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Inbound Success Podcast

What do the most successful inbound marketers do to get great results?

You’ve heard the stories about companies using inbound marketing to dramatically increase sales, grow their business, and transform their customer relationships, but not everyone who practices inbound marketing knocks it out of the park.

If you want to know what goes into building a world class inbound marketing campaign that gets real, measurable results, check out the Inbound Success podcast. Every week, host Kathleen Booth interviews marketing folks who are rolling up their sleeves, doing the work, and getting the kinds of results we all hope to achieve.

The goal is to “peel back the onion” and learn what works, what doesn’t and what you need to do to really move the needle with your inbound marketing efforts. This isn’t just about big picture strategy – it’s about getting actionable tips and insights that you can use immediately in your own marketing.

May 7, 2018

Sometimes, non-marketers are actually the best marketers. That is the case with Ryan Hawk, host of The Learning Leader Podcast.

In this week's episode of The Inbound Success Podcast, Ryan talks about how he went from working in corporate leadership at Lexus Nexus to starting a podcast and eventually leaving the corporate world to focus on his podcast and personal brand full time. 

Listen to the podcast to learn how Ryan's passion for learning and commitment to excellence have fueled his success as a podcaster and made him a world-class marketer.


Kathleen Booth (host): Welcome back to The Inbound Success Podcast. My name is Kathleen Booth and I am your host, and today my guest is Ryan Hawk, who is the founder and host of the Learning Leader podcast and a leadership advisor with Brixey & Meyer. Welcome Ryan. 

Ryan Hawk (guest): Thanks so much for having me Kathleen, I appreciate it.

Kathleen: Yeah, I'm excited. I heard you do a live "ask me anything" in IMPACT's Facebook groupIMPACT Elite, and it was really fascinating. I know Chris, our COO, is a long time listener of your podcast. So, having heard so much about you, and having gotten a little bit of a glimpse into what you do through the AMA. I was excited to learn more and have this conversation. I was hoping we could just start by having you tell the audience a little bit about yourself, your background. We often have as guests on this podcast marketers. You're not necessarily a marketer but you're somebody who does marketing really well. So this will be an interesting, different kind of a conversation.

Ryan: Well, again thanks for the opportunity. So, a little bit about my background. Grew up playing all sports, and then was fortunate to earn a scholarship to play football in college. Played the position of quarterback, so I have a background in being in positions of leadership, then graduated. Played a little bit after college, went up to Canada for a little bit, played in the arena football league and then eventually found my way unto the position of selling for a big company called Lexus Nexus. Weaved my way around, worked my way up into the manager role, then director, then ultimately as a vice president of sales for North America.

Along the way, about three and a half years in, I started my podcast called the Learning Leader show, really out of my desire to learn from people who have come before me -- leaders and businesses, whether it's Fortune 500 companies, CEOs, best selling authors, coaches, world class athletes. So, I've done 250 of those episodes over the last three and a half years, and it's my favorite thing in the world to do. And because of that it's created other really interesting opportunities for me including the opportunity to leave the corporate world full time and do this podcasting, speaking, consulting, helping others 100% of my time. So, there's a lot there but that's the gist of what I have going on.

Kathleen: It's interesting that you say that what got you to start the podcast was a desire on your part to learn from others. So you're really solving for yourself first. That's actually exactly why I created my podcast -- because I've been working in inbound marketing for so long and I'm just very interested in how are other people getting really great results and what's happening behind the curtain to contribute to success. So, I always enjoy conversations every week with people who are doing this, and that was the reason I wanted to talk to you.

As I said when we first started out, you're not necessarily a marketer by trade, that is not what you do in your job. You're not selling marketing services, but what I have observed is that you are doing all of the things that great marketers do. In terms of being a prolific content creator and really not holding anything back, sharing the secret sauce if you will. I mean there's so many companies, businesses, experts that feel like if they share their secrets they'll put themselves out of business and the story with you really seems to be that it has been precisely by sharing the secrets, you have created your business, is that accurate?

Ryan: Yeah, I think one of the compliments that I really enjoy receiving -- it sounds weird saying that -- but I enjoy hearing that the audience of my show feelslike I'm learning along with them. I'm not speaking down to anybody, we're speaking and learning together. So I approach each conversation with a curious mind, an open mind, looking to learn, to grow. I think my audience senses that and that's why it's grown from the beginning. And again that's what created all the great opportunities, is the fact that there's a place for that. 

There's a place for long form conversations, as you know Kathleen, that people, especially on-demand listening, just like people like on-demand watching, whether it's Netflix, DVR, things like that and I think podcast provides that for somebody as a secondary activity. They can listen to my show while they're working out, doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, driving in their car, and that's really helped. And I think podcasts are only going to get bigger and bigger as we see more ad dollars shifting from TV and radio into podcasting, and that's good news for us, who are in this business. And you never really know what all could come from the content that we do on a regular basis.

Kathleen: Yeah, it's funny, I listen to podcasts when I'm working out, when I'm grocery shopping and when I'm vacuuming.

Ryan: Yeah.

Kathleen: Those are my three times when you know there's nothing else you could really be doing with your ears, and so you might as well educate yourself.

Ryan: The grocery shopping one is great, I'm with you. I definitely grocery shop much more now since I've become a huge podcast listener over the last few years. Because it's a really peaceful, enjoyable experience to listen to a good podcast, and to pick up the food we need for the family.

Kathleen: Yeah, although I will say I'm finding my grocery shopping is taking longer than it used to, because I lack the incentive to finish fast.

Ryan: For sure, 100%. 

Kathleen: So, if anything, it's the opposite. I spend longer intentionally so I can hear the end of the episode I'm listening to.

Ryan: Yep.

Kathleen: So, when you first started the podcast, you were looking toward more of that leadership, the podcast is about leadership. Can you tell me a little bit about how you first, first of all how did you choose the format you did? Because there are many different styles of podcasts that you can do. How did you find your guests? And really how did the podcast begin to get traction?

Ryan: Okay...

Kathleen: That's a lot of questions, combined into one.

Ryan: So first one, how did I choose the format? I have been interviewing hundreds and hundreds of sales candidates in my role as a sales leader, both for my own team and other teams in my business that I got brought onto projects to do it. So, I had a lot of experience interviewing people prior to recording my first interview for my show, and I like that format. I listen to shows like Brian Koppelman's The Moment, he's the best interviewer that I know. I listen to Joe Rogan, another really good interviewer. So, Terry Gross from NPR, she's an incredible interviewer. Some of my favorite shows are interview formatted, so I choose that same route as some of my heroes, people that I look up to. I like that.

Then the next part of the question is, how do I get my guests? Is that right, is that what you're asking?

Kathleen: Yeah.

Ryan: When I started, it was much harder than it is now. When I started I made a list of 100 people that I wanted to speak with. It was a dream list, and some of them were not really attainable -- or at least I didn't think were attainable -- and some of them were. And then I was on a mission to send cold emails, so I'd find their emails. We could have another conversation about what the actual email looks like that you have to write when it's cold in order to get someone to reply and say yes.

But I made that list and then I'd spend time researching the people, so I could make it a personalized email to them, and I would ask them to be on the show. And a certain number of them fortunately said yes, and then I was able to record. I recorded 22 episodes, prior to launch, because I had studied what seemed to work best with iTunes at the time. Remember this is about three and a half years ago. So for the first eight weeks when you have New and Noteworthy, I landed the number one in three categories and in the top five in overall iTunes for those first eight weeks, which was really the rocket ship that my show ... it really took off from there.

I found that it seemed that the proper algorithm was releasing three episodes per week, for the first eight weeks, during that New and Noteworthy time to maximize potential downloads. And then I asked all my friends and family, and everybody I knew to write a review in iTunes, to subscribe, and to rate the show. Cause I know that helps, as well as just the number of listens. Fortunately, people liked it, and they still like it, so they were listening and sharing with other people.

It's hard for a podcast to go viral if you're not a famous person, so I wouldn't say it went viral. But it started spreading by word of mouth, and from some hustle from me, and my wife helped me as well. Really emailing everybody we knew asking them to give it a shot, and if they liked it to keep listening, and tell their friends. And if they didn't, that was fine, they just wouldn't listen. So that's really how it got going. I think landing at number one on iTunes for that period of time, really helped it take off, because before then it was just a handful of listeners and from there it went to hundreds, and then thousands, and hundred of thousands, and then in the millions now. So I think that's how it really got started though.

Kathleen: So you really did your homework?

Ryan: I spent four and a half months studying how it worked. Then making that list, and then crafting the emails, and then doing the recordings. So I think that was part of it -- playing the long game.

Some people say "Well, what are you waiting for?" I had friends that knew I was, just a few friends, who knew I was doing this, who said "Why haven't you launched? What are you doing?" And I said, "I think I know what I'm doing here, you have to trust that I have done the research and that I'm going try my best for this thing to take off."

As you know with most things, whether it's a book, a podcast, a TV show -- whatever it may be -- the launch is very important. If the launch goes well, it could be the catapult for the entire endeavor. And so for me, I did not want to mess that up. So I took good care to do that right, and it seems like it was the right way to do it.

Kathleen: So for someone who was going to start a podcast today, based on the experience you had, what would you say they should or should not do at that critical point of launch to be successful?

Ryan: I would prepare a lot of episodes prior to launching, because if it's an interview show, some people would prepare a handful of episodes and then they get stuck and they can't find a guest for week five and they reach for a marginal guest, and before you know it they have another marginal guest, and before you know it people listen, and there's no value from the show. If there's no value being brought from an interview show then they'll stop listening. So I would get a lot in the can, so to speak, before you get going. That's one thing I would do.

I don't know the exact New and Noteworthy terms for iTunes, for Apple Podcasts now, it might have changed. It seems like there's more famous people shows, or big corporations who are owning those spaces now, which makes it a lot harder for somebody who's not a part of one of those. But I would certainly still do a lot of work prior to the launch, to make sure that you launched, and you have good support behind you. People who are ready to rate, review, and subscribe. People who are ready to share.

The bottom line though, as you know Kathleen, is that none of that matters if the show's not adding value to the lives of the people who are listening. So, it doesn't really matter what your launch is like if the quality of the show isn't good.

Benjamin Hardy told me this too when we recorded because he writes blog posts, and he says "Look, I can get you to click and I can do all those things -- the marketing side. But the actually content of the article has to be great or you're not going to come back, you're not going to share it, you're not going to tell your friend. Yes, I can get the initial clicks, but I'm not going to have the long term sustained excellence, and that's what I want." And that's what I want to, so I would say you focus on the great content obviously. Becoming a great interviewer, or producing a great show. But you also have to learn the marketing side too.

So, it's not an or, it's an and. You have to be good at both if you want a chance, I think. Especially if you're not a part of TED or NPR, or one of the well known companies. If you're not a part of that, and you're just doing this on your own, you've got to learn both the quality content side, as well as the marketing side.

Kathleen: Yes, specific to interview style podcasts I would really second what you said about having a backlog, because I know for myself, when I first started I think I had 8 episodes in the can. That was my second podcast. I made so many mistakes my first time around. And even with eight, which felt like such a nice cushion, because I published once a week, it was amazing how around the holidays, and different times when things would get busy, how quickly that cushion turned into a very thin one. So, I really think that's key if your ability to publish depends on the participation of others.

Ryan: Yeah, I mean it's critical. I've advised friends and others on this, and the ones who have not listened to that part of the advice typically kind of peter out and they have 10, 20, 30 episodes and then it just kind of slowly goes away. And that's unfortunate.

Kathleen: I want to go back to your cold emails. Because you intrigued me there. You mentioned there's certain ingredients that go into making those really effective. Can you talk a little bit more about exactly what your approach was there?

Ryan: Sure. I need to write a post about this. I'm asked this more than anything. I love it though -- it's a good topic.

I know they're probably going to be reading on their phone, and you want to try to fit it on the main screen as much as possible. Anyway, I start the email by telling them specifically why their work has made my life better. Specifics, that's where the research comes in. So, "Dear Mrs. Smith, your work has inspired me to do this because of this" or whatever. But it's very specific. It's not just "I am inspired by you," or "I am inspired by your work" but it's a specific part of the work.

That's shows that you actually do your research, that there's something there that is meaningful to them, and that will probably catch their eye. Because it is their work, right? It's a form of flattery but it's true.

Then I try to find an uncommon commonality. So, something that we have in common that is uncommon, and that is very hard, and sometimes it takes time. For example, I'll share the example that I used with Adam Grant, one of the greatest leadership thinkers in the world right now, a great author as well, a great speaker. Adam happened to go to school at the University of Michigan. I played a football game at the University of Michigan. I scored a touchdown in one of those end zones and we were there at the same time. And so I said there's a chance you watched me score a touchdown in the south end zone, at the Big House, University of Michigan. That is very uncommon, but we did have it in common and so I had to look at the timing of when I played that game and when he was there and everything, and try to map that out to say, "Is there a chance that we were there at the same time?" So I wrote that, and that generated a response from somebody who gets thousands of emails every single day. So find an uncommon commonality.

Then I share a little credibility about my show, which at the beginning by the way, I had none.

Kathleen: Right.

Ryan: I didn't have that part, so that was just gone. But I did share a little bit about myself and hoped there was some credibility. So now it's Forbes talks about the ink and all of that stuff that I've had, and some things that some other people who have been on have said about the show. And I ask them in bold letters, "Would you like to be a guest on my show?" so they can see it clearly. And I thank them for their time and that's it.

My older cold emails were longer, now they're shorter. I try to get an economy of words -- as few words as possible, but they all mean something, so really it starts with flattery that is specific and true, uncommon commonality, credibility, and then the ask, and that's it.

Kathleen: Yeah

Ryan: And I ship it.

Kathleen: I love it, that's like a formula you could build.

Ryan: It is.

Kathleen: A few weeks ago, I had Peep Laja, who is the head of, the founder of CXL. And he's been named, probably, one of the top conversion rate optimization experts in the world. He was on the podcast and one of his main take aways for how you get better responses on email, was to make emails shorter. So, I think what you're saying about stripping away all the unnecessary, and really boiling it down to the most important things, is spot on and definitely -- I'm hearing the same thing from others.

Ryan: Yeah, I mean most people read on their phone. We know how we are, they read on their phone. I get cold emails everyday, whether they're asking me to be on their show, or they're just, some of them are just very kind and saying thank you, or they have questions based on the show. And the ones that I'm most compelled to respond to -- I try to respond to all -- are when they're very specific about why they like my work. That shows me that they're really thinking about it. They're thoughtful people, and they're intentional about their ask in their email. So, that's the one thing I would say, is just take the time to be specific with what you're going to say to that person that you're emailing to show that you're different from the thousand other people that email them everyday.

Kathleen: Yeah, and that really goes for all cold email outreach.

Ryan: Absolutely.

Kathleen: Whether you're looking to guest blog or get on somebody's calendar, I would think the audience you're trying to reach is also just very busy. They are leaders, by definition. So they don't have a lot of time to read a lot of extraneous stuff, and so that makes a lot of sense.

Ryan: Yeah.

Kathleen: I'm curious, so you started the podcast and you were very intentional about your strategy at launch. You were very intentional about your guest acquisition. You had your list and your method for reaching out. Outside of the podcast, are you turning that into any other form of content? And how are you promoting the podcast?

Ryan: I also write. So I share some of my learnings via social media platforms, LinkedIn, obviously, on my website. I've written for Huffington Post, so I write based on my learnings, and my thoughts on certain topics. So that's probably the number one way that I share content outside of the podcast. I have show notes for every single episode, which are very detailed. I write them myself, that's a way for me to learn and relearn, and to reinforce what I've learned from those conversations. That's big too, that's also found on my website So those are the primary ways that I create other content outside of just an audio form.

And then I'm doing a ton of video work recently. We have not released all of it yet, but I've had my video guys following me to every single engagement I've had over the last three months. We have hours and hours and hours of footage, and we're doing a lot of work to create video here. I just met with them this morning for a few hours to go over all the video we're creating, so that will be another form that will be coming out here over the next few months that I'm really excited about.

Kathleen: Tell me a little bit about the volume of publishing you're doing. Because you're on all of these different channels, you've got your own show, and it's your own blog, you're writing for these other publications. In a given week, how many articles does that turn into?

Ryan: One podcast a week, so Sunday night at 7:00 o'clock eastern, I release that. There are show notes with that, that are on my website as well that I release at the time of the episode. And then the articles are much more inconsistent, as far as when I'm writing them.

Typically, the way I write an article, or why I write an article is because I'll get an email from a friend, or fan, or listener who asks a question that is interesting enough, that is worthy of a thousand word answer. And then I will answer that in the form, and publish that answer.

So those have really been the prompts for me to write. I'll get a question from somebody that I think is a really thoughtful, interesting question that takes some time to answer rather than just sending an email. I'll send it in an email, but I'll also publish my thoughts on that to. So, there's not a consistent day for that, but I'm going to be doing it more frequently as the questions roll in. And I also do these AMA's within my own Facebook group the Learning Leader community and I'm going to publish some of those outside the group too. Mainly my answers, not necessarily the people, if they don't want, but the answers to some of those questions.

Kathleen: I love that, so one of my colleagues at IMPACT is a man named Marcus Sheridan who is fairly well known in the inbound marketing world. And he has written a book called They Ask, You Answer. And has built his personal brand around teaching other people that the most effective content marketing strategy is to do exactly what you are doing instinctively, which is to really to listen to the questions you're getting and turn your answers into great content. So that certainly tracks really well with that. Also, when I have spoken to clients over the years, one of the big push backs that I always hear is that "I don't have the time." And when you think about it, you do have the time. In many cases, you're answering those questions anyway. It's just a matter of, what are you going to do with those answers, and how are you going to make them work harder for you?

Ryan: I think the prompts can be helpful. Marcus is great. He's been on my show. But the prompts can be very helpful to make you think, to make you see what your audience wants from you, what questions they have and then you can share. Because if one person has the question there's probably a good change that other people do as well.

Kathleen: I'd love to hear how doing the podcast, and how creating content has transformed your life. Because you have this background, as a sales executive, you were with a really large company Lexus Nexus. Now you have a completely different career, really.

Ryan: Right.

Kathleen: It seems that was very much created because of the content you're creating.

Ryan: 100%! I started three and half years ago with the thought of just wanting to create my own leadership PhD program, and learn from the wisest, most thoughtful people in the world. And from that, people started emailing, asking me to come give speeches whether it was at a conference or at their company, or universities, student athletes -- I do a good bit of that as well. So that was one part.

Then because of the show, people started saying "Would you consult with me one on one to help me run my business, or help me in the profession of selling?" in some cases, and so that become another revenue stream. Then I started getting groups of people who wanted to have follow up meetings, so we would have regular meetings -- so leadership circles, so that's another stream of revenue.

Then we have projects that we do with my co-workers and my colleagues at Brixey & Meyer. We do projects together that are creating leadership development programs for huge companies, or really companies of all sizes. We go in and help them create leadership development programs. So there's multiple streams of revenue coming in, and obviously directly from the podcast through ads sells, things like that.

So there's a number of streams of revenue that all tie back to that decision to start the podcast, to have it go well, to have it consistently grow over time. So really 100% of everything, you can look back at that decision to say "yes." The chain of events that allowed me to leave the corporate world and a job that was obviously a well paying job, and I was able to leave it to do this, the stuff that I love all the time, as opposed to doing it just doing it part time.

Then I'm able to double down on this. I hired a writing coach, and I'm writing a book, which will be a whole other series of things that happen that will take some time but we're right in the middle of that too. So there's just a lot of things going on because of that one decision to say "Yeah, I wanna do this." And not only do I want to do it, but I'm going think about and find a way to do it right, so that I have a chance for this to go well. I never envisioned leaving my job for it, but an opportunity came to me for the chance to create the leadership advisory group within Brixey & Meyer, because Doug Meyer offered that up to me. It was his idea, and it was too good of an opportunity for me to pass up because now every day I do the stuff that I enjoy most all the time.

Kathleen: That's amazing that it all began from the podcast. 

Ryan: Yeah, it's cool.

Kathleen: Now you talked about video, you mentioned a book, can you tell me a little bit more of what's coming for you?

Ryan: Videos, books, much more speaking. I just got back from Croatia. I did an engagement over there -- a half day workshop with two hundred fifty leaders from twenty-one countries. That was amazing. There is more of that happening. I'm getting ready to go to Toronto at the end of this week and then to Vegas a couple of weeks after that, and South Carolina a couple of weeks after that. So its a combination of keynote speaking, as well as half day work shops.

There are things like that happening, that I look forward too.

And I'm going to hold an event that we're in the early stages of planning -- one event where we will host probably ten to fifteen leaders to come in and we'll do some deep diving from a leadership perspective for a couple of days. We're doing that and we have also started doing live podcasts, so we get a bunch of leaders in a room.

Last time, we just did this one in Columbus, Ohio, with my friend James Clear, an incredible writer, and we record in front of an audience of about 110 people in that room. So we're going to do probably three of those per year. That's a lot of fun. I really enjoy having an hour to mingle with all these great leaders we invite, in an event, talk them, then do the recording with James, see the engagement with them and then have post-show conversations with them as well. We filmed it and recorded it, obviously, and released it as a podcast and the video.

It's a lot of fun, and it's a good way for all of my team members at Brixey & Meyer to invite clients and prospective clients to help them to try to foster and develop relationships. I think if you're focused on trying to create a community of great leaders, only good things can happen in the long term. And that's really what we are trying to do.

Kathleen: I love it. So, where do you see yourself in five years?

Ryan: I have absolutely no idea. I mean, I really don't, because if you would've asked me that five years ago, there's a couple promotions within that five years and then there was ultimately saying "peace out," I left that too. So, I would've never seen any of that, I don't know -- I think it might be more clear now because I'm doing work I love so there's no reason to change. The only thing I see happening is that I hope that I'm much better at this. I hope that there's a lot of growth involved, and I hope there is something that we do that I haven't even thought of yet that's fun.

I mean, because one of the things that Doug and I, when we sat down to create this role for me, wanted to do was to make sure that we were having fun in addition to adding value to the lives of the people that we were serving.

For example, when I went to Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia, for that workshop to lead, I thought it would be much more fun if I brought my wife along, and I talked to the host of the event and they said that would be great, and she joined us, and we had fun dinners and got to see a couple of cool countries, and that was the example of actually putting the fun into the events. It's not me traveling by myself, it's me getting to do something like that with my wife -- experience we'll remember for the rest of our lives.

So I hope to be having fun. I hope to be doing something I haven't even thought of yet, and I hope to be much better at what I'm currently doing in five years, and maybe a few books will be out by then too. I don't know.

Kathleen: Great, well you are certainly a busy guy, and I love the goal of having fun while doing it. That's so important because you can easily let life get away from you, and always be thinking that fun will be coming in the future, and the future never arrives. So, that's really important.

Ryan: Yeah, that's a great point.

Kathleen: Well, I have two questions I always ask all of my guests at the end of our conversations, and I'm curious to hear your answers. The first one is, company or individual, who do you think is doing inbound marketing really well?

Ryan: Are you familiar with Ramit Sethi's work, the Growth Lab, and I Will Teach You To Be Rich, do you know Ramit's work?

Kathleen: No, and I love hearing about new examples that I'm not familiar with.

Ryan: He is really good, constantly putting out content that will make you want to talk to him, and I think that is what inbound marketing is all about, right? Creating content that makes people want to call you.

So Remit's good, and Shane Parrish at Farnam Street is incredible. I read Shane's stuff every day. So, I would say, I think you asked for one, but those are two...

Kathleen: Two's good.

Ryan: Those are two guys that I'm regularly reading, and noticing. I think Ramit's a little bit more intentional about it. Shane's just intentional about getting out great content, and I think that's really changed his life because you become such a great writer. He shares the best stuff, and it's really forced him into thinking outside of just writing. And Ramit, I think is more systematic about it and has a great team around him. But they're both doing it great, in different ways.

Kathleen: That's fantastic. I love hearing new examples, and I can't wait to check those out. I will include links to those in the show notes for anyone who wants to check them out as well.

My second question is, and I'm very interested in this, because again I speak to so many marketers so their answers tend to be somewhat homogenous. But coming from a different background, you are a non-marketer who has a really good natural instinct for marketing, and you've obviously made a habit of doing your homework on how to do things right -- the podcast is a really great example of that.

The world of digital marketing is changing so quickly. I'm curious, how do you stay up to date, when you need to learn things, like the best ways to promote a podcast, or best practices on other types of content creation, where do you go to educate yourself?

Ryan: That's a good question. I think I'm fortunate to be surrounded by some people who are really good at that, so in a way I see what they do. Or for example, Ryan Holiday is one the best in the world, his company Brass Check and just his own way that he understands to market himself and his material is really good. He's written a number of books, and his head of PR Brent Underwood is one of my friends now who helps me get guests, and they only represent the best of the best when it comes to authors. So, I watch what Ryan does a lot.

I'm a part of a few private Facebook groups of professional speakers, and professional authors, so I study and see how they do something whether it's in the speaking business or writing books. I talk to a handful of people who are in the podcast world, and learn some ideas of how they're doing it from a marketing perspective. But really I'm constantly on the look out for that.

I'm very active reader of Twitter, and following or unfollowing people if they're not bringing value. Really seeing who's doing interesting things and then taking notes and figuring out ways to do it the ways others did it. If somebody has a really successful book launch for example, I'll call that person or find a way to get in touch with that person and then just ask them to explain to me what they did, and then the people who helped them do it. And then I ask to be introduced to those people too. So, I'm just trying to build out relationships with people who help people launch things really well, whether like I said, the launch of the podcast was critical, or a book, or videos, so I just try to get in touch with these behind the scenes people -- not just the famous ones out front, but the behind the scenes ones that really know what they're talking about. So that when the day comes for me to need that, we can work together to make that happen.

Kathleen: It's funny that you say Twitter, because I feel like that is a platform that is so polarizing and people seem to either love it or hate it.

Ryan: Yeah.

Kathleen: You mentioned deleting or adding people when they do or do not add value, and I found something very similar. I used to have a lot more people that I followed on Twitter and then about a year ago I decided I wanted to do an experiment and see if I could get more value out of it, and I went through and deleted something like 80% of the people I was following because there was nothing I wanted to read. And that was like a revelation. Now I go to Twitter, and there is so much value there.

Ryan: Yes, I really believe it's the best news aggregator in the world -- at least for me. Facebook is the opposite of that.

Kathleen: Yes.

Ryan: The value from Facebook is all in the groups. I have my own group, and then I'm part of a few other private groups. Outside of groups, there's almost zero value in Facebook. But with Twitter, if the person doesn't provide value, I just unfollow them. So, I am constantly curating that list, and I'm only following people who I'm interested in what they do, so that's how I became aware of Ramit, and Shane Parrish and Farnam Street. James Clear, one of my friends who writes at, who is also an incredible marketer and doesn't even try, he's just a great writer. James, because of the great people he links to on Twitter, has made me aware of these other interesting people and that's expanded my mind a little bit. So, that's why it can be such a valuable tool, and I would encourage people to use it the right way.

Kathleen: Yeah.

Ryan: It's not about sharing meaningless facts, or things like people used to do, but it is about curating interesting people and their thought process and articles and news. It's really perfect for that. That's why for me it's so helpful, and I learn so much from that platform.

Kathleen: Amen! I've had a very similar experience with Twitter. Great! Well this has been so much fun. Thank you for joining me. If people have a question or want to reach out to you, what's the best way for someone to get in contact?

Ryan: They could send me a note at, and on Twitter I am @ryanhawk12. The podcast is at

Kathleen: Great! Again, I'll put all those links in the show notes.

Thank you again for joining me.  If you liked what you heard this week, please consider giving the podcast a review on iTunes, Stitcher or the platform of your chose. And if you know someone doing kick ass inbound marketing work, I would love to know about it. You can tweet me @workmommywork. Thanks again Ryan.

Ryan: All right. Thanks!