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Welcome to Season 2 of The Book Marketing Action Podcast with Becky Robinson, where we give you the information you can immediately implement to increase your influence and market your books more successfully. Today’s conversation with Julie Winkle Giulioni, an old friend and client, wraps up the theme that we’ve been doing all month on growing thought leadership and influence online. 

About Julie Winkle Giulioni 

Becky: One of the reasons I invited Julie to be on today’s podcast is that I’ve had the pleasure of having a front-row seat to her building of thought leadership over the past eight years since the launch of her book, Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go back in 2012. Julie, as we get started today, would you tell our audience a little bit more about yourself and your work?

Julie: You bet! I guess I come out of an educational background as a high school teacher, college professor, and department chair before migrating into corporate training and learning. And, that’s really kind of the basis for a lot of the work that I do. I’ve worked in a variety of different organizations as learning development managers. My last internal job was with AchieveGlobal, which at the time was the largest training company in the world and I was the director of product development. 

About 20 years ago, I traded the illusion of security for the illusion of freedom and went out on my own and founded a niche consulting firm, developing training programs for corporate clients. I loved the instructional design work and figuring out how to connect ideas with people and help them then turn that into action. Eight years ago, as you mentioned, I had the good fortune to get to write Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go with Beverly Kay. That was when you and I met and when I started my front-row seat to watching you build your amazing practice and when I began learning at your knee, about what thought leadership, social media, and online marketing was all about.

Julie’s journey to building thought leadership

Becky: Julie, let’s talk a little bit about your journey to build thought leadership online. And I’m very curious, what motivates you or what has fueled your consistent investment and growing thought leadership over time?

Julie: So you know, it’s funny, even as I thought about preparing for our conversation, Becky, I have to be honest and tell you the expression “thought leadership” is completely daunting to me. If I had ever thought about intentionally pursuing that, I would never have even stepped in that direction. I don’t think of myself as a thought leader. But to the extent that I might be, it’s only because someone else is getting value out of it. For most of my life, I’ve developed content, and in many cases, it was for others or for the training company. I felt really comfortable developing a point of view and content ideas for others. But when I wrote the book, when I came to you, and we started talking about marketing it online, suddenly it was my name on it. They were my ideas, and so it was a total game-changer. 

I have found my groove and got over my self-consciousness, at least, most days. What motivates me is several things. If I love the topic, I write about it. I love leadership, I love career development, I think it is so, so important for individuals and organizations. And so there really is sort of a deeper purpose behind the writing that I do. There’s really a kind of intellectual satisfaction associated with spinning the ideas, putting them out there, getting feedback, and then being able to continue to work with them and take them to the next level.

Becky: That’s really interesting to think about, Julie, just a fun and intellectual stimulation that comes from putting ideas out and seeing how audiences respond. That’s a really important point. Thank you for sharing it. 

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about growing online influence?

Becky: Julie, I’m curious, what’s the most important lesson that you’ve learned about growing online influence?

Julie: I was struck by this eight years ago, and I think I’m more struck by it now, people are really hungry to connect. Particularly over the last nine months, there is just such an appetite to connect with other people. The online platform is so rich in terms of opportunities for connection. I was kind of skeptical. I’ve got to admit, going in I took your advice, and I went through all the motions, but I never thought that I could create really authentic friendships, have really genuine conversations, and be able to exchange meaty ideas with people literally all over the world. 

The other lesson I’ve learned is that there’s an appetite for high-quality content. We can all spin content, we can all put a blog post out there. I know for myself, when I don’t put as much time, effort, and thought into it, those articles don’t resonate the way the ones that I really think deeply about do. Folks can tell, they know immediately and you get the feedback accordingly. 

Finally, the lesson that I think I’ve learned is that repetition is actually reinforcement. In the beginning, I felt like I had to come up with brand new ideas and topics every time I sat down and put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. I’m also aware that people need to hear things and see things in different ways from different angles with different context. I used to feel self-conscious, even apologetic about revisiting something and now I’m really realizing that we all learn and get things in layers. Then the last thing, I’ll just say is growing online influence is a team sport, it is not something one does by oneself. I have been so grateful for the connections I’ve made, for the followers who have added their ideas and amplified what I’ve said, and for other bloggers and authors, there’s just such a rich, collaborative community out there of folks who are willing to jump in and help magnify the message. That makes all the difference in the world.

Becky: That’s such a great point, Julie. I think that when we can view others who are in our spaces as collaborators instead of competitors, then we all find additional traction and momentum for our work.

What opportunities have you gained that you would not have had without your investment in thought leadership?

Becky: So Julie, I’m curious what opportunities you’ve gained, that you would not have gained without your investment in thought leadership, and showing up online?

Julie: The benefits I’ve realized fall into two buckets. 

  1. One, probably the most profound, is the opportunity to elevate my ideas. The ideas I have for this new book have come as a result of this incremental growth and different people throwing out different perspectives, great feedback, and continuing to think and challenge myself to focus down this path. So, a huge opportunity associated with being online really is the opportunity to just keep taking your ideas to the next level. 
  2. From a business standpoint, I am busier than ever, and grateful. So now, I do no marketing beyond what I do online, I spend no money on formal advertising or anything like that. I’ve been so fortunate to have people read a blog post, then call me and say, “I love that. Will you speak at our conference?” 

And frankly, this new book that I’m writing, I would not have this opportunity, were it not for a commitment to an online presence. 

Becky: That’s amazing. 

How long did it take you from the time that you first had a website until you started to see the results and the fruits of your labor?

Becky: As I’m listening to you, I want to ask a question that I think many might be wondering about. For someone who’s listening and wondering how they can achieve what you’ve achieved in terms of investing in online presence and seeing those tangible results of client work and speaking work and a book deal. How long does that take? How long did it take you from the time that you first had a website at JulieWinkleGiulioni.com until you started to see the results and the fruits of your labor?

Julie: That’s a really good question, Becky. The answer is not going to be welcomed by a lot of folks. The truth is, it probably was about two or three years before I saw a big uptick. There was a bit of leap of faith and needing to stick to it. I know that’s hard, because, as I’ve talked to so many authors, there’s a sense of let me do this and get the book launched, and then move on to the next thing. I don’t think, for myself, I would have achieved as much as I have if I hadn’t persevered and stuck with it through all these years. My sense is, the longer you stick with it, the more the results are going to come. 

Becky: Well, Julie, that’s my exact experience as well, the longer I’m online, the longer I’m creating value for others, the more results I see. I can’t always point to the exact path of where those opportunities are coming from, but it’s that consistency of showing up where you become memorable to people, and then they know exactly what they can come to you for.

Julie: The other thing is, when I think about the online presence, half of it is providing content, value, and material, but the other half of it is really helping, learning from others, and then helping them shine as well. So it’s not always the heavy lift of creating a blog post or article. Sometimes it’s as light as going in and supporting another author, who’s getting their point of view out there.

Becky: I am so with you on that, Julie, and I’m so glad you said it. I hope that those who are listening, if you haven’t made that investment in showing up online, that you really hear what Julie’s saying. It’s not only about showing up to share your own content, but it’s also about showing up in relationships and supporting others. Those two things combined, are what helped you grow your influence in online spaces.

What are you most hoping to achieve as you participate in building thought leadership online?

Becky: Julie, we have two more questions as we wrap up our conversation. First, I’d really love to hear what you’re most hoping to achieve as you continue to participate in building thought leadership and influence online.

Julie: Two things, one has to do with just continuing to advance, expand, test, and improve content. It’s really just playing with ideas and using the wisdom of the world around us to take those ideas to another level. Then secondarily, the other objective is marketing, but in a value add way. So, continuing to build my business and expand the pool of potential clients for training folks who want me to come speak in their organization or consult with them around leadership and career development. I think it boils down to those two primary objectives.

Becky: Thank you for sharing those, Julie.

Action Steps

Becky: As you might know, from listening to other episodes of this podcast, what we do at the end of every podcast is we have some action steps that those who are listening can immediately implement in order to grow their influence and market their books more effectively. So Julie, what advice would you give to someone who’s just beginning to grow influence online? And what are a couple of action steps that our listeners could implement based on your comments today?

Julie: It goes back to what we were talking about before, it’s a matter of starting and keep going, even those weeks or months when it’s busy, to stick to the commitment, continue to write, continue to put material out there. And continue to listen to the feedback that you’re getting, through active engagement from folks who really are building on what you’re saying and what you’re proposing. Feedback also comes in the form of crickets, and the silence of the things that aren’t generating interest or attention. That’s data as well. I think the key is to start, if you haven’t already. If you’re already doing it, keep going.

Then the second thing is saying yes, and this runs counter to so much counsel we’re getting these days, especially as folks are looking for a better work-life balance. I know there’s so much energy around figuring out how to say no, so I’m going to buck the trend a little bit and say, figure out how to say yes. Because yeses open doors that you can’t even imagine. Yeses offer opportunities and piggyback opportunities down the line that aren’t even on our radar screen today. And so saying, no, will definitely close that door. Saying yes, will open it to any number of possibilities.

Becky: I love that. So for those of you who are listening today, I encourage you to figure out how to say yes to some of the opportunities that are coming your way.

Resources

  • Check out Julie’s website to learn more about the work she does in the world. 
  • Connect with Julie on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter

If you found value in today’s episode, we hope you’ll take a moment to share it with someone else who might benefit from it. Next month, our theme is all about authors. We’ll be talking about publishing options, agents, and all the things you might want to consider as you’re on the journey to write and publish your first book. If you have any questions or topics you’d like us to cover, please email Becky Robinson here.

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