of skateboardersin the world, but how many skateboarders have corporate high end marketing experience?Very few, I mean they're probably twenty or something. So you look atthat and you say, okay, it's that intersection that makes me special,at least in this one area. And now I haven't chosen to build mypersonal brand around skateboarding and marketing, but that's an example of how I cantake two areas of my life, intersect them and find something that is uniqueabout me. And so I encourage people to make a list and say whatare all the expert zones that you have in your life, things that you'rereally good at, and then start overlapping those and say what two things canI put together that really make me unique and that becomes my genius own whereI say if, if I do this, I can own this space, Ican own this match and nobody else can touch it because nobody else hasthis intersection that I have got it. And, Josh, what are so, what are your thoughts on if you want people to get granular on what? You refer to it in an email that I that I read on yourthrough your email list earlier today. You talked about it as your as yourswim lane. Do you have any any suggestions on how to know if you'vegotten niche enough or if you're granular enough on the swim lane that you're choosingto build your brand around? Sure, and so the swim lane is somethingthat came from Forbes, because they talked about this a lot with the contributorsat Forbes. They require that you have a swim lane, you have acertain focus that you write about each and every day and you don't go outof that Swim Lane. And so it might be pr it might be digitalmarketing, it might be accounting, whatever it is, but they want youto create a tag line around that swim lane to and be able to havethis short sentence that says I write about digital marketing for CMOS, I coverentrepreneurship in China or and so they really want you to focus and they workwith you on focusing on this tag line and developing that. If you can'tsay what you do and one sentence and have it be really clear, thenyou haven't gotten focused enough. If you...

...require a paragraph or a whole halfof a page to describe what you do, then you're not focused enough. You'retrying to cover too many things. So you should be able to fitit into one sentence. The other thing is, does it stick once you'vegot it? If you create that tagline and it really resonates with who youare and what you do and you can tell your friends about this and they'relike yeah, that's you, that taggling describes you. That's how I thinkabout you. You you are the digital marketing in China Guy, you arethe marketing and skateboarding guy, like that's how I already see you. Thenyou know you're onto something if you're trying to create a personal brand and ithas nothing to do with really what you are and you're just creating it becauseyou aspire to something else and you're trying to create something and move in thatdirection. That's really tough. There's a saying that it's easiest to lead ahorse in the direction it's already going. So you want to create a personalbrand around what already makes you special, that people already know you for,and then just strengthen that personal brand that you've already been working on rather thantry to go create something that's totally different than who you already are. Soso you mentioning the skateboard piece, Josh. For me, I named my businessafter my favorite candy, Swedish fish, and so I think a lot ofyou know I write about it a lot my emails and how it'sessed.I am a Swedish fish and I think Noah, you know, I seeNoah Kegan doing this. I think that maybe actually what inspired me to getjust more human in my writing and talk about the things that I just arereally enjoy that have nothing to do with business. And, as silly asit is, people really seemed to latch onto that. The the replies thatI get on the kind of the nurture emails that go out from our marketingautomation system. A lot of times it's Oh my God said that that lineabout, you know, your care bear Pajama Pants was hilarious. Or Oh, I'm you know, my wife loves Swedish Fish. Talk to us alittle bit about how you have integrated, because I have seen you talk aboutkind of the skateboarding piece you you haven't necessarily built your entire brand around it, but talk to us about the importance of kind of letting those, thosemore personal elements of your personality shine through in the content that you're putting intothe world. Yeah, and, by the way, I love Swedish fishto that's my favorite can. Yeah, man, we're really correct mine ona deep level of your great mind. So, yeah, those little personalityquirks are really useful because it does help you stay top of mind with peopleat just it introduces this unique little thing that makes you stand out. Andso I have skateboards on the back of my office wall. So when I'mdoing video interviews, these skateboards that are hanging on the wall because I likethe artwork on them, they show up and people remember that and they commenton it. And so, even though I'm not in the skateboarding in industry, like that's not what I focus on for my professional life. I've stillmade that part of my brand because people say, Oh, yeah, Josh, he's that marketing guy and he wrote that CMO book and yeah, he'sinto skateboarding and stuff. It's just one more little thing that makes me stickout and helps people to remember me because it's unique. And so having thoselittle personality things makes you human. It makes you more authentic, which isa popular buzzword these days that everybody's chasing after, and it just makes youa person. It makes you somebody that people say, well, I feellike I know this guy because I know something special about him. I loveit. Josh, you're obviously dealing with particularly at influencer ink, you areworking with a lot of executives. Where are you seeing the biggest where youseeing them struggle the most, and and what is your advice whenever they hitthose snags and they're struggling with their personal brand? Two areas that I seea lot of struggling in. One is people trying to be somebody other thanwho they really are. Okay, and when they do that they create contentthat's not authentic and because it's not authentic,...

...it doesn't connect with their audience.And when there's no connection with the audience, there's no traction, youdon't get any results. And so they're often trying to imitate somebody else.They're trying to imitate Richard Brands and they're trying to imitate Bill Gates, they'retrying to imitate Gary Vane or Checker, whoever it is. And I saybe yourself and be authentic about yourself and make yourself vulnerable and tell secrets ofabout yourself, talk about failures, and that's how you make a connection withyour audience. There's power in that. The other thing is that they don'tproduce content enough because they're so there. They want to be perfect. Yeah, and when you want to be perfect, you end up spending a lot oftime on your content, and this damage is you in two ways.One, you just don't get that much content out there. Too, italso hurts your authenticity. The more you polish the content, the less it'syou. And so I encourage my coaching clients and the people that I'm workingwith to go out and just create content, even if it's quick and dirty.Go on Linkedin right now and tell your story in one thousand three hundredcharacters because that's the limit they have on the posts. Yep, but goout there and tell your story about how you got where you are and whatyou love about what you're doing, and don't Polish it up, don't makeit sound like an advertisement, don't even put a call to action in there. Just do it. Yeah, and write that story and you'll be amazedat how that connects with people and how many likes and how many comments youget on that, versus if you go out there and you do a linkedinpost and you put a link in there in a graphic and you try toreally Polish it up and make it this advertisement type of thing. People hateadvertisements, they don't listen to advertisements, but they love stories. So justgo out tell your story and experiment with that and just get doing it.Yeah, I've been writing these linked to posts every day, just telling littlestories about failures, about things I've done, and sometimes I'll put a little calledaction in there, but oftentimes I don't. I just say hey,this is my story, this is what I'm going through, what are yougoing through? And there's no I'm not leading them to my email list,I'm not leading them to my social media profile. I'm just trying to figureout what connects with people. Yeah, and as I do that, I'vehad amazing success. I think I'm up to like I've gotten like five hundredthousand views on my linkedin posts in the past two weeks or something. Andso if you can jump in and do that, even though it's quick anddirty, do that and then you take those posts and you refine them andyou turn them into blog posts, you turn them into videos and nurture emailsthat Cora answers. Yeah, right, right. So you can take thatand then you can lead it to the more Polish stuff, but just getout there and start get the stuff that's quick and dirty out there. Justget it out there. So for the past four months, Josh, I'vebeen going all in on Linkedin as well, posting every day, seeing seeing similarresults. I think I'm around the probably the three or four hundred thousandmark from a view count perspective, and I think that people, you knowwhat, I've been talking to a lot of marketers lately about the results thatI've been seeing on Linkedin, because I want them to start, you know, jumping on the train before linkedin starts charging for for this kind of stuffbecause it just seems it seems crazy. I mean I had a post earlierthis week that's it like two hundred and seventy five thousand views right now,and and it's organic. I'm not I didn't pay anything to get that kindof reach and the inbound messages that are coming in from it. I meanit's unreal, but it's because I've been doing exactly what you just said todo. I've been vulnerable, I've shared my story. But when I whenI told my wife a couple weeks ago, or not a couple weeks ago,I guess it was a few months ago when I started doing this,I was just saying like Hey, I've been hearing a lot of people talkabout the more vulnerable you get on Linkedin, it actually really helps with getting moreengagement and getting more eyeballs on your content. What do you think aboutthat? And she was really hesitant at first. You she was like well, what, you know she's she's a little bit more guarded and she doesn't, you know, want the world to know her. You know the intricaciesof her life. She's not trying to...

...build a personal brand. So Iguess to someone like my my wife, maybe the person out there that thatwants to have a personal brand. But the thought of like being vulnerable onlinefeels like how this is going to be here forever. What if people seethat and they think, Oh, this guy like doesn't have a stuff together? Is that a common pushback that you get, or do people typically understandyou fundamentally? Okay, being vulnerable is is the better path. And ifthey do push back, what's your response to that? Yeah, so they'rethey're kind of two things here. There's this vulnerability side where people do strugglewith that because they feel like if I reveal failures, if I'm vulnerable,than people won't respect me, people will think that I'm a failure. They'renot going to want to listen to me because all they want to hear oursuccess stories and they want to see people like Richard Branson smiling and talking aboutthe billion that he's made, and that's not at all what people want tohear. They don't want to hear success stories. They want to hear aboutovercoming challenges. They want to hear about when you were just like them andstruggling and how you overcame those challenges. I was just meeting with somebody twodays ago and he was talking about this and saying, yeah, go outthere and tell some stories about how you're failing at this and back when you'recompany only had three people instead of the three hundred people today. He's like, well, yeah, but then I don't know if my customers will reallytrust me if I start talking about that. Like they they had an experience.In his business. They make it's a prototyping company, so companies cometo them to get parts made when they're designing a new product and then theytest out these parts before they go into man mass manufacturing. Okay, andhe was telling me a story about working with a famous motorcycle company and theymade a part and they made a mistake and it almost resulted in somebody gettinghurt, and then they learned this lesson. I said, well, what didyou do? And they said, well, we bought this machinery sothat we can test at ourselves, because it was really a partner who failed, and now we went through this and now we know how to do itthe right way. And I said that's a great story. You should tellthat story. They said well, if I tell that story, though,then people are going to see that we didn't do it right this one time. I'm like, they don't care about that, they care that you doit right right now. Yeah, and if you tell that story, itshows that one you're willing to tell the ugly truth, but to you itshows how you solved the problem. They know that you've got that problem solvedas soon as you tell that story. In fact, what happens is thatit's going to put doubt in their minds about all of your competitors because they'regoing to be asking, well, does do his competitors do this, orare they still doing it the old way? But I know that this guy doesit the right way because he had this bad experience as like this isgreat marketing for you, but he was really afraid to do that at firstbecause he didn't want to say anything negative about his company. So that's thatvulnerability side. This other side is sometimes people are just uncomfortable with the personalbrand because they don't like talking about themselves. They don't want to be self promotional, they don't want to be that guy who's like always talking about himselfand you kind of get your image and this image in your head of thoseguys who are like taking photos of themselves in front of Amborghinis and with wadsof money and stuff, and it's like that's not what we're talking about.When we're talking about personal branding, we're talking about going out there and justtelling stories, giving tips, and it's not about you. This is whatI have to tell people is it's not about you. It's about your audienceand it's about sharing with your audience. You're not going out there and sayinglook how great I am. You're saying here's when I failed and here's whatI learned and here's how you might be able to learn from my experience.Or here's how we started our business, here's some of the struggles we faced. Here challenges we went through, or I see our clients struggling with X, Y Z, and here's how you can overcome this in your business.Here's what people pay me five thousand dollars to know, and I'm just goingto give it to you for free. Here's my advice. This is thekind of stuff that you're putting out there and yeah, it will make youlook like an expert, but you'll never have to say, look at me, I'm an expert. You're just giving advice and the expert part happens naturally. I love it. We're super aligned...

...in our thinking. Josh, thishas been fantastic. I've loved this conversation. If there's somebody listening to this thatwants to stay connected with you, they want to learn more about yourcourse or or just get connected and consume the type of content that you andI have been talking about, because you are practicing what you're preaching right now. I've been seeing it for the last few weeks on Linkedin. What's thebest way for them to go about staying in touch with you? visit meon my personal website. It's Josh Stimeleycom Stimley's Stei am as and Mary ElleLove it awesome. Josh, will thank you so much again for your time. This has been incredibly valuable for the folks listening and I really appreciate it. Thank you so much, James, for having me on. If you'rea be tob marketer, we want to feature you on sites like Huffington Post, social media examiner and chief marketer. Every week we send out a questionrelated to be to be marketing. We use the responses to those questions tofuel the content we write for really popular websites, so head over to sweetfish Mediacom backslash questions and sign up today. Thank you so much for listening,until next time,.

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