Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and the host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.
Good Morning Onward Nation…I’m Stephen Woessner and welcome to this week’s solocast…Episode 405.
Today I am going to share a lesson about why — and how — you need to “go long” with your Dream 50 — each and every week.
But first…I hope 2017 has started off with so much momentum for you that you’re scrambling to hang on to all of the opportunity by your fingernails — and that you are being forcefully pushed to scale your business — that your expertise is in such high-demand that you’re looking for any and all ways to expand what it is you’re offering to your customers — and that your view of your most profitable customers is getting clearer and clearer — giving you the opportunity to serve the customers who value you and your team the most — and in the process — you’re delivering your best work to the customers who appreciate most what you are delivering — and as a result — you are creating very happy customers!
If that sounds like you — you are likely building a predictable, scalable, repeatable — and — profitable business.
Again, that’s my hope for you in 2017.
But — if this is not what is currently happening in your business — and instead you find yourself prospecting and working hard to turn over every stone you can — looking for new sources of revenue — or you’re being forced to work with customers you would rather not take on — you and your team are stressed trying to meet unrealistic demands of clients who abuse your team with insane deadlines and critical feedback — or maybe your prospective clients are sitting on the fence while taunting you with threats that they are continuing to evaluate all you and your competitors.
Does any of that sound familiar?
Then this week’s solocast is for you, Onward Nation.
Of course…we have all been there. Some of us multiple times — being a business owner for any period of time means you have likely experienced the Entrepreneur Roller Coaster — great book by Darren Hardy by the way if you haven’t already read it.
We have all experienced the highs and the lows — and sometimes — it can feel like we will never break free from the lows — and that the highs are way too short-lived.
If you are feeling like you’re operating your business at the mercy of the market — it is a symptom of two chronic problems.
Problem #1: that you have not precisely defined your client avatar. But that is easy to fix. Just go back to Episode 396 and get my complete blueprint for creating your client avatar — the questions you need to ask — the full process — it is there in complete transparency. Again, that’s Episode 396 — just a couple of weeks ago.
Problem #2: you haven’t defined your Dream 50 clients — the people who you most want to serve. Your Dream 50 are of course in-line with your avatar — but these 50 prospects — they represent the best of the best. The highest level — the clients you would most like to serve — your ultimate dream clients.
Do you have a Dream 50 list prepared, Onward Nation?
If not…you need to. Like immediately.
In fact, I have our Predictive ROI Dream 50 list hanging on the wall right next to my desk in my office — I can turn to see the list at any point throughout the day — it is a constant reminder.
I think about the list — strategize about the list — every day. You need to do the same with your own Dream 50.
Please go to back to Episode 308 for deeper insights into the Dream 50 process — it’s a lesson I learned from Darren Hardy. He told me, “Stephen…you need to create your Dream 50 list — and then — you need to develop a strategy for how you are going to show them the love — consistently — so they know that doing business with you would be one of the best decisions they could make.”
And one of the best ways to show your Dream 50 the love is to go long — or share valuable long form content — each and every week.
As Jay Baer, our outstanding guest in Episode 305 encouraged us… “You need to give away your best content — your secret sauce — for free.” In full transparency, Onward Nation — give it all away.
Every step — every detail — each and every piece.
So that if they wanted to — they could steal it all from you and do it themselves.
I love that. And if you have been listening to this show for a while — you already know that I am firm believer in that philosophy. I give away the strategies my Predictive ROI team applies for our clients every day — I give those to you for free — in full transparency.
Let’s look at this solocast so far…I just referred back to the Client Avatar workshop you can find in Episode 396 — at Predictive — we charge clients for that work. But I am giving it to you.
Because I hope it serves you — I want you to steal it — I want you to take it — I want you to apply it — I want you to grow your business as a result of applying it.
That is my hope for you.
And someday — when you are looking for a content marketing and lead gen agency to help you scale your business to that next level — my hope is you will remember my team at Predictive ROI and we will get a call from you.
But until that day comes — you’re going to get it all for free in order to help you move onward to that next level.
And you need to do the same — in long form — with your Dream 50 — each and every week. Just like I am doing with you right now.
Whether you have your own podcast — or maybe you love video and you want to have a remarkable YouTube channel — or you love to write so your blog is going to be the next must-read on the Internet — it doesn’t matter what medium or social media platform you choose — just choose one and begin going long.
So, let’s dig deeper in what I mean by going long — or long form. And yes, there is a time and place for short posts — Facebook Live videos — Instagram stories — short content is awesome.
And in today’s attention starved society — short can be great. Let’s take something else from Jay Baer and call these short pieces of content…little info snacks.
But, no amount of info snacks replaces the meal that long form content provides your audience.
It is only through long form that you can share the true depth of your expertise and short info snacks cannot possibly match it. It is through long form that you can really open yourself up to your Dream 50 — show them who you are — where you come from — what you believe — your values — and where you draw inspiration from.
Why is this important to your Dream 50?
Because as John Jantsch explains in his brilliant book “Ducktape Marketing”…the conversion or decision-making path is all about someone getting to know you — then liking you — then trusting you — then trying you out — then buying from you — then repeating the purchase — and then becoming your brand ambassador by telling the world.
So using long form content to help your Dream 50 move along this decision-making path — at their own speed and pace — is one of the best sales and marketing strategies you can implement for your business.
Here, let me make this a bit more concrete with a new business development example.
Last week…during one of my biz dev calls with a prospective client for Predictive ROI — I was amazed at the immediate rapport we felt at the beginning of our call. It was electric — as if she already knew me — like we were long lost friends — and not that this was our first phone call.
During our conversation, I mentioned my family in passing and she jumped on it — and proceeded to tell me how she knew just how important family is to me — how I learned my entrepreneurial lessons from my grandfather and so on.
And then she cited several Onward Nation episodes as the source for where she learned all about me. I was blown away and it felt awesome. Impact, Onward Nation.
Or, last Friday…on another biz dev call…our prospective client shared with me that he had checked me out — had done his homework — and felt confident he knew me as a person because of the podcast and the quality of people I spend time with — the incredible guests on our show. Rock solid awesome — always great to hear. And earlier today — we received word that the prospective client had agreed to join forces with Predictive ROI so our team will now be in the trenches with their team to launch an incredible podcast so they can share the same long form love with their own Dream 50.
Going long with your Dream also helps you build your platform — your profile as a business person — as an expert — as the go-to-person in your industry. Yesterday, at the end of an interview with a guest, he called me the world’s leading authority on business-to-business podcasting. I thanked him for the amazing compliment, then quickly disagreed with him, but it felt awesome to hear something like that.
So why did he say something like that to me?
Because the Onward Nation podcast has increased my personal brand equity to the point he felt it was an accurate assessment. And because of the show — I get to hang out on a daily basis with some of the top business owners in the country and around the world. Last week, I interviewed Kevin Harrington from Shark Tank and the inventor of the infomercial. Amazing conversation — and when I have let people know about the time I spent with Kevin — I get an eyebrow raise and a high five. Why? Because there is a small transference of Kevin’s credibility over to me — and that helps my personal brand. By the way — we air Kevin’s episode one week from today — and he is off the charts amazing.
But here’s a little secret…you can do the same thing.
There is nothing unique and special about what we are doing — the only difference between me and the other 98% of business owners is that I stand up and ask — I make the ask to our guests — and then have the guts to do a great interview.
That’s it, Onward Nation. You can do the exact same thing.
To prove the point…I urge you to go back to Episode 3 and listen to Stacey Alcorn share her story of how 5-years ago she had zero social circles — she didn’t know any movers and shakers but she did have a desire.
So she started a blog — ever so slowly — and now — several years later — she is doing wine tasting on a Thursday afternoon with Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank while they were both in Boston.
The difference between Stacey and other real estate brokers in her marketplace — is that Stacey decided to go long — to create a blog — to create excellent long-form content — and then to use it to share the love with her Dream 50 — and — as the ultimate business card to get in front of the key influencers she wanted to meet.
Oh, and Stacey just shared some photos of her recent adventure hanging out with Sir Richard Branson on his private island — yes, his private island. Stacey started with nothing — but — she decided she could be more and has used long form content as her strategy to get it.
Here are some other thoughts to consider on the topic of long form.
By building your personal platform through long-form content, you will also help your core business grow organically. The most content you create — the more expertise you share — the more you give away — the more you stay in the consciousness of your Dream 50 — the more likely your core business will grow as a result.
Predictive ROI — my core business — has grown as a result of Onward Nation — and the core businesses of all our clients — have grown as a result of their podcasts and their weekly long-form content, too.
In fact, I was catching up with one of our Predictive clients earlier today and he told me that his podcast has already generated $50,000 in new business to his company.
$50,000, Onward Nation!
As a result of the success of Onward Nation, we are now producing 20 podcasts for the business owners of other professional service firms. These owners saw what we were doing — the synergy between Onward Nation and our core business of Predictive ROI — and wanted to learn more. When they did — they wanted us to help them apply the same long form content strategy into their business — and now they are growing as a result of the love they are sharing consistently with their Dream 50 and giving away their best content for free.
But you must be willing to go long. Going long gives you an opportunity to get real and authentic with your audience — to really let them in — just like I let you in, Onward Nation. There have been times when I am with a guest, and the stories are so emotional, that I tear up…or I get goosebumps, and I share with you how I am feeling — and sure that may be too much for some of you…but that is me.
I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve — and generally my view of the world is AWESOME — but the reality is that not everything is rock solid awesome 100 percent of the time…and I think it is okay to let your audience see that…so they know you are human.
Your platform also creates a conduit of trust between you and your Dream 50. I share stories about my family — how my grandparents immigrated here from Greece and Turkey — how they struggled as entrepreneurs through the Great Depression — how they gritted it out — and how we as kids learned those same lessons — and how my entrepreneurial DNA was sharpened — oddly — to razor’s edge while I worked on nuclear missiles while in the Air Force. I have shared some of biggest failures — moments that have made me want to run and hide — and yet — I have shared them with you.
Because you cannot hide behind the curtain, Onward Nation if you are truly trying to build trust and authenticity with your audience. We cannot love someone in slices…so yes…I have failed…many times…I have made mistakes that have cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars…and each time it happened…I wanted to puke in the nearest trash can.
And now I share those stories with you so you can hopefully avoid the same mistakes — and along the way — realize that I have been in that trench, too. And someday, if we are sitting across the dinner table together — you will have all of that context and that creates rapport like nothing else can, Onward Nation.
So — please take today’s message — think about what I said — and decide to go long with your Dream 50 at least once a week. Launch a podcast, create a YouTube channel, dominate Medium, be the next Insta king or queen, find the platform that syncs up with your skill set the best — and do it.
Don’t wait. Do it.
And yes, your content might not win any awards or even recognition at first. But that is part of the process.
Want a litmus test? Go and watch Episode 1 of Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library TV. It’s not good — the lighting is bad — the structure is bad — and he is experimenting — and that is what makes it absolutely priceless. He could have never gotten to Episode 1,000 if he had never started at number 1. And that is why I love #1, way more than Episode 1,000 — I respect Gary’s journey, his hard work, and the grit it took to get to 1,000 — and the courage it took to launch # 1.
And then recognize you don’t — and maybe you shouldn’t do this — on your own. You will need a support team around you. And I don’t mean you need to hire an agency to do this for you. Instead, recruit several unpaid interns to help you with audio, or design, or content…but begin building out your team…so you can focus on content and taking great care of your Dream 50.
Get started, Onward Nation. Go long with your Dream 50 and it will be a game changer for your business in 2017.
So with that…I want to say thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in.
I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.
And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation…good or bad…I always want your feedback. Hit me up on Twitter or LinkedIn — or stop by our Predictive ROI Facebook page — and let us know what you think of the show — thumbs up or thumbs down. Either way — we want to know. Your feedback will help us get better.
And remember…you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I reply to every single message.
So please let us know how you think we are doing. I look forward to hearing from you.
We will be back tomorrow with an incredible interview with Wes Pinkston — likely one of the most thought-provoking, profound, and counterintuitive conversations we have ever had her at Onward Nation. You will not want to miss Wes’s lesson of how to avoid complexification.
Until then, onward with gusto!