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About The Guest
Hala Taha is a podcast host, entrepreneur, and speaker. She is the host of the “Young and Profiting” podcast, which features interviews with successful individuals from various industries, including technology, entertainment, and entrepreneurship. Hala has been recognized as one of the top 25 podcasters by Entrepreneur Magazine and has been featured in publications such as Forbes and HuffPost.
Hala is also the CEO and founder of YAP Media, a podcast production and marketing agency that helps businesses and individuals create and grow their podcasts. She is passionate about empowering others to reach their full potential and achieve their goals. Hala is a frequent speaker on topics such as podcasting, entrepreneurship, and personal branding.
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Prior to her career in podcasting and entrepreneurship, Hala worked in finance and consulting. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University.
- 00:00 — Intro
- 01:24 — Hala Taha’s Origin Story
- 02:30 — Why Adversity is Key to Building Something Great
- 04:04 — From Corporate to Entrepreneurship: What Motivated Hala Taha?
- 07:11 — Initial Steps Towards Success
- 13:02 — What Sets Hala Apart: The Differentiator That Led to Her Success
- 14:54 — The Formula for Making Someone Famous
- 16:46 — Launching a Product? Here’s What You Need to Know
- 18:35 — Growth Marketing Hacks You Need to Try
- 24:41 — What Makes LinkedIn Different from Other Social Media Platforms?
- 31:44 — The Perfect Ratio of Promotional to Editorial Content on LinkedIn
- 32:27 — Understanding the LinkedIn Algorithm
- 39:36 — Catching Your LinkedIn Audience’s Attention with a New Show
- 43:13 — LinkedIn Sales Strategy: Tips for Success
- 44:01 — Taking Your Podcast’s Reach to the Next Level
- 47:47 — The Biggest Factors Impacting Podcast Success
- 51:25 — How to Get the Best Out of Your Podcast Guests
- 52:53 — Staying on Top of Trends and Marketing: Advice from an Expert
- 55:46 — What CMOs and Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Each Other
- 57:30 — Mastering LinkedIn Content: Tips and Tricks
- 59:27 — Overcoming the Challenges of Transitioning from Corporate to Entrepreneurship
- 1:00:49 — Scaling Your Business: Tips for Success
- 1:02:27 — Keeping Employees Motivated and Engaged
- 1:03:40 — Prioritizing Time and Energy for Success
- 1:06:52 — Finding Someone Who Supports Your Goals
- 1:11:19 — Learning from Failure: Hala’s Biggest Mistake and What She Learned
- 1:13:54 — Shifting Your Perspective towards Entrepreneurship: Advice for Those Feeling Stuck
- 1:18:02 — Where to Connect with Hala Taha: Networking for Success
- 1:18:32 — What Success Means to Hala Taha: A Personal Definition
Podcast & Newsletter Sponsors
- HUBSPOT – http://hubspot.com/successpod/
- NETSUITE – https://netsuite.com/scottclary
- HOSTINGER – https://hostinger.com/success
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What is the Success Story Podcast?
On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.
The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.
Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.
He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their stories to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategies for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.
Host of the Success Story Podcast: https://www.successstorypodcast.com
Machine Generated Transcript
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Hala Taha, Scott D Clary
Scott D Clary 00:00
Welcome to success story. I’m your host Scott D. Clary. This success story podcast is part of the HubSpot Podcast Network, which has other amazing podcasts like business made simple hosted by Donald Miller. Business made simple takes the mystery out of growing your business, so make sure you tune in wherever you get your podcasts. Today, my guest is Hala Taha. Hala is the host of the number one podcast and education young and profiting, which has welcomed influential guests ranging from Matthew McConaughey to Grant Cardone to mass millions of downloads and a loyal listener base. Her career began in radio production at hot 97 on the Angie Martinez show. While she was still in college. She later launched an entertainment news blog site called the sorority of hip hop, leading an all women team of 50 bloggers as the blog site boom slowed down she pivoted earned her MBA got valuable corporate marketing experience at HP and Disney and then she built Yap media she co founder of yacht media, a full service social media and podcast marketing agency, she has built a thriving business with high profile clients and over 40 employees. As a testament to her success. She was also featured on the cover of podcast magazine, she is a powerhouse in personal and professional development, brand development and marketing. Her insights had made her a sought after speaker and industry leader in all things marketing, brand, podcasting, and social media.
Hala Taha 01:33
So I feel like I’ve had so many ups and downs in my life. But I think the most recent one was COVID. And actually my father getting sick from COVID. And so I started my social media and podcast agency when he was in the hospital, really sick and basically unconscious. And that really triggered me, you know, to take things to the next level, I had my podcast, I was working at Disney streaming services and corporate marketing. And I just figured you know what my podcast is growing. But I’m not putting in 100%, I really want to make a difference in this world. I want to be a positive voice for my generation, I need to take this to the next level and go all in and I started my social media agency, which really set everything off. Within three months, my podcast blew up. I was on the cover of podcast magazine, we were making well over six figures a month with my business. And so it really just took off right away once I you know, realize that life is so short and that I was running out of time just like my dad was.
Scott D Clary 02:27
That’s really interesting. Do you think that? Do you think that as an entrepreneur? The most successful ones have this, like traumatic or not traumatic, but there’s their life is not always perfect, right? There’s all these different I think there’s a lot of entrepreneurs successful immigrants that come over, and they haven’t been handed everything so they work extra hard. And Gary Vee speaks about this all the time. And I’m curious, how do you tell somebody who wants to build something to create a little bit of adversity in their life not as obviously as traumatic as what you went through? Because that’s super, super traumatic. But I get it, I get why there’s like a light bulb moment. But how do you coach somebody and help them understand the value of a little bit of adversity in in the long game for entrepreneurship, building your own
Hala Taha 03:15
thing? Yeah, I would say the number one thing is to not be afraid to get experiences and get rejected or fail, because I feel like the reason why I was able to kind of take this big risk is because my whole life I was used to taking big risks, I was used to, you know, trying out for a play, and maybe not getting the part or running for class president and maybe getting VP instead. And just getting used to that kind of failure and trying sometimes you knock it out of the park, sometimes you don’t get it. And I think that a lot of people who are really smart, who grow up getting really good grades, they’re so afraid of taking risks, because everything they do is sort of so perfect, or they’re they’re used to getting good marks and not failing that when real life comes along. They don’t know how to just take risks and go for things,
Scott D Clary 04:02
but you didn’t take risks immediately throughout your career. I mean, you still like worked for somebody that nine to five. So walk me through even your mindset and what you were trying to accomplish in your career where you didn’t get out of that. Why you even because people do take risks, but you’ve taken risks, like risks and other ways. What prompted you to want to build your own thing was it was Was your dad or your parents? Were they entrepreneurial? Was that something that was ingrained in you as a child or no? Yeah,
Hala Taha 04:27
so my dad was a surgeon and he actually grew up in Palestine super poor, grew up in war, ended up coming to America getting a scholarship, becoming a surgeon, Chief of Surgery, really successful guy came from literally nothing super generous, super humble, hardworking. So I did get that experience as a young person seeing my dad basically make something out of nothing. And that was definitely inspiring. He’s definitely my hero in that regard. In terms of me kind of not taking risks. I actually started corporate super late. I dropped out of college too. worked at hot 97 of the number one hip hop and r&b station for Angie Martinez and was an intern that got paid nothing for three years.
Scott D Clary 05:08
That’s actually massive risk, even in a nine to five type job more safe environment
Hala Taha 05:12
Exactly. But I wasn’t actually getting paid. I used to make money selling underground showcase tickets that night. And it was like this, like party girl. You know, I graduated undergrad with a 2.3 GPA and kind of was just like really wild when I was younger to a degree but wanted to make it and had my ambition of being on radio being entertainment since I was 19 years old. And then I started a blog site. When I was like 24, went back to college. That was killing Hilton, I almost got 50 employees at that, or some 150 bloggers in and out of the organization. And we were like famous in the tri state area, we almost had a show on MTV. And so I was an entrepreneur for the first like six or seven years of my young adult life. Okay, I just didn’t really make it, you know, like we were famous. And it was, you know, really cool. And it was great experiences. And I learned how to build websites and graphic design and copywriting and learn how to hack social media. And it was really good for my skill set in terms of like getting rich off of it didn’t really figure it out. Then I got my MBA because I didn’t get a show on MTV that, you know, they filmed this all summer. And then they pulled the plug and I sort of was devastated. Like, oh my gosh, it’s been seven years. I mean, basically working for free trying to make it. Maybe I’m not cut out for this, that’s when I got less risk averse. Like, that’s when I was like, I am not sure I can take these risks anymore. I want to be a normal person, I want to make my parents proud. And then I went and worked at Hewlett Packard and Disney and started my podcast four years later, I thought I would never get back on a mic. I thought I would never be an entertainment again. But you know, it was actually corporate that, like I didn’t get certain opportunities that I wanted, I was getting promoted left and right at Hewlett Packard. But every time I sort of made a big change, like starting my podcast or my business, it was some opportunity in corporate that I didn’t get. And I realized, like, I can do this on my own, like I can be successful on my own. And I need to put things in my own control and power. And that’s why I always would make these big changes.
Scott D Clary 07:11
I feel like something that you alluded to is that when you do have this entrepreneurial spirit, it’s impossible to let go of it. So I didn’t I didn’t realize that you went to build your own thing and then went to corporate because it was like you’re getting pounded with stress. And yeah, it wasn’t like lack of success. But it definitely wasn’t like not like crazy, whatever. Yeah. So I think that that’s something to note as well, I think that I speak to a lot of entrepreneurs. And like when you look at your story, now a lot of it makes sense. And not everybody is actually meant for entrepreneurship. I don’t think that’s if you speak about, you know, building for seven years or whatever, with no success. That’s very stressful. Yeah. But then when you are built for it, you know, and you generally have an inclination to always want to try and build something, even if for the first seven years, the listener was in a corporate job, they know when they want to build something. So how you built is very impressive to me, because the building a side hustle, turning into something huge as I obviously like near and dear to me, it’s like how I did this show. Yeah, and how you built your show. So walk me through how you take the first steps because I know people are listening who actually want to take those steps and they’re scared, they’re nervous. They are risk adverse, but they have this like passion inside them to build all the time. And that’s something that I think is very, it’s a beautiful thing. Yeah. So how do you do that safely? Because a lot of people, the hustle culture, the quit your job to go into something full? I actually disagree with that. Ultimately, me too. And obviously, you’re living proof of that. So what did you do for your podcast?
Hala Taha 08:41
Yeah, so my podcast is actually not the first thing that made money. My social media agency was the first thing that was like my official side hustle, because my podcast up until the social agency blew up and I had time to invest back in it to grow the show and then get sponsors is really my social agency that monetize first. So basically, what I always recommend with side hustles is not to invest too much money before you know there’s actually demand and to also be super open to what people are telling you that you’re good at. So for the longest time, my podcast was really big and notable from the start in terms of the guests that would come on the show, I was a LinkedIn influencer, we can talk about that if you want. And people who would come on my show, I was working as cushy job at Disney streaming services, making well over six figures and kind of crushing it as a as a young corporate person that only had you know, a few years experience in corporate and the guests that would come on my show, they would end and they would be like holla like your LinkedIn is crushing it. Your videos are amazing. I had a team of about 20 volunteers that enabled me to have this huge podcast while working full time. And they would always ask me can you do this for me? Can your team helped me? And I would always say you know what, this is just a hobby. You know, this is just for fun. Thank you so much. I’ve got a great job like I don’t have time to help you. I’m really sorry I can teach you but I can’t I can’t actually do this for you. Until like I mentioned COVID hit and I saw my dad dying And I saw, you know, the fact that it might take me 20 years to become the CMO of Disney if I ever get there. But I have this opportunity to channel all this demand that people are asking me about. And it wasn’t until that point that I actually was open to the opportunity that this was actually a thing. And so once COVID Hit Heather Monahan was basically stalking me, you probably are familiar with her. She’s a podcaster, big LinkedIn influencer. And she basically wouldn’t leave me alone. And I told her the same thing I can teach you on the weekends, or like, I’ll teach you so I started having calls with her on Saturdays, trying to teach her to video edit, I was showing her all of our templates and things like that. And she’s the Caller, your stuff is better than Gary Vee. I just had a call with VaynerMedia I need you to help me I want to be your first client. You’re out of your mind. You don’t even like your Disney job. You have a team like let me be your first client. I was like, You know what, fine. And so she literally I charged her something really small, like 700 bucks a month to run her LinkedIn. We crushed it. We started taking over her podcast or Instagram, she started paying more than my second client that I landed was a billionaire and paid us $30,000 a month to run all of his accounts. And all of a sudden I had money to pay my team. I had interns volunteers, yeah. And then I got Kara Goldin, the CEO of headwater, another huge contract, wanting hate and got drunk wanting 100 got junk CEO, Brian Scudamore. So like a huge, huge clients, one after the other. Six months later, I’m still working on Disney streaming services. Because I’m working from home, I have no commute all this extra time, that’s when I actually quit my job. I had 30 employees around the world and was crushing it already. And I say that story, because I really took my time because I was like, I don’t want this to be a fluke. So to go back to how to start a side hustle, you got to make sure that you’ve got the demand and it’s, it’s continuing and you’re stable, and you’re able to replicate whatever money you’re making at your job, at least more than what you’re making, plus your expenses. And so I sort of waited until I knew that I could pay myself way more than what Disney was providing with me. And I really took my time. The key is having a team that can help you once you know you have the demand. So that you can kind of scale up and while you’re at work, you can make sure that the everything is working pretty seamlessly. So not being afraid of using up processes. Yeah. And like not being afraid of giving up that control and training people properly. And then the other thing I would say is like don’t invest too much in the idea at first, you know, people get so stuck on like a logo, a website, I got my first 30,000 deal with no logo, no website, all I had is a PowerPoint. I just made a nice PowerPoint. And I closed the 30k deal. My second deal.
Scott D Clary 12:41
Yeah, that’s impressive. How long was that when you were still working for Disney while you were building this out? What was like the time
Hala Taha 12:48
two months later? After I started my after I started Yeah, media, my social media agency. Two months later, I got my first like billionaire client, and then that enabled me to invest back into the business, get better talent, you know, and scale it up.
Scott D Clary 13:02
So okay, so then then, you know, the obvious question is, okay, awesome. You landed a $30,000 per month retainer client. That’s huge. What, especially in the world of social media agencies. Were there like a dime a dozen now, especially in like, 2023. My god, they’re everywhere. Yeah. So what allows you what, what was the differentiator?
Hala Taha 13:21
So I had been spending two years building my LinkedIn community and my podcast. And so I had the social proof myself. So before people got on a call with me, they were already closed. You know what I mean? I just had to kind of let them know what it was. They saw my successes or how their success I blew up Kara golden, like I, I was making all these people influencers, that I just had so much social proof. And for two years, I didn’t sell anything. All I did was build my brand and credibility, and I never sold a thing. So by the time I launched my social media services, everybody was hungry. The other thing that was really clear on who my client was, I wasn’t after, like, just everyone, I wanted somebody who was in the self improvement space CEO of a huge company, a best selling author, a celebrity. And those were the same people that would come on my show. So I created a lead engine tool. My podcast was a lead generation tool, I would make all these connections, I would never ever talk about Yep, media services, it would just be in really subtle places, like my email signature, right? Or they would see it on my LinkedIn profile. And usually what would happen is, after the interview, it would either turn straight into a discovery call, they’d be like, hello, like, I know, you have this social media thing. Can you tell me about it? Walk me through it. Or you know, two months later, they would reach out to me and be like, all I need you. Because I built that trust. I didn’t try to like outwardly sell to them. And people buy from people that they like and trust. And so that just enabled me to never have to use any paid ads and my company made $5 million in two years, no paid ads. It was all just lead gen from absolutely
Scott D Clary 14:52
insane. And okay, so let’s actually break down. I want to understand why you were successful in building nuts like what was the it was the biggest podcast agencies and their social media agencies and they’re siloed. And I don’t think they hit $5 million run rate in two years. So what is the thing that you’re tapping into that other people can learn from? You’re turning people into influencers? It’s an ambiguous term for a lot of people. How did you have this formula to make someone famous? Because everybody’s trying to do this? Yeah. It’s really hard for 99.99% of people. So what is the formula to make someone famous?
Hala Taha 15:27
So the reason why my company was so successful is because we like you mentioned, there’s social media agencies, and there’s podcasts, agencies, I felt a gap, there was no like, I’m the number one LinkedIn marketing agency. So there was no agency that really catered to the self improvement, SEO, business influencer, who’s trying to crush it on LinkedIn, who has a podcast, who also needs to be on Instagram. And I was able to do all of that really, really well without specialized knowledge. So there at the time, especially two years ago, there was no social agencies that also had like, really high podcast expertise. Plus, I’m a growth marketer. So I blew up my website when I was 25 years old hacking Twitter than I hacked LinkedIn and figured that out. Then I hacked podcasting and figured out how to grow shows. And I’m one of the most knowledgeable people about growing shows. And in terms of the formula, it’s about knowing every platform and knowing every single game that there is, every platform has a different algorithm that you’ve got to crack, right. Same thing with podcasts. Same thing with LinkedIn, they think it’s a professional network. That’s not really like a social media platform. It’s just like Instagram or any other platform, we’ve got to just crack the algorithm. And so I just kind of figured out how to grow for myself. And every time I figured out something for myself, I would then offer it as a service for for somebody else.
Scott D Clary 16:46
Do you feel like as an entrepreneur, unpacking that particular point, if somebody else is looking to build something? What is like what advice you give somebody wanting to build something that does have a specialty or a, you know, an expertise in something? How do they go about taking a product to market?
Hala Taha 17:02
Yeah, well, first of all, you have to make sure that you’re really clear on what you’re selling, and that you’re good at one thing, and you do it better than everybody else. I think a lot of people start a business. First of all, they don’t know if anybody wants a service, like I was saying before, you’ve got to make sure that people are actually asking you for this, you don’t want to create demand, you want to channel demand, right?
Scott D Clary 17:21
Very smart. Actually, there’s a huge, huge difference. Huge. Exactly. People
Hala Taha 17:25
create products that they think people want without knowing that they want them. So I would say number one, make sure it’s a product that people are asking you for that you’re the number one expert, that you’re super focused, you learn the ins and outs of it, and you can do it better than anybody else and start with one really good product. So for me, that was like LinkedIn, and podcasting, I knew I could crush it. That’s really what I just focused on. And then I started adding YouTube and Instagram and other things, once we kind of got our feet on the ground. And after I figured it out for myself, if I’ve never done it well for myself, then I’m not going to sell it because I don’t want to take somebody’s money and do a, you know, 50% job, I My business is based on referrals and my trust, right, so I want to make sure that I’m the best. So I think a lot of people start being entrepreneurs, and they don’t even know the ins and outs of their industry. Like you’ve probably seen this with podcasters people start a podcast, they don’t even know how it works, they don’t know the business side of it, you need to know every angle of it and really be the true experts. So I would say, like I mentioned, number one, make sure that there’s demand. Number two, make sure you’re the best at what you’re offering focus on one thing and get super good at it, then scale up, right. So that’s what I would suggest and not to invest too too much in it at first before you’ve proven it out.
Scott D Clary 18:36
When you approach, you know, we’re going down the rabbit hole of of the product that you’re offering people and I I love unpacking this because I’m a marketer too. And I to a fault, though, because I like to figure out things myself first, and then but I’m not even trying to sell it to somebody, I’m just trying to figure it out myself. So yeah, I love to, I love to understand how you approach channels, how you approach unpacking algorithms, all the growth marketer hacks that you do. And when people hear hacks, it’s not that you’re doing something that is not allowed, it’s that you’re using the channel to the best of its ability. And most people don’t know how to do that. Yeah, I mean, there’s so many levels to this, you’re talking about CEOs who don’t know how to build a personal brand that are so far removed from the day to day activities of actual so like marketing, all the way down to growth marketers that are running and operating in a social media agency that are trying to figure out LinkedIn and don’t get it but then it seems like some people every single post just hits Yeah, all these different nuances and the span of knowledge that you have and bridging that gap between the the tactical implementation because you’ve done it before, and the needs and the wants that the actual customer serving. That’s actually what’s made it successful for you. And the $5 million run rate in two years is fucking insane. But when you as a marketer, when you look at different channels, you go into a new channel, what are the things that you think about? What are the things that you look for? Can you even like, describe something that isn’t common? No. ollege on a channel that you do really, really well on, that people should start to understand and look at social this
Hala Taha 20:05
way. Yeah. So number one, you want to make sure you’re picking the right platform, and you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. So one of the reasons why I really want in this whole game of podcasting, is because when I started, I didn’t focus on Instagram, YouTube, all these platforms, I said, You know what, I think my target audience are young professionals. And I think there’s a huge gap there was only like Lewis house was sort of doing his thing on LinkedIn. And I just came in, and I focused on LinkedIn, and I became the number one podcast are bigger than Lewis house bigger than Jay Shetty, bigger than Jordan Harbinger on LinkedIn in terms of my engagement, and I got leverage from that. And that really set everything off it set up my set off my social agency, it enabled me to trade my audiences with podcast apps, and then blow up my podcast later on. And so LinkedIn really kicked everything off for me, because I just focus on that and realized my target audience was there and there was a gap, I could stand out in the feed because of my topic. And because I’m a young woman, I stood out, and I could be different, and you want to be different on social media. That’s how you win, you want to stop the scroll. So that’s number one. Figure out where your target audiences where you have the most opportunity where there’s organic, reach, right? And focus on one platform until you gain leverage and then move on to the next platform. Unless you have a huge team and lots of money. That’s a different story. But if you’re just starting out, and you don’t have that many resources, just focus on one platform where your target audience is hanging out in mass,
Scott D Clary 21:25
I asked you one question on that, because that runs counter to the Gary Vee style strategy, which is everywhere, which is podcast 50 pieces of derivative content across every single social platform known to human beings.
Hala Taha 21:41
So that’s great, if you’ve got a lot of money and a big team, right? If you hire me, yeah, we can have omnipresence, and I can crush it for you. Because I know I’ve already done that been there before. But if you’re starting from scratch, you need to learn the platform, the ins and outs, you need to be familiar with all the features, you need to understand the engagement hacks on that specific platform, you need to build a community on that platform and spend time engaging with your fans. And that doesn’t happen, you know, by accident and spreading yourself too thin, I see this all the time, you get nowhere. And then you don’t have any leverage to then you know, make things bigger, because you’ve got more power, you’ve got an audience to trade, that’s a huge thing to have an audience to trade when you don’t have a lot of money, right. And so figure out where you’re at what platform you want to work on, then you want to make sure that you understand you experiment every day you post every day, there’s really two parts of a social media strategy. That’s important. Number one is like your content marketing, you don’t want to push, I don’t I’m not a big paid ads person, I never got into it. Eventually, I may have to do stuff with paid ads, and I do paid ads for podcasts and stuff like that. But in terms of social media, I feel like organic is definitely the way to go. And so you need a really strong content marketing. And then you also need understand, to understand the algorithm. And those two things are really what can make somebody become an influencer online. And so in terms of the content marketing, you want to position yourself as an old friend to your community. And that means you need to understand your values, you need to understand your personality type, you need to clearly understand the audience you’re trying to target. You want to mirror your personality to your audience. So for example, if I’m trying to attract young millennial men, who are the people who listen to my podcast, I want to make sure that I talk about topics they’re interested in, that I sound cool and relatable, and that I’m able to actually mirror the audience that I’m trying to attract. So what does that mean? I don’t do makeup tutorials, I don’t like do like
Scott D Clary 23:33
fashion blogs, the guests you bring on are certain types of persons.
Hala Taha 23:37
Exactly. And so I’m always doing things not that make me happy, but that attract my target audience, right? It’s not about you necessarily. And you want to think about the impact that you want to make. And so like having a really clear voice identity is really important. A lot of people get stuck on visual identity on social media where they care about a logo, they care about branding, but promotional salesy things, especially on a platform like LinkedIn actually do terrible because they don’t stand out. And they’re not authentic, and they’re not relatable. And so it’s really getting clear on your voice identity. Being comfortable with showing your face is super important on social media, a lot of people don’t like to show their face and that’s one of the things that can like immediately just change things if you just get your face out there. And in terms of the algorithm, it’s like I do things like read engineering documentation. Right? So I’m reading LinkedIn engineering documentation. I’m except for nerdy Yeah.
Scott D Clary 24:30
That’s like I thought I was nerdy. That’s like taking it to another level. Yeah, good for you that you need to do that shit to kill it because it’s tough. Exactly. Yeah. No, I mean, that’s absolutely wild. Now you keep bringing up LinkedIn again and again and again. Out of all the social platforms like if you think about the the common advice that people give, well, now it’s, you follow where the companies are trying to promote so the reels and the shorts and the Snapchat spotlights and and that’s where you focus your energy with short form video clips. Yeah, no one really speaks about LinkedIn. I’m on You see very bullish on LinkedIn. I mean, that’s actually we’re, I’m not, it sounds like as as granular a marketer as you are. But I still understood that, like LinkedIn is a content efficient platform. Yeah. So when you put stuff on there, you get organic reach. I’m a big fan of organic as somebody who did not have money starting at a podcast, then you have to find a way to tap into an audience. So I get LinkedIn. And also their content is very similar. It’s business content. So it hits but I mean, I never put this much thought into it. So it’s like, sometimes I’m just like a good accident. But you are very purposeful about all the shit you do very purposeful, which is great. And that’s probably why you have $5 million agency and I don’t have one that’s but how do you how do you actually are? Why is LinkedIn so important in your content strategy? Why did you bring it up? Like what is the thing about LinkedIn that differentiates it and put it in layman’s terms over focusing on YouTube or focusing on Instagram or focusing on Twitter, tick tock?
Hala Taha 25:56
Well, number one, like I mentioned before, the leverage of me being able to say I’m the number one podcast or on LinkedIn, and I have a business podcast. So all the business brands love to sponsor me, and we didn’t talk about it. But I have a podcast network where I grow and monetize shows. And a lot of my deals are 360 deals. So I’m one of the first podcasters that have monetized LinkedIn lives, I sell my podcast as a simulcast across my podcast, my YouTube and my LinkedIn, I’m the first one to do that, right. And so I’ve been able to like triple my impressions just because I use LinkedIn live as another podcast, monetization tool, essentially. And so 360 deals are really important to me. Speaking engagements come from LinkedIn, primarily, a lot of my, you know, clients or authors, speaking engagements come from LinkedIn, not from Instagram, right. So really important for authors and the types of clients that I run, I something that I want to talk about, because you mentioned it before, but we didn’t really get to talk about is, you know, just basic rules of growing on social media, and I can take it from like broad cross channel to then we can focus on LinkedIn. So first, every social media platform, no matter what it is, their goal is to keep users on that platform, right. And anytime you post on social media, you need to remember that if you want to be rewarded on this platform, you need to keep users engaged, and you need to keep them on the platform as long as possible. So if you do anything that brings users off the platform that bores them, where people skim over your stuff, you’re never going to when you want to stop the scroll, you want people to spend time on your posts, to take viral actions on your posts. And that means that you really need to know that content marketing, that’s going to resonate with your target audience, but then also how to like hack things to make sure that people do spend time on your posts, and don’t leave the platform. That’s how you get rewarded no matter what. The other thing is that in this world, everything is mobile, you want to take up as much real estate as possible on the feet. Super important people miss it. So on LinkedIn, for example, people will put up horizontal images or text posts with no graphic, that’s the worst thing you can do. Because the average person on LinkedIn is scrolling through nine posts, right. And if they just skim over your posts, you’re actually going to lose points for the algorithm because you didn’t have dwell time, nobody actually stopped and look at looked at your stuff. And so the bigger the image, the better. So on LinkedIn, that’s like a four by five aspect ratio for a graphic. And if you have a photo with a person on it, people are spending more time looking at the person rather than like a promotional graphic or something like that. And so big photos right now work the best on LinkedIn. videos don’t work. Well. The only thing that works well with video on LinkedIn is like LinkedIn lives. That’s why I do a lot of LinkedIn lives. And so people try to take the same strategies like Instagram reels and do it on LinkedIn, it doesn’t work. It’s a whole different platform with a different set of rules that are prioritizing certain features. It’s not like Instagram. So that’s a big problem. I see people trying to replicate, you know what they do on one platform when it doesn’t work that way?
Scott D Clary 28:55
I know. I was gonna say one more point. I don’t want to fire her. No, no, you’re good. You’re good. I love it. It’s an easy interview. That’s when when you see people that are just copying the strategies, I just want to I want to highlight something I think what you’re seeing is you’re seeing people that follow Gary Vee or some other social media influencer. And they see that Gary has a very sophisticated strategy. But you do see that he’ll just take a random video that he posted on Instagram, and we’ll post it on LinkedIn and you’ll get 1000s of likes, and but you cannot equate what he has, which is critical mass of an audience versus what you’re doing, which is no audience. Yeah. And I think that’s the issue. People replicate that. And they’re like, Well, if he’s doing it, I should do the exact same thing. You’re playing at a different level. And you and and you have to play at the level that you’re at, to eventually get to where he is. Yeah.
Hala Taha 29:45
And by the way, so somebody like Gary has well over a million a million followers on LinkedIn and his engagements the same as me and I have 200,000 followers. So he’d actually has a very poor engagement rate because like you said, he’s just replicating and he’s just got to see huge audience. So it does well. But he could be doing so much better if he was leaning into the features that LinkedIn is actually promoting. The other thing is skimmable content, right? People don’t like to read. And these algorithms want to keep users on the platform. So a platform like LinkedIn is actually going to deprioritize your post, if you’ve got big chunky paragraphs, and you’re making people work, because they know people are going to skim over them. And so big chunky paragraphs, you get deprioritize linking in the caption, taking users to another website deprioritized. The other thing that’s really unique about LinkedIn is that the last stage of the algorithm is actually human editors. This is way different than any other platform. And so an influencer like me, and all my clients were I know how to manipulate the algorithm so much that like, we’re always going viral. So my worst performing posts, 1500 likes, you know, and then ranging from like, 1500 to like 5000 likes, but then sometimes I’ll get 100,000, like post 60,000, like posts, million, 8 million views. 1010 like nobody’s getting these types of results on LinkedIn. And the reason why is because my content is actually aligning to the LinkedIn editorial agenda. Because LinkedIn is actually scanning the most popular posts, and anything that aligns to careers hiring, graduation, point in time, holidays, women’s day, month, Black History Month, whatever is on their editorial agenda, they’re gonna pour gasoline on it, and they’re gonna stop anything that’s salesy, anything that’s promotional, anything that’s promoting me, my LinkedIn masterclass, or whatever it is, and they’re actually going to pour gasoline on the stuff that aligns to their agenda. So whenever I’m thinking about client strategy in terms of content marketing, on LinkedIn, I’m like, what is the intersection of your niche and careers? Because that’s how we’re gonna go massively viral.
Scott D Clary 31:44
what’s your what’s your ratio of promotional to editorial guideline focused content
Hala Taha 31:50
on LinkedIn Sales happened in the DMS, always, always, LinkedIn is going to do from the first step of the algorithm, LinkedIn is D prioritizing sales and promotional stuff, if you link out deprioritized, if you have sales keywords in your post deprioritize, LinkedIn is in the business of making LinkedIn money and keeping users engaged and entertained on the platform. And they want to reward content creators who do that. And by the way, only 6% of people who are on LinkedIn are actually content creators. So there’s a huge opportunity for everybody to be that like dominant person in their niche just like I was the number one podcast are the number one podcast on LinkedIn.
Scott D Clary 32:27
Do you think if when you when you do sales, let’s say you adopt this strategy? Nine, nine posts are great. And then the 10th, one you sell? Does that? Is there a D ranking of your all your content now?
Hala Taha 32:39
So this is such a great question. LinkedIn actually judges your last 10 to 15 posts in the algorithm we can talk about, if you want me to break down the algorithm, I’m
Scott D Clary 32:48
happy to do I would love to because this is really deep. And I’ve never heard anyone speak about something. Nobody
Hala Taha 32:51
knows this stuff. It’s not a book. I’ve learned it. I’ve basically tested it, and spirit, I’m running all the influencers on LinkedIn. So I feel like I’m one of the only people who actually know the algorithm besides people who were yelling. So I’m happy to break that down. So you want me to break it down? So there’s four steps. Let me get a drink of
Scott D Clary 33:11
water? Because I appreciate it. No, I mean, listen, I know that you speak a lot about LinkedIn. And I know that’s part of like your, your service offering. But like, there’s a lot of people that speak a lot about LinkedIn. No, they don’t know anything. That’s why I’m like, I didn’t know if I wanted to go into like, yeah, I want to go into it, cuz I want to learn this. Yeah. Okay.
Hala Taha 33:27
So there’s four steps to the algorithm. Yeah. Okay. Number one is spam filters. So this is actually LinkedIn, like AI machine virtue, like their machine that is basically scanning every post that comes out. And they’re putting it into three buckets. First is spam. Look, then it’s low quality, high quality. Okay, so spam is the usual pornography, profanity, you know, using too many hashtags. So compared to Instagram, on LinkedIn, you really should be only using three hashtags. It’s, I can go into hashtags for 10 minutes, if you want. But really, three hashtags, anything over five, they’re actually going to deprioritize you because they think you’re spamming. Also, like the way that the platform works, just hashtags actually work against you. Sometimes if you don’t use them smart on LinkedIn. If you tag too many people, if you tag celebrities, a lot of people do this, like tagging 20 people in their posts. I’ve had people tag me that, yeah, no. Spam, you know, you get flagged for spam. It’s not gonna go anywhere. Okay, so those are some examples of like, as soon as you do it, LinkedIn is just gonna stop your post, right? Then there’s low quality, and it’s scanning for things that are really like nuanced. So like I mentioned, big chunky paragraphs, you have big chunky paragraphs, you get deprioritize that’s why all the influencers on LinkedIn are doing that line by line style that’s on purpose to be skimmable. Right. linking out to an external third party website deprioritize because you’re selling on LinkedIn, okay. Not having keywords in your posts that aligned to keywords in the people who are in your target audience deprioritized okay. Not leveraging certain features. You You’ll get like not having a picture deprioritize. Okay, then high quality, that’s you’re following all the best practices, you’re not tagging, you only have three hashtags, you’ve got skimmable content, you’ve got a graphic, you get into high quality. Okay? Step two of the algorithm is, it’s basically feeding your content to a subset of users on LinkedIn. Now, this is super important. It means that you need to make sure that the people in your audience are actually active on LinkedIn, there’s a lot of people on LinkedIn who look at stuff and don’t engage, there’s probably a lot of people that are in your first connections. And you’re only allowed to have 30,000 of them on LinkedIn, that, you know, got a job and never came back on the platform, you probably have a lot of, if you’ve been on LinkedIn for years, you probably have a lot of dead connections, you actually need to remove those people. Because you want to make sure that when you first post something on LinkedIn, that it gets fed to your small subset of user and and people take viral action, because then LinkedIn will serve it to more people. So really important to clean up your following for that reason. And then this step is also just in case like a something got like missed, and if people report it, hide it, LinkedIn can, you know, put the can on the post right away? Third step of the algorithm is super interesting. It’s content scoring. And LinkedIn is really looking at two things, it’s looking at what is the probability of somebody actually taking viral action on your posts, and this being successful thing that keeps users entertained, then they’re also looking at author stickiness. So like I said, only 6% of people on LinkedIn actually are content creators, and LinkedIn wants to reward content creators. And so they’re not only looking to see if people are going to engage on the posts, they want to make sure that you as a content creator, are engaging on the platform and staying longer on the platform. So it’s judging you on what you’re doing after you post. So that’s why you shouldn’t use scheduling tools you shouldn’t post and ghost. That’s why engagement pods do really well on LinkedIn, because it forces you to engage on other content right after you post. And so really important is author stickiness, not many people know this. Then there’s viral actions. And basically LinkedIn is trying to see as it feeds more people your post, how many viral actions are you getting? And viral actions on LinkedIn are weighted? Okay. So a like, for example, this is I’ve made these numbers up based on my experience of what actually goes viral A like is one point, a comment is two points A share is four points a share with captions, 4.5 points. By far the most viral thing you can do on LinkedIn is to create a post that gets lots of shares. That’s how you go massively viral. That’s how I get all my clients to go viral and become influencers on LinkedIn. It’s not about comments, not about likes, it’s about shares. And a lot of people get that wrong, and they don’t create shareable content in their content marketing strategy, which will, you know, cut, pull the plug on everything that I’m talking about right now if you don’t have shareable content, right? So you want to make sure that you maximize the amount of shares and viral actions that you get. And also in terms of content scoring, you replying to comments, you engaging on shares, that actually increases the virality of your posts, and all the this content scoring that goes on on step three. So let’s say you did all this successfully, your post is going viral, you have 1000 likes maybe 600 shares. Now you are in the bucket of the LinkedIn editorial people who work at LinkedIn, they’re going to actually start reviewing these posts because they want to control the conversation. And then if it aligns to Lincoln’s agenda, you’re gonna pour gasoline on it, and it could go viral for weeks. Okay? And if not, it’s going to stop and you would have a 3000 blog post or whatever it is. So that’s basically the entire algorithm. I have a LinkedIn masterclass where I essentially spend four hours on teaching this so I give you guys like the super quick version of it.
Scott D Clary 38:39
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And this is very important for somebody especially probably listening to this show, but other people that are in other industries to consider when you’re trying to build a social strategy to understand the nuances of a social, like a social strategy like that is exceptional, because I don’t think there’s a lot of other platforms where you can actually break down something. So it’s very simple. Actually, it’s Yeah, that’s a lot to understand. But then it’s very simple. Outside of posting reels, I’m sure there’s some nuances as to what type of content tick tock likes or Instagram likes. But for a business audience, it’s like painful to figure out how to get these short form reels to go viral on Tiktok or Instagram. Yes, brutal. So this is the opportunity. This is the pure opportunity. I actually wanted to go into I’m trying to think about other LinkedIn, I think that’s a lot of LinkedIn. They can go and get your Masters.
Hala Taha 44:06
We can talk about sales strategy on LinkedIn. Actually,
Scott D Clary 44:11
I did have a question for you about LinkedIn. Yeah. So when you’re saying that there’s zero promotional, and all the content is going viral? So you’re using LinkedIn live for your podcast, because that’s, that’s part of your 360. That’s where you get extra impressions and views. And that’s how you build the number one podcast and podcasts are on LinkedIn. But then when a new show goes live, you’re not actually promoting it in a post. Or you are no,
Hala Taha 44:36
so I’m leveraging LinkedIn live in that regard. So I actually have a tool. So
Scott D Clary 44:40
you get a new ad that tell you that a new show in front of the LinkedIn audience versus including an A post linking off to
Hala Taha 44:47
an exactly you always need to adapt to what the platform is doing. So for example, on Instagram, of course, I’m leveraging reels. I have the talking head videos, they actually perform really well. I’m doing collaborations and making sure my guests like making it a requirement that they collab with me so I get there reach. That’s the game on Instagram, on LinkedIn, I’m actually taking my YouTube full video, and I’m replaying it. It’s not live. It’s just, it’s just a replay using the restream app. And I’m replaying it. And it’s, I convert so many subscribers this way. I, first of all, I convert people who thought they never liked podcasts, but they like my stuff, then they realize, well, I’m going to follow her on YouTube, or I’m going to follow her on my podcast, and people who gauge on LinkedIn, we actually retarget them in the DM. So this you can use this for any business, it’s just happens to be that I’m in the business of getting podcast subscribers for this one tactic, right? So people liking comments on my live stream, what they’re really doing is is giving me permission to reach out to them. It’s called permission based marketing. And then I, you know, notice their behavior, and I write a note to them. Hey, I noticed that you engaged on my post about, you know, my recent interview with Alex from Mozi. I would love for you to check out younger profiting podcasts, if you like this kind of content. Here’s the link. And then, you know, we ask them for their feedback. They listened to the show, hey, can you copy and paste the you know, thank you so much for loving the show. Can you copy and paste this as an apple podcast review, and every single salesy post, whether it’s podcasts, whether it’s about my masterclass, we’ve got a little drip campaign that goes on in the DMS, where we know exactly somebody’s engaged. Now, let’s retarget them in the DMS. Let’s talk about the behavior that they took, because then it’s not spammy or salesy. Let’s give them some sort of free value. And then let’s try to get them to convert whether that’s a masterclass or subscribing to my show or dropping me a review.
Scott D Clary 46:32
Very smart. And I think that so a good lesson right now is if you’re going over all of your socials, somebody doesn’t have to go over all your social. Your product is a podcast if they want to see how to leverage an algorithm for a particular social for discussing a new product launch or or being salesy because you’re selling the podcast, the way that you’ve done it on that platform as a way to play with the algorithm so that you don’t kill the reach, but you still get the desired result.
Hala Taha 46:56
Yeah, 100% on LinkedIn, for me, the feed is all about going viral, growing community, making sure people know that you’re the true expert in your space, providing educational content, shareable content content, which has educational, motivational, inspirational, interactive content, feed to grow your community, and then people who engage on that stuff, you’re gonna get more eyeballs, more people engaging. Talk to them in the DMS, talk to them one on one. That is the sales strategy, at least for LinkedIn.
Scott D Clary 47:26
Other strategies, so let’s talk about podcasting. So let’s talk about other strategies that you you use and that you use to grow the show. So I’m assuming there’s a similar social strategy. But there’s a lot more to growing a show than just being present on social so 100%? What would be and we can, I guess it depends on who you want to teach you. You can teach somebody who’s starting off and then maybe get a little bit more advanced people that have a podcast like me, I’ll be a student. And how do I grow the show to the to the next level, how to somebody starting off as well also, day one on an RSS feed with no organic reach, get their first few subscribers, because every single digital marketing thing applies from social to paid SEO to all that so
Hala Taha 48:10
yeah, so So number one, you need to realize that most people don’t listen to podcasts, right? People on social media, half of the Americans in the world have never even turned on a podcast. Most people are barely listening, you know, there’s avid podcast fans. And then there’s people that listen to one or two episodes a month, right? You want the AVID podcast fans and those people are in the apps, they’re already on their specific podcast app that they choose to use. So you need to be as visible as possible in the podcast app. So what does that mean? First of all, great SEO right. One of the biggest mistakes that I made, I’ve ended up making it anyway. But my show was called Young and profiting. Nobody was searching that, right? I wish I called it young entrepreneurs, you don’t understand how many mediocre podcasters I meet. And they’ve got a podcast called self help or something self help
Scott D Clary 49:02
daily or equal. They’re searching that all day.
Hala Taha 49:05
And they’ve got more downloads than me. They don’t know how to monetize it. They have no idea how podcasting works. They’re not even successful. But they’ve got a huge podcasts, because it was an accident because they had good SEO good keywords. So if you can stand out with a good keyword that will be in your best interest in terms of just organic easy downstream traction to get an audience. So that’s number one, good podcast SEO. Number two, is there 70 different apps that make up this podcast base. One of the reasons why I became very successful in podcasting is because I didn’t just care about Apple. Okay, for a couple years I did and I wasn’t very successful, like my podcast was decently sized. But as soon as I realized that there was many different apps, and that Apple really only had 20 or 30% of the market share and there was like 70% of the market share elsewhere. And I started figuring out how to make relationships with these other apps figuring out what kind of advertising opportunities they have. All these apps have have different advertising opportunities, you can get a banner ad in the player, you can get push notifications sent out from the player, you can get sidebar ads. They’re all every every platform is different. I mean, you both do in media buying right? huge game changer, you need a little bit of money to do that. So if you have money, number one, go get advertising and the different podcast players, great way to grow your show. Number two, or number three is a way to do it without much money for an up and coming podcaster is to do interview swaps like me and you are doing an interview strops, our audiences are probably identical, we’re gonna get 10s of 1000s of new fans from this interview, because we’re both smart, and we featured each other. And that is a great way to get a podcast audience. Similarly, we could decide like, hey, let’s do commercial swaps. And let’s say I get a million downloads a month, and you get $500,000 A month making this up guys. Right? I could say you know what, I’ll do one commercial for your every two. And let’s just swap like that. So mean Jordan Harbinger do that every month, he does two commercials. For me. I do like eight tick because he’s way bigger than me. Right? Yeah. And so that’s a great way to grow the show.
Scott D Clary 51:05
And also, you’re tapping into another point where you mentioned something very prolific, not a lot of people listen to podcasts. So if you’re trying to attract new users, you go to where they are. Really, that’s like marketing 101, you don’t want to have to convert somebody who’s not a podcast listener into a podcast listener and then get them to know. Yeah, yeah. As you get more advanced, so now we talk about SEO, we spoke about some page show swaps. As you get more advanced, what are the biggest levers that you pull now is and I think that what I want to speak through is, does it matter? If you’re bringing the biggest guests? Is that a lever that actually benefits? Or maybe not? I don’t know, are there other things that you do in the type of production or the run of show that actually impact the listenership or the retention? Does video versus audio does quality of audio, all the different things that what has the biggest impact in terms of all the things that you do now? Is it even following up after the show was, you know, emails out to the guests and getting them to, you know, commit to a collab or commit the most in content? A million things? Yeah, but what are the biggest?
Hala Taha 52:12
Yeah, it’s such a good question. Because like, as you get bigger as a podcaster, it’s like all these little things start to matter to differentiate, differentiate yourself. There’s only like, 250 of us right now that are really crushing in this world, and monetizing and all that. And so you asked me a question in terms of doesn’t matter what the guest, to be quite honest, my solo episodes do the best people are listening to me and you because they’re, you know, they could choose to listen to any of the million podcasts out there. They’re invested in me as a host. And so my solo episodes do better than my guest episodes. But here’s the thing for my credibility for growing my Instagram, it’s really important and my YouTube super important to get the big guests so I see the biggest return on my guests in terms of like their caliber. I had Grant Cardone on recently, Alex from Mozi, and Matthew McConaughey, and I get so much reach on Instagram when they share my stuff. And on YouTube, because both those platforms are really good when it comes to featuring celebrities. So that’s my main thing with guests. It’s I don’t really see a bump in my downloads, it’s always pretty consistent. It’s more the traction that I get on social media and my credibility, that they helped me grow the on the social side. So that’s the guest question. In terms of like little things that I think I do differently than other big podcasters. Now, we send every podcaster a customized box. So blue box with my branding on it with my face on it, we send them a mic to control the sound so that all my stuff sounds super good. We send them branding a mug, it talks about my agency talks about who I am. Now, when guests come on the show. You know, before we did this, for example, I had Deepak Chopra that came on the show. And he showed up and he was like super unhappy and not impressed and like it had bad energy. Now when guests come on the show, like they’re so impressed, and they’re like, I’m so excited. And one of the reasons is because the box just makes it seem so fancy. They’re like Jesus girls differentiate. Yeah, she’s like this girl spend 500 bucks to send me this thing, like must be a huge podcast, like they must be crushing. Yeah. And so they come with like a different level of energy. Really helpful. Plus, we get to control the sound. So little hack that I do as a podcaster is that and you know, I’m really all about growing like now all I care about is just growing and retaining my show. As you know, with sponsors, it’s like the bigger we are, the more money we get. It is so scalable, way more scalable than my agency. So I’m just trying to think how can I maximize my impressions? How can I grow YouTube? How can I sell as a simulcast? How can I just, you know, increase my impressions as much as I can, so that I can make the most out of every show
Scott D Clary 54:44
and, and and another thing you touched on as a host, sometimes it’s hard to get the best out of the people that come onto your show, like Deepak Chopra is a huge name, but showing up with shitty energy is not good for the interview. So what would be the recommendation for hosts that are trying to get the best instead of their guest, is it the prep? Is it the questions? Is it the framing? Is it the making somebody feel so comfortable that they feel they can open up? How do you how do you be a good host.
Hala Taha 55:09
So number one, you want to make sure that as soon as they come on that they just have such a great smooth experience. So that means making sure you’re on the if it’s virtual, making sure you’re on there 10 to 15 minutes before. Now I have a producer that shows up that kind of chit chats with them, make sure that all the tech is there that they feel comfortable that they have water, I then introduce myself and I make sure that they know who I am, who my audience is that they feel comfortable. I say something to make them know that I researched. So like when me and you were talking before you were you were you were throwing things out to me like we’re gonna talk about your blog went along with this. Immediately put me at ease. Oh, he did his research. Oh, this is gonna be easy for me. He came prepared. The worst thing you can do as a host. I’ve been on podcasts where they’ve been like, how do you pronounce your name? And I’m like, why am I here? Like, you know what I mean? Like, so don’t have a very complicated. Yeah. And I’m like, why am I here? Like, you literally could have listened to the five seconds of any one of my videos and knew my name. So it’s like, just don’t come off with any sort of disrespect something that’s easily Google knowable and not know it. That puts people at ease.
Scott D Clary 56:12
I love that. I want to talk about the sort of is now LinkedIn, podcasting. Now let’s just talk about like, general entrepreneurship lessons for people. And we sort of touched on it a bit at the beginning, but you work in all these different types of platforms, you figured out how to growth hack LinkedIn to a podcast? What is your advice for individuals that want to stay on top of trends and marketing? How do you stay so that you’re always operating? You know that you’re always killing it? Because algorithms change? platforms change? What’s your process? Do you have teams that go out and research what’s new? What’s working? Is it you listening to other content, so people can stay up on top of marketing trends?
Hala Taha 56:55
Yeah, so number one, like I mentioned before, focus, I think people are so unfocused, so I to this day, I’m not focused for example, on tick tock, I don’t give a crap. Yeah, if I’m on Tik Tok right now, because to me, I’m like I got too much fish to fry on LinkedIn, I got too much fish to fry on YouTube, Instagram podcasts. If I add Tik Tok, it’s going to take away from what’s going on on the other platforms. So you got to know your limits and realize what is going to actually bring you the most ROI Right Now. What should you milk right now and focus on and learn instead of spreading yourself too thin? So that’s number one. Your question again was what
Scott D Clary 57:33
it was how do you stay up on top of okay, yes. Number two focus is number one because I’ve gotten to know everything about everything. The focus is number one,
Hala Taha 57:41
number two is find somebody who’s already crushing it. Okay, and learn from them. So for example, I’m by far the most knowledgeable person on LinkedIn right now. I have the best masterclass have a two day masterclass. Anybody who’s interested in you could go to Yep, media.io/course. And I’ll create a code called Scott for 40% off off, guys. But so I have a masterclass to learn from the best. So Instagram, I’m really knowledgeable. But what I try to do is learn from really good people who are trying to teach about Instagram who are just like me for LinkedIn. But for Instagram, I’m learning from those people. I’m not trying to figure it out on my own, I want the shortcut, right. The other thing is experiment, you got to post every day, you got to figure out what your audience likes, you got to have the most, you want to have engaging content. And every platform, like we mentioned, is totally different in terms of the way that you need to manipulate it with the engagement hacks. So that’s really important to understand if you want to grow, and you need to understand those engagement hacks. So what resonates content wise? What are the different engagement hacks that you need to do so you’re actually visible in the feed, that’s like the first battle on social media is just getting visible in the feed? And every algorithm is different, like we talked about? Do you
Scott D Clary 58:55
feel in your your background, you had corporate marketing experience, and now you have super scrappy entrepreneurial marketing experience? Walk me through the differences. Walk me through what a CMO of a fortune 50 could learn from an entrepreneur and vice versa?
Hala Taha 59:12
Yeah, so number one, what I noticed in corporate is that everybody has institutional knowledge. And when I came, for example, when I worked at Hewlett Packard, I was the most tech savvy person, because I had learned in the streets essentially. And so I was so scrappy knew I knew so many different skills, like I had graphic design skills, video editing, says SEO skills, website building skills. But when you have institutional knowledge, you tend to be in a silo. A lot of these corporate corporations like they want you to do your job. And if you step on someone’s toes, it’s actually not a good thing. And so you end up just learning one really specific skill and not having, like not really good at lots of different things, which I think is really important for social media is to like be really good at copywriting and also design and gret. And like having all these different skills, and corporate, you tend to learn one thing really, really good and it’s Not necessarily transferable in terms of that skill set, when you are in the real world trying to make it. The other thing is like just being on the ground, right. So like actually posting being the one who posts it being the one who comes up with the ideas, being one goes back to what I was just saying, that’s end to end from thinking of the actual topic, to creating the caption to posting it up, you don’t necessarily need to be the one creating the video asset or whatever, but at least having responsibility throughout the end to end process in terms of what goes up, then you’re really close to it. And you can understand what’s working, what’s not, you know, actually being active on the platform, talking to the community, looking at what other influencers are studying your competition is huge, you know, and getting a pulse. So it’s just a matter of like being on the ground, where as a CMO, it’s sort of easy to like, lose touch of what’s actually going on,
Scott D Clary 1:00:47
you know, Neil Patel, one of like the largest, it’s backgrounds in SEO, and other marketing influencer. He always says, like, if you want to learn how to build anything, build a personal website, just SEO, your personal website, build your own search, build your own social media, like do all this stuff yourself. And then you know how to first of all, as a CMO, actually, I’ve seen people that I mean, they just know how to manage because it was so far removed. They haven’t done yeah, marketing in 20 plus years. And how do you how do you keep on top of a four step LinkedIn process to fulfill all of these, you know, content requirements, or buckets, I’m gonna go back and listen to because I can’t remember them all live, but it wasn’t till later and probably take some notes. But how do you how do you stay on top of that? You haven’t done it yourself in 20 years?
Hala Taha 1:01:33
Exactly. And it’s not so like, for example, now I have a team of 60 people. So I’m not the one doing everything. But I’m at least lay one on it. Yeah, day one, I was exactly like, you’ve got to at least start somewhere. And then make sure that you’re brushing up and hearing out your team in terms of what’s changing.
Scott D Clary 1:01:50
And also, I think another thing is, the right team is looking for different ways to like the right team has that mindset of always looking for the new thing or the latest thing and you’re giving them like the psychological safety to try new things you’ve never tried before. Screw up. It’s okay. Yeah, breaking shit, we’re trying shit. But a team that is able to do that, as a leader that that will make your business. I think that’s super, super important thing to like, Don’t stifle creativity don’t turn into a corporate, or like this is the way this is the way it’s actually funny enough. The worst thing that I have ever done in any startup that I’ve ever worked in is hire somebody with industry experience. It always screws up not because they’re bad. It’s just because they’ve only done it one way. And that’s the only way to do it. And that is like the death of a business. Yeah.
Hala Taha 1:02:40
Because algorithms change all the time. Yeah,
Scott D Clary 1:02:43
all the time. Transitioning from corporate into entrepreneurial side hustle startup, what was the biggest challenge? What is the biggest takeaway or lesson that you want to tell people that are thinking about doing something like this right now?
Hala Taha 1:02:58
For me, the biggest challenge, I think, I’m not sure how relatable this is going to be. But my team grew so fast, my company blew up so quickly that we went from 20 volunteers to 60 people around the world that I was paying and trying to start this business. Also unique is that I’m not just a CEO. I’m also like a spokesperson, a podcast host, a content creator. And so definitely pulled me in a lot of directions. So I needed to make sure that I had a really strong team. And so my tendency is to typically train up one person really, really well to take over different departments of my business. So now I basically have like my right hand, who’s running my social agency, my right hand, who’s running my podcasts network. And it always starts with me creating it, creating the processes, creating the systems, creating the product itself, making sure it’s sustainable. And I tend to stand up these parts of my business and then put somebody in charge so that I can work on the next thing and work on my brand, right. And so, you know, training a team is so important and having people that you trust and as an entrepreneur, being able to actually allow them to thrive and give them the tools that they need to actually help you run your business.
Scott D Clary 1:04:08
How did you how did you not screw up scaling that quick?
Hala Taha 1:04:11
I mean, I did I’ve everybody screws up, right? Like that’s, that’s super tough. It’s really it was really hard. And I ended up actually letting go of like, some blow of my team, like I let go of like, 10 people this summer, because I was like, You know what, like, we grew too fast. I allowed people to hire for me. And there’s some people on the team, I feel like people aren’t being as productive. Like, I just want the best of the best. And I actually like had to downsize a little bit. So that we just had a tighter team because one bad apple spoils a bunch, you know, the more productive people are and the tighter the culture, the better it goes. The other thing that I struggled with is like as you become, you know, as I became more successful when I had my volunteer team, I was like a god, you know, I was, it was like mostly super bands work for me. And the volunteers they weren’t volunteers by episode eight, I had 10 balls. Two years in a Slack channel, I had about 20 people working for free for me for two years, a lot of them now are like leaders of my company and have quit their jobs and things like that. And we were so tight. And everybody respected me so much, because they saw me working 1618 hours a day, I was always I was teaching them one on one. They saw how skillful I was. Now, the team so big that like people who are at the lower, you know, yes, the lower end of the totem pole. They don’t necessarily like, see me in the same way. I just look like, Oh, this is the CEO who kind of gets things handed to her and has fancy clothes and does whatever she wants. And it’s like, no, like, there’s so much to it. Like it’s been, you know, years to get to this point.
Scott D Clary 1:05:42
So every story, but overnight success is never overnight again. Yeah. So So those are some of the struggles. How do you how do you as a CEO, how do you keep the same evangelism and excitement? And it’s hard? There’s no right answer this because it’s a very hard thing to do. But to the best of your ability, how do you get people that are employee number 60, to get as excited about your business as employee number one,
Hala Taha 1:06:04
I think it’s about having strong teams, strong team culture, we’re going through an exercise right now where we’re going to like really revamp our core values, make sure that we’ve got the right cultural fits. And, you know, we’re a fully remote team always have been, and so making sure that we have face to face time, that we’re doing things and talking about things that are outside of work that I’m flying out my team to conferences, so we get to bond. So it’s just more about like this, like, family type aura that we’re trying to like, recreate the team has great energy, and we’ve got a great culture. But to your point, the bigger you get, the more like removed and spread out that culture gets because you’ve, you know, throughout the process, if you weren’t super tight about the types of people that you wanted to bring in, there’s people with different values that maybe in your company, and you’ve got to like kind of contain that. So that’s where I’m at right now is like making sure that everybody aligns to the same values so that we could just move really fast together.
Scott D Clary 1:06:58
I love that. And how do I as a CEO, you mentioned this, as well as CEO, but you’re also talent, you’re also on air you’re recording. And this thing is scaled so quickly. So how do you focus your time and energy? Because I think a lot of, again, a lot of different people listen this from different lenses, right? So you’ll have a CEO listening to this being, oh, I could totally build a podcast for my brand. And it makes a ton of sense. Look at what it’s done for her. But then all of a sudden, it’s like, okay, how do I manage the time? I already have 1214 hour days, I can’t do a podcast, but you’re doing it. So yeah, what’s what’s the secret.
Hala Taha 1:07:31
So it was different when I had a corporate job and different now. So like, I’ll give it high level corporate job, I would wake up super early in the morning work on my podcast delegate to my team about what I needed them to do. People weren’t working full time, but they were working two, three hours a day for me. So I’d tell everybody what they need to do today, right. And then I go, I would do interviews during lunch. The key thing that I wanted to bring up is on my train ride, I lived in Brooklyn and would take a train to midtown Manhattan for to Disney, I would tell myself that my job on the train, the only job I have is to put up my LinkedIn post. So this was my way of getting podcast listeners in first growing. So my only job on the way to work was to put up my LinkedIn posts. So the lesson in this is, is to force yourself and give yourself a job during downtime that enables you to do something for your side hustle. So for me, it was like growing on LinkedIn, my job on the train, which usually people listen to music, doing unproductive things, I was like, gotta do my LinkedIn posts on the way home all my engagement, community engagement, I did that every day until I grew to like 100,000 followers and, and just did it consistently. And it was like no excuses. No excuse non negotiable every day, right? Did my interviews at lunch, you know, work till midnight, all my podcasts, whatever. So just Hustle Hustle Hustle for the side hustle right? Now I batch everything because I have more flexibility so I have two content days a week. No client meetings during that day. I study for my interview. I take my my interview for Yap. Maybe I’ll do guest appearances after another podcast shoes videos to content days get my hair makeup done. Have a cute outfit on all day. Two days a week, right? Other three days? Um, see you sometimes I don’t like you know no camera. I’m not wearing makeup today or like I’m like I just want to work focus. You know what I mean? So I batch my days there’s on camera days, there’s off camera days where I’m just co just knocking it out on the computer right? The other thing is like I don’t watch TV you know no TV only date nights with my like with my man, whatever. Just like to decompress and have fun. But I don’t watch TV. Like if if I have downtime. I’m either like, you know, researching several podcasts, researching stuff about LinkedIn, like getting into the industry because that’s the way that you win right like and that’s what differentiates me to your point. How do you stay abreast I’m constantly researching and seeing what’s new in my downtime instead of being unproductive. Also working out makes me smarter makes me faster, makes me feel competent. And I make sure that I work out like four or five times a week, it’s really important to me. So those are some of the things that I do love and track.
Scott D Clary 1:10:10
I’m curious about as like a, obviously, an exceptional entrepreneur that’s always on. Like, there’s a lot of here, like a lot of always on, and like you’re very, very focused. How does that tie into a relationship? How do you have a partner that supports that? That? How did you find the right person for that? Cuz that’s something that literally every entrepreneur struggles with?
Hala Taha 1:10:29
Yeah, I mean, for me, it’s funny, because that’s actually been a struggling point, like, I broke up with somebody, I was basically marriage I was with for 11 years, who was an entrepreneur himself, because he didn’t want me to be an entrepreneur. And during COVID, I started my business and he was furious. And like, stonewalled me, and all these things, and I broke up with him to start my business. And immediately after we broke up, sometimes people can really hold you back, right. And immediately after we broke up, everything took off. Because he was basically like, preventing me from being my full 100% Holla. You know, as soon as we broke up, became like, number one female podcast, or podcast, princess, all this kind of stuff. So that was pretty difficult. But I made that decision that, you know, life is short, and I may love this person still do as a friend and whatever, but it is what it is, we’re just weren’t aligned. And sometimes, especially for women, men can’t handle it, you know, I’m pretty intimidating in terms of like, doing all these, like 100k deals and whatever, like, most men can’t handle that, you know. And so it’s been a, like, you know, a struggle of it, in terms of finding the right person. But in terms of the, the person that I’m on with now, it’s like, they need to be equally as ambitious, they need to understand that we’re both like, you know, working really hard into the relationship setting expectation 100%. And for me, you know, it’s really funny, my business partner, because I’ve been like, single Invalides for the last two years, right? Trying to find the right person. She’d be like, he’s always like, you’re a unicorn, you need a billionaire. You need this, you need that. And I’m like, I don’t want a billionaire. Like, I want a guy who’s like, as successful as me, and we’re a startup and we’re working together and crushing and becoming a power couple. And not having a diamond dynamic. where somebody’s more powerful than me, you know, I want something equal. And
Scott D Clary 1:12:20
yeah, I mean, that’s, like, very similar to the Layla and Alex. Exactly. Like, exactly. So you have to get him on shows with you now. Yeah, exactly. doing like a whole like, couple podcast tour, I think anyway, yeah. Okay. So after, after all of everything you’ve achieved, obviously, you’ve had incredible success. But what have been the biggest failures that you’ve had over your career? Over building? Yep. Over building your podcast, the agency? Yeah. So I’m sure a lot, what are the ones you want to talk about?
Hala Taha 1:12:51
Like, geez, where do I start? So like, with my blog site, not really, I had a huge blog site, one of the most popular hip hop and entertainment sites in the world. didn’t figure out the ad monetization of that was really focused on the branding the content strategy, which taught me a lot, and I don’t regret it, because I feel like part of the reason why I’m so successful now is all the branding, social media stuff that I figured out back then as a young lady. But I didn’t figure out how to monetize. So it’s like, you always say the thing about the ROI, right? Like you’re in business to make money. And so figuring out the business behind what you’re doing, so like we’re talking about so many, like upcoming podcasters that like have no idea how to monetize podcasts, why bother? You know what I mean, if you don’t even have a plan to either get something out of it, whether that’s the networking, the lead generation, tool, sponsorships, whatever it is. So really understanding how you get ROI from whatever you’re doing. Other failures. Like I said, like the hiring stuff, like, like one of the biggest things that I like, as my company was scaling, I put too much trust in people, which is a good thing and a bad thing. I’m really easy to let go once I feel like I can trust someone. But you really, especially as a small business owner, you’ve got to make every hire, right, I’ve got to be the last person that approves this person, you need to give people test period, like hire really slow fire fast. Sometimes I’m too nice. And I’ll like keep people around for too long because I like feel bad for them. And I can I can technically afford the salary and then and then it’s like you just hurt it it hurts the rest of the team or brings everyone down. And by the way, it’s not good for them either. Like I started to realize that like the longer you keep somebody where they’re not thriving, the worse it is for them for their competence to go find a place where where they fit in. So those have been my two main streams. I
Scott D Clary 1:14:35
love that. No, it’s good advice. I want to I always close it out. I always close these out with the same question but before we end this and I’ll get all the social and places to send everyone. So what would be like final words that you want to leave the audience with? Any last entrepreneurial lessons, podcast lessons, whatever it is floors yours.
Hala Taha 1:14:57
Okay. So what What I would say is that you really need to believe in yourself, if you want to be like, this is an entrepreneurship show, right? One of the things that I think really holds people back is that they’re waiting for somebody to give them permission. So I, we didn’t get a chance to talk about it. But in a lot of my journey, you know, I was rejected from terrestrial radio, satellite radio, TV. And I took things in my own hands and started my own podcasts and became extremely successful at it. Right. And it was because I was trying to let the gatekeepers let me into something, and I would do all this work. And I would do free work and through your entered exactly. And even, like, there’s so many different instances of me like working for free, building something, and then getting screwed, because I didn’t build my own asset, right. And it wasn’t until I was like, I’m going to build my own personal brand on LinkedIn, I’m going to build my own pocket. So things really start to take off. Because I decided that like, I’m not going to let a gatekeeper tell me yes or no, I’m going to take things into my own control, leverage my skills and do this. And I believe in myself enough to do that. So it’s like, number one, don’t let the gatekeepers stop you from your dreams. If somebody is saying, like, No, you don’t have this opportunity to think about how can you do this on your own? How can you take control and not go knock on other doors, but actually do it on your own? What can you do and what is in your own hands in terms of this goal of yours, and not be so certain on one specific path, right? I could have been so focused, like, I want to be on the radio. But the having a podcast is almost the same. And I want to be a positive voice for one generation. Now, this has brought enough my goal instead of being like, I want to be the number one New York radio personality. No, I want to be a positive voice, my generation that can be on LinkedIn, that could be on podcast, and feature YouTube. And it’s more broad. And then it allows you to take many paths towards what you want. A lot of people get focused on like one thing. And then like, they just keep hitting a wall. So it’s like how do you broaden up what you actually want and know what you actually want. So you feel like like you’ve got the freedom to take many paths and not have this.
Scott D Clary 1:17:14
How do you do that, though, because that’s so tough to say. It’s easy to say. But I mean, people that are living in this siloed version of life and reality, because that’s, I mean, even myself, I didn’t come from an entrepreneurial family is very hard to break out of love my parents and their jobs are great, but they were nine to five very safe, very risk adverse people. Yeah. I’ve actually thought about this a few times. I don’t know how I pivoted my lens of life. And I wish I could understand that point. Yeah, because I would teach that to literally everyone. That’s so powerful. Yeah. And I’m just curious if you have any idea about how to do that from somebody that is stuck in their environment, their family, their upbringing, their social circle community, it’s so hard.
Hala Taha 1:17:57
Yeah. So number one, I think what really impacted me is like, I was super into the law of attraction when I was like, 19 years old. And like reading self improvement, reading books, audio books, listening to really successful people being I was lucky, I was, you know, working on any seven on the number one radio show, so meeting celebrities all the time. So being a celebrity wasn’t unfamiliar to me, like it felt possible because as a teenager, I was around them, you know, so, so really helped me if you don’t have access directly to those people, you’ve got to get those mentors virtually. So books, joining masterminds, like whatever you can do, like, bring your like level of influence up and be around people who do extraordinary things. So you feel like it’s possible. So like, whether that’s reading in a book, joining a mastermind, following an influencer and becoming one of their like, you know, and really studying them as even if you don’t know them, and then leveling yourself up in life. So eventually, these people that you admire, become your mentors, right, super important. I crushed it in podcast, because I made sure that Jordan Harbinger was going to be my mentor, I like worked, I would do things for free for him, I would like you know, constantly you follow up with him put him in any article that I got, as I was leveling up, I would keep trying to help him till eventually, he was like, this girl is awesome. And she’s going to be I’m going to teach her everything. And he helped accelerate my career five years, like, because he just taught me the game. So it’s like getting good enough and being respectable enough. So your mentors actually want to help you. And that requires some chasing, you know, and so that’s really helpful.
Scott D Clary 1:19:32
And I was gonna say, then, like the next level is, so a couple things because you spoke about, you know, you’re you’re basically working in trying to give Jordan as much value as you possibly could. But I want to highlight that that was to build your own thing, because it’s a stark contrast from giving a company an internship that will just won’t let you have a salary because actually, it’s you’re giving you’re giving so that you can eventually build your own thing and like I would take it a step further, like those mentors can have should become your peers. Yeah, at a certain point. But that’s it’s just about giving an insane amount of value. I love that. I really love that. It’s just like getting around the right people to give yourself permission to believe that the life that they have, it’s so easy to accept that as your own. And the fact that if somebody else has done it, if you if you deconstruct the steps to get there, it’s hard work. But it’s simple. It’s, it’s one plus one plus one plus one again, and again, you get to the end result. And if you can understand, you can deconstruct that, then all of a sudden, like the the ability, or the possibility becomes a lot easier to wrap your mind around.
Hala Taha 1:20:35
Yeah. And then the other thing I would say is like, as an entrepreneur, the game is online, and you need a personal brand. Yeah, you know, like, you really need to invest in that if you’re a corporate fine, you really don’t need a personal brand. Because at this point your your resume. And, but but as an entrepreneur, you need to be online, it increases the amount of money that people pay you for whatever you’re doing, it increases your visibility of your company. And it’s no longer the day where you can really be behind the scenes, I think in most things. So also like not being afraid of putting your face out there and working on your social media. I know too many entrepreneurs that are like, yeah, social media is not my thing. And I’m like, that’s why you’re unsuccessful. Like, you know,
Scott D Clary 1:21:15
yeah, I agree. I agree fully. I mean, you said it you said I’m not going to add more twigs is perfect. Okay, where should people go to connect with you to check out your socials to linked I think you gave a LinkedIn LinkedIn masterclass. So give me give me that. Give me that link. And I’ll put it in the show notes. But other places you want to send people
Hala Taha 1:21:32
so you guys can check out young and profiting we are a number one entrepreneurship podcasts. I interview the brightest minds in the world. So check out young and profiting on your favorite platforms. Also, I’m on LinkedIn, Instagram, at Yap with holla. LinkedIn, you can search for my name, it’s Hala Taha. And yeah,
Scott D Clary 1:21:49
perfect. Okay, last question. I asked everyone, after everything you’ve accomplished, what does success mean to you?
Hala Taha 1:21:55
What does success mean to you? Success means that I am working and never feeling like I’m working that I’m living out my dream, the same dream that I had as a little girl. Instead of working for somebody else, I get to work for myself and enable jobs and to me, doing work that doesn’t feel like work feels like success, no matter how much money I’m making.