In this podcast episode, we interview Matthew Hunt, Founder of Automation Wolf, a company that supports B2B founders and CEOs create snackable content to develop personal brands on LinkedIn.

Matthew shares the process of how the team at Automation Wolf work with founders and CEOs to develop snackable content that keeps them top of mind and stay consistent in prospects’ newsfeeds; while also bridging the gap between short and long-form content. He also explores why it’s important to encourage CEOs to get involved in social media, how honest you should be in your posts, and his views on how broad the social marketing effort should be across a company.

Listen to the podcast now via the links below:

Transcript: Interview with Matthew Hunt – Automation Wolf

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Matthew Hunt

Mike: Thanks for listening to marketing b2b Tech, the podcast from Napier, where you can find out what really works in b2b marketing today. Welcome to marketing b2b technology, the podcast from Napier. Today I’m joined by Matthew Hunt. Matthew is the founder of Automation Wolf. Welcome to the podcast, Matthew.

Matthew: Hey, Mike, thanks for having me. Glad to be here.

Mike: Fantastic. Well, firstly, with a name like automation wolf. Well, I, you know, I’m really interested in what does your business do? Can you explain very quickly, you know, what you offer and how you help people?

Matthew: Yeah, sure. So we work with really busy CEOs and founders, who run b2b companies, and we help them create all of their snackable content for LinkedIn, within one hour a month. The real challenge for most people in general, particularly busy people, it’s not money or not knowing how to do something. It’s actually time. That just doesn’t seem to be enough, you know, days and each month, enough hours in each day and enough seconds and each hour.

Mike: You said, an hour a month, is that right? So what are you doing? You’re just doing two pieces of content? And that’s it, right? I mean, how do you do it in an hour?

Matthew: Yeah, of course, yeah, we just, we just put out one piece of content every year, and we’re good to go No. So so the way we do it is we actually lead with with video very, very similar to this format, where we interview the idea that you know, the our clients, however, we lead with the intention that it’s going to be snackable content versus long form content. And the reason we do that is we can do it privately, so that we only keep the best stuff. And that becomes the lead domino that inspires the rest of the content. So creates video content, it creates text content, it creates images, it creates PDF carousels, and polls and so forth. And so it’s a really good use of that individual’s time. And then we take it post production and do all the slicing and dicing and distribution and syndication of that content afterwards. So basically, we take client for one hour at the interview, and then we need them for 30 minutes afterwards to either approve it or provide feedback. And that’s it, the job is done.

Mike: Certainly, let’s just unpack exactly what you’re doing. So you’re effectively you’re interviewing a CEO on video, you then chop that up, but you don’t just take clips, you’re also then then reuse that with different forms of content like text. Is that right? If I understood that?

Matthew: Yeah, that’s correct. So so you know not. So when we create content, we look for two different types of content that we want to create. One is to create the right notes to build a personal brand. So we call that the ACES method. And aces just stands for authority, connect, engage in show. And so authority is any sort of tip or advice or any authority that you want to be known for that make someone better or more awesome. Within a short snack or piece of content. A connect piece is something that shows that you’re human that you know, we don’t usually care too much about what you do until we know how much you care, we don’t really remember what you said. But we remember how you made us feel. And so this is any type of content that hits the heart, hits the gut, or hits the funny bone. And then engage is anything that starts a conversation.

So a lot of times, we’re trying too hard to create all of our content when we can lean on our network, our warm network, our community, the people we’re connected on with social media or on LinkedIn, and ask a question to start a conversation and let them create our content and then show instead of sell, like we shouldn’t really sell or tell people how awesome we are. What we should do is show them how awesome we are with transformation stories featuring our clients or case studies or before and afters. Everyone’s on our sneak peeks behind the scene of what’s going on. So that’s the first step. The second step is getting it into all the different formats, people like different types of formats. You don’t know what people like. And so we say lead with video and video is the lead domino to creating text posts for transcriptions or quotable snackable pieces of content on an image car. Or maybe it sparks a conversation as a poll, or there could be a listicle Earth tips that could create a carousel PDF. And this snackable content when you do it that way plays a beautiful song. So think of it like playing a piano. If you only hit one key on the piano, it becomes a very boring song but when you play all the keys on the piano becomes very interesting and just sort of diversify. And it’s a great way to repurpose and recycle Maybe the same sound bite in more than one way, and you just don’t know what’s going to connect with people. So we want to mix it up and keep it interesting.

Mike: And so in terms of this content, I love that the idea of the three elements of the ACES content. Can you give us, you know, perhaps some examples of you know, what you might use for each particular category of content?

Matthew: Sure, so there’s many different ways to do authority content. But my preferred method of authority content is when you state something that is counter intuitive. So where you can first start off with setting the scene and describing someone’s problems better, they can better than they can describe themselves, which means you need to go deep on the fears, wants, aspirations and frustrations. And if you do that, then it feels like you’re reading their mind, right. And that’s how you get their attention. Next is to describe how everybody else is doing it. And tell them how that is the old way of doing something. And then here is a new idea that is counterintuitive to what most of the marketplace talks about to do something new, and it provides something usually instantaneous that someone could take action on immediately, where it immediately makes someone else’s life or business better, is what we want to do. And we could do that in video format in text format, and an image format, etc. And one of the best things to do is to give away some sort of additional asset that will bridge the gap from your snackable content, and get them into your long form content or into your marketing funnel. So things like a cheat sheet, or a checklist or something that’s one click makes their life better is an awesome lead magnet that you can include with that, which will then hopefully lead them into your long form content, or your controlled form content.

So what most people don’t understand is the snackable content is really just to keep people top of mind and to stay consistent in people’s newsfeeds. It’s the discoverability format. This is where they get to know you. But we need to make a bridge to long form content. This is your ability where people get to like you. And then you need to make the bridge from long form content into controlled form content. This is usually a form of community. And this is where people get to trust you just remember people only buy from you if they know you, like you and trust you. And in fact, you can’t do any selling whatsoever you shouldn’t do any into you know that you’ve made it to that made it to the trust level, right, you got to look at the trust metre and where you are there challenges most people try to sell too early, and they’re either end up looking like a stranger. Stranger means danger, or too even if someone entertains your offer early before you have trust, you’re just going to be treated like everybody else, the sea of sameness that’s out there. And you’re going to be treated like a commodity, which makes it really hard to sell. And then you have to compete on price. But if you take your time, and you bridge the gap between these three levels of short form, long form and controlled form, and get people to the level of trusting you, you can suck at sales, and you can charge more, which makes your life a lot easier.

Mike: It sounds fantastic. And I think I think I’m halfway there. I suck at sales anyway. So you do this through video. And obviously that’s great for the CEO. But how do you prepare the questions? Is that something you’re preparing? are you monitoring? You know, feeds, how do you work out what topics because I think that’s always an issue for, you know, particularly, you know, some more senior people is what they talk about on LinkedIn.

Matthew: Yeah. So before we even start creating content, we we spend two or three workshops with each individual. And we go through a go to market strategy, as well as a bunch of questions to understand their IP, and what makes their ideal prospects or their existing clients, you know, tick what’s important to them, what are their hot buttons, right. And so once we understand that, it makes it a lot easier to create the stackable content. So if you don’t already have, let’s say, a signature process, then that’s a problem, we will help you create that signature process, which is really most people do, they just have a chance to articulate it or put it on paper. And we have a very simple exercise where literally we create a three three by three matrix, or sometimes a three by four matrix. And there’s usually three pillars. And then each pillar usually has three steps or four steps. And once that happens if you have four steps as an example, you really have 12 pillar talks that you can talk about, right? You can’t cover it all in in each snackable piece of content your whole system, but we can cover a little bit of that. Plus we also you know work on talking to clients a lot about themselves and giving sneak peeks behind the scenes. So this is the whole, you know, Simon Sinek thing, you know, start with why. And talk about values and other things and analogies and stories that will move people and hit the heart that gut or the funnybone. Or even just give sneak peeks behind the scene of what you’re doing in your personal life as well as your business life. This is this is what social media is about.

Mike: And to say to you come to the, you know, these video interviews with a set of questions, or does the CEO say you bring the questions? Yeah, so we’re just heads up.

Matthew: Yeah, we propose the questions to make it as easy as possible, we send it in advance to them. If they don’t like the prompts or the questions, they can make recommendations, and we and we go from there. And we then do it privately. And as anyone knows, what you practice privately, is what you get rewarded for publicly. And the great thing about editing is, even if someone stumbles or doesn’t quite get it, right, we have an opportunity to work with the individual as a feedback loop privately to make it better on the spot, so they don’t need to rehearse or do anything but winds up happening is after someone’s done four or five sessions with us, they actually become what’s called like media trained, right where they’re prepared. And now they feel confident they’ve got their sound bites down, they could show up on a podcast long form like this and just talk about it. Or they could even show up at the six o’clock news and nail their sound bites as they’re going. So it’s, it’s a great way of like doing that Plus, they get the feedback loop afterwards of it going, you know, public, and they can see how they’re warm network engages with it, what’s working, what’s not working, and there’s enough breathing room where you’re doing one per month, all we see is with all our clients as they get better and better and better and stronger and stronger, at sort of this interview format, which is preparing them to actually create long form content, which would be the next step, you can’t create your short form content, you’re most likely not going to be able to do long form content, because it requires even more effort to do that.

Mike: That that’s interesting. I mean, I think we’ve seen a lot of companies move to, you know, make their their senior executive team, more human and more visible. And obviously, you know, your support for that. But what would a marketing team do? If a CEO was reluctant? I mean, how do you persuade people to get involved in social?

Matthew: Sure, so I mean, listen, it’s not it’s not for everyone nor everybody necessarily sees value in it, or is necessarily even interested in doing it. I mean, a lot of times this place of not doing it is usually coming from a thing called imposter syndrome, which is very real, like everybody is always a little bit worried about putting themselves out there. Publicly, and even scarier today, if you hit the wrong notes, you know, sometimes people can get easily offended and so part of our job as well too is to help them navigate that and make sure that we keep it you know, helpful and cheerful. And you know, put out the right persona that that that they want to have representing their personal brand and the challenges if you don’t do it, you have no control over doing it.

And the reality is, everybody has a personal brand today everybody is a media company today. This is something that’s become democratised. It’s not owned by several big companies anymore. And it’s becoming distribute and and decentralised and so this, this is not going away. So the longer you wait to do it, the longer it takes to, to build up that personal brand. It’s something that compounds over time to requires a lot of time Rome was not built in a day. And the most important thing is to stay consistent. The reason why people fail again, at doing this is it’s usually time. So I like to use the analogy all the time of going to the gym. So we all know that if we want to look fit and feel fit, we probably need to eat clean and go to the gym on a regular basis. Well, our company doesn’t ask you to go to the gym every single day or eat clean every single day, we ask you to come to the gym once a month. And then we make it look like you go to the gym every single day and eat clean every single day. And that’s why it succeeds. And then because they’re consistent, just like anything where the sums were the sum of our daily habits, that consistency is where the results come from. And if you understand some basic universal laws, like compound interest, then you’ll understand why this works. This is why Einstein said that compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. Okay? Those that understand it, earn it those that don’t pay it. And so I think most CEOs and founders understand that concept, they understand the idea of delayed gratification. And they understand the idea of divert of consistency, their biggest challenge is really just time. And if someone could just solve that time issue for them, they be good to go, most of them already know they need to do this, they know how to do it, they know what the right notes are, they just need someone you know, a private coach in a private setting that can, it can be done in a friendly way with no pressure, and then someone to clean it up and make it look really good and post production. That’s it

Mike: You make it sound very simple. I think one of the things, you know, a lot of our listeners will be thinking that they’re from large enterprises. And, and they’re, I think communication tends to be much more conservative. You know, the idea of connecting as a human is, it’s not exactly alien, but it’s really not the style of communication. I mean, what would you say to people in an enterprise, as, you know, your advice on how to approach social media? Well,

Matthew: I would say that this is actually not foreign to them at all. They’re just doing it privately. Like they, they if they got to that position. And they are in these enterprise companies, they’re very good communicators already. They’re very good with people, their soft skills are probably through the roof. And all we’re going to do is take that and capture it privately, and, and then put it public based, and they at the end of the day, you know, they approve or provide feedback on anything they want, nothing goes out without their approval. And so it’s pretty safe way of getting that information out there. And it prevents any kind of false starts, like if you’re not used to doing this jumping on podcasts may not work for you right away until you get rehearse the media training, right?

Like, there’s actually like media trainers, like PR companies that will spend months and months and months with these these enterprise levels, when they decide, Okay, it’s time to get public on this matter. This is kind of what we do without really being a PR company. It’s a happy byproduct of this process. But you know that they’re already know how to do this. They’re very, they seamlessly just roll right into it. I think the first couple times when you do it, it’s always like a little bit. How is this going to work? And is this going to be okay? Well, once you get through two or three cycles, you’re like, Ah, okay, cool. And if you have a positive feedback loop, and what is happening is, their warm network immediately starts saying, having seen your videos, they’re, they’re great. And they’ll start hearing that feedback loop. And they’ll be like, keep keep doing it, it’s a great way to amplify themselves. And a great way to do one to many selling one to many connecting, connecting, and including most of our senior leaders, their primary focus has nothing about getting getting new business, their biggest challenges side of this is actually acquiring talent. And so these videos are created to, to give a flavour to what the culture and the leadership is like at a company. And people do see that. And it’s a great way of amplifying your ability to recruit, and to attract even better talent, because people want to belong to interesting teams and interesting leaders and interesting companies. And so it’s a great way of just being top of mind and doing that sort of one to many selling, whether you need to get more prospects or more talent, both both is similar. And it’s just about being consistent with it. And you can’t do that in a one to one level, when you’re busy CEO and founder you need some sort of leverage, and someone can’t do it for you. So the best way to do it is to record you and to have you do it.

Mike: I think that’s really good advice. Um, you know, thinking about organisations, and I think particularly larger organisations, you talk about helping CEOs, but how broad should the social media marketing africo? Should everyone be involved creating their content about their company? Do you think? Or should it be something coming from the top?

Matthew: So So yes, everybody should be doing it. However, you want to start at the top and work your way out. So usually, what I recommend is there’s sort of four steps to people going through this process of what is really technically called demand, Chen. And there’s the show up to share up the size up in the scale up and the scale up would be last this is where you get your company and your in. So you would go with the leader first, then you get the senior leadership team. And then you would teach everybody else on how to do it. Mostly when you’re working with the rest of the company, you would actually need to create the majority of the snackable content for them or the fill in the blank process for them to make it easy for them because they they are experiencing the exact same thing. But what they but like anything Seeing is believing. And if you if the leader isn’t willing to do what everybody else is being asked to do, it’s very unlikely that it’s going to become sticky, but it’s a great way to find multiplication. Right. So you can do one thing, you know, they all say is, if you if you want to go quick, do it alone, if you want to go far do it together, right. And so, of course, at some point, there’ll be a point of multiplying. But usually, that would be like the last step, the first step is just show up. The second step is share rot. The third step is size up, and the next one is scale up.

Mike: That’s brilliant advice. I love that, that sequence of growing it and the way that you see, the CEO is actually leading the effort, because I think, quite often organisations, the CEOs, the one that you really have to drag kicking and screaming to the to the party, sometimes

Matthew: Well, again, the reason is, is because they’re very protective of their time. And, and they’re hyper aware of, you know, the 8020 rule and, and knowing that they need as much leverage as possible. And if you ask them to actually do this on their own, the likelihood of finding success is gonna be very, very small. And the reason why it works so well is because we lead with video, it’s their voice, right? It’s their body language, it’s, it’s who they are. If it if you lead with something different, it’d be very hard to write for an individual’s voice without them doing it themselves. So that’s, that’s why it works. And I think that if a marketing team just like wrote for it, it’d be just so many hours in so many bodies, that somebody revisions that it wouldn’t have the momentum that you need to be able to be able to get going, it needs to be really, really easy. Just like any good operations person, you know, really good CEO or director of operations or VP of Operations, they really understand that the visionaries and the CEOs are usually very add very, very all over the place that got getting pulled in a million directions that if it’s to succeed, it must be easy. You know, like most things in life, like, if it’s too complicated, it’s too much of a, what we call a Rube Goldberg machine, it might look sexy and fun, and this thing hits this thing and that thing and fires off this thing. It looks awesome. But the reality is, it’s probably not going to work because there’s just too many steps and too many processes. And it’s too slow. To get a result. This is you know, we do a workshop for a month, next month, we do our first interview, and it just starts dripping out right away, you know, so you can just it just really easy. It’s got to be simple, simple, simple, simple.

Mike: And I’m sure the CEOs, you know, as you say, they’re very protective of their time. So they appreciate simple. Um, I’m actually interested, you know, obviously, when you get to interview CEOs, there must be quite a range. I mean, some must be, I don’t want to say boring, but maybe a little conservative in what they’re prepared to say. And some, you know, maybe push the envelope a bit. I mean, what’s your view about the most effective way to address social media? I mean, should you go out and be controversial and shouty? Or should you be more thoughtful and quiet?

Matthew: I think, for being controversial for the sake of being controversial is is not very helpful. In general, you may get attention, and some people can do that. Well, like if you’re Donald Trump, for sure, you can just you know, make shit up and say the opposite of everybody saying to stir the pot and get more attention. But most CEOs, that’s not really their their goal. Again, we want to tie it back to what is their signature system? What is their values? What is their mission? What is the vivid vision for the company, and focus on that, also, you know, we don’t necessarily need to make it about the CEO or the company. One of the easiest ways to create content and take the pressure off, is to focus focus on your ideal prospects or your ideal clients or your team and make them the hero of the story. Right? So we can and no, everybody loves someone who is actually interested in others or telling other stories or edifying others. So it takes the pressure off and being on you. So a lot of times we can find this just by talking to the clients and asking them some basic information. It’s all within them, they just need some of the right prompts to get it to get it out. And to format it in a way that becomes interesting on social media. Now, of course, you know, people on social media when we’re in the news feed, we are you know, we are addicted to short form snackable click Beatty content.

So having a good headline is is important. There are some different technical things you need to get down to stop scroll. But remember that that’s not where transformation takes place. That’s that’s the gateway drug into the longer form content. The longer form content is usually where you get the transformation. So this is where you invite people to the workshops or you have a longer form podcast or you have a very amazing playbook or private course or a community that you invite people to you And then how you build trust is consistency within a controlled environment that you owe. So this is just one step of a bunch of things you need to do to make it really well. However, just like a kid, you know, you got to remember kids, when they’re learning how to, to eventually run, I don’t know, if you have any children, but I’ve got some whippersnappers here at home, now. They first sit up, then they start to crawl, then they start to walk, then they start to, you know, kind of jog, they almost look like they’re kind of half hammered when they’re like, four, or five, and then and then you know, and then they eventually start to sprint. And as they get to my kids age, they start doing backflips off the shed in the backyard, and you’re like, oh, my god, please stop, like, you’re going to kill yourself, right. But the whole thing is about being doing parkour and how cool they are, and how they can climb the house, and that, you know, pole and their stuff. So So you know, when you look at it this way, doing your snackable content, is, is the first step, it’s the gateway drug to your journey as a personal brand, as well as the gateway drug for others to get into other awesome marketing that you’re doing. And this is where I recommend that most people start is they start with that, that process and locking that down it? Because if you can’t lock that down, you’re probably not going to lock down the long form content or the community content that controlled form content, right?

Mike: Absolutely. I love that. That process of you know, crawl, walk, run, rather than just try and sprint with the long form content, and then worry about short form afterwards. And I guess another another thing that that, you know, CEOs new to this, will will perhaps wonder about is authenticity. I mean, how honest should you be on social media? I mean, obviously, everybody wants you to be authentic. But at the same time, maybe you shouldn’t be admitting all the company’s failures, what’s your opinion.

Matthew: So people can smell when you are not being authentic. I mean, we could sniff it out Intel and believe it or not, having the occasional omission of mistakes that you’ve made and shown how you grown and learn from it is very endearing, it makes you very likeable. And I’m pretty sure that most of these leaders already know that and, and do that, privately, it’s just a matter of getting comfortable with doing it publicly. And listen, we don’t want you to do anything that’s going to create a PR disaster for yourself or your company. But there are little things that you can omit and share that can be quite useful and insightful. To let people know that you are that you are a human, just like everybody else, and humans are flawed. You know, like that’s, that’s what’s interesting about them. I mean, if you go and look at any movie anyways, or any kind of story that we get sucked into, it almost always has to do with humans failing at some point and then somehow overcoming or learning from that failure. So this is this is again, baked into our DNA, this is not as difficult or scary as people want to make it out to be.

Mike: I feel very reassured that our failures make us endearing. I think that that’s a very positive view on things. I really appreciate your time we’ve, you know, we’re coming up against, you know, the time limit. But one question I’ve got is for the CoCs, great, they pitch up, it’s an hour’s time, and they get all this content, but for you, you’re doing a lot you’re doing the prep beforehand, you’re generating all the content afterwards, is this an expensive service? Is that why you you only do CEOs

Matthew: I don’t think it’s terribly expensive at all. I mean, if someone has to work with us, it’s literally only they get started with as little as $2,100 a month to do this. So it’s very like you couldn’t hire someone internally to do this. And when you think about the video editing and post production, everything else like you would need four or five bodies to be able to do this internally and then you would have to even manage those people and I don’t know if any people know who the the rapper Biggie was. But Biggie always said Mo Money Mo Problems but that is not true. It’s mo people mo processes, Mo Problems right and so what they need to do is partner with if this is not their core competency here is never going to be his partner with someone like us who’s got it locked down to make it seamless and easy because it’s not even the money thing. It’s really all the other pieces that it’s a nightmare that nobody wants. Last Last thing I’ve ever heard a CEO ever say is I want more people to manage you know? Absolutely not. Right so So again like I don’t think it’s the money is the issue. No one ever comes to me like that’s unaffordable and hard to do. Now, it might be if you are a marketing manager at a company and that’s, you know, 1/3 your salary or something like that, that that would be very scary. But again, that’s not the people we’re usually helping with this particular issue. We’re, we’re working with high net individuals and people who run successful companies and have budgets and 2100 bucks a month this, they can sneeze at it. I mean, they can spend that at a mastermind dinner with a couple other, you know, C suite individuals.

Mike: Yeah, I mean, yeah $2,000 for, you know, generating that much content around a CEO is amazing value. And I think you are the first person on the podcast to quote Biggie as well. So congratulations.

Matthew: Well, then hopefully some of the some of the CEOs are younger and younger today, they would have grown up with that music so they’ll know what it is.

Mike: Yeah, whenever I whenever I quoted musician, all the all the younger people in the company, look at me getting way too old. That’s awesome. And I think you’re absolutely right. You know, the value of having all these different services combined together is amazing. So if there is somebody listening to this, and they’re thinking, you know, actually couple of $1,000 a month to get all this content, get it all created, get the get the ideas. That’s a fantastic deal. How would they go about contacting you?

Matthew It’s really easy. There’s only two places you can reach me, you can either go to automation, it spelled exactly the way it sounds. Or you can go to LinkedIn, the only social media network that I’m active on and type in Matthew hunt. That’s Matthew with two T’s last name hunt, he Wente. And you might need to add automation, Wolf as well in there in the search, and I’ll pop up and you’ll see me.

Mike: That’s amazing. Well, I mean, this has been fascinating. I think we’ve covered a lot and I love the approach to generating social media content. I’m sure a lot of people think that that’s genius when I think of it so thank you so much for sharing your ideas, Matthew, I really appreciate it.

Matthew: Hey, Mike, thanks for having me. I really enjoyed my time with you. Thank you.

Mike: Thanks so much for listening to marketing b2b Tech. We hope you enjoyed the episode. And if you did, please make sure you subscribe on iTunes, or on your favourite podcast application. If you’d like to know more, please visit our website at Napier b2b dot com or contact me directly on LinkedIn.