[VIDEO] 3 Strategies for Creating Valuable Content Your Audience Wants

I had a chat with a client last week about his content strategy and the challenges of creating relevant content that audiences find to be valuable. 

Can you relate? Even when you have a powerful message to share, it can be difficult to find the right topics, approach and structure to share that message through articles, videos and podcasts on a day-to-day basis. 

I put together a short video for you with the three tips I shared with my client on how to create fresh, relevant content that you’ll be inspired to produce and that your audience will find useful and worth their time. 

(BTW, my client used these tips to create a new article that was a big hit with his audience.) 

Let me know what ideas you gain as a result of watching the video. Enjoy!

e

P.S. What questions or challenges are you facing around growing your impact as a thought leader?  Reply to this email with your questions, comments and ideas so I can incorporate them in future articles and videos! 


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[Video] Behind the Author Interview with Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant

Did you catch the recent "Behind the Author" interview with Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant? It was a great discussion about the reality of publishing, launches, and what it takes to make a lasting impact as an author and thought leader

Here's what two attendees had to say about it:

 "You guys did a great job of sharing with truth and candor, which is really refreshing." 

 "Thanks for a provocative and insightful discussion!"

Click on the video above to watch the interview and hear the "inside scoop" on their overall strategy and how it impacted their publishing pathway, endorsements, launch strategy, bulk sales and more. You'll also gain some valuable insights that you can apply to your own book project and strategy for growing your impact as a thought leader. 

Once you watch the interview, I would love to hear your feedback and insights! You can leave your comments below or use the contact form here. Also, stay tuned for future interviews in the Behind the Author series!


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3 Tips from Michael Port's Heroic Speaking Event

I just returned from Michael Port's Heroic Public Speaking event - wow, it was incredible!  I've seen a lot in the "speaker training" world, but Michael's event is in a class of it's own.

As part of the event, I led two panel discussions on the "Business of Speaking" with six influential thought leaders you may know: Chris Brogan, John Jantsch, Scott Stratten, Bob Burg, Dorie Clark and Barry Moltz.

I put together a short video for you with three tips from the event that you can use to influence your audience, attract more speaking gigs and grow your impact as a thought leader.

Click on the image below to watch this short video.

P.S. If you have a message to share, I highly recommend you work with Michael. He's helped me become a much better speaker and he can do the same for you.


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I have a limited number of slots each month.  Please submit your name and email address below and I will get back to you with the times I currently have available.  All sessions will be booked on a first come, first served basis.

If you need to book a full strategy session, please click here.

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[VIDEO] Quick Announcement + Invitation

I hope your year is off to a great start!

Also, I wanted to share a quick announcement and update with you - one that will help you expand your impact and results as a thought leader in 2015.

Click below to watch this short video (and time-sensitive invitation).


Book Your 15-Minute Comp Session

I have a limited number of slots each month.  Please submit your name and email address below and I will get back to you with the times I currently have available.  All sessions will be booked on a first come first served basis.

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My Last Post (for now) and How I'm Preparing for a Great 2015

barney

Isn’t this a great photo? Of course, I’m a sucker for dogs (and guilty of watching one-too-many dog videos on Facebook!), but there’s something very attractive about how much Barney is loving life! 

Today’s email is the last one in this 10-week series based on a new keynote I gave back in September.  For that speech, the CEO asked me to talk about how to survive the inevitable setbacks on the thought leader journey and find your path to greater impact and results. 

If you look back at most of the images I used in the series, you’ll see that they were chosen to reflect how it can sometimes feel on the thought leader journey.

elizabeth marshall

Since setbacks can turn into “stuck points,” I made sure to give you tools with each article to help you bounce back from rejections and “keep the faith” in your message and work. In wrapping up this series, I have one final message to share with you: 

Have Fun!

As thought leaders, we’ve all been given an amazing opportunity.  Whether your message + work helps people become better leaders, grow their businesses, communicate more effectively or even get healthy, you have an opportunity to change people’s lives!  This is a gift - not a prison sentence!    
Even though you may not feel your ability to impact others when you’re dealing with obstacles, this opportunity to sell your book, build meaningful relationships and grow a business around your purpose and calling is one that most people on this planet will never get to experience. 

That’s why Barney is a great model for how to approach your thought leader journey. 

Celebrate Your Successes 

When you look back on 2014, it’s easy to focus on what didn’t work or where you fell short.  Although it’s good to pinpoint the lessons and areas for improvement, we often do that at the expense of celebrating the successes - and having FUN! 

If you want a better year in 2015, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to reconnect with your why - and the JOY - of doing this work. 

Unlike what most employees of a company experience, YOU get to choose your own adventure - and find the right path for your message, book and business model. YOU get to choose how much you enjoy the conversations, keynotes, writing and events along the way - or not. 

If there are certain aspects of your work that aren’t working or are a drain on your energy, now is a perfect time to address and solve those issues. 

When you set an intention to have fun and enjoy the journey, you’re much more likely to attract the best opportunities for your message, book and business. 

Just ask Barney.


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My favorite Kenny Rogers song (and strategy for better biz relationships)

elizabeth marshall

Last week’s newsletter seems to have struck a chord. After sending out the email, I received a few replies and questions along these lines: 

“I’m doing my best to make the most of each opportunity - delivering great value, sending follow-up emails - but I can’t seem to make anything more happen with X person or Y organization. What do I need to do differently?” 

When your outreach efforts are ignored or shut down with a “polite” reply, you can sometimes feel like you’re a deer caught in the headlights. Ok, so it doesn’t always look or feel this dramatic (especially when Photoshop is not involved!), but it’s easy to feel as though you’re stuck, unable to move and unsure of where to turn or what to do next. 

Was it Something I Said? 

Hitting roadblocks like these can be incredibly frustrating, especially when you see so many potential ways to add value and to make an impact with a company or group.  In many instances, the roadblocks surface - through no fault of your own - in the form of leadership changes, budget cuts, internal politics and shifting timetables. 

In other instances, we unintentionally become our own obstacle by doing such things as making assumptions, using outdated (or wrong) strategies, fixating on outcomes and misreading people and situations. 

With publishing, speaking and media paradigms changing so rapidly and with multiple industries in constant flux, obstacles like these are becoming more common and more frequent.  In response to this new “normal,” thought leaders at all stages need to develop their ability to pivot. 

“Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em” 

When I’m working with my private clients, we talk about how to assess the energy in a relationship - and how to recognize when that energy is not currently “there.”  This ability is one of the most challenging ones to master on the thought leader journey. 

  • If your emails go unanswered after 3-4 follow-up attempts…   
  • If you get a canned reply to your thoughtful recommendations on how you could work together…
  • If you get a “Yes, let’s do it!” but can’t seem to schedule the next meeting….

...maybe it’s time to follow the advice of Kenny Rogers and fold ‘em? 

By folding, I don’t mean you should automatically give up or drop your keep-in-touch strategy with that person or group.  Instead, you just need to adjust your expectation that something is going to happen right now. 

The moment you realize that your “ideal” company isn’t in a position to hire you, go find 10 other ones that fit the same profile and work to build relationships with them. When you realize that the industry association you’re targeting is distracted by internal politics, seek out 10 other groups that have similar values and a history of partnering with thought leaders like you. 

The sooner you recognize the moment the energy shifts, the less frequently you’ll end up like the “deer” in the photo. As a result, you’ll also connect more quickly with that company leader, conference organizer or strategic partner that’s ready and able work with you - right now.


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How This Author Turned a Single Invitation Into 10 Speaking Gigs

abundance

How can you transform a single invitation into a much bigger opportunity to grow your audience, attract clients and expand your impact as a thought leader? 

A few months before her book launch, my client, Barbara Trautlein, was invited to deliver a webinar for Project Management Institute (PMI), a large, global industry organization.  Given the size and relevance of their audience, the webinar presented a great opportunity for Barbara to share her message and to help launch her book, Change Intelligence. 

The virtual event was a huge success.  Even though the live webinar could only accommodate 1000 attendees, over 4000 PMI members registered for and downloaded the recording of her session. 

It’s All About the Follow-Through 

After the webinar, she followed up with attendees and the PMI leaders who had originally contacted her to continue the conversation and to explore additional ways to add value to the organization. 

These follow-up actions not only resulted in new subscribers, additional book sales and an immediate invitation to deliver another webinar, but also led to further introductions to other PMI practice leaders and key players within the organization. 

Since the initial webinar, Barbara has secured over 10 additional opportunities to partner with the organization, including two invitations to speak for the annual Global Congress, a paid keynote for the Chicago Leadership Forum, and speaking invitations for three regional events.  Over the past 18 months, she’s grown her brand and visibility within the international PMI community and directly reached over 15,000 potential readers, fans and clients - all from one single invitation. 

For 2015, she’s been invited to partner with them on some larger projects, giving her further opportunities to spread her message, grow her platform and expand her work with the companies and leaders who belong to PMI. 

Make the Most of Each Opportunity 

After the success of the May 2013 webinar, Barbara could have easily “moved on” to the next audience or have been distracted by the next launch event on her very full calendar.  Instead, she chose to make the most of the opportunity in front of her - to build a deeper relationship with PMI and their membership of over 700,000 - and is reaping the benefits of that decision. 

Take two minutes to reflect on the invitations and opportunities you have in front of you right now.  Ask yourself: 

  • What steps can you take to deliver more value for an upcoming event to help open the door for future opportunities?
  • Do you need to send a follow-up email after a recent keynote, guest post or interview to thank the host and request a chat to explore additional ways to partner together?
  • How can you effectively keep in touch with the relationships you’ve made within key organizations and groups to build trust and deepen the relationship?

By staying focused and choosing to make the most of each opportunity, your results will multiply and you’ll grow your impact and income more quickly and with less effort.


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Why This Was Hard for Me to Write

writers block

Perhaps it’s the fact that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, but I struggled to write this week’s newsletter.  After a great, but intense, few months since the debut of my new website and newsletter, I know I’m feeling a few of the after-effects that often follow a launch.

If you’re serious about making your mark as a thought leader, I’m betting you’ve experienced this fatigue as well. Someday, in the not-so-distant future – 3 to 6 months after the launch of your next book, program or website  – you’ll have another one of these days (or weeks) when all you’ll want to do is grab a glass of wine (or chocolate) and binge-watch your favorite show.

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Regardless of your message, audience or business model, launches and intense phases are an inevitable - and valuable - part of the journey. While you certainly don’t want to miss out on the opportunities that surface in direct response to announcing your new book, certification program, workshop or website, this level of intensity is not sustainable.

Launches aside, it’s also easy to succumb to the constant internal pressure and sense of urgency to do “more, more, MORE,” which can also lead to burnout, especially if you forget to wear your CEO hat. When this happens, your motivation can take a nose dive, and your reactive decision to take “one week off” can turn into weeks or even months of inactivity. 

Just like an exercise routine, proactively sharing your ideas and work doesn’t always feel exciting.  Some days, you may not feel connected to your message or your audience and, as a result, may feel less than thrilled about delivering that webinar, writing your next chapter or reaching out to an industry partner to support your work.  

Consistency or Quality or Both?

At first glance, it may seem that consistency is the entire solution. After all, it’s a powerful antidote to burnout and also one of the most important strategies you need to make a lasting impact. However, consistency is only part of the equation. Athletes know all too well that consistency without quality won’t win the game or produce the results you want. 

Although I would have preferred to start my holiday this week, I wrote this newsletter because I had made a commitment to myself and to you to share this 10-part series (inspired by my new keynote for the Greenleaf Author Summit).  I also knew that I had to do more than just sit down and write in order to produce a quality article. That’s why I took time to reflect on why this 7th principle is so timely and relevant for thought leaders like you and me.  Once I did, I found the inspiration and fuel I needed to create a finished product that I felt was worth sharing. 


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Afraid Your Audience Will React Like This? (Here's How to Prevent It)

Have you ever been a part of an audience like this? Ok, so maybe you haven’t been caught picking your teeth in response to a bad keynote, but I bet you’ve experienced the boredom, frustration and disengagement that comes when you hear a stale presentation or a mediocre speaker. 

While you can easily relate to this picture as an audience member, this image can also be your worst nightmare when it’s your turn to take the stage. This dreaded reaction is most noticeable when you’re speaking from an actual platform, but the truth is you can lose connection with your audience anytime you share your message - regardless of the medium.

Is Your Message Stale?

Although your delivery skills matter and impact your ability to influence, audience disengagement can also occur when you get tricked into thinking that you are “done” working on your message and platform.  When this happens, you begin to believe that your same old keynote topics will always be relevant, that your website copy is “good enough” for a few more years and that the language you originally drafted to describe your book and work is still fresh.  

Even though there are high-profile speakers on the circuit still delivering the same speech verbatim from 10 years ago, you won’t be able to get away with it. If your message feels inauthentic, outdated or out of sync with what your audience wants, you will lose connection with them.

How To Keep It Fresh

Successful thought leaders know how to stay up to date with their audience and their market. They also understand that their core message is dynamic, and they actively work to develop, refine and shape it. 

Before you write your next article, prep for your next interview or deliver your next speech, take some time to evaluate your messaging.  Ask yourself:

  • How can I tell the story of my book + work in a fresh new way to speak to the changing needs of my audience?
  • Can I add new stories and examples to my existing keynotes to make them more relevant or timely? (Or, is it time to create a new presentation?)
  • Can I incorporate fresh language and examples to describe my methodology or process in a more powerful way?
  • Does my website copy feel current and up-to-date? Does it convey what I most want clients and followers to know about me and the transformation I help create?

In a rapidly changing world and market, you can’t afford not to keep things fresh and timely. When you do, your audience will thank you and you’ll see better results from your efforts. 


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Not seeing enough progress with your message? (3 questions to move you forward)

elizabeth marshall thought leadership

“It’s complicated!” 

You may have used this phrase to describe family dynamics or intimate relationships, but the same can be said for the business of thought leadership.  As a thought leader, the relationships you have with your audience, message and market are constantly changing.  As a result, there are a lot of moving parts to manage and a seemingly endless number of decisions to make along the path to creating a lasting impact.    

Some days, you can feel confident in handling what’s in front of you. On other days, you can feel overwhelmed, frustrated and, yes, even ready to pull your hair out. 

It’s All About the Approach 

While frustrations and setbacks are part of the journey, you can often make matters worse by how you approach these situations.  When you’re facing uncomfortable challenges, it can be tempting to react in one of these two ways:

#1: Deciding To Do It All Yourself 

With this approach, it’s easy to get stuck. In some situations, you just need an outside perspective to “see” the solution. In other situations, you may lack the skills and experiences you need to solve the problem. 

#2: Hoping Others Will Do It All For You 

With this approach, the end product is never what you want. Why? There is a big difference between delegating intentionally and abdicating ownership of a situation or project.  To succeed in the thought leadership world, your work has to come from you.  No one can just “give” you a ready-made platform, book concept, or network of relationships. 

In either case, you lose sight of this important truth: you are the CEO of your book and business. 

It’s All About the People 

As with successful CEOs, experienced thought leaders know the importance of building a great team around them.  They use their network to find experts to augment their skills and experiences.  More importantly, they know the value of finding people who will tell them the truth - instead of what they want to hear. 

Pick one of the current challenges that’s standing in your way. Ask yourself: 

  • Do I need a fresh perspective to solve this problem?
  • Do I have the expertise and skills to create the caliber of results I want?
  • Who do I know that can recommend the expert help I need?

Whether it’s joining a mastermind group, finding an intern or hiring the right expert, the sooner you surround yourself with the right people, the faster you’ll move forward. 


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My Worst Book Review (and How I Dealt With It)

the contrarian effect

If you've been on the thought leader journey for a while, there’s a strong chance that you've received something like this: an email, blog comment or a nasty gram on Twitter citing various reasons why your message is “worthless” and why you don’t measure up. If you haven’t yet, don’t worry.  You’ll get one sooner or later, especially when you hold nothing back and truly show up for your audience.

In case you’re wondering, this is an actual review that I received for my book, The Contrarian Effect, which I co-wrote with Michael Port. Although I took some comfort in the fact that our book won two awards and received many 5-star reviews, it still hurt when I first saw this feedback.

Don’t Use Your Feedback as Your “Fuel”

Even though we know that “haters are gonna hate,” it can be easy to take this rejection personally and let it impact how we feel about our message and work.  Out of a room of 100 people, 99 could love your book, workshop or personal style, but we fixate on that one person who disapproves.

Although it’s tempting to want “everyone” to like our message, that desire can shift our energy and attention away from our true audience.  When that happens, it’s easy to feel small and to doubt your message and the transformation you create. Not to mention, we can become dependent on the positive feedback to motivate us and even validate our decisions.

How to Stay Connected to Your Bigger WHY

Even the most successful thought leaders can fixate on negative feedback or feel a need for positive validation, but they don’t stay stuck there. They've learned that the best remedy is to make a habit of staying connected to their bigger WHY.  This practice not only helps to keep rejection in perspective, but also serves as an internal fuel source to sustain them during the inevitable ups and downs.

There are a number of ways to consistently connect with your bigger vision.  Some of my clients make lists of their goals and read them aloud each week. Other clients practice creative visualization to focus on the specific outcomes they want.  Personally, I use meditation and other spiritual practices to stay aligned with the bigger picture. The key is to find a way that works for you and to practice it consistently.

If you’re serious about making your mark as a thought leader, this is a habit you can’t afford to skip.  If you don’t have time scheduled (even 5-10 mins) on a weekly basis to reflect on why you are doing this and where you are going, pull up your calendar and block out some time right now.


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Oprah, Magic Bullets, and Their Impact on Your Message

tom cruise oprah

Have you ever thought that your success would skyrocket if you could somehow be featured in the New York Times or interviewed by Oprah? If a similar thought hasn’t crossed your mind yet, just wait. It will. 

One day, you’ll hear the siren song and feel compelled to do crazy things, like begging or even bribing your strategist or PR firm to “MAKE IT HAPPEN!”  Although the promise and allure of the “magic bullet” can be incredibly enticing, the reality is often very different than we imagine. After all, we know how well extreme measures worked out for this guy! 

The Myth of the Magic Bullet 

Even the most established authors and speakers can get sucked in by the “magic bullet” and caught up in what they assume is going to produce the best results.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that you need to accept blindly an invitation from an obscure organization that has no budget or doesn’t serve your audience. 

All too often, however, I see thought leaders turning down quality opportunities that could lead to clients, significant partnerships, media and more, simply because what’s in front of them doesn’t feel “big enough” or look exactly like what they think they need to get to the next level. 

Say “Yes” to the Opportunities in Front of You 

Successful thought leaders know how to look at each opportunity from all angles, including how it fits into their bigger vision. One client who’s a $10,000 keynote speaker recently accepted a gig for $2,500 because the audience consisted of C-level executives and VPs of sizeable organizations - the exact profile of decision makers who are most likely to hire her for consulting work. Another client who said “yes” to writing a guest column for a smaller, “B List” publication (with the right audience) is now a headline columnist for a major media outlet. 

Before you turn down that guest blogging invitation, interview request or speaking gig just because it’s not from Oprah, pause and ask yourself these questions.  Will this opportunity help me: 

  • reach my target audience in a meaningful way?
  •  attract new clients and business development opportunities?
  • develop mastery of the skills I need to open bigger doors?
  • cultivate relationships with other speakers, sponsors or strategic partners?
  • build credibility and elevate my platform and brand?

By saying “yes” to what’s in front of you, you’ll not only experience immediate results but also position yourself to receive bigger invitations – much sooner than you imagined. 

As always, I love hearing how things are progressing for you.  Reply to this email and let me know how you’re doing. 

Until next week,


e


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3 Filters to Expand Your Impact (and Keep You on Track)

When you’re called to make an impact, the pressure can sometimes be blinding. Even when you’re making progress and experiencing results, it can feel like you’re not moving ahead.  When that happens, the internal pressure can cause you to grasp at the latest shiny objects or adopt other successful authors' strategies, hoping they will produce the same results for you. 

Before you realize it, you may find yourself in a situation like this guy - bewildered and wondering how you got there. 

How Clear is Your Vision?

Successful thought leaders know that it’s about more than being a “bestseller for a day” or somehow getting picked by Oprah.  They have a clear vision of the transformation they want to create. 

Beyond helping individual clients or delivering a single keynote, they will not rest until they see the impact of their message + work reflected in the wider industry and world around them. 

If you’re reading this and realizing your vision is not as clear as it should be, stop reading and reconnect to your bigger WHY. 

Choose Your Own Adventure 

Once you’re clear on your bigger vision, the trick is to keep it top of mind and use it as a filter to help you reach your goals. Here are three filters I use with my clients to help them evaluate and choose the right strategies, opportunities and relationships.

Ask Yourself

Is it a fit for my unique skills, gifts and talents?  

While there are some things you can outsource and other things you can improve with expert help, you can’t make yourself into a TV personality if that’s not who you are.

Is it a fit for my message? Will it help me reach my audience?

Just because you’ve heard that Pinterest sends more traffic to some websites than LinkedIn, it doesn’t mean that you’ll find your audience of executives and leaders hanging out there. 

 Am I actually willing to do it? 

Forcing yourself to blog three times a week won’t work if your heart’s not in it. Even though I’m a strong writer, I’ve used teleseminars, webinars and video for the past few years to connect to my audience. Why? Because I had a case of writer’s burnout. 

When you know and stay focused on the transformation you’re called to make, you’ll find your own adventure - and have much more fun in the process.


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