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Evangelist Programs for Thought Leadership | Dan Sanchez

Evangelist Programs for Thought Leadership | Dan Sanchez

How to create an organization of independent thought leaders

 An interview with Dan Sanchez about an evangelist program that is helping elevate the personal brands of their employees.

Welcome to the Leveraging Thought Leadership podcast! Our guest in this episode is Dan Sanchez. Dan is the Director of Audience Growth for Sweet Fish Media, a full service podcast agency focused on B2B brands. Dan is also the co-host of the go-to podcast for marketers seeking to grow: B2B Growth.

Many businesses have thought leaders producing content and drawing attention to the company, but how many take the next step and create a program that evangelizes thought leadership within the org? That’s the way to create a body of thought leaders, so that everyone in the company takes part in elevating and sharing those insights.

Today, Dan talks about the way he started such an evangelist program, kicking off elevated leadership and organically taking Dan’s Linkedin connections from 1000 to 10,000 in just 5 months! Dan describes how everyone at his organization was offered a chance to invest in and create thought leadership, so long as they committed themselves to the work for a period of time.

Join us as Dan talks about his insights and elevates the conversation, sharing his experiences around developing methods of engaging employees to develop the organization’s brand. If you want everyone to join in, you need to find the topics they identify with, and help them share their passion for their organization’s insights and good work – though thought leadership!

If you want to jumpstart your Linkedin brand, be sure to sign up for the 3-part Sweet Fish video series – it’s free!

Three Key Takeaways:
  • When creating an interactive group of Thought Leaders, your first step is to engage your employees. Give them reasons to be excited, and they will start acting like thought leaders, too!
  • Learning a pyramid. There may be people above you, but remember, a lot more are looking up at you and could benefit from your thought leadership. Preach!
  • The best way to engage B2B accounts and gain a larger following is by creating and maintaining a thought leadership podcast.

Join the Organizational Thought Leadership Newsletter to learn more about expanding thought leadership within your organization! This monthly newsletter is full of practical information, advice, and ideas to help you reach your organization’s thought leadership goals.

And if you need help scaling organizational thought leadership, contact Thought Leadership Leverage!

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts!


Bill Sherman Many organizations say we want more of our employees to be involved in false leadership. But how do you turn thought leadership into a program that’s for more than just the top of the House today? Today, I talked with Dan Sanchez. He’s director of audience growth at Sweet Fish Media, a company that produces podcasts for B2B brands, and they’ve deployed an Amazing Evangelist program. I’m Bill Sherman. This is Leveraging Thought Leadership.

Bill Sherman Ready. Let’s begin. Dan, welcome to the show.

Dan Sanchez Thanks for having me, Bill.

Bill Sherman I want to dive in right away with you on a topic that I think a lot of people in organizations struggle with. How do you get people within your organization to talk about your ideas and your content and get it out into the world? And one of the things I think you’ve done is you’ve been actively working on an evangelist program for LinkedIn, so maybe you can set the table with that and then we can go into some detail on it.

Dan Sanchez Sure. So if the audience hasn’t been bumping into us on LinkedIn at Sweet Fish media where a podcast agency, but you wouldn’t know that like on first glance, based on all the content we post and we do post about content. But if you’re connected with any of us, any of the employees that are especially active in our LinkedIn Evangelists program, you’re probably seeing us a lot, a lot from that one person or a lot from the rest of us because we’re engaging so much in LinkedIn that you’re going to be bumping into sweet phish employees all over the place. And it’s not just about things that related to what we do as a podcast agency. They’re building their own personal brands. They’re growing their influence as individuals, as people, as their own, their own entities beyond us. But of course, it’s been wildly successful for sweet fish as a brand in itself, and it’s become one of our top producing channels for our company, probably by like three times any other channel. Of course, we have multiple channels, but it’s 3x the next biggest channel as far as producing revenue in the last two quarters. So we’ve been doing well with LinkedIn and getting organic reach this. None of this is paid. It’s just getting, I think, total. I think in the last year we’ve produced a few million views in our content and we’re producing a lot of it and it’s getting out there and doing. Doing its thing, it’s being seen by a lot of people and getting a lot of traction.

Bill Sherman Well, and I want to lean in on something that you said, which I think is critical. You talked about individuals building their personal brand. A lot of organizations say, OK, we’ve got an approved piece from marketing or from comms. It’s gone through legal and that’s the only things they can go out and be sure we’ll share it on a corporate LinkedIn page and then we’ll ask people to like it or share it themselves. You’re taking a different approach. Talk about the approach that you’re taking at Sweet Fish for building LinkedIn profiles and presence among your team.

Dan Sanchez I always kind of cringe a little bit when somebody tells me they have a LinkedIn advocacy program, especially if they use the word advocacy because there’s a certain level of software that kind of helps automate that process and like forces your LinkedIn employees to like, automatically engage with your you, turn them into Botswana or to publish like you push, publish and then bam, it gets shared by 50 employees. I’m like, Oh, that’s gross. And that’s not what social is for social media is there for you to actually be social? Right? So instead of just taking the company profile and trying to push that, you can do that, you could do it well. Instead, we’re working through people, but they’re real people. They have their own interests, they have their own topics. They like to talk about their own passions that aren’t even related to the work that they do. So you have to make it about them and you actually have to get them interested in posting and creating content themselves. And that’s no easy task. And that’s usually one of the things that people ask me like How do you get your employees to actually post themselves? And I’ll tell you, it’s really trying to figure out why should they, why would they why would they push for that for them, not just for your company, but how do you get them to post for them? And we did it spearhead it just by launching it and being like, Go post for you. Yeah, do your thing. We started with just the leadership team and even across the leadership team, James was already really heavy. Annette Logan was there too. And then I was kind of like the third wheel that started with nothing.

Bill Sherman Well, 12, 18 months ago you basically started going, What do I do with this platform, right?

Dan Sanchez I was new to Sweet Fish’s team, and James kind of showed me the ropes. He’s like, This is how you do LinkedIn. And I had done well and a lot of other marketing channels, and I was like, OK, I get it. I understand now. And so I just went and executed his plan and learned from other people like Justin Welsh and Chris Walker. They had some good insights, too. And then I just actually executed the plan actually posted every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I was really active and engaging and tons of other people’s profiles. Of course, I tried to optimize mine in a way that I felt like not was just trying to present myself in the best light, but was actually the most considerate. Like, what can I possibly write on my profile that people would actually care about in a way that’s helpful to them? Right. So it’s actually trying to be the most helpful person out there. And when you take that kind of approach, naturally, your influence grows —

Bill Sherman Well and, I want to stop you there. You talk about something and being helpful, and I know that, you know, that could be sort of taken as a sound bite. But I’ve seen over the last 18 months that you’ve been posting that you are relentlessly generous. And I’ll say this on your behalf in that you’ll say, Hey, here’s something that I’ve created that I’ve been using. Here’s a tool that I’m working on. You are proactively putting out things, and I know I’ve taken notes from you and saying, Oh, that’s a good technique or that’s a good software tool that I didn’t know. I’m constantly cribbing and getting value from you. Right? Because you’re working visibly through issues on LinkedIn. There’s a transparency and authenticity involved on what you’re doing.

Dan Sanchez I find. That it’s best to just be I just don’t pretend like, you know, everything, right? Mm hmm. Like, it’s better just to come out and be like, Hey, guys, I’m trying to figure things out. And then when you have something you figured out, share it like you’re trying to actually be helpful, but also humble. In fact, I could put together like I think even a year ago, I put together like three core values, like, what do I want my content to come across as like, how do I want to be known? And helpfulness was one. Humbleness was the other. An optimistic was the third. So everything I do on LinkedIn ties back to those three things I want to be as helpful as possible like. And that’s usually as much as I try to be as helpful with the one post. It’s actually just showing up and trying to be as helpful as possible with one individual at a time. Somebody asks a good question in a comment. I write a really long response or a personal video. I try to give them the exact answer that I’m hoping that I would hope to get and then humble like I actually ask lots of questions, then I’ll pretend to know everything I don’t. The more it’s like the classic, the more you learn, the more you learn. You don’t know. So I’m asking questions all the time. Just an hour ago, I asked for help with HubSpot, and a bunch of people have already shown up and they’re like, Hey, actually, damn, we’ve been talking for a long time. HubSpot my thing. I’m like, Great, I’m going to probably post a meeting with that guy because we have a relationship and now I’m going to get. I’ve been helping him a lot. I’m looking forward to getting some help back. Right. So being humble, asking questions, being ready for critiques and criticism, I invite criticism in as long as they’re actually like. They actually care about you if they’re just being mean for being mean sake, then I block them like everybody else does. But a lot of people are very quick to poke at things that you might believe. And that’s actually good because sometimes we have things wrong, we have to be able to change and then optimistic like I’m trying to. Share things in a way and be as helpful as possible so that, you know, the future looks better. The future looks brighter. Inspire some kind of hope. I’m still digging into that third one, I think I got the first two down, but trying to inspire more optimism and hope is what I’m trying to go for. So that’s so my content.

Bill Sherman So and I want to explore your journey first, and then we’ll go back to the Evangelist program. OK. When you started out, and I know this is true for a lot of people who are just starting to post on LinkedIn and create that content, they have one of two issues that come up. Either they feel a little bit of imposter syndrome where they say, Oh, why should I be speaking? I’m not really an expert on this. There are so many people who know more or they have content insecurity and they say, I haven’t figured everything out yet, so I’m not going to say anything. Did you encounter either of those or not? What was your experience finding your voice?

Dan Sanchez I have before in the past, and I think because I’ve wrestled with it with other platforms that I hadn’t achieved success on, I can’t say LinkedIn is probably the first organic social channel that I’ve actually done well in. And I think there’s a few reasons for that. LinkedIn has some major advantages over other social platforms like I’d made a vlog, I’d done YouTube, I’d done Facebook posting, I’d done Instagram. I had done I have a blog. I have a it’s not a huge blog, but it’s got dozens of blog posts. It gets and it ranks for keywords. It gets traffic. So like, I put myself out there and tried before for those people who are listening that. Feel like they have nothing to say, everybody has something to say from the very beginning. And if you position yourself as a student, as someone who’s hungry and humble and just wanting to learn and grow, you always have somebody to help. At first, it’s just asking lots of good questions and just posting your journey along and people will watch you go from zero to start to like, learn and grow. And if they watch you kind of like to learn in the process, they’ll start to know that you know what you’re talking about or what I call learning and the like.

Bill Sherman Yeah, you get people who cheer on your growth, right?

Dan Sanchez Yeah, it happens all the time, especially like I’ve done a few deep dives into topics that I I didn’t pretend to know anything about this year. Account based marketing thought leadership was one to account based marketing. I really didn’t know anything about. I’d read like one book I’d read Sam Graham’s one book on account based marketing. This year I did a 30 day deep dove in my intro for every single episode was like, Hey, I’m just a B2C marketer coming into B2B. I got a lot to learn, so I’m talking to the people, I’m reading the books and I’m just going to take you with me on my journey as I make this transition and learn about this very important strategic marketing category. And I didn’t pretend to know, and that’s what made it so much fun is because I could take the guest on the show and be like, they’re the experts, and I could ask them maybe even basic questions. But a lot of the audience was joining me in that effort and they would text me and eat like, message me afterwards, be like, Hey, I actually wondered that too, because there’s always more people at the beginning, which is why everybody has something to offer. There’s always somebody. It’s like a triangle, right? Or I’m in the video. I’m like holding my finger is like a triangle. There’s always more people at the base of the pyramid than there are experts at the top, and you might only be a few steps up that pyramid in knowledge. But remember, there’s three times as many people trying to take that first step. So if you could just be helpful to the person, just a few steps behind you. That’s all it has to take. And sure, it might be regurgitating something else that you’ve learned from someone. And so give that person credit and say like this was actually helpful. That’s a unique take to take something that maybe you read in the four-hour work week that was helpful and be like, Hey, I tried this thing from Tim Ferriss and gosh dang, and it worked. This is what I did, and this is how I tweaked it myself and it actually work. That’s going to be helpful to somebody because you’re just sharing what you’re learning and giving somebody else a unique angle on it because everybody’s different. So everybody’s going to have a unique facet to it that somebody else didn’t have before.

Bill Sherman So we’ve talked a little bit about your journey as well on the platform and LinkedIn and your sort of mindset in approaching. How do you show up not only as a personal brand, but also as a voice of Sweet Fish, right? So let’s talk about the next step. You talked about leadership doing LinkedIn and a group of what was it, six or seven of you working on it? When did the idea come up and say, we need to expand this beyond leadership? How did that come about?

Dan Sanchez We always wanted to be company wide, but we were just wanted to kind of get it going with leadership first. And it was good because we essentially modeled what it could be if you went all into this. And I think my story of being able to take a small I probably had just about a thousand connections and going to like 10000 in a five month period showed people like, Hey, like, you can do it, this does work. And while I don’t know, I’ve been doing marketing for a while and I had a lot to say about these things, but a lot of it wasn’t just me even sharing expertise. It was asking good questions. It was getting good conversations going. It was trying to be helpful. It kind of showed that there was something to be said there, that it was actually a huge career making move and that it was worth trying to emulate. So now and there’s momentum here. So when you have a couple of key players that have a little bit of a following on LinkedIn and they’re working with you, that helps you build up your credibility pretty quickly because especially if they’re commenting on your posts and the way the algorithm works, it’s almost like, you know, if you jumped on a trampoline, have you ever been launched on a trampoline and somebody larger than you comes and jumps right before you jump and it launches you? That’s what it’s like working with somebody with a little bit of a following. You get the lift, right? Yeah, you get the lift. They come and comment. They have a large following. You get shot out to a lot of they’re following every time they comment on your post, which helps you get farther just faster. And it’s not like it wouldn’t have happened before. I just would have taken longer. But with a couple of people that have a little bit more influence on LinkedIn, it’s like boosting you on a trampoline. It just gets you a little farther faster and gets you a little bit more exposure. So that’s helpful to.

Bill Sherman As you reach out and you said, OK, we’re going to take this out to other employees, we figured it out enough that, you know, we’re ready to give them that little bit of boost. How are you opening it up? Are you inviting people? Are you recruiting people or are you just saying, Hey, it’s here if you want it? Let’s talk about that process of how people are getting into this program.

Dan Sanchez I think first we just started off by celebrating because it was a team effort just to do the leadership team to get the results that we got with just the three or four of us really going at it, probably like three of us and then a few that we’re posting every once in a while, but it’s really James Logan and I really hitting it hard. And then, of course, we’re not writing all the content like we literally have a full time employee that helps us write. She writes about a third of my content and maybe like half of Logans, and James takes some of our content every once in a while. He’s particular, but that helps a ton knowing that I don’t have to write all the content now. She’s taking my ideas and just repurposing it into LinkedIn content, so it’s not like she’s writing things that I wouldn’t say. They’re all things that I would say generally. So celebrating that team, showing the results, showing the results of my journey and sharing that with the team at large me like, Look, we want to open this up to you. So kind of a rolling it out like we’re going to put together a program. If any of you are interested, we want to help you build your personal brand. Yes. We imagine that you’ll talk about sweet fish, too, but I’m going to have no requirements for you to talk about podcasting. We have no requirements for you to talk about sweet fish. If you do. Fantastic. Now we do ask for one thing, which is we do ask them for their byline, and that is one thing that’s strategic. I might change it in the future, but right now it’s working. And that is a very strategic small phrase that follows. It’s always under your name, whether it’s on your profile or in the comments, it’s we produce podcasts for B2B brands. It’s a very short phrase. It comes first on your bio. That way, it’s almost like a miniature ad following everybody around, through every comment, every post, they kind of know what what this person’s about. They work for an agency that specializes in producing podcasts or B2B brands, and that’s it. That’s like the main requirement. I produce training based on what I learned, so we give that to them. And that’s actually available to even anybody for free. Any listeners want that.

Bill Sherman We’ll get to that in a few minutes. But so step one, someone says, Yeah, I’m interested in this. Do you say good luck? Go post in, will comment on yourself or on your stuff? Or is there a process that you do to help people prepare?

Dan Sanchez At first it was a little loosey goosey and people were. It was just it was too loose and people were like, Wait, how do I do this? And we kind of have some meetings. But I did formalize a program with an official onboarding sequence. I decided to make it. They have to commit to a quarter at a time. And the major commitment is they have to write three posts a week themselves because if they don’t write while we’re writing content for them, they still have to have some skin in the game. Right? And you’re right, you’re not writing your own content. Yeah, we’re writing content for them. But in order for us to even get a feel of like how they write what their topic is about, what they’re passionate about, they have to throw something out there for our writers to even go off of. And if they’re writing themselves, they’re just going to be more committed to it, which means they’ll be out there engaging in the comments, engaging with other people’s posts versus if we only wrote content for them and they weren’t engaging with the platform, then that content just wouldn’t get seen. So it’d be we’d be spending time and employee time on something that just never got was wasn’t being seen by people.

Bill Sherman If you are enjoying this episode of Leveraging Thought Leadership, please make sure to subscribe. If you’d like to help spread the word about the podcast, please leave a five star review and share it with your friends. We are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all major platforms, as well as at

Bill Sherman Well, and I want to call something out here because you said you’ll have people writing for them. It’s not just on podcasting, you’ll have your writers, if I understand correctly, right on whatever topic they’ve chosen right for their personal brand. Yep.

Dan Sanchez And sometimes some, oftentimes because they’re going to pick something somewhat related to what they do. It’s going to be beneficial for sweet fish, like they’re going to talk about customer experience. Well, of course, they’re going to talk about Sweet Fish. They’re actively involved in a customer experience role. But I have one guy who actually found us through LinkedIn because of my posts. And then he was great. We hired him. He had his own podcast going on recruiting. His podcast is called Recruiting Hell. It’s a fun podcast on like, great topic how hard it is to get, get interviewed and go through the whole recruitment process. But that’s less. Even though it’s a podcast, it’s less related to what we do, and it’s not our target audience yet. We’re backing his personal brand. That is his thing that he wants to talk about. So we write content related to that related to recruiting, related to finding jobs related to all the things that come with job hunting, right? Mm-Hmm. So. We actually are one writer is writing that kind of content for him.

Bill Sherman Well, and you’re working from the assumption that if they’re working for your company as a podcasting company, it’s likely that they’ll speak to things that are related and good for the business, right? Just like if you were an engineering firm or a manufacturing firm, same sort of thing. So my question would be if someone raised their hand and said, I want to do this, but they don’t have a personal brand or they don’t have a sense of a personal brand. How are you helping them develop it? Or do you just say, go start talking about podcasting until you find something else to talk about?

Dan Sanchez We actually do meet with them and start to develop their personal brand early on, and it is a process and I’m and we’re still working on this process. We only launched it like officially a month ago, and we’ve only started walking through the process. We’re in like the first month where we’re in the first quarter, right? We launched second quarter, so we’re only like a few weeks into it, though they started early, they have to start posting themselves a month before the first quarter starts, and then they’re committed for the quarter and they could pause it or reengage in the next quarter. But I asked them to commit to one quarter at a time since, you know, it can be exhausting to try to keep up with LinkedIn sometimes want to give people a chance to rest and take a break if they need to. But we do meet with them in our social media specialists actually has a one on one with them. First to just say like, Hey, like what kind of topics do you think you want to talk about? Do you want to talk about something related to your work? Do you have a personal project you’re extremely passionate about and they just start taking inventory of things that they’re good at, things that they’re passionate about, things that are related, their job here, and then just trying to layout the table to see like what things we can look at, maybe even paired together as good topics. For example, one of our evangelists, Angela, was very interested in talking about career progression, but she was interested in starting her own podcast. And I was like, Why don’t you blend the two and just talk about the personal — call your show, “The Personal Podcaster,” and talk about how to advance your career with the podcast? It was a topic that I was like wanting to do, but I was like, You take this topic because it kind of blends everything together. She also wanted to talk a lot about empathy, but as a podcaster, empathy is one of those key skills of learning how to listen, learning how to help your guests navigate through the topic. You know, there’s a lot of empathy involved in podcasting and marketing, so I kind of pitched that idea to her and she’s taking it now. She’s producing her own podcast and talking about it on LinkedIn. And so that was one case within the evangelize program. Everybody’s kind of found their own thing. And of course, where you start isn’t necessarily where you went. Your personal brand is an evolving journey, and it kind of takes a while to find it even myself. I still have ideas of where I want to go because I’m still known as a marketing generalist because I’m A.D.D. and can’t help myself digging into so many different marketing topics. But even then I’d like to. I like it to be more focused on a particular thing, and I think I have some ideas for that in the future.

Bill Sherman Well, and there’s this interesting intersection between the personal brand and its relationship to the individual, and then the platform for thought leadership puts the idea onto stage and shines a spotlight on the idea. And so one of the things that I’ve I’ve heard from organizations that said, Yeah, we want everybody to be involved in thought leadership for the organization, but we don’t want them to build their brand so large that if they up and leave, we lose our following. Did you guys have that fear at all or how have you thought about that?

Dan Sanchez I’ve definitely had that fear for sweet fish for myself, as I especially is my personal brand started picking up momentum, like if I left like would James hate me, who is the founder of Sweet Fish? Actually, I’ve had conversations about this with James, and James is like. He’s like, I want to become known as the as the company that launches people like you, if you were to leave easily and that’s only going to come back around. And so that’s the mentality I’ve had. I’m like, It’s true. If you start to become known as the influencer launch shop, then one that says a lot about the company. And if you treat people well and help them find out where they want to go, and maybe that’s not a sweet fashion, you help them get there like that is going to build goodwill. That’s going to come back eventually. I don’t know how it’s going to come back, but it’s going to come back because you’re launching all these employees into awesome places that’s going to work out for sweet fish in the long run, even though it might sting in the short term. Also, if you’re doing it with your whole company, then you have a diversity of personal brands that kind of protects it from just one person leaving at this point. James and Logan and I still have the strongest pull, but over the course of the next year and a half, I’m expecting, you know, it’s always the 80 20 percent. So out of our 14 evangelists, probably two or three of them will amass like more influence than others, right? And that will help balance things out as some of them will get more hungry and just get more engaged in it and just work, work it. And that’ll just create safety. So we don’t have to worry about all for this one personally, is we’re going to we’re going to lose a ton of traction. We will lose some, but it’s not something that keeps me awake at night, for sure.

Bill Sherman And what I hear in your answer is an abundance mindset rather than a scarcity mindset, right? Because the scarcity mindset would look at that and say, Oh my gosh, we can only talk about our officially approved message. We can’t let people go off message. We’re certainly not going to support people and give them writing help to talk about things they want. Do that aren’t related to our brand. And you know, we’re afraid that if they walk away, we invest in them. But what causes people to stay investing in them? Right? And who do other people listen to people who they trust and respect? Right. So if you want to, I think, make an organizational focus on thought leadership and not everybody’s a writer, right? Some people are terrified of writing. Maybe they like talking or speaking or podcasting. Supporting them and doing what you guys are doing, I think, is absolutely essential.

Dan Sanchez It’s working out so far. I can’t wait to like take the whole, the whole team that we’re doing now and then have like a more full case study. We’re actually going to be doing probably a live training on this sometime timber because enough people have been coming to me and asking me questions about how to get this started in their own companies. So far, the data is looking really good. I see new leads coming in all the time and the sources LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn and then still coming in from our podcast too. But LinkedIn is the one where people are hearing about us first.

Bill Sherman Well, and there’s this blend, which is really interesting of the in helping individual employees build their professional networks and making them more influential serves the goals of the organization, either directly or indirectly. And I think we went through a phase of decades where it was like, Well, people are replaceable, right? And we can get someone else to do that job now because of the ability of an individual to build a following. That turns it on its head.

Dan Sanchez The goal of Sweet Fish Media, at least our mission, you could say our purpose statement is to foster meaningful relationships. We usually do that through podcasting, so we think a podcast is a great way to get to know kind of anybody you’d like to know whether they’re ideal buyers or ideal partners, maybe new employees or people you just would like to build friendships with. It’s one of the best ways to get people and have face time with them, kind of like we are here now. But LinkedIn is also a fantastic way to find new, find those people and keep the relationship going in between podcast episodes in between Zoom calls. So this evangelize program is really just an extension of that purpose of the company to foster meaningful relationships, not just with them and other people and through their personal brand, but also between them and sweet dish. We know if we can endear them by giving them like this is a benefit that I haven’t heard of anybody else offering yet. I’m sure it’ll be a thing in the future trying to actually write content for them and help them build their own personal brand. But it’s another way to kind of give back to our employees, of which we have lots of things we’re trying to do to do that. But I’d say this is one of the more unique ones.

Bill Sherman While we’re in the summer of 2021, and one of the phrases that’s been bandied about is the great resignation of people looking going, OK, the way work worked before the pandemic versus now, I’m looking for something else. And part of that process of moving is, what are you doing to invest in me? Why should I spend my time and effort for your organization’s goals? And this sounds like you’re trying to find a way to say, Hey, we’re on a journey together.

Dan Sanchez It’s attractive, I mean, it’s kept me around, and I’ve had a few people take runs at me trying to get me to go work for them, offering me more money, and I’m like now because I have to weigh like sweet fish over the next couple of years. I have to weigh like, OK, like the opportunity cost. OK, yes, I get a little bit more money in the short term. But what am I missing out on the long term because of a possible because of how much more influential my personal brand might become? Hopefully, in a good way, in an authentic way that is only done through helping lots of people. But I have to weigh that and it makes it. It makes it a lot harder to consider going anywhere else, that’s for sure.

Bill Sherman So we’ve talked about your journey as an individual. We’ve talked about the journey that you’re starting with the evangelist program for others. And you mentioned that you’ve done something very generous as an organization and making the program available to others. You want to talk a little bit about that and see if someone’s interested in trying to figure it out for them. Where can they go and work? Can they see what you guys are doing at sweet fish?

Dan Sanchez Yup. So I recorded a three video training series that I actually now use to teach all of our evangelists how to do well on LinkedIn. And it’s different from other LinkedIn training videos because it’s literally through the perspective of how to grow your personal brand in your own personal profile, not your company. It’s not how to promote your company has nothing to do with your company. It’s how to grow your own personal influence on LinkedIn. And it’s just all the stuff that I learned from James, from a few other people on LinkedIn, things that I tried, things that worked and that I put together in a video series. I released that after I hit like this 10k marker. And it’s been 10 months since then. And the most almost everything in those videos are still true today. While you can find it on my LinkedIn profile, you can also find it at Sweet Fish slash 10k, and that’s the number 10 and then the letter K.

Bill Sherman Fantastic. So as we begin to wrap up here. You are in an interesting position, right, where you’re seeing the podcasting world, you’re seeing people building not only individual personal brands, but organizations build brands, and a lot of the listeners here are responsible for getting ideas out on behalf of their organization. Is there any advice that you would offer tied to podcasting? Since I know that’s your land, we haven’t talked a lot about that. Anything that you would offer to someone who would be thinking about podcasting for an organization, either things to do right or things to avoid.

Dan Sanchez One thing I want to say about getting ideas out as I actually am getting ideas out through the Evangelist program, I will take things like maybe a customer case study. Have the writer that’s writing a lot of the content. Break it up into small pieces and then post it for the employees. But they have to approve it. So I am sprinkling out content about sweet fish out there, and some of it’s kind of like, hey, like more like press release stuff. But instead of writing a press release and putting it on PR Newswire, we’re just sharing it on LinkedIn through our employees profile. So that is working to get information out there when it comes to podcasting. Of course, we’re a podcast agency, so we’re going to be biased, of course, but we’re biased for a reason. We just James really discovered this on accident and discovered how good it was. Is that? The best way to do B2B marketing, especially if you have a pretty large contract size, were account based marketing is kind of like that’s in your realm like that starts to make sense to spend focused marketing time on individual accounts. The best way to engage those accounts that we found is through a podcast because you don’t want to just send them gifts, you want to build relationships with them. And one of the best ways to build relationships with people is to make a podcast and not on your expertise, but on the expertise of your ideal buyers. So if you’re a lawyer that sells to creative agencies, it’s not going to be a podcast about law. It’s actually going to be a podcast about how to run a marketing agency. And then you’re going to invite your ideal buyers if you saw maybe trademark services to them or whatever. You invite them to come and talk about how they do what they do. Their secrets, what they’re doing to grow, what they’re doing to expand on their innovations or whatever you invite them to talk about their expertise on this podcast. By doing so, not only are you creating great content that attracts the kind of people you want to have an audience of. You actually get to build a relationship with one guest at a time because you can have a few email exchanges. But getting on a Zoom call like this and having a pre-interview and then one like this for 30 minutes, 40 minutes, maybe 50 minutes. It’s very different. You’re at a different level in their relationships, keema now, just by being able to talk to them and promote their expertise, promote what they’re doing with their company and then publishing it for the world to see. And you could call that somewhat manipulative, though we hold it very open handed. It’s not like we’d go from there to then pitching them on our services. Now we’re using it strategically to build relationships, knowing that a lot of those relationships will turn to revenue. Some of them won’t. Some of them aren’t ready for it. But I guarantee you they’re going to check out your website and figure out what you’re about. While they’re big while they’re being a gas, while they’re following up with the episode, later they’re going to find out what you offer and why you offer it. And we’ve had a lot of people like even leave the companies they were at, start a new company and they’d be like, Call us right away. And they’re like, Oh, I’ve been waiting to start a podcast ever since that interview, but my last company wasn’t interested. But this one is. And then they’re going to call the ones they know. They’re going to call the people they trust. And because they have relationship with you because they know you, they’ve talked to you, they’re going to come calling you.

Bill Sherman So, Dan, there’s a whole lot more we could talk about, and I know you and I, when we get together to talk, it could go an hour, hour and a half easy. But I think we’re going to have to leave it here for today if someone wants to get a hold of you. How do they find you?

Dan Sanchez LinkedIn, just like we were talking about, you can find out Dan slash LinkedIn.

Bill Sherman Awesome.

Dan Sanchez That’ll just forward you to my profile.

Bill Sherman Thank you, Dan.

Dan Sanchez Thank you, Bill.

Bill Sherman If you’re interested in organizational thought leadership, then I invite you to subscribe to the OrgTL Newsletter. Each month we talk about the people who create, curate and deploy thought leadership on behalf of their organizations. Go to the website and choose Join our newsletter. I’ll leave a link to the website as well as my LinkedIn profile in the show notes. Thanks for listening, and I look forward to hearing what you thought of the show.


Bill Sherman works with thought leaders to launch big ideas within well-known brands. He is the COO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Bill on Twitter

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