Top of Mind

Summary Written by Karen Draghi
"When helping others becomes the framework through which you interact with the world, you’ll find yourself at the top of many minds."

- Top of Mind, page 23

The Big Idea

Focus on relationships and being helpful to others

"If you can tangibly improve your target audience’s quality of life, even in ways that seem minute, they’ll begin to think of you as a positive force in their lives. Do this consistently and your audience will reward you with top-of-mind status."- Top of Mind, page 5

How do we improve the lives of the people who make up our audience? By listening to them. We must listen carefully and never stop listening. What are they thinking? What are their problems? What issues are important to them?

We can use various tools, like surveys and social media, to hear what our market needs. The information we learn from our “listening” exercises can be used as the basis for content we create to address the questions and issues our market has.

Several years ago, Hall’s company Influence & Co. hired Matt Kamp, a recent college graduate, as their “director of helpfulness”. His only responsibility was to offer help to the people in their network by sharing information and resources they could use. The ongoing result of this outreach has been a tremendous increase in top of mind opportunities for their company and an army of people who are loyal advocates for them.

Insight #1

Share your knowledge, experiences and resources with your audience

"When you educate people, you are empowering them. … Content’s potential as an educational tool is limitless. Use it to share whatever knowledge you have that others will find valuable"- Top of Mind, page 26-27

Staying in touch with the needs of your audience and sharing information they can use is one of the best ways to give to and help them. While there are many ways to help others in a one-to-one capacity, the most scalable way is through creating and publishing content. You can exponentially expand the number of ways you can help people and the number of lives you can effect through content.

Sharing your own knowledge and stories with others is an excellent way to be helpful. In Hall’s own words “there just might be a nugget of information in my stories that helps someone or resonates so strongly with people that they go on to bring their own revolutionary ideas to life.”

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Insight #2

Create a writing ritual

"‘The Artist’s Way’ is Julia Cameron’s classic guide to channeling your creative potential. In the book, Cameron explains that inspiration is fickle; if you wait for it to strike, you’ll create very little in life. Instead, it’s exponentially more productive to build creative rituals into your daily routine (such as writing my ‘morning pages,’ three pages of stream of consciousness every morning). Daily practice nourishes your inner artist and boosts your creative output."- Top of Mind, page 83

Hall recommends and practices Cameron’s “morning pages”. Rather than waiting for inspiration to strike, it’s easier and more helpful to adhere to a habit of daily writing. Writing every morning encourages and allows for more creativity and it will also help to dispel the fear of writing.

Creating written content is a daunting task for many of us, from the solopreneur to the CEO. Lack of time and inspiration keeps us procrastinating and pushing this critical activity further down our to do lists.

Fear of being a bad writer also sabotages our efforts. When Hall became more and more anxious about writing, he decided to be as authentic as possible with his audience and he wrote an article called Being a Bad Writer Isn’t an Excuse for Not Creating Content. He shared his fear of writing and his own method of working on content with his network. His article was well received and helpful to many others. From this experience, he realized his fears were quite common and, by sharing, he helped others find solutions for the same problem.

Top of Mind is an easy to read guide for anyone responsible for growing a business. The heart of the book (and, I think, of the author) is helping others. The most scalable way to help the most people is by creating content. John Hall shares his actionable ideas on how to create the content and the systems one can use to do so.

Read the book

Get Top of Mind on Amazon.

John Hall

John is the CEO and co-founder of Influence & Co., a tech-enabled content marketing agency that helps brands and individuals extract and leverage their expertise to create, publish, and distribute content to gain influence, visibility, and credibility with their key audiences.

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