Next Geners know better than anyone the value of learning from peers, mentors, and all who’ve come before them. John Hall is a thought leader in content and entrepreneurship, who has guided thousands of entrepreneurs across the globe with his work and voice. He’s the type of person who is so well-rounded and multi-faceted that you can’t help but wonder how he does it. He is consistently booked and referred to as a top keynote speaker. He writes a weekly column for Forbes and Inc., and he is the author of best-selling book Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter to You.
We know that content creation matters to so many young people today – writing for Forbes and other top publications is often on the top of the goals sheet, with no clear path on how to do it (or how to do it well). So, we sat down with John to ask him about his success to date and his philosophies around the power of content creation and distribution.
Haley Hoffman Smith: When did you first start writing, and how did you know it was your calling?
John Hall: [Writing] is not really a calling for me. I’ve never been a strong writer, but I see it as a necessity for a good leader to write and share interests with the industry. I have a team of people that help me with my content, so as much as I’d love to tell you that it’s a passion, it’s not. I do love sharing my expertise or personal experience in content and the writers that work with me help me do that with my content.
When he talks about his team and his writers, he’s referring to the content creation business he co-founded and now advises. He was a co-founder of Influence & Co., which contributes premier content to today’s leading publications. He’s excelled in this, too — He received the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award and has been recognized at the United Nations for his work as the co-founder of a high growth company. He’s launching a new company soon called Calendar, which is a calendar app that utilizes machine learning to help schedule meetings. “I want to impact as many people as possible with saving them time and helping them spend it where it’s most useful,” he shared.
To John, this time is critical for building distribution channels. Although one would think that the quality of the content you create is of the utmost importance for appealing to major publications, it actually isn’t.
HHS: What is your best advice to young, aspiring journalists who too hope to contribute to an array of major publications?
JH: As much as I would love to say that if you just write a great piece of content they will love you, that’s just not the truth. The more you build distribution channels and a following, the more that a publication will want your content.
HHS: Why is content so important for influencers in 2018, and how should they strategize their content?
JH: Influencers become more valuable as they create a following that will spread messages. People half-ass content marketing strategy a lot…They compare the short term ROI to other marketing strategies like pay per click or some other direct response. Content marketing isn’t typically best in a short campaign. It’s a commitment to educating the people that are the most important to your business. If you don’t have a long term vision for it, it’s not worth dipping your toe in. As you grow a successful content strategy, you create this amazing spread effect that can allow you to help others spread their message, engage a customer base, along with many other businesses.
Content creators should base their strategy on what is received the best by their audience, too. I asked John what his favorite article is that he’s ever written, and like a true content strategist, he shared articles on marketing, sales, and PR trends because they’re the ones that audiences seemed to love most. That’s what motivates him to do them every year.
For more insights from John on content strategy, check out his book, Top Of Mind. He most enjoys Chapters 2-4, which are about building trust and relationships: a critical component of truly unleashing influence and engaging those who matter to you, as his subtitle poignantly asserts. There are many ways to utilize content strategy to do just that. John Hall is leading the way.