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The Published Author Podcast

WHY YOUR EMPLOYEES SHOULD WRITE BOOKS WITH JASON FALLS, AUTHOR OF WINFLUENCE

Jason Falls leads digital marketing strategy at Cornett, a full-service advertising agency based in Lexington, Kentucky, which was named the Southeast’s Small Agency of the Year by Ad Age in 2021. He’s also the author of the new book, Winfluence: Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand. 

It’s a slam-dunk to say almost every founder or CEO should publish a book to help their business, but what about other members of the team? Jason isn’t the founder at Cornett, but he had their full support when he set out to write Winfluence because they knew it would generate leads for the agency. Is there someone on your team you could encourage to publish a book about what your business does?

In this episode, Jason talks about his inspiration to write Winfluence, how he landed a deal with Entrepreneur Press and what it was like to work with them, and how he was able to promote his book on over 180 podcasts.

If you like this episode, check out Jason’s two marketing podcasts, Digging Deeper and Winfluence!

LINKS

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Josh Steimle:

Welcome to the published author podcast, where we help entrepreneurs learn how to write a book and leverage it to grow their business and make an impact. I'm your host. Josh Steimle today, my guest is Jason Falls. Jason leads, digital marketing strategy at Cornett, a full service ad agency based in Lexington, Kentucky, which was named the Southeast small agency of the year by Ad Agent 2021. He's also the author of the new book, Winfluence, reframing influencer marketing to ignite your brand. Jason also hosts two marketing podcasts, digging deeper and Winfluence. Jason, welcome to the show.

Jason Falls:

Thank you for having me, Josh. Great to be here.

Josh Steimle:

So give us a little more background on you and how you got to where you are today. You were telling me before we hit record that you've been working for Cornett. This agency that's about 40 years old, but what did you do before that? And then how did you get connected with Cornett?

Jason Falls:

Well, I think if you go back in chunks, I've spent a last, you know, probably 15 years or so in the digital marketing strategy, you know, social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing world. Prior to that, I spent 15 years as a PR guy in college athletics and that sort of explains kind of my path. I came out of, of college as a, a sports journalist and a, and, and a PR guy. I worked sports information office in, at Morehead State, mine, where I got my undergraduate degree and followed the Jo sports journalism passion for a couple of years, was in broadcast radio in, in New York for a while. But came back to that sports PR career for about 15 years. And then when my son was born, I realized, well, I don't want to be on the road, you know, three days a week, nine months outta the year and never see my kids.
So I decided to make the leap out into mainstream marketing advertising PR and, and landed at, Joe Anderson an agency in Louisville where people were starting to say, the clients were saying, hey, what is this? What are blogs and what are social networks and, and how do we use them? And I happened to be in the right place at the right time and, and had been playing with blogs and social networks kind of as a hobby and was able to give some, you know, clients, some smart advice and kind of walked into a new role. Instead of being a PR account manager. I became the director of social media probably one of the first advertising agency directors of social media back in 2005 - 2006, before it was, you know, really exploding. And so I've, I've gone back and forth from independent consultant to an agency or two here or there.
I spent a couple years also as the VP for digital strategy at Cafe Press, which is an online retailer for custom products which is headquartered here in Louisville. And so I've, I've just always kind of been trying to help solve problems and that might be strategy problems in the digital space. It might be helping educate, you know, workforces on how to leverage social media internally and externally. But I've always had that PR you know, background as my core. And when you start thinking about influencer marketing, you're really talking about a new version of PR reaching out to people who have influence over an audience, just like a media member would and trying to partner with them to, you know, talk about your product, your service, your topic, your thing. And so that's kind of where I am now. I lead digital strategy. A lot of what we do is influencer marketing, but I also head up the PR and social media efforts for Cornett’s clients.

Josh Steimle:

So a lot of people, when they think of influencer marketing, they think of crazy kids doing crazy stuff on YouTube or Instagram and getting paid tens of thousands of dollars just to mention Pepsi or something like that. But what is influencer marketing? Do you, how do you define it? How do you do it for your clients?

Jason Falls:

Well, influencer marketing, if you, if you think of it that way, and I'm sure we'll get into I have a new way of thinking about it that I'm, I'm advocating with this book, but influencer marketing really is that it's finding these people who have, you know, online audiences, mostly social media folks, bloggers, YouTubers, Instagramers, et cetera. And you want to reach those audiences, their audiences are appealing to you. And so you reach out to them and try to partner to say, okay, how can we be involved with your content in some way? Now, unfortunately, what the mainstream media reports is typically that sort of what I call the duck face P sign influencers, the, you know, the superficial ones, like you mentioned, who get paid thousands of dollars to just hold a product on their Instagram feed. There's a, that that is a very small sliver of the world of influencer marketing.
That's probably five to 10%, a lot of beauty style fashion folks fall into that category, but there's so many more categories. And so many more types of influencers, even within the, the beauty style fashion space, people who are you know, recommending makeup tips, people who are recommending outfits, people who are, you know, offering their opinions on the styles and fashions of the day. Then you can get into the influencer space where you're talking about, about people who are homemakers or cooks and chefs and you know, DIYers, and crafts, people and artists and photographers. There's so many more folks out there. And in, in outside of that little sliver that the mainstream media likes to talk about the other 85 to 90% of the influencer marketing space or these incredibly talented content creators who have often times have captive audiences that may very well align with the audience that you're trying to reach.
And so if you can partner with one or more of them over time and become sort of baked into their experience when they're communicating to their audience, you're a part of it. Now, all of a sudden you have a very genuine dare I say, authentic, even though that word is really overused in marketing today, but you start to have much more authentic recommendation of your product or service from a trusted resource that that audience looks to for content. So that's what I would define influencer marketing about. It's really focused on social media networks. It's focused in the online space and it's one small part of what I call influence marketing, which is a little bit broader picture.

Josh Steimle:

Got it. So what sparked the idea of writing this book Winfluence, what was the motivation for that?

Jason Falls:

Well, we actually kind of touched on it a little bit. There were two, two primary things kind of collided. First of all, I was starting to become frustrated with the mainstream media coverage of influencer marketing. They were only talking about the influencers who got caught, you know, faking photo shoots and airbrushing clouds into their Instagram pictures and people who were charging outrageous sums of money for very, very little you know, substance in their content. That's the, you know, the rubbernecking response of the mainstream media, they look at something new that actually kind of treads on their territory of, you know getting the attention of an audience. And they, they make fun of it. They minimize it, they downplay it and they only underline negative. So that was really frustrating me at the same time at Cornett, we were doing some what I considered at the time, some pretty unique, innovative things with influence marketing, where we were combining online influencers with people of influence offline into programs, which was something not a lot of people were doing at the time.
I don't think a lot of people were doing that now either. We were also going to, to bat with clients with full board influencer, online influencer marketing programs, but we were combining influencers into content together. So we were sort of doing some really in innovative things in the space. A couple of years ago. And so those two things of like, I, I want to write about these case studies that were doing, I want to write about my thought process and philosophy on how we're approaching influence marketing cause I think it'll help people think about it in a much more broad way. And I also want to combat that negative stereotype out there that the mainstream media is perpetuating because when a small business owner who doesn't really spend all day every day in the marketing weeds like I do, when they see influencer marketing, now all of a sudden they're -- they're predisposed to feel threatened by it or feel like it's not worth the investment. And I know that to not be true. So it's really a combination of wanting to help clarify dispel some myths and show people how to use it wisely. But then also give me an opportunity to tell, you know, some of the stories that we were seeing success with and then also bring in certainly other success stories that I found in my interviews and research.

Josh Steimle:

Got it. So you went down this path and then were you thinking about how this would be beneficial for the business, for your career? Was there a primary motivation there that you wanted to bring in more business for the agency or that you wanted to build your own personal brand?

Jason Falls:

Yeah. I mean, I think the truth is it's a little bit of all of that. The primary focus for me really was to, you know, create a thought leadership platform for myself through Cornett. So yes, I wanted to I guess re-establish myself because I wrote two books back in the early 2010s. I wrote a book called no, no BS social media, which was a strategic planning guide to social media marketing, which is still pretty relevant because we looked at it from a strategy, not a tactical standpoint. And then I followed up with another book co-authored with a friend of mine named DJ Waldo called The Rebels Guide to Email Marketing, which was really more DJ's book, he's the email expert, but I wrote it with him and it was kind of a fun, fun kind of flavor attitude kind of thing was my contribution to it.
But it'd been eight years since my books had been out there. And so I, I'd kind of, you know, faded into just focusing on client work. I wasn't you know, talked about in the marketing thought leaders, you know, circles anymore. And so there was a little bit of a selfish, hey, I want to re-establish my own thought leadership, but it was also, I want to do this for Cornett. I want to be, be able to, you know, bring clients to Cornett and show off our expertise as an agency, cause I don't do all this by myself. I just happened to have been around and spoken at conferences and whatnot and have a little bit of name recognition out there. So that was the, those, those two were the, the sort of pieces that went into doing it as to re the, the motivation to do it. But again, it's also the third component is I've, I've always had this interest in willingness in helping you know, marketers be they at big businesses or small businesses, they figure out this new emerging technology stuff. That's why I started a blog years ago. That's why I post things on, on social networks. It's just my contribution to the industry. Whether I benefit from it or not, it doesn't really matter in the end. I enjoy sharing good content and sharing my opinion on it.

Josh Steimle:

So as you were starting the book, what was your process like? How did you, you get started on it? Did you already have a lot of material collected over the years, blog posts and such content that you could repurpose? Or did you sit down and make an outline or how did it come together?

Jason Falls:

Well, you know, my writing process is, is typically pretty linear. I typically start out with, okay, what do I want to say? And in what order do I want to say it? So I construct some degree of an outline and then I start with, here's the introduction. Then I write chapter one, then I write chapter two, then I write chapter three. However, in the midst of all that, you know, some chaos always ensues and you say, ooh, this is the wrong order. I need to rearrange things. So with this particular book, I got really excited about the idea and writing it. And I had a really good idea for the intro to kind of bring people into the story. And so I sat down and started writing. I think I wrote the first six or seven chapters in like two weeks. I just like pounded them out and I was really hyper focused.
And then I got really busy with some client projects at work and pushed pause for a month or two and then came back to it. But I didn't write start on like chapter eight and keep writing. I kind of said, well, wait a minute. I want to write these four chapters cause that's kind of, what's on top of mind right now. So I think it was like 11, 12 and 13, maybe 11, 12, 13, 14. I wrote those. And then I came back to figure out the middle piece to tie 'em all together. So the best laid, you know, plans of mice and men of course always go awry. So I started out in order, I wrote linearly, then I got interrupted. Then I kind of came back and sort of piecemealed it all together. But then at the end I went back and sort of did a rewrite for lack of a better term. It's really more of a heavy edit than a rewrite for me. But I kind of did this, this heavy edit rewrite and made sure that it all flowed. And then at that point I was ready for somebody else to take a look at it and give me some feedback.

Josh Steimle:

Did you get any feedback while you were doing that initial draft or do you write completely on your own and then rewrite and then you start bringing other people in to give feedback?

Jason Falls:

I will normally send you know, an excerpt or two, you know, maybe a few paragraphs, maybe half a chapter to my agent and let him look at it to just say, yeah, it's flowing pretty well looking pretty good. Every now and then, and then if it's something that's very specific, a specific story, maybe a client or something, I'll send it to 'em and say, hey, what do you think about this? Because I always want to get their buy in and their permission to use the stories. But there, those are few and far between, that might be, you know, a handful, maybe three or four times that I would pre-end something before it was published. For the most part, I kind of write in isolation, I get it where I want it to be, when I'm confident and comfortable with the manuscript at that point, then I'm going to, you know, share it either with my editor. Or sometimes I, although I didn't with this book in the past, when I've finished projects, I've let my mother read it because number one, she's my biggest critic. She's also my biggest fan, but she's also a former newspaper editor. So she'll do the good grammatical career for me.

Josh Steimle:

Got it. It's handy. Handy to have those people in your family.

Jason Falls:

Exactly. Exactly.

Josh Steimle:

My wife does a lot of proofreading and editing for me as well. She's good at that. And I'm like, man, glad I have her around here. This is really handy to have somebody who I can trust that can get this stuff done.

Jason Falls:

No doubt.

Josh Steimle:

So what did it look like in terms of timeline was, what was the time from the time you started on the book until the manuscript was done and ready to send off for publishing? What was the timeline there?

Jason Falls:

So I started writing the book. I got kind of got the idea, I got the approval and, and we got an offer from Entrepreneur Press to be to publish the book in. And I believe it was December of 2019. Is that right? I think that's right. And so I started writing in January of 2020 and I had the manuscript done probably middle of May. So it took me, you know, four and a five months to write it. And I was really excited because I wanted to get this thing out for the holiday season in, you know, 2020, 2021. And the publisher was like, yeah, you're, you know, there's no way we, we sold Q4 in March. And so it's going to at least be Q1 in, in 2021 before it comes out. So I was a little frustrated with that. So I wrote it and then I, then we went through the editing process, which is, you know, two or three month process back and forth. And then I was completely done with everything until the book was going to be published and I think June, but then I had to sit around and wait until February. Just because I didn't have the, the things sold through and the deadline set in order to sell through for the Q4 sales. So I got pushed to February 23rd, 2021, which is when it came out. So after it was done, you know, six or seven months in, there was a lot of sitting and waiting.

Josh Steimle:

Got it. So I've been a contributor to entrepreneur magazine for several years now and I knew that they had this publishing arm, but it's traditional publishing, but it's not traditional in the sense that it's penguin or McGraw Hill or something. Can you tell us a little bit more about this arm of entrepreneur magazine that publishes books and how that works?

Jason Falls:

Yeah, sure. So, you know, Entrepreneur Press is, is kind of what would consider in the, in the business publishing world, which is kind of tiered. I would consider it kind of the second tier. Your first tier are going to be your sort of the publishing houses, like the Wiley’s and the Q/Pearson that, I mean no offense to anybody who's published with them. And my first two books were with Q Publishing. If you can put a sentence together and you can prove that you have a list of 10,000 people, you can market to, you can write a book, you don't really have to have expertise. You don't really have to have, you know, real good writing ability either frankly, you just kind of have to be able to say that you can probably sell 10,000 copies of it if, if, if you if you have a good list.
And so those give a lot of people, a great opportunity to work with a real publisher. The benefit of working with publishers at that level and above is that they will get your book in Barnes Noble and, you know, Books-A-Million and facilitate it with Amazon. So you don't have to, you can certainly self-publish and trial that yourself, but if you want to get it in bookstores, you kind of need a real publisher. And so that's the first level. The second level is, is the Entrepreneur Press level. And it's kind of a, it's kind of a one a instead of a step two, it's kind of one a and what Entrepreneur Press does that the others don't do is they of course have the entrepreneur magazine network of publishing to promote to. So they have a concentrated audience of people who are going to, you know, want book like this to help you figure out marketing for your business.
And so, you know, there's you know, Mark Colter is a, you know, CPA, financial expert. Who's published several books with Entrepreneur Press. There's lots of folks out there whose target audience for what they're writing is the entrepreneur, the small business owner, you know, that kind of the franchise or, or franchisee, if you will. And so it's a great publishing house for that because they have a built in platform to market and promote your book. And they do a very good job of that. The frustration I've had if there is any with Entrepreneur Press, cause I've been very happy there is their distribution to the Barnes and Nobles and whatnot of the world is not as widespread as some of the even lower publishers are. I have yet to see my book, for instance, my book's been out for what, six months now, seven months I have yet to see it on the shelf at a Barnes and Noble anywhere.
Now I've had people take pictures of it at their Barnes and Nobles. So it's out there. It's just not widely distributed like mine, which is two minutes from my house. Never seen it there, which is from an ego perspective, a little frustrating, but my ego I'll get over it. Right. And then the next level up is going to be kind of like your McGraw Hills, your Penguins, your, your, your larger publishers and the difference between that. And step one, one B when up into tier two, tier three is they not only make sure that you're in all the bookstores and you're on Amazon, but they put a marketing and promotions budget behind your book and they try to promote it for you. Most of the books be beneath that level. You have to invest your own time and energy and marketing to the consumers.
They're going to market it to the channels. So they'll market it, the Barnes and Nobles books and millions of the world, but you've got to take care of all the social media stuff, any PR that's done for your book, you're going to do it yourself. When you get up to that next level, the Penguins, the portfolios, the McGraw Hills, et cetera. They're probably going to have a PR person or a marketing person who's going to try to help you promote that book. Entrepreneur Press has that to a degree, but they're really focused on entrepreneur.com and entrepreneurs networks, as opposed to the world.

Josh Steimle:

Got it. So with Entrepreneur Press, now there are hybrid publishers out there where they provide all these services, but you pay for the services. Entrepreneur Press is not a hybrid, right? I mean, they are a normal publisher they.

Jason Falls:

Right.

Josh Steimle:

Do they, did they give you an advance for the book or was it just, we you've got a deal and they'll take care of editing and all those services?

Jason Falls:

Yeah. All the, all the publishers that I mentioned in including Entrepreneur Press are what I would consider traditional publishing houses. They buy the right to publish your book with an advance on your royalties. And so you get a, a check for, you know, maybe it's 8,000, maybe it's 10,000, whatever you negotiate up front to write the book and you that's typically paid out in quarterly increments, you submit with my first two books, I submitted, you know, a fourth of the book at a time and they cut me a check for a fourth of the royal, the, the advance on the royalties. As I did that, with this one with Entrepreneur Press, you know, my agent, Gary Krebs, and I negotiated that they would just pay me up front the whole thing. And I would, you know, I would write it or I think I, maybe I had to submit it before they paid me, but whatever.
It was one lump sum. I didn't need the, you know, the money in quarterly increments, so I didn't push for it. But yeah, they, they gave me an advance on the publishing and royalties. We also negotiated for me to get nice royalties on an audio book, which I didn't have with my first two books. And so it was a nice package that my, you know, my, I have an agent Gary, as I mentioned, who helped me pull all that together. And normally the honest truth though, when you're a business book author, if you're not going to sell 25 - 30,000 copies of a book and most business books sell less than 12,000 copies, you know, to be honest with you, they're not big sellers. If you get into the Tim Ferris as the world or the Gary Vainer chucks of the world, you're going to sell a lot more because they're putting a premium marketing budget behind it.
But for folks like me, you're probably going to get paid your advance on your royalties. And that's probably all the money you're ever going to see from your book directly from the publisher, getting royalties for your book. If you sell more than 12 or 13,000 copies, you might see a few hundred dollars a year. You're not going to see a whole lot of money out of that. So don't go into it for the money. If that's the way you think you're going to monetize your book, the other ways to monetize clients, speaking engagements, things like that certainly can be very lucrative depending on how you position yourself. But yeah, Entrepreneur Press, I got an advance and I get a nice royalty rate on both the book and electronic and audiobook call copies. And like I say, I, for, for me, for where I am on the spectrum of things, they're a great publisher and great to work with.

Josh Steimle:

Got it. Quick break here. Are you an entrepreneur? Do you want to write a book that will help you grow your business? Visit publishedauthor.com, where we have programs to fit every budget programs that will help you write and publish your book in as little as 90 days starting at just $39 per month, or if you're too busy to write your book, we'll interview you and then write and publish your book for you. Don't let the valuable knowledge and experience you have go to waste, head on over to publishedauthor.com to get the help you need to become a published author. You've already waited long enough. Do it today. Now back to the show. For the audio book version, did you go with audible on that then?

Jason Falls:

No, actually the Entrepreneur Press has a couple of partners that they use to do that. And I'm blanking on the name of the publisher off the top of my head, but they have an audio book publisher that they contracted with to do the book. I asked for first writer refusal to narrate the book myself. They said I had to audition, but if they liked my audition, then I could do it. I had to audition. Fortunately I have a broadcast background and sound half decent on microphone. So I got to narrate my own audio book, which not a lot of people get to do. So I was pretty happy about that, but it is a kind of a partner publisher, audio publisher with them. It's available certainly on Audible, but the, they have a special Audi, audio book publishing house that handled it.

Josh Steimle:

Got it. So do you recommend that most authors narrate their own book if possible? What if they're not a professional broadcaster?

Jason Falls:

Well, I mean, I would say that my recommendation things being equal is yes, because it's your book, it's your voice. Why not come from you? But if you're not a professional broadcaster or it's a painstaking process for you to be able to perform audibly on microphone in a studio, the way, you know, an audio book should be, should be read, then it's perfectly fine and acceptable for you to defer or for someone to come and say, hey, we're going to go with a, a voice artist because you're just not, you know, the broadcast quality's not good enough. Most people think it's as easy as, you know, picking up the book and just reading from it and being like, as we place the marketing filter over the circles of drugs and examine it, but see, I'm slurring all my words. I'm going too fast. You really, when you're doing an audio book, it's for me, even because I have a pretty fast pace, you know, talking rhythm, I even had to slow down and enunciate every word as I'm reading the book that I wrote.
So you have to have pauses. Like it's a, it's a very different process. Now I've worked in radio, you know, most of my career in one form fashion. So I'm used to it. And I think that's why I got to do it because I could actually take myself through the paces of slowing it down, enunciating, making sure that it was I was expressive what, you know, not don't shift into monotone, things like that. So if you are able to, you know, orate a bit, if you've spoken in public before, if you've got a pretty, you know, good voice, it doesn't grind on people's nerves, then you probably, probably have a pretty good shot. And I would insist on doing it yourself because I think it's more genuine that way when people hear it. But if you have some sort of qualm about your voice and not liking what you sound like, then certainly you can always defer to someone who does it professionally.

Josh Steimle:

I have qualms about my voice and I've got a new book coming out and I keep thinking, oh, it's going to take me like 12 hours to record this and then I've got tp get it edited. And then I'm not going to like how it sounds never like how my voice sounds and I'm putting it off. And I know that I'm okay at voice stuff and still for me, it's still kind of stressful to even think about it so --

Jason Falls:

Well, I would think --

Josh Steimle

For a lot of people it's, it’s tough.

Jason Falls:

I would think for you, it's kind of a shoe in, you should be able to narrate your own book and I think you should, your voice sounds fine. You know how to broadcast a podcast, obviously. So you know what you're doing. I would find it hard to believe that the publisher wouldn't want you to do it.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, I know. I should. I just don't want to, I want to, I want an excuse to get out of it.

Jason Falls:

I'll be happy to narrate your book for you if you want.

Josh Steimle:

So your book came out, when did it launch? Exactly.

Jason Falls:

February 23rd, 2021. So about seven or eight months ago.

Josh Steimle:

Okay and what's the reception been like since then? I mean, obviously we're in the middle of a global pandemic. Everything's crazy right now, but has it hit expectations or what has it been like?

Jason Falls:

It's hit expectations critically, as far as I can tell everybody who's read the book has had some great things to say about it. You know, Jay Bear who I know you, you know who has written several books I think had the highest praise when he said this is the best book ever written about influencer marketing or something in that regard. Mark Schaffer who actually wrote a book return on influence several years ago you know, came on LinkedIn one day with a video unbeknownst to me and he said, you know, I bought Jason's book, I read it. And I thought, why do we need another influencer marketing book? This is just old hat. And then he said, and I was wrong. This is a really good book. And Jason brings up some really good points that haven't been made before.
And he's a good, and, and so the people that I look to as I hope they like it liked it and said it had some really good value for people. So I've been very, very happy with the critical response to it. The sales response I really don't know to be honest with you, the, one of the magical things about Entrepreneur Press is you know, they kind of, you know, sort of sell the book for you and they, you know, promote it for you. And I have yet to see your royalty statement. I probably need to raise my hand and ask for one, but the last time I did check in with my editor, she said, yeah, the book is selling really, really well. At that time I think we had sold, you know, 2,500 copies or something, but it was very early on. So I don't really know how, how it's sold, but they seem to be happy with it. And we've gone and done a couple of webinars on entrepreneur.com for it and whatnot. So as long as the publisher's happy, I'm pretty happy too. I know I'm not going to get rich off the royalties, so I'm not too worried about units sold, even though I certainly wanted to be successful.

Josh Steimle:

Have you seen a lead to any speaking engagements or new business for Cornett?

Jason Falls:

Sure. I mean, we've gotten a bunch of new business leads and we've gotten, I think, I think we could attribute one client specifically really wanted us to help them with influencer marketing. It was a client that we had worked with on projects before. So it wasn't a necessarily a brand new lead out of, out of nowhere. But I think the book really helped them say, wait a minute, you guys do this. So instead of going over here, we're going to, you know, spend some more money with you. I wouldn't say that we've, you know, we can attribute more than that directly to the book, but we have been able to attribute a bunch of leads. And the, the, the challenging thing about working at an agency, the size of Cornett for me in this particular book is I get a lot of start-ups, a lot of, you know, early stage companies that don't have marketing budgets defined yet who want my help because they've read the book and Cornett is, you know, a, a medium size agency that works with medium and large brands that are spending, you know, probably 10 - $15,000 in agency fees a month on marketing.
So there's a little bit of a disconnect between the leads we've been getting and, you know, the kind of companies we work with, but I have, you know, people that I know in the business, people that I can refer these folks to. So it's been great to be able to do that just individually as well, along the way, and make sure, sure that some of the independent consultants, I know I'm able to say, hey, I've got a great, you know, consultant who can help you. I've got a great client that you is looking for, what you do and connecting the dots that way is, is, is also very fulfilling for me too.

Josh Steimle:

Has the team at Cornett been supportive all along the way?

Jason Falls:

Yeah, they have, they were, they were really excited to know that I was going to write another book. And you know, Christie Hailer our, our company president and, and she was, you know, the first day I told her that I think I'm going to write another book. She kind of lit up. She was like, that's great. And the Cornett bought a couple of boxes of books right out of the gate and sent them to our current clients. And we have a stockpile of them there to, you know, give to new business prospects and whatnot. Everybody on the team got a copy of the book as well. So we used it kind of as an internal kind of thank you for folks. So they've been very supportive from day one. And I think more than once a couple of my colleagues and co-workers who've been able to, you know, kind of stick their chest out a little bit and say, hey, the guy that wrote that book, he, we work together. So it's been, it's been fun to, to see their response. They've been very supportive.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah. I would think they would be really excited. I mean, what a great marketing tool for them to be able to say, hey, this is guy on our team and he's the expert on this. And he wrote this book, go check it out. I mean, that's massive credibility for the company.

Jason Falls:

It's a nice leave behind, you know, when you go visit someone with a new business pitch, say, oh, by the way, here's a copy of Jason's book. He's on our team and he'll work on your brand. It's it it'll raise an eyebrow too. It's pretty impressive.

Josh Steimle:

So with entrepreneur, do they do any marketing with the magazine for your book? Do they mode it on the website or in the print, print version or anything like that? Are there some benefits there to being part of Entrepreneur Press?

Jason Falls:

Yes. And I, I'm sure that this is subject to negotiation, but I know that there was a full page ad in the print magazine for the book, the month that came out there was a ton of promotions on the website. We probably did. I, they, what they do is they, they connect you with the editorial staff as an author on Entrepreneur Press and you become sort of an, an expert contributor to entrepreneur.com and they do that so that the editorial staff can take excerpts of your book and use them as articles on entrepreneur.com to promote it. So there is an editorial, you know, promotion, you know mechanism in place. But then they also invite you to contribute more beyond just the excerpts from the book. So I've written a pretty, you know, have a, have a pretty regular contribution to entrepreneur.com about influencer marketing.
Since the book came out, in fact, in, I think it was in March the HBO documentary fake famous came out, which was produced and written by Nick Bilton, the former New York Times technology writer who now writes for Vanity Fair and that documentary encompasses everything I hate about how the mainstream media talks about influencers. And so I had him on my podcast. I turned that an interview for, and a story for entrepreneur.com, which they published. I had a follow up on that with some data from one of the influencer marketing platforms to kind of combat his perspective a couple weeks later. So I kind of became a little bit of an influencer marketing beat writer there for a couple of months. And I, I still con continue to contribute a piece every couple weeks or so to the to the, the website. Plus they also email their list a couple of times to promote your book. And I've done two now webinars for entrepreneur.com that they also promote, which are all they based on the concepts from the book as well. So that marketing machine is there for a reason and they, and they use it for sure.

Josh Steimle:

There are some great value in that. Nick Bilton's one of my favorite authors. Did you ever read his book, Hatching Twitter?

Jason Falls:

I did not. I've read bit bits and pieces of it, and I've read plenty of his pieces over the years, both in Vanity Fair and on the New York Times when he wrote for them he's always been, you know, fascinating writer, great guy. And I enjoyed having him on the podcast. We just vehemently disagree about his perspective on influencers.

Josh Steimle:

Well, I can imagine he might be a little bit jaded having read Hatching Twitter, that book you read that book and you come away thinking it's amazing that Twitter survived its start-up years because that company was such a mess. And you, you see all the insights in that book and you're just like, wow. You know, I heard, I'm not sure this is a real quote, but I heard this quote attributed to Mark Zuckerberg talking about the Twitter guys. He said, those guys drove a clown car into a gold mine. And that's kind of what Hatching Twitter makes it look like. Like these guys stumbled into multibillion dollar success. Because they kind of got lucky, but you know, when a company's been around for almost 15 years and they're worth 20 billion or something, and they're keeping their market cap. You have to figure maybe they're doing some something right in there.

Jason Falls:

Yeah. I think they figured it out along the way they're doing okay.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah. Jack seems to be doing a decent job these days.

Jason Falls:

Yeah.

Josh Steimle:

So now that the book out there are, in terms of speaking engagements and opportunities to get your personal brand out there and get your name known, are you seeing those opportunities come in, even in spite of the pandemic and the fact that the speaking world has kind of interned upside down?

Jason Falls:

Yeah, they, they have definitely come in probably not with the frequency or the, you know, financial you know, benefit in, you know, paid speaking gigs that probably would've come in had we had more in-person events and had I been traveling to promote the book, but I bet I've been on 180 podcasts. So promoting the book and getting my name out there has been very, very easy not a whole lot of barrier to entry there when you've got a new book to talk about with some cool ideas. A lot of people will say, yeah, come on the podcast. But the Speaking Gigs, I mean, I've been and invited to speak at more virtual events, obviously in the last couple years than I ever have. And I've been it -- it's been picked up a lot more globally.
I've done a lot more international speaking events from a virtual perspective, certainly, but directly as a result of the book, the book being out there, it being on entrepreneur.com, someone's running an event in Nairobi, Kenya. They see it, they reach out, hey we'd love to have influencer marketing as a part of this. Would you, you know, care to speak about? Absolutely. I'd be happy to. So I've been doing a lot more speaking gigs normal certainly than I would without a book. So it's opened up a lot of doors. The, the disappointment for me, of course, with the pandemic is, is that I haven't been invited to those in-person events where they're at least going to pay your travel and maybe an honorarium or some will actually pay your, your full speaking fee or they'll buy books in exchange for, for, for your speaking fee.
've been doing a lot of those smaller like PRSA luncheons and advertising club you know, monthly meetings and whatnot, which are fantastic to do, and you get a lot more engaged conversation and those virtual events than you often do at those big conferences when you're speaking. So it's been different, but yes, the opportunities have been there and I've been, I've seen a nice uptick in my, I guess, follower counts on the social networks, especially on LinkedIn, which is where I've been sort of concentrating a lot of my efforts. So it's, it's been good. And then of course one of my podcasts is a companion piece to the book, and I've gone from having basically nothing to a podcast with a couple thousand, you know, downloads an episode or not an episode a month which, you know, for someone starting out, you know, the first seven months of having a podcast is pretty good.

Josh Steimle:

Awesome. With Entrepreneur Press, how much freedom did they give you on cover, design title, things like that? Did they take control of it? Did they work with you and collaborate, or did they just come in and say, here's your title? Here's your cover?

Jason Falls:

No, those, those were all open to my suggestion and, and recommendation. In fact, the titles, my agent Gary Krebs, and I came up with a list of perspective titles and, you know, Winfluence was the, of one we kind of settled on and submitted that. And so they accepted what we gave them which I've got a, a little bit of a funny story and I'll try to keep this as PG 13 as possible. So my first book, No BS Social Media was actually the BS was spelled out. And then the rebels guide to email marketing. So I've always had this kind of swagger and attitude were with my book titles and kind of how I write it kind of matches my personality. So this book was all about you know, sort of flying in the face of what the mainstream media thinks about influencers and talking about influencers and influencer marketing from a very strategic business perspective rather than the, you know, the influencer headlines that you see in the mainstream media.

Jason Falls:

So the, one of the titles that we suggested as to just to see if what they would say about it was with the word spelled out F the Kardashians. And, and my goal was to get Kanye West to tweet F Jason falls in response to that. But that was just me being silly more than anything else, but I was serious about that potentially being the title of the book. We had a conversation with entrepreneur and they were like, well, you know, we don't, we don't hate it. It's clever, you know, but, but I can tell they didn't love it. And I also realized, I don’t want [crosstalk] [00:38:58] Yeah. I, I don't want to be a cartoon character here writing a book. I want to actually write a book that businesses are going to read and want to read. And so I kind of made the mature decision to say, okay, that was funny, but let's just dismiss that and go with, with Winfluence, which has actually turned out to be, you know, perfect for what I, what the book had is.

Josh Steimle:

Perfect. Well, Jason, thanks so much for chatting with me here today, about your book and your journey and how it's influenced Cornett their success, and such if people want to connect with you, where's the best place for them to reach out?

Jason Falls:

I'm Jason Falls all over the place, but jasonfalls.com is a great place to get to the book. The podcast, my you know, blog and all my social networks are linked up there, but I'm usually Jason Falls on all the social networks, too. I'm really easy to find. There's a, a politician in North Carolina with the same name who does not like me at all because he can't win at Google.

Josh Steimle:

Perfect.

Jason Falls:

Good deal. Thanks, man. That was fun.

Josh Steimle:

180 podcasts. That's quite a few.

Jason Falls:

Yeah. It's, I've, I've, I've been surprised too. There have been some that, you know, the, the topic and whatnot makes, you know, for a really good episode and some of them have been just like, Nope, not interested. And others have been, well, you can pay me to have you on the show, which I've been like, really you're going with the paid route. So it's amazing how different people will do it different ways. But, but yeah, I've, I pitched myself to, I think I pitched myself to 270. And I got 180. Absolutely. Come on the show and that's what I've done to date. I still have more to do too. So I'm going to keep, keep pocket it as much as I can.

Josh Steimle:

That’s amazing. Do you -- do you have like a big spreadsheet of all those podcasts or something, or?

Jason Falls:

I do. I absolutely do. I've got a, a promotion spreadsheet for the book. I have a list of podcasts that I wanted to pitch, and I keep track of my pitching on that. I have a list of national media, marketing media, and then local regional media to pitch, to, to make sure that they know about it or have done something with it. Because again, you know, Entrepreneur Press, isn't going to do PR for the book. You know, I have to do that. And so I've spent, I've spent most of March and April, really, really working the phones and working the emails and trying to get people to, to cover the book, it's done okay. Not, not too bad. I've been pretty happy with it. The local there's a local community monthly magazine here in Kentucky called ACE Weekly. And they, I sent the information to them said, oh, this is great. We we'd love to use this. Do you have a couple pictures? I sent them a couple pictures. And then two weeks later, I get a copy of ACE Weekly in the mail. I'm on cover, I was like, what am I doing on the cover? This is a marketing book. I should be like, you know, two column inches on page 23, why I'm on the cover? But they, they thought it was a good story and kind of went with it. Like okay.

Josh Steimle:

That's great. Jason, thanks so much for being with us here today on the podcast.

Jason Falls:

Josh. Thanks for having me, man. It's been great.

Josh Steimle:

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