Here at HeySummit, we're always looking for new ways to help you make the best of your summits. We're doing our best to feature all the ways HeySummit has been used and loved by our community of users. In this post, we're featuring Doc Williams, Founder of Brand Factory Inc. Read on and get inspired 🏔️
Doc, the founder of Brand Factory Inc., is no ordinary HeySummiteer. With a company that focuses on building signature products for brands, he's found a way to distinguish himself and market his services in such a unique way that instead of having to reach out to potential clients, they reach out to him.
How? Well, unlike most who use HeySummit for, well, summits, Doc uses them for one purpose and one purpose only: lead generation.
Anatomy of a summit
Letting his work speak for itself
Working predominantly with people looking to grow their brand and become trendsetters in their fields, Doc first identifies each brand's signature product, and works from there - building a marketing funnel leading to that product; and ultimately building the marketing suite of all the brand's other products as well. Significant products vary from brand to brand - it might be a series of webinars, coaching or an app, for example. His work has helped clients stand out in crowded industries - and HeySummit has helped Doc stand out as well.
Originally, Doc planned to use HeySummit to organize summits. The transition to online summits seemed only natural - Doc was already running a podcast and had been featured on multiple video series, so he had great connections in the industry and top-notch event management skills. Furthermore, Doc was excited by the marketing value of online summits. Eventually, however, he found it too time-consuming to put it all together. He realized he was working round the clock to find sponsorships, or help his speakers record, edit and upload their talks. His speakers had their own businesses and schedules and organizing a summit on such a huge scale became an issue. That's when Doc had an idea 💡
"I'm already talking to people on my podcasts - why don't I just spice the audio, or create some videos from my interviews and make those the talks?"
Still, Doc liked the functionality of HeySummit. For one, it automates a lot of the process - like creating landing pages and speaker bills. Flipping the switch on traditional summits, where organizers spend months crafting the perfect bill of speakers and topics to cater to as big an audience as possible, and use attendee numbers as a metric of success, Doc was nonchalant.
In fact, Doc now primarily organizes summits in order to showcase the network he's built as well as present case studies from Brand Factory Inc.'s clients. Doc does not like hard selling, and finds that his strengths did not lie in sales. An avid believer in having his work speak for itself, Doc's approach is less about what's in the summit but who's in the summit. All the summits he's organized so far have been showcases. With no open enrollment for any of them, Doc's end goal is to get clients interested in hiring him to build their brand.
"I've only had three summits - I build a lot on the backend, duplicate it and then turn off the enrollment. People see the speaker list and reach out to work with me."
Speakers wanted: attracting the best of the best
How does it work?
It's a two-phase process.
Doc seeks out people who are knowledgeable and experienced in the subject to join him in short interviews, which he repurposes as summit talks. These are usually past clients or influencer contacts (his target customer group) he's amassed over the years, often with follower counts in the millions.
Following this, Doc invites influencers to be guests on his show by offering to pay them for their time. Then, he introduces them to his summit, with the overarching theme being something like: How to Brand Yourself as an Influencer, and guest's interests are immediately piqued.
"They think, 'Oh, you've already worked with all these people, you have all these tools already'. They don't even watch my summit because I have it over a paywall.
They just see the speakers attached to it - the summit is my advertisement.
I tell them - I've got new ideas for your brand and could probably make you this amount in this much time. And that's ultimately how I say something."*
Doc's summits have shared common themes to appeal to his target audience - for example, 'how to make your brand stand out', or 'the year's hottest marketing trends'.
Doc, whose background is in fitness, started his marketing career by working with fitness entrepreneurs. Before long he had expanded his reach to Instagram influencers. In a client, he looks for the ones that have the most virality; ones that often do nothing with their brand, often only using their follower count to promote other brands or platforms.
Another type of client Doc attracts, albeit in smaller numbers, are the CEOs, the executives, the people who want to transition into public speaking, keynote speaking, motivational speaking. Even though they lack the social following of influencers, Doc takes it as a challenge. Each plan is bespoke and tailored to the client's demographic - which would not be the same group of people for influencers and CEOs.
So what makes a good speaker in Doc's eyes? Instead of merely targeting the highest follower count, Doc tends to look out for those with particularly strong engagement. This can be seen in different ways. For example, if they post Instagram stories and they receive hundreds of replies, he knows their audience base is engaged. The next thing Doc focuses on is their email sequence, where people are flooding in and opting in to receive content from their own platform, outside of external social media sites.
Summit Successfully: Doc's Top Tips
Repurposed and fit-for-purpose
Event organizers often struggle with having a whole load of content, but no clue on how to funnel it out. It can be tricky to know which channels are working best for you; and how not to be overwhelmed trying to be everywhere; on all possible social media channels. Content creation can be time-consuming, but with Doc's approach, repurposing content is a snap! The focus is on identifying the right fit for each creator's individual personality, and then repurposing content to get it in front of the right audience. At its core, Doc focuses on creating one piece of long-form content, and makes a comprehensive plan of what to do with it - not just making ad-hoc content off of it with no ultimate, specific purpose.
Having worked with VaynerMedia, Doc created a process to create content off of the GaryVee model, which ultimately became his biggest traffic generator. While Gary had a team of 30 and a personal brand, Doc was on a mission to prove that similar results could be achieved with just 2 people - or even alone. The end result? A whopping 18 pieces of content within 14 hours!
Following the success of this process, he - like a true content repurposing master - built a video showcasing the process. He does not make a strong call to action in the video, but finds that clients do contact him after visiting his website and reading about his work after seeing the video. He calls it his 'video business card'.
How to emulate this? Well, instead of being distracted by the sheer volume of possibilities, which can be distracting,
Examples of repurposed content include blog posts, videos, and social media posts, like bite-sized snippets of content on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Reddit. It's important to play to your strengths - if you can create and edit videos a lot quicker than you can write blog posts, do that! It's important that each piece of content is specific and focused - and answering the 5 questions above will certainly help guide your content creation in the right direction. Doc highlights Question 3 (Audience) as perhaps the most important thing to take into consideration when creating content. Most people create content based on what they think is trendy at the time. What might be trendy with a certain segment of the population might not be right for your audience or demographic. Purpose (Question 1, Why?) is also important, but often taken for granted. Content will be different depending on the 'why' - are you writing to be a trendsetter in your industry; revolutionize and change it; or are you just trying to raise brand awareness?
The medium is the message
So, you've answered all 5 questions. Let's get to writing! Not so fast... how will this content be delivered? How do you choose your medium? Doc is a firm believer in going with what works for your audience, but also what works for YOU. Podcasts are very trendy. But if you hate the sound of your voice and you hate talking to people, a podcast is probably not the greatest idea. There's no harm in going for something you're comfortable with - tried and tested methods you've had success with in the past, for example.
Social media posts are also not one-size-fits-all. For example, Doc notes that videos on LinkedIn are less polished than those on Facebook or Instagram, since the primary use of these social media platforms, as well as the profiles of their users, are so different. He focuses on putting catchy, micro-videos on LinkedIn, but then uploads optimized and expanded versions on YouTube. He also ensures the content is specific and direct, making it easy for people to find his videos online if they hear of him via word-of-mouth.
Tools to build your brand
When choosing your marketing tools, there's no one-size-fits-all model. From websites, opt-in leads, payment processors, CRM etc., there are tools for everything these days and it's very much a case of tailoring these tools to your needs.
Doc uses a system of 7 different stackable types of tech. Clearly, this is a man who loves his tools - in fact, over the last 4 years, Doc has bought over 300 deals on AppSumo. He even has a weekly video series, Dive in with Doc, where he reviews various AppSumo deals. The deals are sometimes a hit-and-miss; Doc often just has to trust that the software will work. But the deals usually provide such good value and you stand to gain a lot more than you could lose.
He uses tech stacking for his clients, too. He's always looking for new tools, and with everything these days being plug-and-play, he appreciates not having to be a coding expert to use them. "Technology is no longer a barrier to entry for those interested in marketing - there's no better time to start," he says.
Even HeySummit is used as a multi-purpose tool. With many of his clients wanting to build summits as their signature product, Doc often finds himself tailoring the tool to the client. If they're frazzled, disorganized and don't have a clear end goal in mind with their summit, Doc suggests using summits as a lead generation tool rather than a stand-alone event.
"Everyone's so impressed with HeySummit. We can get sales just by putting up a page that a summit is Coming Soon."
His final piece of advice for budding marketers looking to break into this industry? Influencers already have a big audience, who are constantly hungry for more. It's a big challenge to help them stand out instead of just following what all their peers are doing. He particularly enjoys the challenge, and influencers have already got the traffic and conversions he needs. It's all about testing out what the audience wants.
So, what's next for Doc?
To help those interested in starting a side hustle or pivot in these unprecedented times, he's started a nightly business show called Build With Me. Every day, he takes one software tool, mostly from AppSumo deals, and shows viewers how to build three businesses with it. Don't forget to tune in - it's streamed live on YouTube and Twitch.