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The Encore Entrepreneur



If there was one thing you could do that would exponentially increase your visibility and lead generation, would you do it? Of course you would!

Our special guest, Abby Herman, is going to share what that one thing is and how she uses it in her business.

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Episode Transcript:

[01:07] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: All right. If there was one thing you could do that would exponentially increase your visibility and lead generation, would you do it? Of course you would!

Our special guest, Abby Herman, is going to share what that one thing is and how she uses it in her business. So Abby is a fractional marketing director, content strategist, and podcast manager for service-based businesses who want to gain more visibility in their businesses with personalized content strategies and implementation. She helps business owners let go of the day-to-day frustration about their marketing so they can get back to doing what they love in business. Abby is the voice behind the Content Experiment podcast, where she features guests and solo episodes to talk about business growth and mindset, content strategy, and visibility for podcasters. 

Welcome, Abby.

[01:59] Abby Herman: Hi. Thanks for having me.

[02:01] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah, it's super exciting to have you. So Abby and I go way back. We were in a program once, years and years ago, and then we've been—lately, we've been in the same summits and we see each other all the time. And so I know that we're going to kind of talk about this, so I'll let you bring it up. The topic. The one big thing that people can do.

[02:19] Abby Herman: Yeah. Well, interestingly enough, it is not what I do for clients. And the reason why I like to talk about it is because you know, what I do for clients, like the marketing and the content development and podcast management and all of that. None of that is going to do anything. None of that is actually going to work effectively unless you do this other thing, which is what I'm doing right this very second, which is getting in front of other people's audiences. I think that, you know, we can't rely on SEO exclusively. We can't rely on organic traffic and social media and people just naturally finding our podcasts through search. We can't rely on any of that anymore because there's so much content out there, so much information out there. The single best way to get noticed and to grow your audience and to grow your potential leads is to get in front of other people's audiences.

[03:21] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah, I totally agree. And I think it's really important to, to mention, though, you spoke about two halves of this, and you need both. So it's not just getting in front of other people's audiences, it's then what are you doing with your own stuff? So that when people find out about you and they go look you up, they see something that makes sense and that matches.

[03:40] Abby Herman: Yes. Yeah. You need that other piece. You need that, that content of your own on your own channels and your own platforms, you need that email marketing, you need all of those pieces so that when you have new people find you and they go to search for you or they get your free downloadable or whatever it is, you need to have a place to start engaging with them there on your own platforms, you know, once they, once they find you for sure.

[04:09] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Definitely. Well, and I happen to have listened to your latest podcast episode where you kind of talked about your experience with this. Like, 2023 you didn't do very much of it, and then you're really leaning hard into it 2024. And coincidentally, we kind of are, too. But tell that story a little bit because I think that's interesting. Like, what did you find when 2023, you didn't really pay attention to doing this compared to now.

[04:32] Abby Herman: Yeah, well, 2023 was a big, giant womp womp in my business. I think that we're all kind of finding that in the online space. You know, for me, 2020 and 2021 were huge years. For me, 2022 was okay. 2023 was not. And I mean, to be honest, part of the reason why I really backed off doing any kind of lead generation was because I was overly involved in, like, my personal life and doing lots of traveling and lots of, you know, going and doing, and it was wonderful and it was great. And I had retainer clients, you know, that I leaned on for my own income. 

But, you know, I found that, you know, naturally, you know, things in other people's businesses change. Things in our own businesses change. And by the end of the year, I was finding that I kind of had a moment where I was, I had a particular incident, we'll call it, where I just got really frustrated with, you know, just the whole business, my business as a whole. I got really frustrated, and I decided that I wanted to go back to one of the things that I told myself I was going to do eleven years ago when I was brand new in the online space, and that was to provide products and services for newer business owners. So I decided I was going to open up a shop. 

I had had a free resource library for a long time. I shut it down mostly. There's still people sneaking in some back doors, but I kind of shut it down and decided I was going to open up this online shop. But in order to do that, you need to have an audience. You need to have a big email list, which I do not have, because I have spent most of my life in business working with one-to-one retainer clients. So I haven't prioritized growing a list. And I thought, oh, God, I need to grow a list. So I came into 2024, like really gung ho that I was going to pitch myself to be in as many places as I possibly could this year. And I have been. 

I literally have a tracking sheet in front of me that is there every day. And I look to find opportunities to pitch myself for podcasts, for summits, for bundles, for anything. And I check Facebook groups and LinkedIn. I connect with people. And I have to tell you that since really focusing my efforts on doing this, I, like, almost immediately, I just felt like this different energy in my business. And, I'm not, you know, someone who focuses or thinks about my own energy or anything like that ever. But I did notice, like, just a different mindset that I had. Even though at the very beginning, like, there was no traction, it was just me showing up every day for 30 minutes every single day, commenting on posts, pitching, and all of that. And then suddenly, and it was pretty sudden, I just noticed this, you know, huge uptick in the number of people who were reaching out to me. 

I had people who, I had a former client who, I think we talked last year once, like, we got together on Zoom, once referred a client to me who became a retainer client. I had someone else who I was in her coaching program years and years ago who referred somebody to actually two different people to me, one of whom became a client. And it's just, you know, that doesn't reflect necessarily on my online chat. But I have seen a big uptick in that because I've been on quite a few bundles and summits and the whole first half of this calendar year, my calendar is packed full, and I've even had to say no to things because of all the, you know, all the promotion and things like that. 

And I'm not saying that, you know, now suddenly my business has completely turned around and, you know, I'm making seven figures, which is not my goal anyway, but it just feels so much better to be able to be in front of other people and to approach all of it in a way that is helping. Like, my big thing is show up in a mindset where you are there to help other people, not necessarily make a sale. You're there to help other people, and that's what will help shift things for you.

[09:22] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: That's right. Yeah. And you said a couple things that stood out for me. One of them was last year, you focused a lot on your personal life, and that took/takes your focus away. And everyone deals with all this. And I think part of this whole content and getting visible and marketing piece, when you're a solopreneur, especially, even if you have just a small team; it's all the hats we have to wear and all the things you have to continuously do. So actually, 2023 was a great year for you to do that, because I'm calling 2023 the reset year. Like, it was true. After the COVID bubble, which was a great bubble for us as well, we saw the same thing. 2020 and 2021 were great. 2022 was okay. 2023 was, like, flatlined. It didn't go down, but it didn't go up, and it was like, huh? And everything changed. And it's not just this industry, it's everywhere.

[10:21] Abby Herman: Yeah, I'm seeing it everywhere.

[10:23] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah. So, anyway, the reason I bring that up is because I think everyone also needs to remember that there are seasons for things. And so what we learned from this setback or reset of 2023, we're making a pivot as well, similar kind of, to you. And I think what we did was, for Encore Empire was, you know, we built the business on doing our workshops and selling into high ticket programs. Well, for the longest time, that was all we had to offer. Well, now we've realized—now with this reset, you've got to diversify. And so we've now got smaller ticket items. So I think it's cool that you got your Shopify, but again, too, it's shifting from just pulling people into you, like, through your own podcast or your own workshop, like we did, and it's getting that visibility to other people. 

And I love the way you noticed how all of a sudden people are reaching out to you, and I noticed the same thing. It's like, it's almost like you, you know, visibility, like you were invisible. Like no one knew you were ready to do stuff or you wanted to, but once they start seeing you, they're like, oh, she was great. I got to get her on mine, you know? And so it's, it's really, it's really a cool, a cool way to think about it, I think.

[11:38] Abby Herman: Yeah, well, and sometimes I think about, like, I'm not a great, I'm not really good at, like, staying connected to people, I don't think. And I think it's because, well, for a couple of reasons. One, our lives—living in this online world and working here, like, we're connected to so many people. And a lot of times I forget, how do I know that person, you know, and trying to figure out the connection piece. And so I think that what is the, there's a quote or there's, like, a specific number. Like, 150 is like, the number of people who you can have ongoing connections with because, I mean, at some point, you just run out of space and brain power and all of that. So I think that that's part of it. 

I was focused on my personal life and not necessarily focused on remaining connected to people in the work world. And I think that that is, there has to be some sort of balance, too. Like, it can't, you know, and you're, you're right. And I feel like I'm talking in circles right now just because I thought, I really liked what you said. You're right in that. It's just, there has to be some sort of balance. There has to be, you know. And as a, I have a very small team by design, and I want it to remain that way. And that means I need to be the face and, you know, you know, be the person who's putting themselves out there. And I'm also the one that's doing a lot of the work, too. So it's just. Yeah, a lot of balance. And I feel like that was just a ramble.

[13:21] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: No, well, and I think, and the reason I bring that up about the balance and this, there are certain seasons for different focuses because I think what we have to remember, too, is that if we're focusing on one thing right now or, like Q1 2024 or Q two now.

[13:39] Abby Herman: Yeah.

[13:40] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: 2024 or even all of 2024, if you're focusing, if your focus is one in one spot. It doesn't mean you’ve forgotten everything else. And I think we have to remind ourselves of that. It's almost like we're layering on top of our expertise, what we've learned. We obviously, we have to shift with the market and whatever's going on. So when something happens, it's like, well, how then can you best position yourself to be agile and be able to meet those new, the changing landscape and people who are less likely to be purchasing or who maybe they're on in the summertime? Like we always historically have noticed, summertime gets slower anyway, and people talk about that a lot. But for all these things, the longer you're in business, and you've been in business eleven years, so you've seen it. I'm sure you see some similar trends coming. But then there's these things that are out of the ordinary, like the whole 2023 situation.

[14:37] Abby Herman: Yeah.

[14:38] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: It doesn't mean that what you used to do or what you. It's like you haven't forgotten those skill sets. So now it's almost like, well, let's look at them. Let's look at our toolbox. And here's where my focus is. How then can I apply what I already know or what I already have in my toolbox to this new focus kind of thing? Right?

[14:56] Abby Herman: And I feel like a lot of people who are newer in business, and this was certainly true of me when I was new in, you know, full-time here in the online space you're looking to, they don't want to hire somebody to do, like me to do all of the things for them. And I get that. Like, I couldn't afford it back, you know, I could not afford to have done that. They want to learn how to do it themselves. They want to bootstrap, and I love that because that's exactly how I started, was trying to figure it out myself, bootstrapping everything, doing everything myself, for such a long time. 

In fact, I'm actually working with someone right now. She's starting a new podcast, and we're doing it together. Instead of me doing it for her and teaching her over the course of like six weeks how to do it herself so that she can then take it and. And, you know, do the bootstrap thing and do it totally on her own, which I love. And it's not something I've ever done before, but I'm really enjoying the process because. Because I totally believe in learning as much as you can. 

Of course, there are always things that I think are much better left to someone else, like taxes and Facebook ads. If you run ads, like, there's certain things and my IT guy who I call, hey, this isn't working on my website; can you fix it? Like, no, I don't want to do any of that. And I would probably break it worse, but I think it's great to be able to bootstrap some things.

[16:35] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah, well, and I think it's important. I'm a big believer in that as well, because I think you have to have at least a base understanding of what you're asking someone else to do for you. Otherwise, how do you know if they're trying to screw you over or they're doing, you know, you have to know some. Some of it. So. Yeah, that is true.

[16:53] Abby Herman: Yeah.

[16:53] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: And then getting back to our ‘Do this one thing to supercharge your marketing,’ which is getting in front of other people's audiences, what would you say is a good first step, or what process can people take to start doing that if they haven't been doing that?

[17:08] Abby Herman: So I think connection and building relationships is absolutely the number one first thing that you should do. You're a podcast host. I'm a podcast host. I know this is true for me. It's probably true for you, too, actually. I'll just ask you, how many times do you get a podcast pitch that it is 100% clear that the person who is pitching knows nothing about you or your business? I mean, does that happen like once a week at least?

[17:41] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Oh, my God. I would say, sadly. I mean, it's probably higher than this, but I'll try to be fair here. 80% of people that pitch us either have not listened to it. They don't know. It's like they're pitching you to help you with something that you do, and they obviously don't know that.

[18:02] Abby Herman: So it's like, yeah, and a lot of times, and sometimes it's like to fill some quota. So it's like, you know, somebody else, not the business owner, who's just pitching to fill some sort of quota. Oh, I will. I pitch 20 podcasts this week. No, the business owner…I believe that the business owner, with few exceptions, and there are some exceptions, should be the person who is connecting to people on LinkedIn, who is having coffee chats with people, getting to know people, joining other people's groups.

I’ve been going into Facebook groups, and again, approaching the Facebook group from a sense of how can I help people in this group? Not how can I sell to them, not how can I get my name out there or drop my link here and there? No, like, how can you help? And I think that that is so incredibly important because there, I think there have been two cases where I have had somebody on my podcast who I didn't have a relationship with before just because their subject line was that good that I had to open up the email. And then I was like, oh, yeah, I need to talk to those person. 

So it's, it's all about building relationships. That is like the first thing that needs to happen and then paying attention to, you know, their needs and what they need. So if you know that somebody has a podcast that you'd really love to be on, how can you connect with that person on a personal level and then, and then help them meet the needs of their business and their audience? I mean, it's all about the audience. For people who host podcasts and summits and bundles, it's about helping others. It's about like, who was the end user and that's who you want to focus on. Anytime you pitch or you fill out that, like, they'll have a Google form or an Airtable form, when you think about how you're going to pitch yourself, how are you going to support the end user, the audience member?

[20:06] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah, I agree. And it, so it's recommended, I always recommend that people listen to two or three episodes, not just one because one could be, could be a fluke, like a one-off episode, and then you're basing your entire knowledge on this podcast on one thing that you listen to. But if you can do that, and then you can see a theme and you can say, okay, and you can craft your pitch to be, you know, I love the episode, this, that this person talked about here and this one, too. And I can see where I could be of value to your audience by adding this. So they know, okay, well, actually, this person did listen. They get it because they're referencing something that makes sense. It's not just some weird, crazy blank pitch.

[20:53] Abby Herman: I really like the work that you're doing. Well, be specific. What are you talking about?

[21:00] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah, or it's like, you can tell it's AI wrote it. It's like, no, but the other thing too, that I love, and this rarely happens, is someone who pitches and says, and I'd love to suggest a podcast swap. I love that because you're providing value too, because like, what we're talking about, we want to get in front of other people's audiences. So I love having someone on our podcast, and then I love to be on someone else's things, too. And people who are pitching, they might say they a lot of times, and you're also, one of the things you said is you like the fact that the owner gets out there. Well, a lot of times they have an assistant or a company is pitching for them. And so they pump this person up to be, you know, so great, which they could possibly be, but it's like, and then they'll say, and she's the host of this podcast and blah, blah, blah, and they never bring it back around and go, and you would be a great match for that. You know, so we kind of look at that. 

When we had one gal, her assistant pitched us, and I thought, okay, whatever, this is not going to be a good fit, and actually, when I listened to her podcast, I was like, oh, my God, this girl is great. And so I replied and I said, you know, 99% of people who pitch are not a fit. And I go, but this really is. And so we'd love to, and we'd love to suggest a podcast swap. And so we did it that way. And so I think that's also a good thing to do.

[22:25] Abby Herman: Yes, I agree. Yeah. Make sure that you are listening to the podcast if you're pitching to be on a podcast. And I like to look at the list of other topics, other things that they have talked about, because if they, if you're a bookkeeper and they have just had a bookkeeper on, chances are it's not going to be a good fit. But if you can listen into the episode and then within your pitch, say, I would like to approach it from this perspective, or have you thought about this? 

How can you differentiate yourself from someone else in your industry who has just been on the podcast? Think about, like, how are you unique and the way that you work with people. How is that? Or the way you think, the way you relate to topics, how is that unique? Because that usually will be a good, a good pitch.

[23:21] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah, that's an excellent idea.

[23:23] Abby Herman: Yeah.

[23:24] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: And then for, like, I'm thinking for myself, for summits and things like that, the way that I started getting into, well, we hosted a summit once, which was a big catalyst for a lot of things. That's the other thing. Now, I don't recommend hosting for many people because it's a ton of work, especially a big one. Like our first one, we did 30 people, 30 speakers, which was ridiculous. But yes, it opened a lot of doors because all these people are like, oh, my gosh. And then they remember you, and then they think of other people and refer.

It's just like what you're saying. It's that. It's that relationship thing.

[23:58] Abby Herman: Yeah.

[23:59] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Well, when we hosted that one, I had taken a program: Summit in a Box. That's a program out there about hosting those big summits. And then recently, I'm taking Wendy Breakstone’s Micro Audio Summit program. Well, when you get into those kind of things, you start getting into, here's these communities that are like, hey, I need speakers for this, this and this. And so just like you said, Abby, if people know, and they get to know people and they go into their groups and looking to help and all of that, that's great. But you can also look for specific groups on Facebook and possibly LinkedIn as well. I haven't looked there, but I'm sure they exist. Where they're looking for speakers, or it's a speaker exchange or something like that. So that's a way to do it. And then once you get into the circuit, it's kind of like you start kind of seeing the same people like you and I have bumped into each other on a couple of these, and it's like, oh, there's Abby.

[24:52] Abby Herman: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. I think that Facebook groups have been really great for me in finding opportunities and putting myself in front of new audiences. And there's also a service called podcastguests.com, and it's free, and it's. You can. Well, there's a free, and there's a paid version. I'm. I just get the free one. And twice, two or three times a week, I get a list of, like, ten different podcasts that are looking for guests, and it's all done through, like, all of the opt-in forms or the pitch forms are exactly the same on those. And I found it to be really easy to pitch those. 

Now, there are some days when I get the email and none of them relate to me, but I, sometimes I can send one to a client and say, hey, here's a, here's a great place to pitch yourself. But I have been accepted on several podcasts through that, and I've also had clients being, you know, speak on several podcasts from that.

[25:59] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: So, yeah, that's excellent. Yes, you bring up a good thing. You weren't bringing this exact thing up, but the forms. So one way to make this easy on yourself, too, when you start pitching is save everything that you enter for every form. Some of the people do not send you an automatic entry, which I think everybody should. I think you should get an entry—a copy of what you submitted—for everything because it's a real pain when you don't. So if you don't, we have a running Google Doc or we'll create a new, we have a folder in our Google Drive called Promos and then it'll be a subfolder that'll be like the date and the title of the thing. And then within there that Google Doc, we will go in and as we fill things out, if we know we're not going to get a copy of it, or if we're not sure, we put in the questions and answers so that we've got it. So that then the next time you go to fill something out, you can go, I remember I had to put something either the same, you're using the same thing over and over, or you remember that you had to use this version of it before and you can find it.

[26:59] Abby Herman: Yes, I use, I use ClickUp for that. So I have a folder in ClickUp and then I have each place that I've pitched myself is a separate task and I have, so that way I can include either a screenshot of what I found on Facebook or I can copy and paste what I'm putting into the pitch because it's different every time. And when you're in a, like, if you're in a summit, you usually have to upfront offer like the free thing, whatever free thing that you're putting into it. And so I usually will copy, I'll copy and paste that into ClickUp to make sure that I remember when it comes time for promos and things like that and links to emails and things like that. It's really nice to have handy so you're not searching through your inbox. 

I did want to mention something too, though, before we run out of time. Something that I think is like the whole point in getting in front of other people's audiences is to attract them to your own audience. So if you are a podcaster and you're on somebody else's podcast, it's a really natural transition to get the person to come from Podcast A to Podcast B. But if you're not a podcaster and your goal is to get in front of other people's audiences, you're talking about your expertise and what you do and things like that. And so it is vital that you have, and we were talking about this before we hit record. It's so vital that you have something to send people to. 

So if you're talking and somebody is thinking—a listener is thinking—oh, my gosh, that person is so smart. I want to follow them. I want to hear more about what they do. Make sure you have a place for them to go. And ideally, sorry, ideally, your dog doesn't start barking in the middle of a live and there's no stopping him. 

Ideally, you have people join your email list because you want people to, you want to be able to reach out to them ahead of time or afterwards. And it's super distracting. Now my brain is on my dog. I'm so sorry. This is real life. You can tell them to follow you on social media, but chances are they're not going to, and chances are that they are never going to see your post because we all know how the algorithms work, not to our advantage. And so you want them to be able to go. 

So have something that you are giving away for free. It could just be your regular freebie that you have on your website, but have something that allows them to opt into your email list and then, so that you can communicate with them afterwards, so that you can stay in touch with them, so that they start getting your nurturing emails, which you're hopefully sending out on a regular basis. So that, yeah, like, make sure that you can connect with them afterwards.

[30:02] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah. And whatever it is, too, you want it to give them insight into what, how you work, what it's like to work with you, what your expertise is. It's got to be something, you know, if someone was so interested in what you were saying on this event that you were on, that, they're like, cool. I want to find out more about this person. I'm going to opt in. Well, you want to make sure that what they get is valuable. So, like, wow, I love their take on it. I love this. I love that. So that kind of goes without saying, but I just want to throw it in there. And then speaking of that, Abby, I know that you have a free gift for our audience today.

[30:36] Abby Herman: Why, yes, I do! Yeah. So I do have something. So if you're wondering, like, well, how am I supposed to know what my audience is listening to or what people are listening to? How do I know, like, which podcasts I should get in front of? Well, you can survey the people who are aligned with your business and your products and services. And so I always, I recommend doing a survey with very select people in your audience a couple of times a year and so you can access, it's called Ask Your Audience. It's a five-day challenge. You can do it in one day if you want. All the information is there, but you'll get some reminder emails throughout the week. It's at https://thecontentexperiment.com/encore to get access to that.

[31:29] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yes, I'm dropping the link here in Facebook. I'll drop it on LinkedIn as well. And then, of course, it'll be in the show notes of this podcast. So awesome. So, as we wrap up, Abby, if you could leave everyone with one thing, what would you want to leave them with? One tip. One thought.

[31:47] Abby Herman: So the number one tip, that is, I think, the first step to anything in online business, to getting in front of other people's audiences is 100%. Start connecting with people. Put it on your calendar, figure out some... My incentive for doing it every day is I get to check it off my little tracking list that I have in front of me. So, set aside. It doesn't have to be a lot of time. It can be 30 minutes a day, two or three times a week that you're intentionally going into specific Facebook groups, specific LinkedIn profiles and or groups, and engaging with people so that you can start making connections because that is the key to life. It is the key to life, everything.

[32:32] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah. And there's this great quote that I've heard, and we like to reshare. It is business grows at the speed of relationships, and that's so. And I think that when we're talking about getting in front of other people's audiences and just what you share, that you notice that once you've got onto this circuit of all these summits and all this stuff, and I noticed it, too. Like, now you are in the limelight, so to speak, not only for your clients or potential leads, but also for all these other people who now are going to be like, ooh, ooh, I want her on my summit. So. It's so true on so many levels. Relationship marketing is the way to go.

[33:11] Abby Herman: Yes, 100%.

[33:13] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: All right, well, thank you, everyone. We'll see you next week.

[33:17] Abby Herman: Thanks.

Join the Ask Your Audience Challenge here: https://thecontentexperiment.com/encore

Connect with Abby:

Website: https://thecontentexperiment.com/

Facebook Business Page: https://www.facebook.com/AbbyMHerman1

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/abbymherman/

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