EP 317: Leveraging LinkedIn With The Pocket PhD Founder Emily Crookston

Jan 19, 2021 | Community, Culture, Podcast

In This Episode:

  • How The Pocket PhD founder Emily Crookston started leveraging LinkedIn after the pandemic threw a wrench in her public speaking plans
  • Why she went from posting spontaneously to planning out her content and using a weekly structure to guide her
  • What prompted her to start a video interview series on LinkedIn
  • And why Emily doesn’t care about trying to work the LinkedIn algorithm

So you’ve got a big plan for this year (or even this week or this month!).

What happens when somebody throws a wrench in the works?

Do you fight to get back on track?

Do you flee to something else entirely?

Do you freeze and hope that it’ll all blow over soon?

Each of these 3 responses is perfectly normal & understandable. After all, fight, flight or freeze is a baked-in biological response we all have.

But most of the time, we need a different way to respond when our plans get interrupted.

Fight, flight, or freeze might be our biological response when faced with a threat but they’re rarely the best response.

I propose that the more strategic—more human—response is to adapt. It’s not so much a reaction to the threat as it is a curiosity about what we can do with the new information or circumstances.

I’ve been coming back to a line from Sebene Selassie’s book, You Belong, over the last few weeks. She writes, “Curiosity is a crucial component in reducing our reactivity.”

Curiosity asks us to consider how we can approach new information or circumstances creatively—instead of trying to figure out how to fight it, how to run the other way, or how to wait it out.

Obviously, we all got thrown for a loop last year when Covid hit. That wrench in the works played out different for every one and every business—but we all had to adapt in some way.

If you fought, fled, or froze, you’re not alone!

I think we all responded that way initially. I certainly did—big fighting energy over here!

What was amazing to watch though is little by little, the business owners I’m in community with started to ease up on that immediate reaction and started to find a more adaptive, proactive response.

I saw amazing things happen for people when they adapted—even if those things didn’t always lead to financial relief or more time to themselves.

One of those people is my guest today, the founder of The Pocket PhD, Emily Crookston.

Emily is a ghostwriter and editor who works with experts and thought leaders to help them bring their ideas to the masses.

As you’ll hear, Emily’s plan for 2020 was to grow her business through in-person speaking engagements. Her first gig was on March 8—and then… lock down.

But Emily adapted—taking the same strategy she was applying to speaking gigs and applied it to LinkedIn. She’s seen tremendous success on the platform over the last year and I wanted to talk with her about how she adapted her plan, decided on LinkedIn, and then figured out how to make the most of the platform by working her plan.

We talk about how she made the jump from posting spontaneously to planning her content & scheduling it. We talk about the video interview series she started. We talk about how she approaches the LinkedIn algorithm (hint: she doesn’t). And we talk about the results she’s seen for her business.

Now, let’s find out What Works for Emily Crookston!

Emily Crookston: It's easy to get obsessed with figuring out an algorithm. In my mind, that's not my job. It will make me stop being consistent if I focus on that, and consistency is that main goal that I have.

Tara McMullin: So you've got a big plan for this year, or maybe even this week or this month. What happens when somebody throws a wrench in the works? Do you fight to get back on track? Do you flee to something else entirely? Do you freeze and hope that it'll all blow over soon? Each of these three responses is perfectly normal and understandable. After all, fight, flight or freeze is a baked-in biological response we all have. But most of the time, we need a different way to respond when our plans get interrupted. I'm Tara McMullin. This is What Works, the show that explores how small business owners build stronger businesses without all of the shoulds and supposed tos. Fight, flight, or freeze might be our biological response when faced with a threat but they're rarely the best response. I propose that the more strategic, more humane response is to adapt.

It's not so much a reaction to the threat as it is a curiosity about what we can do with the new information or circumstances. I've been coming back to a line from Sebene Selassie's book, You Belong, over the last few weeks. She writes, "Curiosity is a crucial component in reducing our reactivity." I'll say that again. "Curiosity is a crucial component in reducing our reactivity." Curiosity asks us to consider how we can approach new information or circumstances creatively, instead of trying to figure out how to fight it, how to run the other way, or how to wait it out. Now obviously, we all got thrown for a loop last year when COVID hit. That wrench in the works played out different for everyone and every business, but we all had to adapt in some way. If you fought, fled, or froze, you are not alone.

I think we all responded that way initially. I certainly did, big fighting energy over here. What was amazing to watch though is how little by little, the business owners I'm in community with started to ease up on that immediate reaction and started to find a more adaptive, proactive response. I saw amazing things happen for people when they adapted, even if those things didn't always lead to immediate financial relief or more time to themselves. One of those people is my guest today, the founder of The Pocket PhD, Emily Crookston. Emily is a ghostwriter and editor who works with experts and thought leaders to help them bring their ideas to the masses. As you're going to hear, Emily's plan for 2020 was to grow her business through in-person speaking engagements.

Her first gig was on March 8th, and then lockdown. But Emily adapted, taking the same strategy she was applying to speaking gigs and applied it to LinkedIn. She’s seen tremendous success on the platform over the last year. I wanted to talk with her about how she adapted her plan, decided on LinkedIn, and then figured out how to make the most of the platform by working her plan. We talk about how she made the jump from posting spontaneously to planning her content and scheduling it. We talk about the video interview series she started. We talk about how she approaches the LinkedIn algorithm. Hint, she doesn't. We talk about the results she's seen for her business. Now, let's find out What Works for Emily Crookston. Emily Crookston, welcome to What Works. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Emily Crookston: Thanks for having me, Tara. I'm excited.

Tara McMullin: Yeah, I'm excited too. As I mentioned to you before we started recording, the last time we did an episode all about LinkedIn, it was a huge hit. It's become an evergreen resource that we are constantly pointing people to. I'm really glad to revisit this topic. Also, because I know you've just done such good work on this this year, you've been so committed to it and so, I think, systematic, disciplined about it. I'm really excited to unpack that with you. Let's just start with how you got started on this in the first place. What inspired your decision to focus on LinkedIn this year?

Emily Crookston: Up until this year, I have built my business, my ghostwriting business through referrals. In-person networking was a big part of that. I did a lot of in-person networking, especially at the very beginning of my business. I had been a professor and I was going into the business world and I felt like I knew nothing. Then I discovered really quickly that the best way to get an education in business is just start talking to business people and asking questions. It's easy for me to do that. I love talking to people. I'm sort of naturally curious about people. One of my goals for 2020 was to do speaking gigs to put myself out on the stage for the first time and do a lot of live events. I wanted to do 12 speaking gigs last year. I did my first live speaking event on March 8th.

Tara McMullin: Oh my God.

Emily Crookston: Exactly. Yeah, everything shut down here, I think on the 14th. I was like, okay, now what? I was looking for outlets for all of that energy now that we were in quarantine and we're basically locked down. I'd also been wanting to be more active on LinkedIn for years without feeling a whole lot of motivation to do it. I like Facebook. I'm not like a huge hater on Facebook and I like seeing my friends there. I gravitate toward that. I had been wanting to make more of a switch to LinkedIn. That was sort of one of my thoughts, my goals. If I could replace my Facebook use during the day with LinkedIn use, that would be better for my business. The pandemic kind of provided just the right environment for that. I also happened to take a five day LinkedIn challenge, which I highly recommend if you're wanting to get into LinkedIn.

I took that in May. It was all about increasing visibility on LinkedIn. Through that, I really committed to posting five days a week. I've been doing that regularly since May, except with a week in August when I went to the mountains. I have been posting Monday through Friday.

Tara McMullin: That's awesome.

Emily Crookston: Also, at the same time I met with a social media consultant because I wanted to figure out my social media a little bit. She suggested doing some video interviews. I called that my own your expertise interview series. I started doing those around the same time. That gave me content to post on LinkedIn as well. Then I ended up getting accepted for LinkedIn Live. All of that really helped. I had a lot of content to put out on LinkedIn, so that made it easy to stay consistent.

Tara McMullin: Awesome. Well, let's talk about that piece specifically, the content that you're actually putting out and the consistency behind it. Since you're posting five days a week, can you walk us through what a typical week looks like in your LinkedIn posting schedule?

Emily Crookston: Yeah. This is actually a little bit new because with content in general, like my blogs on my website, all my social media posts, I've always just been really spontaneous. I wake up and I'm like, what do I want to talk about today? And I post, and that's okay. I started with LinkedIn and wanting to be consistent so I started creating posts about a week in advance, which helps with consistency. I don't have that, Oh my God, what am I going to write today feeling when I wake up. I already know basically my post, but recently, maybe within the last couple of months, I created a pattern for myself. Mondays, I post about business strategy. I post something about ghostwriting or business writing, something like that. Tuesday, I post about mindfulness or hashtag food for thought kind of post.

Wednesday is promotional day. I'll post a podcast interview that I've done or I'll post my blog if I've written a blog or a medium article. Thursday is the own your expertise interview series. I always post one of those interviews on Thursday. Then Friday, I just reflect on the week. Friday is a day I kind of leave a little bit open to talk about anything, Friday motivation or something like that.

Tara McMullin: The switch from being more spontaneous with social media to be more planned with social media is so challenging for so many people, myself included. I tend to go in spurts where like, yeah, I can get this scheduled. I can get this done ahead of time. I'm super inspired. Then I stop. Then it goes back to being spontaneous and not very strategic, even if it's moderately effective, it's still not very strategic. I'm curious how you wrap your brain around that transition or what maybe challenges that you overcame in actually making that switch.

Emily Crookston: Yeah, it's so funny because I fretted about it for several weeks. I was like, I need some order here. It feels really scattered. I don't know if it's making any sense to people, you know? I was talking about this with my, I have a business bestie and we meet once a week and we chat through things. I said, it's just all over the place. Then she was like, okay. Then literally, it took probably two or three minutes. She's like, what are the things you post about? I'm like, oh, well, I post about business strategy and then sometimes I do something about mindfulness. I like that topic a lot. I like to reflect on. She's like, aha, aha, aha. My interviews, those are obviously going to be one of the days of the week. She just made this little schedule for me like that quickly. I was like, why can't I do that for myself? Why?

Tara McMullin: Yeah, we're really good at overthinking these things. Right? I have to say, I really like the mix of what you're posting too, because there is a very strong groundedness around your expertise, what you do for a living, how you help people. And there's also that sort of inherent curiosity that you mentioned earlier when you were saying about how your networking style essentially evolved and tapping into that curiosity. I see that in your scheduling as well, or in your planning as well. I think that that's something for people to really take away is that it's not just, how do I promote my business five days a week? It's, how do I create content that is representative of me and is connecting with people? Would you say that's the motivation behind why you're posting the things that you do?

Emily Crookston: Yeah, definitely. I think there's a lot of talk on LinkedIn about how the algorithm wants you to be corporate and they're only promoting posts that are about job postings or about corporate stuff, office stuff, and small business owners don't belong on LinkedIn, like these kind of stuff. I don't know, I think that's all crap. I haven't seen any of that with my stuff. I'm myself on LinkedIn. I'm the most myself on any social media channel, like on LinkedIn, that's where I am most myself.

Tara McMullin: Wow.

Emily Crookston: Yeah. I think what's really nice is I love having conversations with people and it doesn't matter what we're talking about almost. I think I need that as part of my brand, I'm never going to be corporate, that's not my brand and I don't have to be corporate. If there's a platform where I need to be corporate, then I'll just leave. I'm not going to stay there. But I want to have these fun and interesting conversations. I want to engage with people. That's been the most beautiful part about it, the conversations I've been having. It's friendly. You might get some dude popping in and being like, back in 1970 before computers, like saying some stuff like that and I'm like rolling my eyes. But I mean, for the most part, people are collaborative, they're helpful. Other ghostwriters will comment on my stuff. I'll comment on their stuff.

It's not a competition thing that I'm feeling there. It's part of the motivation. I'd really love to talk about business strategy. I could talk about that all the time. But then in the back of my mind, I'm like, this is content for coaches. I don't want to be a coach. Maybe I shouldn't talk about business strategy because I'm not trying to be a coach, but it's part of what I'm thinking about. I think in general, that's what's interesting about me, what's in my brain. I think that curiosity and what I'm seeing and when I can say to somebody like, well, you know... Your podcasts, I love it because it's like, what works for you? That's half of what I'm doing all the time, just telling people what I've seen work and what I like, here's what works for my clients. I feel like there's a lot of value in that kind of information sharing.

Tara McMullin: Yeah. Obviously, I am completely on the same page with you. Let's talk about your interview series. How did you get the idea for it? How did you set the stage initially for it? Talk us through at least the beginning stages of it?

Emily Crookston: Sure. My talk that I did on March 8th, my signature talk is all about owning your expertise and how expertise really is a process. I think, pick any expert you like, talk to Brené Brown. She'd probably not say that she's an expert. She probably would say, oh, I'm still learning. There's still more to learn. I'm not at the top of the mountain like standing and looking down over my empire. I think there's expertise. Everyone has a level of expertise. Even if you're just starting in your business, you did other things in your life that make you an expert. You can bring all that experience to what you're doing. Based on that signature talk, I was just thinking how can I repurpose this? How can I bring this content to people in different ways now that I can't do this talk every couple of months on the live stage?

I also really like interviewing people, or at least I suspect I would like interviewing people. I hadn't really done it before, but I love Terry Gross. I love listening to podcasts. The interview style is cool in my mind. Also, I hate video. I hate doing video myself, but I know social media loves video. This was kind of a solution to, I feel so awkward being on camera all by myself. But if another person is there, I can draw on your energy and it really helps with... I can build a conversation around that rather than here are five tips, blah, blah, blah, which I can't get into yet.

Tara McMullin: Yeah, totally. How did you decide who your first guests were going to be?

Emily Crookston: That's a good question. I knew I could ask people I knew who were also looking to gain more visibility for their businesses. I knew those would be low-hanging fruit. I ask those people in my network first. One of the people I asked, she was my very first interview. She's someone who, we'll sometimes get together and do virtual power hours together where we'll get together and work for an hour. I sort of floated the idea to her. She's a branding specialist, so she gets the importance of doing stuff like that. That was easy. Then from there, I just started asking people to recommend other people I could interview. Those recommendations have really carried me. It hasn't been hard at all finding people to interview. I have more people to interview than time to interview them actually. I could probably easily go until March or something without going in and getting fresh blood. I've been surprised at how easy it's been to get people to do it.

Tara McMullin: Yeah. I think that's a surprising thing for people with podcasting too. Typically, it's way easier to get great guests than you expect it to be. It's so much fun like you said. Talk us through what an individual episode of the interview series is like. What's the format? How does it flow?

Emily Crookston: I ask the guests whether they want to do live or prerecorded. If we do live, we'll go for about 20 to 30 minutes and then it's over. It's supposed to save on my feed in LinkedIn. I do LinkedIn live. Then if we do prerecorded, we get on Zoom and I record it and then I have to edit it down to under 10 minutes to post on LinkedIn. That's the video requirement there. I ask canned questions. I'll send the email with a Google Form and they'll fill that out. That's mainly just so they don't feel put on the spot when I start asking them questions. Just like this podcast, we'll grow, we'll sort of organically move the conversation how it feels, how it makes sense. But I have basic questions like talk about your path to owning your expertise. That's a big question I like to ask, general question.

What's been the most helpful thing in learning to own your expertise? How do you translate your expertise for others? I also love to ask this question about what's your die in a ditch belief? This also comes from my talk and probably picked it up from some philosopher at some point. We all have these beliefs that if someone pressed us, we'd be able to defend it. It's like a sort of orienting or grounding belief that we all have, at least one. You have at least one die in a ditch belief. A lot of them will take the bait and answer that question. Then that's always fun for me.

Tara McMullin: I love that. I love that. There's a podcast called Hysteria that Crooked Media puts out that they have a recurring segment on that as, what's the hill you're going to die on this week?

Emily Crookston: Yeah, there you go. Same kind of thing.

Tara McMullin: So great. So great. Such a good question. Okay. I could talk to you the whole episode about your interview series just because I'm fascinated by how people think those things through, but let's move on from that. When you first started focusing on LinkedIn, or maybe even as the process has evolved, what have been your goals? What have you been trying to create or accomplish with the actions that you've been taking on the platform?

Emily Crookston: The big goal was to increase visibility for The Pocket PhD, my business, and to build more of a presence on social media. I thought, I could start with one platform. I think a lot of people think, I need to be on all the platforms. I thought that too, and I am on a lot of platforms. But I knew that if I focused on just one and you know, everyone tells you go where your clients are. My clients are on LinkedIn, so that made sense, but I really wanted to focus on building visibility on LinkedIn so that I could find... My services are high-priced premium services. That's where those clients are mainly. I'm sure they're on Facebook too, but I can't figure out Facebook. It's a lot. It's overwhelming. LinkedIn was the place to start. Really, the only other goal I had was consistency from the beginning.

I know that page views are vanity metrics. I think they're a really good way to gauge engagement like watching those [inaudible 00:20:35] grow makes a lot of sense relative to past page views and things like that. But consistency was an easy goal for me to start with, at least. I'm like, okay, what can I do? I can post every day. That's easy. If I get crickets, I get crickets. It doesn't matter. It's just, come hell or high water, there's going to be a post every day. Having that as a goal has really taken a lot of pressure off for me when it comes to social media. Because I'm always overwhelmed by algorithm stuff. It seems like there's so much to learn and things change so much that I just felt like I couldn't keep up. But consistency is one thing I can totally do and manage.

Tara McMullin: It seems like consistency and visibility are two sides of the same coin really. Consistency is the piece that you have the most control over. I love how you've already described how you essentially took control of that. You made yourself a plan. You started this consistent content series. That's a beautiful execution of something that is so simple but also something that's so few people execute. I think that's really great. You'll hear about how Emily is tracking results as she continues working her LinkedIn plan in just a minute. But first, a word from our What Works partners. What Works is brought to you by Mighty Networks. When it comes to working our plans and realizing our goals, one of the biggest challenges is isolation. Trying to do it all without the support or input of others is a drag at best and a deal breaker at worst.

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Emily Crookston: Yeah. Those are right in front of your face. It's really easy to see them. It's easy for your brain to latch onto those. I also track comments. The algorithm for LinkedIn I think if you get like 10 comments within an hour of posting, it boost your posts. That's always a goal. My goal right now is like an average of 500 page views on every post. I'm getting pretty close, I think, to consistently hitting that. I'm tracking that. Speaking of consistency, I also spend 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon commenting other people's stuff. That's another thing about the LinkedIn algorithm. It loves it when you're there interacting with other people, not just posting and running away and only coming back to comment on your own stuff. They like you commenting on other people's stuff.

Tara McMullin: This is where I missed the boat on LinkedIn, for sure.

Emily Crookston: I also try to connect with five to 10 people a day. The app, actually, LinkedIn app makes it really easy to connect. I like connecting with people most on the app. In the morning, I'll wake up and I'll look at LinkedIn and I'll start connecting with people. I'm not picky at all about who I'm connecting with at this point. If you make a good comment on somebody's post and we're not connected, I'll hit the button. That makes it easy. I'm not like, who's my ideal client? I'm only connecting with those people. My audience is broad. The people I interact with are really broad. There are a lot of marketing and copywriting people in my network, but that's okay because I learn a lot from them. Then otherwise, it's just I never know. My clients come from everywhere. I write books on all kinds of topics. For me, it's just getting a broad reach would be a good goal.

Tara McMullin: I want to talk a little bit more about the algorithm, not in terms of like, tell us how to game the algorithm.

Emily Crookston: Yeah, because I don't know that. I'll let you know.

Tara McMullin: I'm curious how you sort of philosophize or approach the balance between just doing whatever you want and considering what the platform is looking for. Because I can hear it in the different things that you've said. It's like, well, people say the algorithm wants this, but I didn't want to do that. You also said the algorithm likes it when you do this so I try to do that. There's a little bit of contradiction there, but I think that that's strategic and wonderful. I would just like to dig into that more. How do you make that balance? How do you approach that?

Emily Crookston: I think this is really important because it's easy to get obsessed with figuring out an algorithm. In my mind, that's not my job. That's for people who are into that stuff and for SEO people, whatever. People who love that kind of thing. I don't, and it will make me stop being consistent if I focus on that. Consistency is that main goal that I have so I'm not doing that. I'm always this way about rules. I pick and choose the ones I like and then I break them. I either break them like behind the scenes or I break them out in front, depends on my mood sometimes. That's my basic approach to algorithms. If the algorithm wants me to do something that I like to do, great. But I know that probably the best way to increase my visibility on LinkedIn is to just be on LinkedIn eight hours a day and I'm not doing that.

I think for me, what really motivates the posting and everything I do on LinkedIn is the conversations I'm having. If the conversations are great and people are commenting and they're not just commenting like, yay, you go girl. They're commenting, oh my gosh, yes. This resonates with me. Here's how it applies to my life. Here's an example. Then I'm like, okay, well that's getting to people. I'm getting people to think. As a philosopher, oh my dream. Just to get people to think for a second, to stop and think for a minute, that's amazing. That's the kind of platform I want to build. That's what I want to be.

Tara McMullin: I love that. I'm going to just call back to something specific that you said too which is, if the algorithm wants me to do something I want to do, then I'm going to do it. That should be everyone's social media strategy in a nutshell, I feel like. That is a perfect balance between those two things. I really appreciate you articulating that. We've talked about tracking the results on the platform itself and what you're looking at, but I'd love to hear about the business results that you've seen like the dollars and cents of it. Obviously, you don't have to tell us like LinkedIn made me this much money this year. Have you gotten clients? Have you gotten referrals? What does that look like?

Emily Crookston: Like I said, prior to LinkedIn, my business was built on referrals and all my clients came through other clients. Since I've started all of this with LinkedIn, my results have, I mean, things have changed totally. I've had six prospects contact me about ghostwriting, which is my biggest service, either directly through LinkedIn or through connections that I've made on LinkedIn like referrals from LinkedIn connections who I wouldn't have otherwise met. One of them became a client. I'm about to finish up their book just about now. Four of the six still in my funnel right now. They're really good leads. They're people who I keep following up with. They, for one reason or another, aren't ready to make a decision, I think. But the conversations are good. These are really warm leads.

In general, I mean, I just think people who are coming to you are the best people to talk to in terms of prospects. Those are the best prospects you're ever going to find. Forget about cold outreach or warm outreach. People coming to you like, man, what more could you ask for? Especially for me, I only need two clients a year or so.

Tara McMullin: Well, that's what I was going to say. I was going to ask you to put the number of clients that you've received from LinkedIn in context because I know you don't need a lot of clients. Literally, two?

Emily Crookston: Right, literally two. Yeah.

Tara McMullin: That's amazing.

Emily Crookston: I mean, I don't feel like I need to run Facebook ads. Every time I see talk to coaches about lead generation and getting more clients on LinkedIn, I think, oh, maybe I should go for something like that. I'm like, I only need two. I don't need five, five would be too many.

Tara McMullin: Right.

Emily Crookston: LinkedIn is perfect for that.

Tara McMullin: Yeah, and you've set the stage for other kinds of growth if you're interested in that later on. Right? Like I know that you've got an online course in your back pocket. I know that then everything that you've done this year, yes, it's filled your funnel in terms of those ghostwriting leads, but it's also creating the capacity for further leverage in the future.

Emily Crookston: Yeah, absolutely. If I could figure out how to sell that online course, that would free up a lot of my time. In terms of business goals, really the goal is to keep doing what I'm doing, keep bringing in the kinds of revenues I'm seeing, and only be working half as much. That would be a big goal. Yeah, I'm starting to think more about smaller priced options, things that would be more passive types of income. I can grow that from here. I think there's so many advantages to having strong brand visibility that you don't even realize or measure right off the top. When people know who you are, any of my LinkedIn connections, if someone is looking for a ghostwriter, they're probably going to send them to me because there aren't that many of us out there and the ones who are out there aren't that visible. That's huge in an industry like mine where it's easy to put yourself on top or put yourself top of mind. That's important. When it comes to selling anything, any other products that I start creating or services just makes sense.

Tara McMullin: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. I've got a couple more questions as we start to wrap up here. We've talked a lot about what's worked for you. Was there anything that didn't work or anything that you would do differently now in hindsight?

Emily Crookston: Yeah. I mentioned the videos. That feels in one sense like a really big piece of my LinkedIn strategy. I post a video every week. Sometimes more than one video because if I do a live, then I'll also post a prerecorded one on Thursday. Sometimes three, I think I've done in a week, but man, I have such a hard time getting eyeballs on those videos. Those are the lowest post views. Those are the lowest ranking things I create on LinkedIn, least conversation starting posts. I thought a little bit about that. I mean, it's hard to get people to watch live videos. I don't ever watch live videos myself. Everyone really covets this LinkedIn Live position, acceptance, whatever. I was really surprised when I got it. People are always asking me, how did you get it?

In the end, I'm just like, I don't even know if this is worth doing. But I will say, I also get tons of compliments on the videos. I like to do them. They're really fun for me. Here's a place where the algorithm I'm like, eh. I mean, maybe there's something to be said for video being valuable to people who actually do watch it, so much more valuable than maybe texts where you're maybe just scrolling through, passing by. Maybe you sit and watch. Maybe there's something to be said for even having small number of views on the videos. But yeah, it's an interesting little play. I don't know if it would help to create an event around the lives to get more people tuning in. I don't know if that would help. I don't know what to do about increasing views on the videos, I guess.

Tara McMullin: I have a feeling that you're right though, in terms of like, it may not be as many people watching but for the people who are watching, it's probably a huge impact. It may just be a long play. We see the same thing in podcasting. Podcasting is a long play. You don't start a podcast to get rich quick. Right?

Emily Crookston: Right.

Tara McMullin: I have a feeling it's something very similar. Okay. Last question. What are you excited about right now?

Emily Crookston: Oh my gosh. Well, I just wrote a little article about... I went to the, and I call them virtual dinner parties this week. Although there's no food involved or alcohol, but they're basically a different kind of networking event where they're curated. The person who's hosting will choose three or four. I wouldn't probably do more than five people for this kind of event. They bring those people together. These are people in their networks they think would enjoy meeting each other. Then they ask a series of really insightful questions, really thought-provoking questions. The vulnerability I saw during these little meetings were just so eyeopening.

I mean, I keep saying like it filled in cracks I didn't know I had. I'm just like floating around on air because of these little interactions. I think of it as I missed having the invitation to be vulnerable, I think. That was really lovely with a group of people who are also willing to be vulnerable. It was a lovely interaction. It was really fun.

Tara McMullin: That's incredible. Emily Crookston, thank you so much for sharing your LinkedIn experiment with us and your philosophy on algorithms and your goal of consistency. I mean, I think there are so many valuable takeaways in this conversation and I just really appreciate you sharing it all with us.

Emily Crookston: Yeah. Thanks so much, Tara. It's been fun.

Tara McMullin: I love how Emily has approached her LinkedIn experiment as a learning process. She's not trying to rigidly stick to a plan, instead, she's letting things unfold and adapting her approach as she goes. But with that said, she also executes her plan with rigor. She's brought structure and discipline to the process so that she can be more curious and experimental, not less. I think Emily's approach is a great model for moving away from our fight, flight, or freeze response when something unexpected happens so we can act with care and intention. Find out more about Emily Crookston at thepocketphd.com or connect with her on LinkedIn. Next week, I talk with Finka Jerkovic about how she worked her plan for writing her first book, Sell From Love. Not surprisingly, there was quite a bit of curiosity and adaptation in Finka's process too.

If you love these in-depth unconventional conversations about building a stronger business, you'll love the What Works Network. We're a community of practice working together to build businesses that run smoothly, cause fewer headaches, and sustainably make more money. When you join us, you get access to our Stronger Business Playbook, a comprehensive toolkit for making your business more resilient as well as our global community of small business owners, and our monthly deep dive guidance and events. We'll be opening the doors to new members soon. Go to explorewhatworks.com/network to request your invitation. What Works is produced by Yellow House Media.

Our production coordinator is Sean McMullan. This episode was edited by Marty Seefeldt. Our production assistants are Kristen Runvik and Lou Blazer. What Works is recorded on the ancestral land of the Susquehannock and Conestoga people and what is now known as Lititz, Pennsylvania. The Yellow House is located on the unceded land of the Kootenai nation and what is now known as the Flathead Valley of Montana.

Host of What Works

Tara is a podcaster, small business community leader, strategist, and speaker. She’s been helping small business owners build stronger businesses for over a decade.  

Tara McMullin, What Works Weekly Newsletter

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