Maintaining a tight focus on a specific niche, rather than limiting your opportunities as you might expect, actually has the opposite effect — often opening new doors to opportunity by allowing you to demonstrate your expertise within your chosen niche. Tim Sprinkle knows this lesson well — he is the founder and Chief Strategist of Layup Content, a thought leadership and content marketing agency that specifically focuses on the financial services and fintech industries. Tim has leveraged his expertise and experience into a powerful platform for creating thought leadership content for his specific audience. The effect on his business has been profound. In this episode of Onward Nation, Tim shares how creating the right thought leadership content for the financial services and fintech niches has helped him reach his ideal clients and build out his business.
The path to becoming a thought leader can feel overwhelming. Where do you start? What is your niche? Are you smart enough? But I have found most people can get started down the path with minimal effort if they can learn to start creating the right content.
Thought leadership content comes in many, many different forms, but, the best content has a few things in common.
1) It is focused. After all, you can’t be a thought leader in everything.
2) It is deep. This is why books, research projects, and podcasts are popular places to start.
3) You are prepared to back them up with more. One piece of deep work isn’t enough. Writing a book may feel like you just ran a marathon, but the book is only the start.
Tim Sprinkle spent more than 20 years in journalism, working for prestigious outlets like Yahoo Finance and Seeking Alpha. However, Tim’s first foray into thought leadership came from his book “Screw the Valley: A Coast-to-Coast Tour of America’s New Tech Startup Culture”, where he discussed how tech startups are abandoning the insular nature of Silicon Valley and finding tremendous opportunities for innovation all across America.
That book became Tim’s cornerstone thought leadership content and an opportunity to slice, dice, and remix his wisdom. According to Tim, the book also opened many new opportunities to further his thought leadership and became a powerful driving force behind his business. But the book isn’t where Tim stopped.
He KEPT writing great content on his specific focus for years to PROVE that he owned his position as a thought leader.
By maintaining a focus on his specific niche of the financial services and fintech sector, Tim was able to build a deep level of understanding and expertise in the space. In short, he planted his flag of authority, and in doing so Tim has been able to get referrals from existing clients specifically because he positioned himself as an expert within that space.
Tim works hard to ensure that his thought leadership content is tightly focused and reflects his unique voice, drawing from his depth of experience. In doing so, Tim is able to ensure that the thought leadership content he creates adds tremendous value for his audience.
That, in turn, keeps his audience coming back for more and acts as rocket fuel for his business.
Tim Sprinkle is the founder and Chief Strategist of Layup Content, a thought leadership and content marketing agency for the financial services and fintech industries. Before that, he spent 20+ years in journalism, working for outlets and publications like Yahoo Finance and Seeking Alpha, while writing on a freelance basis from some of the largest media brands in the world covering everything from business and finance to outdoor sports.
Tim is the author of “Screw the Valley: A Coast to Coast Tour of America’s New Startup Landscape” and is laser-focused on bringing quality, thoughtful content to the world.
In the spirit of the holiday season…my hope is…you, your family and friends, your team, your clients, and all of the people in your community — were able to tap the breaks…to pause…to reflect…and yes, that even during this time of pandemic…and give thanks.
Through all of this — all of the challenges that 2020 represents — and I hear you — it’s a long list — there are some silver linings for your business. You may feel like you are being forced to pivot to survive — and through that — you find a completely new service offering for your clients. Or — you may have needed to restructure your team from full-time employees to having some amazing freelancers ready to rock whatever project you send their way.
Or — maybe through all of the chaos — you have identified topics and lessons your audience needs in order to grow and be better at what they do every day. And you know — deep in your soul — you are just the person to deliver that level of awesomeness.
So as you work hard to close out 2020 and dare to dream about what 2021 might look like — I’m sharing a different twist on a solocast with you to help.
I was recently interviewed by Billy Samoa Saleebey for his podcast entitled, “For the Love of Podcast”. And Billy asked a series of excellent questions that can serve as some foundational elements as you work through your plan for 2021. So as you hear Billy ask me the question…my hope is…you will take notes of what he asked…and then ask yourself the same questions. If you do that — it will help you build a solid plan for 2021.
Also — Billy asked me to map out more detail behind how the Trojan Horse strategy works — you’ll find some real behind the curtain stuff here — as well as how to plant your flag of authority, slice and dice your content into smaller cobblestones, and build out your sales funnels.
Thought leadership is a powerful way to connect with your ideal client prospects — through the Trojan Horse strategy. And — a podcast is the ideal vehicle for this strategy. It gives you the chance to plant your flag of authority and invite ideal potential clients to speak on your show — creating a non-transactional relationship with them that can be nurtured over time — without “selling” to them in the traditional sense. When used the right way — the Trojan Horse strategy allows you to organically build a relationship of trust and mutual respect with your Dream 25 — your 25 right-fit clients. Much like the ancient Greeks used the original Trojan Horse to sneak into Troy without alerting the guards — the Trojan Horse of Sales allows you to get past the “sales wall” and build powerful inroads with prospects.
With 2020 drawing to a close — plus the news of the development of successful vaccines against the global pandemic — 2021 is looking to be much brighter. And — the businesses that will come roaring out of our current crisis are the ones who are well prepared — and ready to take bold action. Now is the time to create a rock solid plan for the coming year. The Trojan Horse strategy can help you connect with your ideal clients — but it’s only the foot in the door. That’s why slicing and dicing your content — so that you can plant your flag of authority and demonstrate that you’re always ready to be helpful for your clients — is so crucial. As you plan for 2021 — I hope you find my conversation with Billy Samoa Saleebey helpful!
Stephen Woessner is the founder and CEO of Predictive ROI, a digital marketing agency, and the host of Onward Nation — a top-rated daily podcast for learning how today’s top business owners think, act, and achieve. Onward Nation is listened to in 120 countries around the world with over 28,000+ email subscribers.
Since the advent of the commercial Internet, Stephen has collected tens of thousands of data points that have given him the ability to identify what he calls the “8 Money Draining Mistakes” and the “8 Money Making Opportunities.” Darren Hardy, then-publisher of SUCCESS Magazine, interviewed Stephen to discuss how business owners can identify and fix the mistakes.
Stephen served in the United States Air Force, spent six years at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as a full-time academic staff member and taught digital marketing classes to small business owners throughout the state including the prestigious School of Business at UW-Madison, has owned five businesses, and is the author of three books, “The Small Business Owner’s Handbook to Search Engine Optimization”, “Increase Online Sales Through Viral Social Networking”, and “Profitable Podcasting.”
His digital marketing insights have been featured in Forbes.com, Entrepreneur.com, The Washington Post, and Inc. Magazine.
Humility is a difficult trait to demonstrate, because many people equate showing vulnerability to showing weakness. However, humility in leadership can be a powerful part of your company culture, because it can build trust and can open the door for your employees to express their own vulnerability. Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as the executive vice president of thought leadership, as well as being a bestselling author and the host of the world’s largest and fastest growing podcast devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Scott recently appeared as a guest on the Onward Nation podcast, where he discussed how showing humility in leadership can build trust, empower your employees, and become a key part of your company’s culture.
Mirriam-Webster defines humility as: “freedom from pride or arrogance, the quality or state of being humble”. As Scott Miller defines it, humility in leadership means “owning your mess” and recognizing that you sometimes make mistakes. Humility is an important component of trust, whether with your clients or with your internal team members. When you make a mistake, Scott says it is important to apologize in the right way and use the right language. It means letting your guard down, not trying to protect yourself or make excuses, and being clear in how you will change your behavior going forward. Showing humility can be uncomfortable, but your authenticity goes a long way in repairing hurt relationships and can show that your word can be relied on. Because your team looks to you as their leader to set the culture of your company, this level of trust can have a ripple effect throughout your organization.
Part of showing humility in leadership is in coaching continuously, and in the right way. It’s about being clear in your expectations, praising your team when they achieve their goals, and reinforcing positive behaviors. You shouldn’t wait until there’s a problem; instead, you should always be coaching your team. Your leadership guides your team, and continuous coaching can help motivate your team to big wins while identifying areas where you can improve. Coaching should be an ongoing, interactive process that strengthens your culture and the effectiveness of everyone on the team.
Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as the executive vice president of thought leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Release, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal best-seller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. Previously, Scott worked for the Disney Development Company and grew up in Central Florida. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.
Getting your employees truly engaged in your work and all moving in the same direction can be a challenging task in the best of times, but during crisis periods like the global pandemic, engagement is both more important and more complicated than ever. Chad Carden is the co-founder of Renzo Consulting, and Chad “is on a life mission to improve the way employers and employees interact to create greater engagement and better results.” During Chad’s visit to Onward Nation, he discussed the crucial role engagement plays in keeping everyone aligned to the company’s values and mission, and he shares tips and strategies for how to engage employees, motivate your team, and provide clarity on your expectations so that everyone is moving in the same direction with a shared purpose.
Nailing down how to engage employees can be one of the more common challenges entrepreneurs and business leaders face. You are already passionate about your company and your work, but how do you ensure that your team shares your passion? For expert Chad Carden, it starts with establishing a company culture that supports the team and offers everyone the opportunity to do their best work. The business owner and leadership team must set the direction for the organization and then ensure that their goals, values and expectations are clearly communicated. Even though everyone brings their own vision and perspective to your team, the map they follow and the destination they move toward must be in alignment, and that comes down to leadership giving clear direction and expectations.
By setting a culture that creates an environment focused on employee success, you empower your team to get results. By being clear in your goals and expectations, you allow your employees to chart their own success and focus on moving the needle. Especially when things get tough, the clarity you offer is the key ingredient in how to engage employees in your shared vision for the organization. But your culture isn’t set-it-and-forget-it; Chad says it is important to regularly take “timeouts” to question where your company is, evaluate what’s working and what isn’t, and refocus your team’s alignment. As we’ve seen during the global pandemic, things can change quickly and it is important to identify and adapt to these changes strategically.
The Architect Of People, Chad Carden is on a life mission to improve the way employers and employees interact to create greater engagement and better results. His results-oriented, no-bull style helps people change the way they approach their daily environment. He has been studying and working with companies to improve their number one asset — their people — for over 19 years. He challenges clients to reach outside their comfort zone to achieve heights they’ve never imagined.
Chad's high energy and passion are engaging and infectious! He is a straight shooter and understands that business today is all about building even stronger relationships with the people you work with and serve.
During his 19 plus years, Chad has been fortunate enough to travel the globe working within all levels of organizations of all different sizes. Fortune 100 companies have sought out Chad’s assistance to discover where they want to be, to help create a plan to get there, and to issue a challenge to implement for real results.
Chad has had the privilege of being invited to the White House to discuss how to impact today’s small businesses, and is an accomplished author of two books, Winning The Money Game and P.E.P.P. He has also consulted, and sold products and services in over 40 countries and his work has been translated in over 15 languages.
He continues his vision of providing people and organizations a personalized formula for better employee engagement and positive progress.
Believe it or not, cognitive science can help us make better business decisions and avoid costly business mistakes. Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is a behavioral economist and cognitive neuroscientist who is an expert at helping business owners recognize and overcome their internal “cognitive biases”. In this episode of Onward Nation, Dr. Tsipursky explains the science of decision-making and shares how our tribal instincts often lead us to make the wrong “gut decisions”. He outlines a realistic timeline of the global pandemic and shares tips and strategies for better judgment and taking the right risks while avoiding the wrong ones so that your business can navigate the pandemic and come roaring out the other side.
By our nature, most entrepreneurs are predisposed to see things from a more optimistic perspective. While this isn’t inherently a bad thing, it can cause us to take unnecessary risks with our businesses. As Dr. Tsipsurky explains, many of the decisions we make are informed by “cognitive biases”, subconscious thought processes left over from mankind’s early, tribal stage. These gut feelings are often ill-equipped to handle the complexities of modern life, yet we are inclined to “listen to our gut” even when it is leading us in the wrong direction. However, by asking ourselves the right questions, we can avoid the trap of the various kinds of cognitive bias that color our decisions. The five key questions Dr. Tsipsurky shared are:
One of the most pronounced ways “optimism bias” expresses itself can be seen in how we view the global pandemic. Many people are inclined to hold steady and “wait out” the crisis, but as Dr. Tipsursky explained during the interview, the reality is that the chaos and changes wrought by the pandemic are likely to be with us for a long time. Due to the logistics of developing, storing, deploying and administering a potential vaccine, the challenges we are facing today are very likely to be the “new abnormal” for the next several years. As business leaders, it is important to accept this and begin planning long-term strategy around the new reality of business. While an end to these challenging times is certainly in sight and offers hope for a bright future, businesses must be prepared to navigate the many challenges they face in the meantime. The steps entrepreneurs take today can help their businesses reach the light at the end of the tunnel even stronger than before, but only if we make the right decisions through clarity and intentionality.