November 28, 2022 / Esther Choy

Authentic outreach requires acknowledging your audience.

In a recent Forbes article, I discussed the power of appreciation in the workplace to resolve conflict, maintain healthy relationships and build networks. In this post, we hear more from Bryce McNabb about his authentic outreach strategy.

I met ​​Bryce, a 3x Emmy-winning brand storyteller, documentary filmmaker, speaker, and host of the Storytelligent™ podcast, over LinkedIn. It was his authentic acknowledgement and interaction with the articles I was sharing that opened the door to our friendship and collaboration.

This is Bryce’s story:

At that time I was planning to start an interview-based podcast on brand storytelling. The plan was to interview leading experts in the field, hear their story and mine their expertise for storytelling nuggets. I had envisioned it becoming the definitive podcast on brand storytelling / business storytelling. As a benefit, I would build up my own brand by association.

For my outreach plan, I made a long list of potential guests and sorted them into 3 categories:

  1. Low hanging fruit
  2. stretch
  3. dream

Low hanging fruit are people in my immediate network. It would require zero effort to get them on, but doubtful about the insights I would glean, and they wouldn’t really draw a crowd. Stretch are unknown experts trying to make a name for themselves. It would be a bit of a stretch to get them on, but I could pull it off. The Dream category consisted of mini celebs in the niche. People leading the field. There’d be no way I could get them on the show, but if I play the law of averages, I might luck out.

Time and time again, “Esther Choy” kept popping up in people’s top 5 lists for definitive experts on business storytelling. Naturally, you ended up on the dream list.

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But how to get on your radar? Luckily for me, you’re prolific, posting articles weekly. So I started reading them. I didn’t want to be seen as fake and trying to get something from you. You can totally feel that at times and it’s offensive. So I didn’t force it. I made a point to only ever comment if I genuinely had something thoughtful to contribute.

And it actually worked! You noticed and messaged me!

As for the podcast, after a frustrating, failed attempt to get a stretch level academic to agree to be interviewed, I decided to reconsider the whole idea. If that interaction was any indication of the workload I was signing up for, then it wasn’t worth it. So I abandoned it.

So I schemed (in a genuine way) to get you on a podcast that never happened. Never would have guessed I was in the early stages of finding a friend, mentor, and client. I definitely prefer how things ended up.

If you’d like to explore ideas on authentic outreach and storytelling, reach out and start the conversation.

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Esther Choy

Esther Choy founded Leadership Story Lab in 2010 to help others leverage the art of storytelling to create extraordinary opportunities.
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