Get Ready! with Tony Steuer

EP1 - The Future of Written Content with Tanya Hall

August 16, 2019 Tony Steuer Episode 1
Get Ready! with Tony Steuer
EP1 - The Future of Written Content with Tanya Hall
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Get Ready! with Tony Steuer
EP1 - The Future of Written Content with Tanya Hall
Aug 16, 2019 Episode 1
Tony Steuer

Do you know how to build your brand? What is the future for long-form content and books? Are you prepared for the future of marketing yourself and your company?

In this episode, Tony spoke with Tanya Hall. Tanya is the CEO of Greenleaf Book Group, author of "Ideas, Influence, and Income" and one of the reasons Tony is a published author and now a podcaster. Tanya discussed branding and the future of written content.

Connect with Tanya Hall:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tanyajhall/
Greenleaf Books home page: www.greenleafbooksgroup.com
Tanya’s book site: ideasinfluenceandincome.com and Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KCKg4E




Tanya Hall



Subscribe to the GET READY! With Tony Steuer Podcast

Buzzsprout: http://www.buzzsprout.com/530449
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLFLB1LrzEHs0q6LXehCBqA

About The GET READY! with Tony Steuer Podcast: On the GET READY! Podcast, I’ll be catching up with inspiring professionals from a variety of backgrounds and experiences to help bring you innovative strategies to organize your financial life. GET READY! With Tony Steuer will help you be informed and financially prepared today and in the future. We’ll also talk about best practices from both the consumer and industry perspectives. 

Show Notes Transcript

Do you know how to build your brand? What is the future for long-form content and books? Are you prepared for the future of marketing yourself and your company?

In this episode, Tony spoke with Tanya Hall. Tanya is the CEO of Greenleaf Book Group, author of "Ideas, Influence, and Income" and one of the reasons Tony is a published author and now a podcaster. Tanya discussed branding and the future of written content.

Connect with Tanya Hall:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tanyajhall/
Greenleaf Books home page: www.greenleafbooksgroup.com
Tanya’s book site: ideasinfluenceandincome.com and Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KCKg4E




Tanya Hall



Subscribe to the GET READY! With Tony Steuer Podcast

Buzzsprout: http://www.buzzsprout.com/530449
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLFLB1LrzEHs0q6LXehCBqA

About The GET READY! with Tony Steuer Podcast: On the GET READY! Podcast, I’ll be catching up with inspiring professionals from a variety of backgrounds and experiences to help bring you innovative strategies to organize your financial life. GET READY! With Tony Steuer will help you be informed and financially prepared today and in the future. We’ll also talk about best practices from both the consumer and industry perspectives. 

Speaker 1:

Hi, welcome to get ready with Tony Stewart. I'm happy to have on today. Tonya hall, the person responsible for encouraging me as an author, which is how I ended up with the get ready podcast. So, Tanya , thank you so much for coming on today.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Thank you for having me. It's my pleasure to be with you.

Speaker 1:

That's great. Uh , so a little bit about Tanya Tanya is the CEO of Greenleaf book group. The leading hybrid model book publisher. Tonya is also the author of ideas, influence and income, a comprehensive guide to writing publishing and launching your book and monetizing your content. So, you know , as always with starting out is you want to go back to the beginning. So Tanya , how did you get started in the publishing industry?

Speaker 2:

Sure. So my background growing up in Los Angeles, I went to film school like so many Los Angelenos and worked in television for a little while I was in entertainment news. So I've worked for shows like extra and EU cable networks, style channel fast forward. When I became a mother, I decided I really did not want to raise my daughters in Los Angeles and had friends who had murdered moved just outside of Austin to a little town called Kerrville. And at first I remember thinking like Texas people with two teeth drive pickup trucks, but Austin is not that way. Austin is a very special city and I came out, visited, fell in love, decided I needed to find a job. And at the time I found, I think it was on hot jobs. I found a listing before distribution manager at this little company called Greenleaf book group when today I'm CEO of Granby book group. So we were four people back then 15 years ago. And I built out that distribution part of the business, which is pivotal to what we do. And then I've bopped around into every different role you can imagine here and really learned the business inside and out , uh , to where in 2014, they tapped me on the shoulder after our founder left and said, it's your turn. So I enjoyed being CEO and the challenges that that brings as well.

Speaker 1:

Well, that's great. And I've had the pleasure of working with you since I think Greenleaf was about four or five people and it's been great to see your transition and to see how you've been able to get new people in there. Uh, so, you know, as people go through their careers is, you know, we all transition, especially in today's world is people don't work at the same job for the bulk of their career. What's your been your challenger ? What's been your experience and advice for people who are going through transitions at their companies?

Speaker 2:

What helped me in terms of staying fulfilled here at Greenleaf , even though we were a small company and arguably there wasn't a lot of room to grow in a traditional way, was being vocal about my desire to always be developing and learning and taking on new challenges. I know myself well enough to know that I need that to be happy and motivated. And our founder Clint was very good about accommodating that. So I would spend five years in a certain role and feel like I'd mastered it and then say, what else can I do? And at that point I had certain extra skills that I was bringing to the table. So where else can we deploy those? So that I'm, you know , making, being the most valuable person I can be for the company. And so that's, that's part of it is just where can you create value and , and what really sparks joy, I guess in you, when you think about getting up in the morning and doing any type of work. And what's purposeful

Speaker 1:

Definitely why I think that's great advice because a lot of the insurance nerds audience work for small agencies where there's only a few people and they may seem like there's not a lot of room for growth, but I, in my viewpoint, I completely agree with you is that you have to think a little bit about the job that you want to create and that oftentimes there's space to create something that's complimentary to the work that's already happening. And that's a way for people to always be able to increase their role. So it's wonderful that you bring that up. I think one of the important things that you're doing is, you know, let's , let's talk about your book for a minute ideas, influence and income. That's a little bit of a change coming over as I was joking around to the dark side of being an author, you know, w what inspired you to , uh , write your book?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And to your point, I did resist it for many, many years, especially our business team was always, you know , nagging at me. You need to write a book and you'd write a book so that they had a tool to go out and talk about the company. And the thing is I have the insider knowledge to know that that's really hard because I watch so many of my authors struggle through it. And I just thought, Oh God, no , but at some point I realized that I had to walk my talk because I'm out there speaking at conferences and so forth and writing articles about how the book is foundational when it comes to establishing yourself as an expert and planting your flag as thought leader in your field, but I hadn't done it. So it was a bit hypocritical. And I decided then to buckle down and use a framework that I had already just sort of over time developed as I was, as I would talk to authors, coming into Greenleaf and who were themselves debating, writing a book. And that ideas influenced an income sort of three-legged stool. There is a , I like to call it an ecosystem because all of those things work together. You pull one out and the other two will suffer. And I would spend a lot of time with authors taking them through this structure and helping them understand the importance of developing all three of those areas. And then I realized it just lends itself really well to a book structure. And as I would recommend it , anybody, once I inventoried the content that I already had, a lot of it , um, made getting started easy for me, because I could go through old articles and white papers and just things that I had written , um, even presentations I'd given and use that to just give me a little momentum going into drafting my manuscript,

Speaker 1:

Definitely. And I think that's an important point for any form of law and content is that a lot of us have already developed some framework or written articles. Um, I know that when I wrote my first book questions and answers on life insurance, it was really a compilation of different presentations. I've given different articles I've written and the being able to put it together, made the foundation , uh, for a book and it made it a little bit easier. But I think it also goes to the point that each of us does have a story to tell. And that a book is a good way to get your thoughts out, make a statement about who you are. That to some degree is really what ideas influence and income is about is about your brand and your statement. You know, so with that said is, you know, what do you feel people should know about writing a book, especially in today's world, where there's so much micro content and people's attention spans are pretty short.

Speaker 2:

They are. And they're like you said, there's so much micro content, micro content and all kinds of content. It's just the , um, the advent of streaming media and cable. And that we just have so many choices, no matter what the length, but , um, books still have a very special place. And I jokingly refer well and they have jokingly refer to books as the Holy grail of content marketing, because that long form, and this goes for video to anything long form , um, just gives you the room to really unpack more complex ideas. Frameworks shifts in thinking that rarely can happen in the space of a 750 word blog post . I joke that, you know, over and over again, people will find out I work in publishing and they'll start telling me about, Oh, this book changed my life. And that book changed my life. And you don't hear people say that about a blog posts . So there's an opportunity to just have a more transformative experience through a book. And , uh , for people who use it for business development and branding purposes as well , uh, that the book is a way to almost vet your customers, because it talks about your approach to whatever business issue you solve and your day-to-day work. And if someone reads the book and agrees, then you don't have to do that work. When they come in the door, they've read the book, they know how you approach business. In my case, they read the book, they understand what a hybrid publishing model is. And they say, I agree with everything you said, I think you're talking to me. Let's go.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And , and that's a great point. I found out with questions and answers on life insurance as a consultant. That it's really me because it says who I am as a consultant and what my outlook is. And I think for the audience that insurance nerds were some of the people at insurance nerds, think of books is more as branding and lead generation is writing a book, really something that you see as an opportunity for most people.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. And I think sometimes when I do workshops with people like consultants or folks who are in it or sales they'll object to that a little bit and they'll say, well, I just, there's nothing proprietary about sales, or yes, there is. And even if it's even if your model or how you approach or the industry is somewhat standardized as it can be an insurance, of course you are not. And I think sometimes people are too close to themselves, of course, to see how they're different. And there are whole exercises we go through to help people uncover their own personal brand. And it , it might be the audience you serve. It might be awards that you've earned over the years. It might be the part of the world that you cater to. It might be , uh , that you are focused on families or , um , even that you are , uh , uh , religious and you hang that on your door. So I think people, again, you, you, you tend to not realize how others see you and you do have a brand, whether you know, it or not in the book is a great place to really bring that forward.

Speaker 1:

Definitely. And that was actually going to be, the next question is really in today's business environment, are we all our own personal brands, even if we work at a company?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. And I would argue that even before today's environment, which is somewhat different and people tend to hop around a bit more , um , I think we always were in everybody. Everybody is a brand. Everybody has a reputation that they, they convey. And , um, and now of course, increasingly we can Google that reputation. Now it there's just a trail.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. For actually , unfortunately

Speaker 2:

I would say now maybe we have a better opportunity to influence our own brand and how we are perceived by doing different things online and , um, creating content and leveraging social media, whatever those tools are. Um, we can sort of tailor that brand to cater to a certain audience, but, you know, to a degree you have to keep it authentic or you're just going to be exhausted and it won't come across as , um, legitimate,

Speaker 1:

Definitely an a , I think that's something people need to keep in mind is that when you're writing is that, you know, right. From who you are, it that it's much easier to create content when you're staying focused on what's true to you rather than what you think people want to hear. Um, did you find that when you were writing your book and write yourself?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think in fact, I pushed back a few times on our internal editors, their hearts, when they would say, Oh, we think you should add this or explain this, or take this out. And , uh, I know from my own experience of talking about this stuff forever, it feels like that that is, those were things that I was hearing in the Q and a sessions, especially after a presentation. And so I felt even though maybe they felt like sidebars, they belonged in the book because people are curious, they want to know. So I held to my guns and those things are in there. And sometimes they're treated differently in a visual way. So you understand that they're sort of almost like case studies. Um , and then, you know, we can do all kinds of fun things with design to help the reader. I know that , but , um, but yeah, there were, there were other moments where I just brought in a bit of humor that I debated like, well, is this tone appropriate? This is going into the business section. I thought, yeah, that's me. That's just how I am. So keeping it in there.

Speaker 1:

I , I think it makes it real. And I think it makes people connect with you as an author. And I think for anybody who's writing an article is especially in a field like insurance, is that you have to, to some degree ticket , a little bit light because let's face it. Insurance is not bad, exciting to most people or to anybody. So

Speaker 2:

A grand opportunity there to find humor and insurance.

Speaker 1:

Yeah , definitely. Definitely. And, you know, I think you brought up another very good point is about editors is , um, you and I have both been doing this for a while . We've both written for publications, been interviewed by publications. And I think, you know, what advice would you give somebody for working with either an editor or when you're working with a journalist, preparing a story is, you know, to make sure that your message gets through to the reader.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a great question. And that actually goes back to my TV production days when I realized by watching very savvy media, trained people get interviewed that the interviewee is in control. You think the interviewer is in control or the interviewee if trained properly can always turn a question around so that they can speak about whatever they want to speak about. And you've seen people do this, they're usually politicians and they decide they don't want to answer that question. And the answer question B. So I think that's important to remember that that's your airtime and you, you don't have to necessarily strictly answer. This is for , you know , a journalist situation. And you don't have to answer a question in the way maybe that the journalist presented it. You can spin it a bit so that , um, whatever it is that you want to bring forth is definitely coming forward. Then you have to know what that is going in and same thing with your writing. Um , we go through an entire exercises as you know, where we help authors uncover who their audience is and what their messaging is, who they're trying to serve, who are your competition? What are the demographics? We'll give them avatars. So they know exactly who they're writing to. And that makes it a lot easier to not stray off of that course when you're writing or you're doing media, you have a very clear , uh , deliberate intention in terms of who you're trying to serve and what you want to tell them.

Speaker 1:

Definitely. And I think that translates directly to , uh, people in the insurance industry , uh, whether they're agents or they're working at the home office for insurance companies, or they're working for a high-tech insurance startup , um, insurance nerds has a lot of InsureTech , uh, people in , uh, our audience. And I, I think that's one of the key things is that you're presenting who you are and you're presenting an idea and that you're in control of your message, but you also have to know who you're talking to and how you want to come across is . So when you're, you know, so let's say when you're prepping for an interview, what do you do , uh , to prepare for an interview?

Speaker 2:

Well, if I can get the questions in advance, I always will. Um, I never will have prepared script answers because people can tell when you're reading and I, and as you know, after 15 years, I tend to get the same questions over and over. And so I know what I'm going to say every now and then I'll get a curve ball, but , uh, I like that it makes me think on my toes and stay present, but yeah, I just, I think if I can get the questions in advance that certainly helps , um, but I'll do some research as well and to what their publication is. And in particular, if that journalist has a library of content that I can review to see what's the tone of their articles typically, and who did they seem to be catering to? That can kind of give me a little Intel into , uh, what the tone of the interview will be, and then what I should prepare for

Speaker 1:

Definitely. Um, so, so one thing I've run across and I was curious how you deal with this. How do you keep from getting misquoted or words put in your mouth? Uh, w what's your technique on that?

Speaker 2:

It's hard. I think it's happened to everybody and it's super frustrating because it can just lead to a hot mess of, you know, a blow back, but , um , a good journalist, a reputable journalist , especially for print, we'll send that article to you before it goes live to basically have you do a once over . And if there's anything that you were like, I didn't say that. Or you object to a fact that maybe they just miss noted , um , then you have the opportunity to object to that. But I think in some of the smaller, you know , blogs and so forth, there are little websites that are running articles or , um, people who interview you and take notes, but don't record. Then that's where there's a little stronger chance that you're going to be misquoted or something is taken out of context. And then if that, you know , I'll always just diplomatically and politely reach out and say that that is, that was not what I intended to share with you. I won't accuse them of screwing it up, but I'll say, I'm sorry if I misspoke. That was not what I intended to say. Could you correct it? And I'm usually there, they're willing to do so. It's not, I find it's not a malicious thing. Sometimes they just don't understand our worlds as much as we do. And , um , they don't have the context to get those things, right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no , that , that's true. And I think , uh , the one thing, and what I was curious about too, is when you're talking to somebody that I think whether you're talking to a client as, you know , uh, with your insurance hat on, if you're an insurance agent or broker, if you're talking to the media, is that, I think you need to think a little bit about what you're gonna say is so that you're hopefully not going to even be put in that situation if the journalist is not taking notes, because in my experience, some of the people I've dealt with, even though, you know, they may be a well-known websites or media outlets, is that oftentimes they're in a hurry and they call you and they need that quote and they needed it right now. And the story's running in five minutes. And, you know, you have to be very careful about what you say. Um, sentence ,

Speaker 2:

Probably always better, if you can just email a quote too .

Speaker 1:

Yeah. That's, that's a great tip is , uh, I prefer to do a lot of the interviews by email, although, you know, do you find sometimes that email limits your ability to add context to your quotes ? Sometimes.

Speaker 2:

Definitely. But if they're looking for a little soundbite and , um, it's, it's, you know, a couple of sentences in a broader article, then that's probably easier for everyone just email it over to him , but yeah. A longer piece, you're going to get a lot more color too , out of a vocal interview.

Speaker 1:

Definitely, definitely. So just a couple more things is , uh , you know, I was curious as well, I noticed that you're now involved with the women's beds business network and as a female CEO , um, what unique challenges and opportunities do you feel women who want to transition into leadership positions are facing, or what can they do to help themselves what what's different?

Speaker 2:

Yes. And the women's business network has been wonderful. It's a part of YPO, which is young professionals organization. Um, YPO worldwide is working on this, but they have really low female membership rates under 5%. I think. So I was really struck by that when I joined and immediately became a part of the women's business network to find , um, peers who are struggling with some of the same things that I am. If, if, and when , uh , I think a gender related issue comes up , um, and also of course, men deal with this too, but the way that our families sort of interplay with our work life, I think for a lot of women, is , is this a different and unique struggle, but , um, in the media world, you know, I've been super lucky. I think all of us encounter , um, what feels like unfair circumstances from time to time, but the media world is pretty liberal and I've always been lucky to work around , uh , women in positions of leadership. It's not that unusual actually in publishing , um, being involved in the women's business network, I host their podcast and I've had the chance to interview women who especially are in tech and finance and it , that it's very different for them and they face , um, just different forms of being shut out , uh , sometimes deliberate sometimes not. But , uh, there, there's a conscious effort now to raise awareness around some of these behaviors that make women sort of turn on their heels when they're considering certain industries and , um, and bring men into the conversation as well, so that everybody is mindful creating environment where , um , both genders can prosper. So it's been super rewarding. I love meeting these amazing people. I often feel like a slacker when I interview these women, they do everything on the business side of the family side, and then they're also doing all this amazing philanthropic work and , uh , you know, they're just, they're just tremendous , uh , spirits. So that's been a huge joy and inspiration to me as well.

Speaker 1:

Well, that's great. So would you recommend that to women in the insurance industry becoming involved with the women's business network?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think so. Or , or any peer group that can lend you that support because I'm also in , uh , in YPO, which is , uh , uh, so that part's mostly male I'm in a forum there just sort of like a support group if you will. But I found even then that there are certain things as the only woman in that group that I wasn't comfortable bringing forward, especially , um, back when I was single and I was having troubles in my dating life. I'm like, I'm not going to sit here and talk to six married CEOs about my frivolous dating lives. So , uh, but I felt okay doing that with other women. I think there's just certain phases in your life where you need different types of support. And , um, knowing when to ask for that and being comfortable to raise your hand and say, I need this to be women, or I need this to be sometimes men, maybe if I'm having trouble understanding my male, private equity owners, it turns out men in private equity are a great resource.

Speaker 1:

Definitely. Well, private equity is a whole different thing that is a different world. Um, so, you know, what's your, you know, just getting back to branding and publishing and everything. What's your number one rule for success? Or what one word of advice would you give people in their career?

Speaker 2:

Oh boy, I think one word of advice would be consistency. Um, I think I see people almost go through a new year's resolution style of approaching their inspiration sometimes where they get really worked up and like, yes, I'm going to conquer this thing. Or you see it in people who love to go to conferences like the conference junkies, where they really crave that motivation and that feeling of getting fired up. But , uh , then they don't have the consistency to carry through on an action plan. And , and so maybe it's disciplined as well, but then to , to just kind of keep the ball always moving forward. And the same thing when you are moving up the ranks in a business, or you own your own agency , um , that prevents you from becoming complacent or comfortable because your competitor is probably not comfortable. So you really need that consistency and discipline to keep driving forward , um, and never just kind of rest on your laurels and, you know , if growing your business in that way as a goal.

Speaker 1:

Well, that's great. And I think that especially holds true for the insurance industry, which is a very conference, heavy industry. People can spend their whole day or whole week or year going to conferences. I think that's really important is to bounce out and remember, you have to do some real work in there at some point. So , um, you know, there is a question that I did want to ask you. Uh, that's just a fun question is , uh , your Instagram handle is Tanya hates lasagna. So the big question I had for you that this is hard hitting news journalism here is why do you hate lasagna?

Speaker 2:

You found me well, Tanya lasagna was taken so anyone can prove me wrong. I believe lasagna is the only word that rhymes with my name. And so that was a running joke. I wasn't on Instagram for years. And then some of my girlfriends were begging me to get on there because they run these ridiculous long chats on Instagram. And I wasn't a part of them and they'd have to catch me up all the time. So I joined really for my friends. So it was, it was sort of an inside joke, but , uh , I do not like lasagna. I think it is heavy. It's just, it makes me feel terrible afterwards. And I've been called un-American for this belief.

Speaker 1:

Well, personally, I like lasagna, so I'm not sure I can agree with you on that , but we're all entitled to our own opinions, right? So I just thought that was funny, but I think it gets back to that branding title, because even your Instagram handle says something about who you are and makes a statement and that I think people need to realize that everything you do leaves a statement about who you are, and you need to think about the consistency of your personal brand and value statement. And I know that's something I've learned in working with you and with others at Greenleaf book group , uh, on that. Uh, and I know that that's something I've learned in, you know, from ideas influence and income , uh, which, you know, you can find out more about Tanya's book at ideas, influence and income.com. You can find out more about Greenleaf , uh, books that , uh, Greenleaf book, group.com and the links to those , uh, websites will be in the show notes. Um, I recommend getting out there and at least checking out ideas, influence, and income. If you want to find out more about developing your brand and you know , it's a great tools and Tanya , these been some great thoughts. I appreciate you coming on and being here with, get ready with County. Stuart's been a real pleasure. We'll talk soon. Bye .

Speaker 3:

All right, Tony, thank you for your time. It was fun.