In this episode of the Expert Unrivalled podcast I speak to the amazing Bob Gentle (Digital Marketing Expert) about…
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In this episode, we're talking all about digital marketing for introverted personal brands.
Hello, and welcome to this episode of the Expert Unrivalled Podcasts. And today I am interviewing a very special guest, which is Bob Gentle. Now I first met Bob when we were at Newpreneur. I think it was Newpreneur, 2019. And it was an incredible, incredible event, first of all, but it was also great to meet people like Bob is going to these kinds of events great networking opportunities. And I was really impressed by Bob and I wanted to get him onto the show because he's an excellent example of a very, very successful introverts. And whilst I don't necessarily serve just introverts, I also know that there are more introverted entrepreneurs in my audience. I wanted to show you guys the different ways that you can become successful in business. That don't necessarily always have to be the loud and proud blow your own trumpet style.
So Bob helps digital entrepreneurs and business owners around the world discover, set, and achieve goals online then build a business they love. He's created the biggest digital creative agency in the North of Scotland, but now focuses on helping people find their voice online and explore new ways of connecting value with the places it's needed. I'm really excited to share this interview with you because he gives a ton of goals from a very different perspective and really shows us how we can start to really shine as a personal brand, regardless of introversion. So enjoy the episode. Just before I dive into the interview, I just want to give a shout out to Eloise. Who's left me an amazing review on iTunes who says Jen's podcasts have been so very inspiring. I'm beginning a new venture and the podcasts have been so very helpful.
There is a C advice out there, but I always return to Jen. Thank you. Thank you so much for your review. I really, really appreciate it. And you know, these reviews really help to boost the podcast into the ranks, which means that the podcast gets out to more people and helps even more people. So just by doing a little bit to also make my day, it also helps a ton of other people at the same time. So thank you so much for leaving it again. If any, anyone else is enjoying the podcast and really finding the useful, then please do let me know, do hit me up in a review, but also let me know who you are and that you've let her review so I can make sure that I give you a proper shout out for your business. So Eloise, if you're listening I'm not quite sure who you are because it could be a pseudo name.
But if you could shout yourself out to me on email firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know if you've left a review and I can make sure that I give you a personal, thank you and give your business a shout out as well. And as always, if you want to book a call with me to discuss working with me, to help you to become the number one choice in your markets, then please do let me know, make sure you book a call with me. The link is in the show notes, but here's that link in case you want to just jot it down. It's a bit.lyclaritycallpodcast, and we can have a zero pressure chat to discuss how I can help you on your journey.
So here we are with the amazing interview with Bob Gentle. Thank you so much for joining me on my podcast, Bob.
Thank you for having me, Jen. It's a real treat and yeah, I love the preemptive. It's going to be an amazing interview. I hope it is.
It will absolutely will. And the reason I'm really excited to talk to you, it's not only because of obviously the impact that you're having in your area and your corner of the world. But you've been to actually tell me, how long have you been in business for in total now?
In total? I actually have no idea. I know the company that I'm currently trading as it's probably something like 12 years, but I've been running my own business, I think. Well, it's easier for tell you now I'm 46 and I have been in full time employment for other people for a total of three years.
Okay, fantastic. So you've been around the block a few times and you've also had those, as I've mentioned, some different businesses going on in and around. And I know you're obviously looking to introduce them and start some new things going on too, which I'm sure we'll, we'll get into, into, into this episode. But what I'm really, really excited to speak to you about is because recently you feel like you've hit the nail on the head with your thing. And for so many people finding that thing can be very, very difficult. And I just want to talk to you a bit about your journey. And we were having a conversation privately prior to this, I had to stop Bob because he was giving away all of the gold and I was like, stop, stop telling me this stuff. That's going to be on the podcast. But around that journey to finding your thing and you know, the work that you have to do beforehand in order to really hit the nail on the head. So before we kind of carry on any further, first of all, Bob, what is your thing? What is the thing that I keep talking about that you do?
Well, I think I'm different things to different people. And maybe if I qualify a little bit, my area is digital marketing and I have had a long career in that. I think I started as a, an independent consultant and over time grew quite a large agency doing that. But I hit a point where I realized I did not like who I was going to have to become to take that business further because we were up at about 15 people. And when you have a business that size, it takes a lot of feeding, which meant I'd become a salesman effectively and that was okay. I, I was already doing that, but I was really keeping this business going just to keep other people fed, which was never really what I intended. And I certainly didn't like the person I was going to have to become, to take the business further, which was really a sales manager.
I did not want to be a sales manager. I'm not that guy. I also didn't really want to spend very much time around the kind of person that I was going to need to employ to grow the business any further. So I ended up doing what for a lot of my local peers probably thought was insane, which is shrinking it right back down again to the point where it was just me. So that's the long way around. Now I operate in three different spaces. So I do corporate consulting a lot of the time that's for big agencies helping them get sort of some structure and some depth into their digital marketing capabilities. That's sometimes for themselves, sometimes for their clients. Then I also work in the SME space where I'm doing kind of the same thing where I'm offering a hybrid, strategic coaching and technical support around the digital marketing arena. Often they've got people to do an awful lot of the heavy lifting, so I'm just helping coordinate things. So that's okay. That's kind of me too stuff. There's lots of people do that kind of thing. But the area that I really wanted to focus in on was the digital marketing support from micro businesses, teeny weeny businesses.
What I really have become quite passionate about, and I've arrived here because I've worked with so many smaller businesses who come to digital marketing, wanting somebody to come and may wave the magic wand, but they're not willing to invest anything of themselves into that. So where I've come now is I want to work with the people who want to invest themselves into it, to help them see success.
I'm jumping around a little bit here, but it hopefully will give some context, the people that I want to work with most and the people who want to work with me most. And I think that's a bit of a strange thing to say. But I think that there are people who get me and there are people who don't and I want to work with the people who get me. So yeah, I'm kind of struggling to really articulate it because I often struggle to articulate it. But in simple terms, I want to help fuel people's passions and help connect with the people who need them. And so often that's missing when people come to digital marketing, they jumped straight into tactics, but not okay, well, what is it? You do? What is the magic that's in you? And how do we connect that to the people who need it and not enough people, I think start at that point, because if you're going to be successful online, you're going to have to discover what is it that people truly value in you and actually embrace it and accept it yourself because often it's not what you think it is. Does that make sense?
It does make sense. So you're preaching to the converted on that front in terms of, you know, ensuring that you really understand the value that you bring to the table before anyone else can. And that's so true. And I know you sort of alluded there that you were kind of struggling to articulate it. What I am seeing here is that when you said about know, you want to work with people who get you and they want to work with you because you get them, is that you wear your ride or client, correct?
So in terms of what, you know, what we spoke about prior to this conversation, and what I'm seeing is that you are really helping, like you said, those people who wanted to wave that magic wand and wanted to just throw money at things, and you see so many of those people wondering around like that in business owners who just want the magic to happen and hope that systems, processes, automation, digital marketing can do it all for them, but exactly what you said to me. And I'm using your words here that you said to me before this podcast is that when you are your product, you know, you need to have you in the business that needs to be some kind of personal brand element within it in order to, you know, promote that and push that forward. And what I love about what you do is that you help those people who were, who are right now too scared to do that, find ways that are comfortable. And I'm going to kind of let you take the lead on that because how do you get more comfortable when you ask, when you feel so introverted, what can you do to, to help bring more of you into your brand?
Well, there are some practical steps which I'll come to in a minute, but one of the frustrations that I've had, again and again, working with larger organizations, sort of 300 people, is that they want you to come and just give them some painkillers, take away the digital marketing pain point and just fix it for them, but they don't want to invest anything of themselves in it. And what I found was very consistently after about six to 12 months, the relationship would end because it wasn't working and it wasn't working because once you get through the project wins, the story is about people having babies. There's not a lot left from a content marketing perspective, but to bring it back round to the individual there are those people for whom building a personal brand, easy, they're very extroverted. They're very confident.
They know what they're about, and they know where they're going. That's fine. That's a small subset of people, but when we're online, that's the subset we see most of the time. So that leaves the rest of us. I was quite intimidated that I can't compete with that. So to answer your question in practical terms, and this struck me actually very powerfully, about three months ago, I was reflecting on why is it that people find these things painful and intimidating. And it's for lots of different reasons. There's a whole range of them. I did search and rescue work for about 10 years, and I've also been an army reservist I'm in the infantry. So I'm quite used to being very uncomfortable and putting myself in really dangerous places. And I thought, why is it? I can do all that stuff.
I can quite happily hang under a helicopter, but I'm terrified of doing video. And I thought, well, what is it? How do you train for that kind of stuff? And I realized it's a process of slow climatization is slowly assimilate new situations. So if you take a Gary Vaynerchuk, he has no problem being on camera, and he's not intimidated by that at all. But if you take somebody that's quite introverted and possibly not digital native, they are hugely intimidated by that. So instead of trying to get them to go straight onto YouTube, or just doing Instagram live, let's maybe start right at the beginning and let's maybe get them doing a zoom call once a week. So they're used to looking at the camera instead of another person, or let's maybe take a step further than that. Maybe it's where they might send a text message or an email.
Let's get them to send a video message or a voice message. Slowly over time all these things that were slightly scary, become normal. And then you gradually extend out the comfort zone boundaries because comfort zones are elastic. They stretch and they don't immediately snap back again. So the more you can expand that comfort zone, the more you can grow into these things that were previously incomprehensible, they usually were never going to happen. So that's the process I've been through with the podcast, as opposed to that process I've been through with YouTube. And now that's a process I worked through with all my sort of micro-business clients to get them accustomed to rather than taking the pink color that the SMEs want. It's actually take the vitamins and get some good nutrition and take some exercise so you can become fit and you can start to compete with the natural extrovert, confident people actually very quickly sometimes. Does that make sense?
Yeah, absolutely. And I think you know, something that we talk about a lot on this podcast is around clarity and messaging becoming known for your thing. And you know, just drawing back on some of the things that we said previously in this conversation is around understanding your value and knowing who you are. Talk to me a bit more about that stage and why it's so important and how you take that through, into your process.
Well, again, lots of people are very clear on what they're about and who they're for, and that's fine. They're okay. But again, a large number of people are not, and they've, there's a couple of things going on. They might not understand the value that they have, their superpower. And a lot of the time that's simply having a conversation, reflecting back to people, what have been the most fulfilling moments in business for them, or what really, really, really, really motivates them at a level that they'd never normally express. So really it's getting quite intimate with clients to understand what really motivates you, not what you tell people motivates you, what really motivates you, because it might be that what you're doing for money is okay, but you're doing it for the wrong people. Or you're not really bringing sort of making the air quotes your best self to that.
A lot of people, when we get past that, they're really worried about being people pleasers, especially online. Nobody wants to have people not like them, but as Chris Ducker regularly says, you need to market like a magnet. And that is something we're all used to hearing as market like a magnet, attract the past and propel the rest. But there's some basic psychology going on there that you need to, if you're going to have a powerful attraction, you can't have that without an equal and opposite reaction. You're going to have to accept that to strongly attract some people. And those are the people you've decided you're for. You have to accept that you're going to have an equal propelling effect. You can't please everybody. And then you hear that all the time, but you can't, you literally can't, you're going to have to actively repel some people in order to actively attract others. And again, there's a lot of anxiety around that, but once people understand this is who I'm for, and this is why, suddenly they can give themselves permission to not be for everybody to lean into the things that really make them them and really turn that up. And actually when they start to see some negativity, let it bring a smile to your face. Cause you know that you're going to have the opposite and equal reaction. Does that make sense?
I love all of that. It's so true. And you go again, it's something that we talk about a lot on here is, you know, that prioritazation and I think you're so right. And I think that is why a lot of people struggling in the beginning is because of the people pleasing is because the, the, you know, I can help so many and I can, you know, I can be for so many, but like you said, you, you cannot, particularly in digital marketing, you cannot be. So you, you know, you make some really, really great points there.
Knowing you on it, you know, we've networked together. We've some of the same communities together and we've, we've even matched a meet up in person, which is very novel, particularly at the moment. It's this moment in time where we're all shutted, but also in the online, digital marketing age where everybody's networking online anyway I'm actually privileged to have met you and given you a hug, which is amazing, but knowing you on that personal level, I also know that you yourself have, you know, having been your ideal client, who you are naturally sort of introverted your name speaks very well to how you come across and, and who you are. But what I notice about you, Bob, is the network of people that you have built and the connections that you have with people, how well known you and your in with your personal brand have become. And to me, I think you've done an incredible job, but you've done it very differently to how some of the more overly confident, extroverted entrepreneurs out there you've just to, just to use it. You've had a very gentle way of going about it. We just had an extremely powerful effect. How, why do you think that is?
I think it's a couple of things. For a long time, I played with the idea of, I mean, we all hear about modeling. You just look at somebody that's where you are and just do what they do and you'll get there eventually that does not work. For me, I could never be a Chris Docker or a Gary Vaynerchuk. I may come across in a podcast is very, very confident, but I am probably one of the most painfully shy people you'll ever meet. So I needed to really find my own way into this. And I think it was really I needed to give myself permission to be myself and know exactly who I was for and what I wanted to do for them, but also really spend some time unpacking your value and giving yourself permission to be confident in that. And that is very easy to say, but it takes time.
I mean, I've been trying to get to the point that I'm at now in terms of a personal brand, probably for about seven or eight years. And it's only really in the last two years that I've made any progress on that. So that gives you an idea of how hard it can be. But in terms of the simple mechanics of it, it's fairly straightforward. But I think it was something that when, when I was at the Youpreneur Chris Ducker's conference back in November, it was how they'll ride. I think it was him said that for me, really struck home, which was building a personal brand is a little bit like climbing a ladder that it's quite hard work. Every rung, you have to pay a price in blood, sweat, and tears and personal discovery. But the worst thing that can happen is you end up climbing that ladder, getting to the top and realizing it's against the wrong wall. And that's why knowing who you're for is so important, because once you've established that you can then climb that ladder with some confidence, knowing that when you get to the top, it's where you actually want it to be. So for me the last year, I've kind of known who I want to be for who I want to serve. And if I get to the point where I have 10,000 Instagram subscribers, there'll be the right ones rather than the wrong ones. So I don't know if that's a simple answer to your question.
No, it's a good answer. And, you know, you've alluded to something there, you know, you've been in the game a while and it's, you know, like you said, it's only the last couple that you've really kind of honed in and, and, and, and seen the rewards of your efforts. But for me, a lot of the time I see for a lot of entrepreneurs is that you hear people say, Oh, I was the overnight success that took 10 years in the making. And I'm interested to see whether you agree, disagree or have some thoughts on this. Is that a lot of what I see is people who have changed something or done something very differently, or have had some sort of mindset shift that clicked everything into place that then allowed that sudden success to happen. Because I I'm in my, from my own personal experience, I've been an entrepreneur since I was 19 years old.
And I spent a lot of many, many years failing at business of really not getting it and missing a lot of pieces. And I found that when I did specific things that I suddenly started to see the success, and I actually realized that, you know, as much as it was a journey and as much as I know now, what not, what to do, there is also a part of me that feels like, Oh my gosh, if I had just known that I wouldn't have wasted so many years chasing my tail. And I could've made progress a lot quicker, which is part of the reason I now do what I do, because I want to ensure that people don't have to chase their tail for so many years, that they can make a speed speedier progress. But what are your thoughts on that? And do you think that, you know, perhaps in your situation, some of your client's situations has been the thing that has, that has brought in the most success. What's changed?
I think there's two things. The first one is, again, it's a bit of a cliche, but giving myself permission to not be loved by everybody that if I show up as me warts and all I am a 46 year old guy, I've got no hair, I've got slightly bad teeth. I'm okay with that now. And for the longest time, I think vanity is a big problem for a lot of people. And you need to get over that if you're gonna have any success. And I may be 46, but I remember when I was 26 thinking, I wish I was a bit older, a bit more mature, had a bit more gravitas. And now I'm older. I think I wish I was one of the new kids. That's never going to change. That's always there. And so give yourself permission to just show up as you and understand you're not going to be for everybody.
You're just not. But the other thing is giving yourself permission to not be the expert. And that sounds a bit strange, but what I mean by that is the people don't actually want you to come with all the answers. They just want to come and have a conversation with you. So one of the things that I've really started to focus in on is instead of coming in on instructional and educational, actually just letting people come on. My journey with me from a content marketing perspective is interesting enough for people. So what am I working on right now, rather than this is what I've learned, this is what I'll teach you. People get a lot more from that from a content marketing perspective, it's much more natural and organic for me to generate. This is what matters to me right now. So here you go. So not feeling that I need always come with polished finished theories. It's just this is what I'm up to right now. I can't actually remember what the question was.
You've given some golds here. You're touching on my next point to be fair. And then you answered that, you did answer it beautifully. And you've kind of segues very nicely into what I wanted to ask you next, because obviously you've got all of this digital marketing experience and you are really honing in on helping, you know, there's slightly introverted, you know, entrepreneurs really hone in on the digital marketing from your perspective in it. Cause you've touched upon some really great advice there on content marketing and how to move from how to do this is what I'm doing and demonstrating perhaps some of those how through some of the storytelling and actually the real life experiences, which make reading and consuming, watching, listening to content so much nicer. What are more of your tips on making more in becoming more engaging in your personal brand and helping your audience to first of all, follow you in the first place and then continue following you?
Well, I'm not sure I'm the best example, but I think the problem there is with comparison, we never compare ourselves with where we've been, or people are maybe a little bit earlier in their journey. We always compare ourselves with people who are further ahead and I'm no different from that. How do I do it? I would say with the podcast, the podcast is my favorite thing. My podcast is predominantly, well, it was predominantly interviews. Now it's interviews on a Monday and just me on a Wednesday. But I think the reason the podcast works quite well is I don't worry too much anymore about trying to look clever. My job is to make the guests shine. And I really enjoy that. In terms of my own content, one of the things that I've, I find again and again with my clients is they don't want genius knowledge down from above.
They just want little simple things that they can act on. In terms of being engaging I think again is trying not to look, be yourself, just relax into being yourself and, and everything else is quite easy. It's when you're trying to present as something that you're maybe not that's when things can go wrong. And they did for me for the longest time, I think, no, again, I've given my print self permission to just show up as me it's much, much easier. And then in terms of the technical side, if it's video, for example there are lots of little technical hacks that will make it much easier. For me, this has been a huge thing. Do you want me to go into a proper technical thing for making video easier? One of the problems I've had with trying to make video content is I'm not a one tech guy, never going to be.
And the problem with traditional video cameras is you start, you stay a bit to camera, you make a mess of it. So you start again or you can just do the whole thing and keep going, and then you have a big editing job to do at the end. So now what I do is you can do this with a webcam or with an SLR connected to a camera and to a computer, and then use the computer to record the video. So then I do a bit of the speaking and I do it again and again, and again, till I'm happy with it. And then the file that I was happy with, I drag and drop that into a folder and keep that. And then I go a little bit further in the video. I get to the point where I'm happy with it, drag it and drop it into the folder. So by the time I've finished, I have a folder full of rubbish, and then I have a folder with the good takes and I'm done. And it's so quick. It sounds, and I dunno if it really makes sense. Maybe I should do a tutorial.
To me, the big lesson in that, because I do exactly the same thing when I used to be quite big on YouTube and, you know, trying to do it in one take and my gosh, it just, it was never going to happen. And I actually remember trying for life, you know, cause I was actually born as an entrepreneur before live video was, and trying to record a video for Facebook. And it was just taking me so long when live came along. I was so pleased because it was almost like gave you permission to mess up. And I think that's the kind of lesson in that is that by not trying to make it perfect first time, and this could be applied across any content that anyone creates, you raise a very good point, Bob, around you've almost got to give yourself permission to be rubbish and to not get it right, so that you can find the gold within that because there are some parts that will, but the more you kind of hold back and try and, and to kind of keep going back to square one constantly, you'll never actually dig out the good stuff.
So I think it's a really great tip. And yeah, I mean, were you describing, there was some pretty technical stuff here, which a lot of us probably going, Oh my gosh, I'm not exactly how so you set that up, But the cool lesson, I think it's gold. And I think giving ourselves permission to, to fail forward and to not be perfect and to not be right first time will absolutely help that gold to, to stick out. I mean, I don't know whether that was your intention for the lesson, but that's certainly the lesson that I got out of it.
Yeah, it absolutely is. And when we were speaking earlier about the sort of the baby steps to what's effectively video confidence I actually encourage people to do live before they try and record anything, because if you're trying to record something at the same time, as you're super anxious about even having the camera there, it's going to be really challenging. So if you actually just focus on the live, even if it's on Facebook group or a Facebook page with very few people watching, actually that's not a bad thing. And it's almost counterintuitive to start with life before recording video, but it is much easier.
Oh gosh. So, so much on, I genuinely find going live again because it's always that expectation of it not being perfect is not there. So therefore you can kind of get away and it gives you that confidence. And I find, even though you know, when I became more confident in running YouTube videos, I then going back to live, was that an odd concept, because it was less scripted. It was much less flowy. And so I think platform to platform and content format to content format each has its own etiquette, its own flow. And you have to just kind of stick with it and get used to its ways in order to become good at it. It's not something that just happens first time, right?
Yeah, absolutely. And I think there's one other thing that I really wanted to hone in on which I really come to yet. And it's to do with expert status that, and your podcast is called expert unrivalled. This is a good place to go. A lot of people, in their own hands, they like to think of themselves as, as an expert, but then there's another voice in their head going, no you're not. And comparison is a huge problem. And like I said, previously, we always compare ourselves with people with more knowledge. We never compare ourselves with people with less knowledge. And this for me was one of the pivot points really was accepting my expert status, owning it, but also accepting that I'm not all knowing there are people who know more than me, but from my people, I am sufficiently expert to claim that status with some confidence.
And I think everybody listening, that's one take away. I really like them to have is for the people that matter to you, you have the expert status sufficient to claim that space and express it online, nevermind people who might be slightly further ahead. They're probably for other people you need to focus on you and your people. And once you get that, actually the content marketing becomes easy. You'll relax into it. But until you're willing to confidently show up as this is me, my value, this is you, you need that value. Everything's going to be difficult. There's got to be friction. So it does start with what's inside. Nevermind the, the technical nonsense or the content marketing or all the rest of it. It all starts with claiming that expert status.
I don't think you could have ended this episode more perfectly than on that particular note, because I think you've hit the nail on the head in terms of the first step to digital marketing. I think you're exactly right. Is there, is claiming that space and you know, I'm all about, I'm totally on board when you're talking about, are your client knowing who you're for? You're not for, I think it's so, so important. And I generally do think it is the first step, you know, both for being able to produce content. But as you said for that mindset of knowing that you are the expert and that you do have a mission and a purpose and you're meant to be helping these people, I think that, you know, that's so, so important. So thank you so much for ending on such a blinder of an ending there. That's just amazing. So Bob, can you just let people know where they can connect with you if they're resonating with the topics that we're talking about today?
Well, as I mentioned I have a podcast, you'll find it at amplifyme.fm, and that should take you right into the podcast. And if you want to connect with me on social media, you'll find me literally everywhere, just at Bob Gentle. I'm very easy to find. And if you do connect with me through the podcast, let me know. And I will make sure to follow you back and connect properly.
Great stuff. Thank you so much for joining us, Bob and I, you know, I'm really enjoyed having the conversation with you today. You've raised some really great points and I think it's really going to help so many people out there who are at that point of you. Like I am my products and I know I need to get out there, but you know, how do I begin? And what are the practical steps you've given some fantastic goals. So thank you so much, Bob. And we will catch up again seeing,
Well, thank you. I had a great time and yeah. Thank you very much.
Jen Hall is Business Clarity Coach for Coaches, Consultants & Experts who want to become Unrivalled Go-To Experts. Jen not only gets you clear on your micro-niche, message and what makes you unique and desirable, but she helps you to define what makes you an irrefutable offer to the market so you can position yourself as a high-end 'must have' option for your prospects. She is a Multi-Award Winning Speaker and Best Selling Author of Expert Unrivalled.