Episode 56: Recruitment Agency Grows BIG using Personal Branding, with Robert Hanna

Over the last four to six months, Rob has captivated my attention with his personal brand.

Rob has positioned himself as a thought leader within the legal recruitment space.

Very targeted niche.

Legal content might sound like a snoozefest, but Robert makes you hit that follow button on his profile on LinkedIn.

How?

Because he knows how to position boring content into engaging content, it’s a skill.

In this podcast episode, we talk about

  • The scarcity of content in the legal sector and how Rob is changing the game.
  • How Robert creates engaging content.
  • The unique twist that sets his content strategy apart.
  • A fascinating exploration into the world of legal content and personal branding.

If you are in the recruitment or legal space, Follow Robert Hanna on LinkedIn, He will inspire you ūüĎáūüŹľ

https://www.linkedin.com/in/roberthanna/

And remember to follow ‚ÄėMellonie Francis‚Äô on LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mellonie-francis

Transcript:

Mel Francis  
Welcome back to innovative minds. Now, I have wanted to have this guest for some time now we’ve been talking about it. For four months, I have been watching him really built his personal brand strength by strength for the last I think I’ve been observing for like four to six months really quite seriously, and probably youth showing up on my feet. And Robert Hannah, and I don’t know if you’ve come across him, because many of you may have has really caught my attention. What he does is does legal content, right? And you think that would be quite boring, and it’s gonna be like crap, but he really catches your attention. Pushing out legal continent, I of course, was like, Oh, I see a lawyer putting out legal content. That’s really interesting. For me watching ongoing, that’s a sector that never does content. We hardly hear anything from it. But you see, Robert, and he is until I call you, Rob ins.


Rob Hanna  
I met Matt Mellon, Rob, I like that. It’s got a good Rimland Rob.


Mel Francis  
I like it. So Rob has really propelled in this sector. But I kind of was like, it’s really dull and boring. But I actually hit follow on him for some weird weird reason. But um, which is weird, because he’s actually targeting to recruit lawyers. I thought he was a lawyer initially when I just see his content, but he’s actually recruiting lawyers, and then has gone on and done a whole lot. Right. That’s not your full story, Rob.


Rob Hanna  
It’s not Well, firstly, can I say thank you so much for having me on the show. And you’re very kind with your, your words of introduction, but I’m also a fan of what you do. And I think, you know, it’s really important that you bring on these incredible voices and guests that I’ve also been seeing you’ve been do because there is so much that building a personal brand can do for your professional career, your personal life and everything else in between. So yeah, I’m really honored to be here and happy to try and share a bit of my story.


Mel Francis  
Yeah, amazing. Uh, take me back to your journey. Like, take me back to the beginning of your entrepreneurship. Like when’s the first time you enter it? And was personal brand ever part of it back then?


Rob Hanna  
No, was the first this is the honest answer. So I had no clue about a personal brand, subconsciously, yes, but consciously No. So my journey, sort of very quick whistlestop store I went, I graduated from the University of Leeds in the UK, I moved into the city of London and started at a footsie 250 company, around the time of the Lehman’s crash for a recruitment company that was very highly regarded, but it was day one, and people were getting fired, jobs are being lost, left, right and center. So you know, I joined it quite a tough time to start a career in recruitment. But I’m very grateful for that experience. I think I picked up a lot of the skills needed to survive, which as you go into entrepreneurship, and as you go into, you know, new ventures or you take more additive risk, you need a lot of the skills that you pick up in downtime or tough market. So anyway, I spent some time there for a year and a half my boss left who had hired me, I went to he tapped me on the shoulder and said, Hey, so I moved to a booty nother recruitment firm. I helped scale that from sort of being in a basement with no windows three people to 4050 people turning over 2.4 5 million pounds sterling as a team and I was head of that in my mid 20s Hit directorship. And I thought this is great, life’s going really well. But it’s not giving me that sense of purpose that I really wanted. So I set up my own company, which was Casey partners in 2016. In in the legal industry. And I guess the answer that the why, because I could have easily been my wage being my caged trapped in the corporate circuit could help me No, no need to take risk and easily just go through life. But you just know, if you’ve got that entrepreneurial spirit, you’ve got that thing in you. It’s never and that’s never going to keep you away from kind of chasing and crashing down doors to go and get your dreams right. So why legal lets you know the fact that so my grandfather was a lawyer in the UK, he ran a very successful law firm over here in the 1950s that went on to be one of the most prominent outside of London, which is obviously a major city over here in the case, it was a very strong regional firm. And I always wanted to keep the family name and legacy within legal given what he had built as a practicing lawyer and how well his reputation was in an offline world with no social media, no internet, no video, barely a fax machine. And I thought, wow, he had such a strong legacy and reputation after leaving and building something I thought, I want to have a business I want to do what he did, but also in my world in a tech world. hyperconnected world, to leave a legacy that can be searchable and traceable for my family. Because a lot of what my grandfather achieved is very much offline, it’s hard to navigate to go back to really understand the story in the journey. That’s why I’m so keen to do this podcast, tell as many people about it, because it will be there indefinitely for people to keep searching and see. So that’s kind of how I got into it, why I wanted to be an entrepreneur and why legal?

 

Mel Francis  
I think the labor legacy thing, do you think that’s like something that resides in all of us in US entrepreneurs like is that I just, I know, I have that desire, I want to leave something. I don’t know what it is. But I want to leave imprint, and your

 

Rob Hanna  
insurance and policy not to quit, right? It’s your accountability statement. Because trust me, folks in entrepreneurship is not sexy. It’s pretty much you know, if you have 52, good days, in a year, you’ve had a good year. That’s one a week, if you want to put it in context, because most of the time you’re putting out fires, you’re struggling with things, and you’re seeing the top of the funnel the iceberg on social media. And that’s not true. Right? And so unless you’ve got a reassuringly why or legacy, which clearly you have as well, now, you know, you’re not going to get through, you’re going to quit, right? Because you’re not going to have that that kind of will to want to get up that accountability, like what is your mission? Because it’s, it’s it’s tough. But the flip side of that everything else is so amazing. So it’s just having that grit. So yeah, I absolutely agree. I think true entrepreneurs have that kind of legacy, that why in them, and that’s what pulls them through.

 

Mel Francis  
Yeah, and you know what, I think it’s also like, we I just can’t imagine working for someone like that.

 

Rob Hanna  
I would rather I’m unemployed

 

Mel Francis  
or super poor. I’d rather be super super, I think I’d rather be homeless. I don’t know if that’s true. But you know what I mean? Like, it’s kind of like, I just can’t have someone tell me, since I’ve left corporate like, you know, you’ve got to do this at this time. And you like didn’t turn up but like X amount at this time to work. So I’m going to like judge you and you’re not your progression is going to be not great, because you decided to start at 10am You’re lazy? And you’re like,

 

Rob Hanna  
No, that’s the beauty of technology in the way of the world. You know, there’s so much more opportunity, there’s so much more infrastructure that why do you have to wear in my case, a shirt and tie be at an office nine to five, have a lunch break here. And that determines whether I’m good or bad at my job. And just because no like you can and that statement you just made, it tells me you’re obviously a true entrepreneur, like you want to do it your way you can, you know, everything that’s out there now, every opportunity to start a business, you know, I was listening to a podcast myself the other day, and this is going to make your jaw drop. With the advent of technology and AI, it has now been scientifically and research focused that it’ll take three people, just three people to create the next billion dollar company. Right? So let’s put that in context years and years and years ago, the 10s of 1000 members of staff, right you need the bot you need the office, you need the infrastructure you need the people you need the managers, etc, etc. Fast forward to Instagram who did it as 11 people, right. And now we’re scaling that down to three. And so it’s results or excuses, never both, if you want to go for it, like you can just go for it. And trust me have the right people in your network, listen to people on Mel show network with the right sort of people. And you can do it. Like you know, there’s no the world we live in now. There’s no excuse for not wanting to start a business.

 

Mel Francis  
I agree with you, I think the three people and 1 billion is 100% possible with the new tech the chat GPT the workflow releases and you know, what’s so exciting is like, I always envision oh, I want like 100 200 300 Plus talent business. That was like my goal. Like if you asked me four years ago, I’m gonna run like a multi national company, if you asked me today, like what I would want, if I could have 10 talented people, like you know, around me, even like three to just you know, and I could achieve and I could have an amazing connection with them. That would be so fulfilling because you know, you went when your company grows into large, you can only get like pieces to them to pieces to people so your connection with your staff drops. So to be able to do this and have that kind of tight bond with your staff and they’re not doing these you know, minutia tasks anymore. So you can have this high, high quality staff around you who are like empowered and can use all these different tools is a really exciting world to live in.

 

Rob Hanna  
And I think we became building on your point, I think we became very sort of, you know, conditioned to the more people you have the more successful your businesses which is incorrect, right? Use compiled potentially, the more be people you have, the more problems you have, the more costs you have, the more pressure you have to make money to make it profitable. Right and let’s just say processes are great. So Boutique is beautiful is what I tell people be being small, being niche being nimble, you can be a team of one. But the more powerful, you know, my distribution reach is stronger and larger. And I don’t say this in an arrogant way I say it in a confident way, that my competitors in the legal recruitment industry have been around for 20 years, right? Because I’ve leveraged the tools, and I’ve recently had a shark tank equivalent Dragon’s Den, come on my, my own league is doing podcasts, which we’ll talk about in a bit. But he talked very much about the value pyramid with modern future of work and everything can bolt doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor, lawyer, surgeon, accountant, the mundane tasks like you referenced, they’re going to get filled up with technology, right? Technology is going to come in and disrupt, disrupt, disrupt, disrupt. And so unless you’re able to move up the value pyramid, as a service provider or product, you will be taken out, and that’s why people get shocked about all my jobs gonna get taken away. Yes, it will, if you don’t embrace learning, if you don’t develop if you don’t want to kind of move up the value pyramid, because, you know, we don’t we don’t sit on horses, and right now we have cars, you know, cars, things move forward. So, you know, for me, I’m always staying curious, do I have all the answers? No, I don’t think any entrepreneur, any business owner has all the answers. But the main thing is you got to stay curious, you got to listen, and you’ve got to prepare for change. A lot of people don’t like change.

Mel Francis  
100% you, I love this part where you said you have to keep pushing up your value prop because technology is going to keep coming in. And it’s not going to value what you’re doing. As you were like, I remember, you know, sort of 12 months ago, 18 months ago, if I offered people like you know, four or five video edits, or six video edits, people would be like, wow, like, I’m gonna pay like, three 4000 $5,000 For that, like it was so high value to be able to record a video, edit it, and then push that out for people like they really thought you know, in a video, a person will come to your house and you pay them 1000s of dollars. I mean, now people go, Okay, well, I’ve got a gimbal I’ve got a 4k camera right there, I can just have the setups on now like pushing out one cost straightaway. Now overlay that with automation of technology, like the script, which is like subtitling really quickly removing all the pauses, which used to take video editors ages to figure that out. I mean, you know, the value now is not even in the video that that has like no value, it’s like nothing. The value is only in the strategy of what do I put out and why and what length and short and what’s the title going to be you know, that’s going to really be purposeful meaning for and value to my audience. That’s the only thing that people really see value in the whole context.

 

Rob Hanna  
It’s so true. I mean, even take the platform we’re using I use Riverside FM, I like Riverside FM, you could even as an amateur podcaster. You didn’t want to use a podcast agency, you could use their into in house tools, you can create short clips, you can do their you know what they have available for you can use like the editor and now you know, all these little things. So, yeah, unless you are, as you rightly say, moving up, I think you’re at risk. And I think there’s a real naivety with large proportion of people not sort of understanding that, you know, the speed of change is going to be faster than we could ever imagined. And so now’s the time to stay curious.

 

Mel Francis  
Yeah, let’s fast forward to so you set up, you know, Casey partners, right. So, so then what, like, at what point do you go, so you know, that subconsciously social media exists? Like, at what point in your journey? Are you like, Okay, I gotta do some marketing now. Or I’m gonna bring some work in or, you know, or we just like, let’s just hunt like normal back then. So when do you see this transitioning your journey?

 

Rob Hanna  
Yes, this is really important for anyone listening as much as you’re passionate, and your businesses, your everything, no one cares. Okay? No one cares, until you tell them to care and give them a reason to care and understand why they should care. So just because I’d set up another legal recruiting firm. It’s not enough. I’ve got established competitors. I’ve got people that have been around for 20 years, and I’ve got my my clients I’m trying to go for why the hell do they care about Rob sat in an office as a one man band? Who’s talking about, you know, nothing of real value with not much experience? They don’t, right. So that’s where I noticed that I thought, right, how can I stand out? What can I do that other competitors are not doing? And this is where the thought leadership personal brand piece came in. Right? A lot of people we’re a company brands company established, and they’re very conditioned in terms of we have a social media policy, we do this. You said this clients, they didn’t allow their people to be people to express themselves. And I thought, well, I’ve come out of the corporate cage. I can just go and be myself. I’ve taken a big enough risk. I’ve transitioned across three markets I set up, you know, I started my career in a recession. I’ve been through a pandemic running a business, which is fast forward a bit, but I thought, you know, I’m prepared to take a risk. So why don’t I think of Content pillars or vehicles that are enabled me to enhance my reach, leverage the tools that I have to ultimately get known and bring in inbound leads rather than trying to call someone and say, Hey, can you give me your business? No, we’ve been using these people for the last 20 years, we don’t really care, there’s no value can give me so I’ll give you an example. We were the first legal recruiting or what I call talent solutions company now focused on community, we do a lot of things with events and the whole thing, the whole package, right, because I really believe the Power of Winning is community now moving forward, we don’t have a community, I think you’re in trouble. So we set up a podcast, right? So we’re the first legal recruiting firm at the time in the UK to set up a podcast and everyone laughed, right competitors, like, what the heck is this? You know, why on earth is a recruiting company doing that? But hey, instead of me bringing up my target client, and saying, Hey, have you got any jobs for me to recruit, I would say, Hey, I’ve seen your articles online and your blogs, I think I can amplify your reach significantly talking to your legal audience, you know, I’ve seen that you’ve been talking about your latest mergers deal that hit the press, imagine being able to tell that story and get that out in 5000 cities. And do that in a half an hour session. And I will create transcripts, blogs, audio content, all of this for free that then you can give to your marketing team. And I’ll make sure that it’s also evergreen, so you can use it time and time again. And we can also get it embedded into your website. Wow. Yeah, sure. When do I come on the show? Great, then you give them the world’s best experience on a podcast. And then at the end of that you’re like, Oh, and by the way, oh, Rob, I’ve noticed as we’ve got chatting, you also do did a recruiting? Yeah, when we’re hiring, I’m gonna give you a call. Right. So I’ve led my relationship with value, right, I’ve given something I’ve put something into an ecosystem, I started building relationships off the back of helping people were lawyers, and historically not very good at marketing. They’re not very good at putting themselves out there. But they’re very good communicators, typically. So putting them in an audio environments, pretty easy for them, because they can talk quite easily is their safe space, and they charge by the hour. So if I can produce so much value to them in half an hour, rather than and by the way, oh, we can use your story as part of a job description, we can send it out to candidates, we can market it differently, we’ve got a slightly different angle on top of the other legal recruitment firms that are just sending the old, you know, Shi T out. And so, you know, it was such a different way to attack a market through providing value that we kind of got known. And yeah, having a content pillar, like a podcast was a great way to start.

 

Mel Francis  
That’s so smart. In like, how you outreached via podcast, or? And then that later turned into inbounds because then they got to know you like, I just think that’s how did that come to you?

 

Rob Hanna  
Um, do you know, I always believe in giving credit to others, right? So, of course, you know, my company, my idea, I, in theory, make the final decision. But there was a young lady who I hope listen to this one day, who’s now gone on to be a lawyer is is Hannah, Hannah Foley who check her out. Um, you know, she’s gonna be a hotshot lawyer, for sure. She always wanted to be a lawyer, but she worked with me and started her career. And she said, Brooke, I think we should think about doing a podcast. And at the time, you know, I always have a curious, there’s nothing you can say to me, that doesn’t sort of, if you’re an immediate Nate naysayer, like you’ve got a limited mindset, right? Where I was like, Okay, well tell me why, you know, what, what can we do with this? And then we sat down and had a meeting. And then my other friend could also invest in recruitment tech businesses had just started a recruitment podcast. And I was like, right, interesting. And then we all got an A meeting room, we thought, let’s make this happen. And then you’ll know melas and Experience podcast. So I was like, How can we be the most strategic with launching a podcast? Because again, no one cares that I’ve launched a podcast like, I don’t care if someone’s not launched. Why should I care? And so we thought, What’s the best way to do that? Right? The best way to start a podcast, folks, Trick number one, is go on someone else’s podcast who’s got an audience that’s going to be useful for yours, right? So I’m a recruiter. So I went on to a recruitment podcast that was more established that had a good audience that had visibility that had some knowledge, right? I went on there talk some sense, and I put a simple call to action at the end of that podcast, to bounce that audience into my two weeks later, I then launch my own show. So I’d already had visibility and known as someone for podcasting. And I was strategic. Then I brought in my first two guests, male and female guests, do we typically only do one who were part of the society? You had a mailing list of 10,000 people, right? The London young lawyers group, so I was like, right, I’m gonna get them in because what are they going to do? They’ve got the novelty way back when when going on podcasts was like fun and excited. And they’re going to distribute that to their network. So immediately, I’m getting free marketing or for an hour overtime to their database to that data, that is core people that are going to be my future candidates, my future clients, and then the rest is history. But that’s kind of like how we strategically started and made it all work.

 

Mel Francis  
That’s, yeah, that’s super, super smart of how strategically you thought of that actually just wrote that down how to be strategical with podcasts. Like, I need to do that podcast again, because I remember the first podcast I ever did was with the person that was helping me to start my podcasts like I knew I needed to be like I needed help, you know, because you’re like, you don’t even know what the hell’s going on. You don’t know you need an intro, you need an outro. How does this work? And you know, I mean, I thought you just go on Zoom, and you just have a chat. But there’s all this post production work. And then as you do it, by the way, it gets super, super easy over time, once you put the set up, like the initial thing. So the pot so the podcast idea, were you already posting like on social before the podcast idea? Like were you like sort of putting, you know, bits and pieces out? So already I was,

 

Rob Hanna  
I was following LinkedIn journey, right? Because I’d been on LinkedIn, because LinkedIn has changed since I started recruiting that was just jobs, right? You won’t if you go through my content, you’ll see I haven’t posted an explicit job ad, which is my core part of what I do, which is my sort of headline top top service offering in the last five years, I don’t think you’ll see one posted on my LinkedIn, you know, anyone who listens to this, what’s hold me accountable? Because I know that’s not what my audience wants, right? That’s transactional. Yeah. So I always say to people, we’re not building another legal recruitment business database, we’re building a community that’s different. To feed that community, you’ve got to give them something. So I was flirting with LinkedIn, putting some posts out, I think that pretty crappy to be honest. But just sort of thinking, okay, you can post on LinkedIn, now you can do these various things. And so I was getting comfortable there. And I was getting a lot of judgment, by the way, you will never go through trying to do something. Without criticism, breakups, potentially with business partners issues, because you’re doing something that is different, which is scary. And also, a lot of people take pride in holding certain people back, right. So if you’re gonna put yourself out there, you’ve got to have that why that’s so loaded. We’ve talked about before to keep going regardless. So what I was starting to put stuff out on LinkedIn, and that’s when Hannah was like, we can maybe do you know, something, something else. And that’s where we got in got, I got super curious. And from there, you know, started posting on LinkedIn. And did I think, you know, fast forward to today, you know, I’d be advising LinkedIn, you know, hosting their legal, you know, LinkedIn audio beta testing products going into their offices, you know, all these other brands getting sponsors, they’ve, we’ve talked about that, you know, how we’re the only legal problems are one off to have a legal tech unicorn and center, which is basically a company that owns over 100 million annual recurring, who were like backing us now. It’s pretty funny. We went from that to where we are today.

 

Mel Francis  
Do you think that’s all because of you investing in your personal brand?

 

Rob Hanna  
Yeah. I’m, I’m verbose enough to say that now. It takes time, energy and effort. So there is a few years between that break. So we started the podcast in 2019. I started my company in 2016. So, you know, there is the so you’ll know, people see the top lines now they’ll go to a profile, they’ll see all of these things and be like, Wow, I want that overnight success. This was never an overnight success, you know, and by the way, you can never rest on your laurels. Because the only things for sure is it’s very easy. My grandfather, my greatest mentor, he said, it’s very easy to be successful. Very, it’s far harder to stay successful. And it’s so true, right? You know, anyone can be successful or have a one night, you know, it will have that one thing, but staying successful. And actually, you know, that is really hard. And so you’ve always got to be thinking of new things. And so we’re always thinking of new things and thinking about how we can stay successful. But yeah, for sure. I think the personal brand is has a lot to contribute to where we are today.

 

Mel Francis  
Yeah, when you talk about, I remember when I was posted, like four or five years ago, and must be now and I got a million views. And I was like, Holy shit, like, I’ve hit jackpot. And you know, that the thing to stay at that level, and to get it time and time again is like almost impossible. Because you know, there was algorithm at play, there was just the right time there was a right topic. It was like maybe something really, you know, hot that you said that just, you know, caught on fire in that moment how people to social feel was and then you know, you maybe go again, and I remember like sort of I’ve had six months, we’re only used to get like, you know, very little reach like sometimes 2000 like going from a million down to like it kind of counting impression because that’s all you can see, right? Sometimes it’s just the easiest thing to count the metrics, and to stay consistent through the content journey of investing when you’re seeing ups and downs, because it challenges you and you’re like, oh, maybe this is not what Looking or, and so many of my clients that come on and say, you know, I want to build a personal brand like you. And they go, you know, I’m willing to do this for three, six months, and I just go, you know, just keep on walking, because I would probably four years ago, if you come and ask, I’d say, yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ll go over. Because LinkedIn was off course it more different place as well, where people weren’t producing high quality content. So you could probably make community much more faster. It’s a much different space. And if you don’t have that long mindset, like you said, this could be a two, three year journey for some people before they see anything. But because they’re learning, that’s what I think you’re doing through content, you’re learning what people like you’re reiterating, you’re looking at what you’re putting out, does it actually reflect what, who you are, and you’re growing at the same time as a person through this, so you’re only getting better and better and better, just like anything else, and people don’t see that they just think I’m going to come in there. And I’m going to rock it. And I’m going to, you know, the quality of you as a person is also growing constantly. So the quality of your content, I believe, also grows alongside of you.

 

Rob Hanna  
Yeah, no, I couldn’t have said it better. myself. I think, you know, ultimately, with all of this, it’s really important to remember that it is a journey. You know, it’s it’s not this sort of, you know, quick sprint, you speak to any creator, anyone who’s kind of gone online. But you just gave a great example of if I was to say to someone, Hey, do you want to spend a little bit of time on a platform that’s free to get a million views for your business? How can you not say no to yes, I need to double down on that, like, tell me a platform, which is free, which has over nearly, you know, has on scale to have over a billion users, which is a 24/7 Freshmen networking site, we’re in different timezones right now. LinkedIn is real, right. I’m a big fan of some other platforms that I think are challenging LinkedIn. And I’m a massive ambassador for LinkedIn. But I also think people need competition. So I like the web three platforms like entre, which I’m an ambassador for and light deck work in their web three technology and how it awards creators and pays you to post and things like that. But you can’t afford not to be on LinkedIn like you cannot your most of your audience typically in that or maybe it’s Instagram, but not being on these platforms, which is free. Because if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product but play the game. Yeah. And you get to get the views and impressions. And if your content and strategy like you say Mel’s good enough, you’re gonna get people coming to you, and it’s going to be a few business. Correct?

 

Mel Francis  
And I think it I think it’s the content and strategy, it will take you sometimes time to unlock? Because when you starting out, you’re kind of not sure. And you’re sometimes probably confused. Who is my audience? You know, like, I’m sure when you start like, is it lawyers? Am I speaking to or who is in the law firm? You know that I actually want it because for you, you’ve got probably a two sided marketplace. So a lot of people that I meet, and they come to me and I’m like I’ve got a marketplace, they actually get very confused as to who their audience is. Is it the law firm? Or is it the damn lawyers? Right? My attracting the talent? Am I meant to make content for them are meant to make content to please the law firm. So how do you how did you decide on that process? Of Who? Who? Content Strategy? That’s probably the you know, yeah.

 

Rob Hanna  
So what if we go back to my podcast? You know, I used to listen to Steve OSHA, who is really good at podcasting. You know, he knows a thing or two, and I was on one of his webinars, and he talks about have a topic of influence. So what the heck’s the topic of influence is like, think about what is that pain point? What is the pain point of the audience that you wish to serve, and it should be no more than one or two words. Because with that, you’re gonna be able to produce the content that your audience wants. So I’ll give you an example. Our legally speaking podcast, our topic of influence is legal careers, right? Because we’re recruiting for, we’re trying to attract lawyers that are looking for jobs, we’re also trying to attract clients that may be hiring. But if all we talk about is jobs, it’s going to be quite boring and mundane. But if we talk about the future of law, or maybe how you can be successful, or maybe how someone went on this journey, that’s inspirational or we talk about the latest legal technological advancements, or we talk about diversity, equity, inclusion, how we’re shaping and changing the profession, for good, we talk about mental health, we talk about all of these things connected, we suddenly start thinking right legal careers, and on top of it, the top of the funnel, but we have all of this really good, interesting content underneath that people are going to want to consume. So for example, somebody may be putting into Google, how to avoid burnout as a lawyer, but they’re worked up and stressed up, right. So we’re strategic in terms of how we title our episodes, the content, we produce, the hooks we use, the guests we bring in, because we can then look at that and actually provide something into the system that’s part useful for the community. So yeah, I think everyone should know what the topic of influence is like, what is that one or two words? Going to give a look, you can go on to Google Trends. You can go on to you know, answer the public.com. You can use all of these free available resources. is to get the Google index linked data to actually what your audience is looking for. And then you can start producing content. And you can then go and use these AI tools to hyper enhanced your content, ideas and finesse and tweak them. And it suddenly doesn’t become difficult. It’s just all knowing the strategy and tactics behind it, like you say, Mel, but that’s kind of us. So it was kind of legal careers, everything I want to know. And then of course, there’s a sub on bright for me as rob the individual, because you know, the entrepreneur side of thing, the investor side of thing, it then creates curiosity and gets me sort of interesting things. But it’s never far removed from legal careers, talent, because it’s recruitment tech businesses, legal tech businesses that I’m typically involved in, or technology businesses that I invest or sit on the boards of. So it’s really like knowing your lane, knowing the topic of influence, like people will come to you with your common questions. So think about like the top two or three questions, you continuously get asked by your audience, turn that into one or two words, that’s probably a topic moment for them, and then you start producing content.

 

Mel Francis  
Got it? What I really love about some of your topics was, it actually would be something that both of the side of the marketplace will be curious about, you know, so they feel like, okay, you can actually go interview someone that’s actually been successful, and say, you know, tell me about your career, man, you’re getting to be known by them. And then a lot of people that are successful love telling their story. And then you’ve got the talent that’s coming in and listening and digesting that content. So you’ve actually gone and hit the two birds with one stone. And I think anyone listening on, I think that’s a really powerful strategy to think about, if you can produce content that somehow at least gets you in front of both the marketplace like in this case, you’re getting in front of them by actually interviewing them. And then the other cases, other people are consuming that. And I think both audiences are very interested in the content that you’re producing. Super smooth, you’ve

 

Rob Hanna  
got it straight, you’ve got it straight away. I think the one thing where maybe I need to get more comfortable with as well as it’s, but if you want to increase your income, increase your offers and call to actions like very straightforward, right? If you want to do that, we don’t do that as much as we should. We’ve got to a stage now where we’ve already got sponsorship revenue, we’ve got a discord community, we’ve got membership options, etc, etc. But it’d been very easy for us to put on the end of every email everything on by the way, here are jobs, here are jobs here, or jobs or looking for job now. But I’m like, no, because my mission is bigger than the transaction, right? So it’s like, let’s keep feeding the community of thing and make them want to know, like trust to show up and be consistent, because we all know about consistency. It’s changing a little bit now because a lot people just say consistency. It’s quality of consistency. Yes. You know, because I agree. And now with AI tools in anyone can show up every day, you could just go Chappie to print the year planet content and just plant it right and it will do it for you. So you don’t need to think so. It’s the quality, it’s the thought that goes behind it that’s going to be relevant. That’s gonna make you stand out. Because otherwise it’s just in the noise.

 

Mel Francis  
Absolutely. I mean, when I had Jasmine alikhan, he said he spent 10 hours per post that he does for the carousel. And, you know, that’s why he’s, you know, he’s like, you know, I’ve imagined 10 hours, do one post.

 

Mel Francis  
So you wonder why he’s one of the top number one creators on LinkedIn right now, because he’s going above and beyond what anyone else probably is in the market. And it’s just simple as that he’s really focused on quality, and then doing that consistently. So I agree. Do you know what when I talk to founders, and you know, they’re making a decision point about, okay, personal brand, obsession with well, what’s the ROI is really, you know, quite the topic, like, what do I get from doing this? And when can I expect it? And three months, six months is like 12, you know, 12 months is like such a long time away, when they think about this. And what’s your, you know, what’s, how do you think about this?

 

Rob Hanna  
I just think you gave an amazing example of 10 hours, right? You know, if someone sees the value in something, they will put the time into something because they know, they maybe could just get one or two high quality leads through the quality that this puts out or what have you. But to my point, I don’t look at things as the ROI, right? Because I think it’s very easy to get disappointed. I think I look at it in terms of the COA, the cost of inaction. So let’s take my journey. For example, no one knew who I was five years ago, no one really cared who I was, yes, I was known in the corporate circuit, but to get to sort of being sponsored by a legal tech unicorn to be invited by Thomson Reuters to speak to be invited by LinkedIn by all of these brands to be going on amazing shows to being flown around the world to all these amazing things. There’s a massive cost of inaction there, because if I hadn’t done that, I’d just be still doing the mundane, the normal and struggling, right. So I always think about, okay, point one. How much do you want to earn? Because if you don’t know how much you want to earn, it’s very hard when you Want to learn it by and work backwards to make it make make it sound like it’s achievable for you. A lot of people will say, Hey, man, I’ll give you $10,000 or whatever it is. Great. So I’m gonna get $120,000 back in year one, it’s like it doesn’t work like that. But let’s look at the cost of inaction of you not investing now, and actually where you potentially could be. And let’s put a strategic plan again, that could actually work as a system. And look at how good your quality lead flow is, or what your highest ticket client is. Because, for me, I got one of my highest ticket clients three years into doing this. I didn’t have no idea because don’t forget the lurkers, folks. We want the lurkers. We don’t care. Of course, we love our loyal people and our connectors and our commentators and they give us the visibility and they come to us. They’re not really a buyers. They’re your community friends, your friends don’t really buy from you, they support you, and they champion you. But your clients are the lurkers. Right? And so I was able to get a high ticket client, who was like, Oh, I’ve been following what you’ve been posting, you know, we’ve got this really exciting mandate, and bang, there’s a $60,000 fee for us, right? So it’s sort of that cost of inaction of not putting something out into the system. But it wouldn’t have mean, you know, month one, I get a return on investment or month two, because it doesn’t always work like that. So you have to kind of believe in Why are you doing it understand, like, what is the point of doing this? Is it because is it a bounty plan, but there’s no issue with a vanity play. By the way, if you want to get yourself out there and tell people and be the number one, fine you do you but if it’s because you want to, you know, make a change or you want to increase your revenue or whatever, look at it in terms of a cost of inaction of not doing it because your competitors will be you know, people will be doing this like I’ve come in and disrupted I’m waiting for the article which by the way, my biggest dream is to get in the top legal print. I’ve been illegal press everywhere, is Rob Hanna came in, disrupted, did it with pretty lean resources and became like the number one thought leader within his space right and waiting for that article we had similar but not like that market leading one. That’s where I’m going to because that for me then kind of is everything trickles down, you then become also little things that in my job, we really struggle with gatekeepers, right. Or like people that are naysayers are like Woodstock, that when you get to a level of sort of thought leader, your seventh level of connections, and C suite and decision makers and people who talk to you. A lot of the mid level stuff doesn’t matter. Because you’ve got to a level where people will talk to you your level of influence in the market is so good that you can pick and choose the types of products you want, you can pick and choose your fees, all that good stuff.

 

Mel Francis  
Yeah, I love what you just said I think it’s called attraction marketing. Someone recently told me that you no matter what you do is attraction marketing. And that’s what you’re doing. You know, you’re attracting, like people to you through your influence. And you’ll have seen as an authority by building your personal brand. You know what one thing I keep going between personal brand and thought leader, personal brand and thought leader because there’s like, like some people don’t like to use the word personal brand sounds Instagrammy sounds like kind of vanity. So we use this other thing called, you know, yeah, Want to be a thought leader? What? What do you think? Like, do you think there that you’re building a personal brand? Or do you think you know, you’re, you know, you’re positioning yourself as a thought leader.

 

Rob Hanna  
I’m positioning myself as me. So here’s the thing, my best quote, I think I’ve heard, which is when my late grandfather passed away, and I heard at his funeral, live, respected, die regretted. So I want to be respected for what I do. If people see me as a personal brand builder, as a thought leader, that’s fine. But for me, I want to be you know, Rob really tried to do something for the good. And the lion’s share of people on board but that you’re never gonna get everybody and that’s fine. So thought leader, personal brand, I don’t care, to be honest. I just want to do me and I want that to come from, you know, what he tried to do was particularly in the industry, which is heavily regulated, it’s very risky to step out the box, you know, what if I put a typo in my, you know, LinkedIn post, lawyers are gonna think I can’t spell, you know, all of these things, right. So for me, it’s live respect to die regretted, that’s what I live by.

 

Mel Francis  
Cool. Tell me your content process, you know, like, how, how do you go about creating content, your curation of ideas initially, and then you know, your process of content to until we see it on our feeds.

 

Rob Hanna  
I think there’s two parts to this one, when you get to a level you have to engage with your community. So there’s a level of social listening, right? You’ve got to be, you know, understanding what does your audience want, right? Because you’re never going to know in its entirety. So we have a discord community built up of, you know, 1000s of individuals and the professional which is engaged, we have a community manager, hey, what’s the sort of things you’d be interested in what would be helpful, you know, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Plus, we look at the data. So we look at those tools that I mentioned before in terms of what are people searching for, on the likes of answer the public.com Google Trends. You know, we read around the industry press, what are the hot topics? What are the debates? And by the way, folks, simple hack, you can just go to LinkedIn, go to LinkedIn new section, look at trending now look at the biggest hashtags. Where are the conversations happening right now? Where can you come in and hijack audience and start sharing a perspective, maybe a story, maybe with a good hook, you’re gonna start getting visibility gonna get audience, you’re gonna start jabbing away and you’re probably going to hook a client eventually. So we do all of that good stuff. And then you know what, also I do email, I post whatever the hell I want. And that’s also a point about, you know, creators, you know, you also have to be prepared to some days, I’m just gonna post this to feel good. You know, I remember when I did, you know, I did a I was, I was doing a LinkedIn audio like Gary Vee, a lot of people probably all familiar with Gary Vee. He and I did a LinkedIn audio. Where were you asked, I was doing a 15 minute session between some question, it’s on my LinkedIn. And I shared a top three things that Gary Vee said, and he said, point one, you know, just post what you care about, you know, point to don’t care about what people care about you thinking about what you’re posting about, don’t let that stop you. And I think it’s so so important to be yourself, right. And I think the reality is, as well as I want to put out lots of thought provoking content with my podcast with events, with collaborations, I think of something we haven’t talked about, but it’s super important, is collaborating, I gave that example of the London young lawyers, group 10,000 people, you know, I collaborate with legal societies, legal influences, legal individuals, because, again, it’s a good thing to do. But it’s a great way to enhance visibility. And ultimately, you know, sometimes on top of all of that events, just post what feels right, maybe there’s a thought maybe there’s a story. And by the way, if you increase your vulnerability, you’ll increase your visibility. So you know, always say that, like, Don’t condition yourself with the post, like, if you find yourself pulling back on the post, the post will go down. If you find yourself just ripping the band aid off and being more real, the more reach it, it will get. So you know, I will share something, maybe it’s about time that I screwed up, maybe it’s a lesson in recruitment, maybe it’s whatever. And they tend to do a lot better, because it’s authentic me, not conditioned to me.

 

Mel Francis  
I love that post what you care about, I think, you know, that’s such a great strategy, along with, obviously, like you are posting from your podcasts and snips. But you’ve got to be real, I think that authenticity is, is what I hear people don’t I like how authentic you are, in how you show up. And I think that really distinguishes you from the rest of God. And I really think you let’s talk about collaboration. And as you are building personal brands, so if you can get your strategy, right, which we’ve talked about, you can get your production route, right.

 

Mel Francis  
The next thing you need to get right is the Collaborate your collaboration, because that is going to take you to the next level, right is to who are the people that you need to collaborate with. So for me, you know, I really love talking to some really big voices, that are getting a lot of attention on LinkedIn, they are becoming thought leaders in their space, and I want to hear how they’re doing it, how they think so that you know, it can help others. But I also get a lot of influence. And I pick up their audience by also bringing them on here. So it’s like kind of a cross sharing of giving back to people that want to know how they’re doing it and getting them heard back. Because sometimes some of them don’t have a podcast or don’t want to do that as a form of content. But collaboration, I think really can help you speed up getting found by your audience. What’s your experience?

 

Rob Hanna  
I agree, I believe you know, another expression I’ve heard from one of my mentors is collaboration is domination. Right? So you always got to think about everyone’s favorite radio station is wi I fm what’s in it for me, right? So when you’re thinking about trying to collaborate with somebody, it’s like, yes, there’s probably something you want to get from it. But again, you’ve got to think about, well, what are they going to get from this? What’s what’s the value prop for them? So, you know, it’s really important to understand that and then it’s more authentic collaboration, also where there’s mutual synergies, right, and maybe where there’s not where there’s cross pollination, or where there’s mutual benefit. So, you know, I would say for example, we’re sponsored by a legal tech unicorn, and that’s a great collaboration. And why are they interested in us? Well, of course, they similar to you’ve met Robert kind of been following my LinkedIn journey, looking at the reach looking at the kind of, you know, the community that’s built, but they’re interested because it’s a it’s a mutual win, right? Because they’re trying to target with their technology, law firms, they’re trying to sell their product into law firms and legal practice software management, right. And my day in and day out is talking to law firms, right about talents and about all these other things. So it’s a mutually beneficial collaboration for us to to go down that route. So I’m a big believer in Think about like, what’s in it for the individual? What are they going to get out of it? How, you know? How is it going to be advantageous, and also just trying to have fun with it. You know, I think if you collaborate with right and like minded individuals, not only does it give you infectious energy makes you feel good, but you get a lot more from it as well. And then you’ll be able to build off the back of it through my collaborations, I’ve been able to grow immensely. So absolutely. Collaboration is is domination.

 

Mel Francis  

Do you know what I think that you’ve got something special, is you’ve got really great one liners, you know, that you have said that I’ve been writing down? You know, I think you said, you know, increase your vulnerability to increase your virality or something like that. And then yeah, and using your vulnerability

 

Rob Hanna  
to you know, what a tip, by the way, talking soundbites, if you want to get you know, if you really want to leave an impression on somebody. And so one thing I’ve taught by one of my mentors as well, sometimes because people get bored or listen to the story, I’m not the most engaging storyteller. It’s something I need to work on. But I’m very good at sound bites, and that’s sometimes what can make impact when you’re trying to communicate as well.

 

Mel Francis  
Yeah, I love it. I feel like you need to just do like Daniel Murray and just do the one line posts. Yeah, just like I was actually like, I’m just going to pull out scripts from what you’ve said, that are like, super soundbite and be like, just postings,

 

Rob Hanna  
but we could do a collaborative week right together. We could create like, images, graphics. We got creators hat on now where we could like maybe I posted one day as I was a show, you can like Rob as a guest. And we could do that as like a mini series. Hey, what’s your favorite call to action on it drive engagement, all that good stuff?

 

Mel Francis  
I think so. But you’re really hitting me with these one liners. I mean, I’ve never had such such strong one liners. I’m like, you just need to be doing one liners. Okay, like, recently saved some top creators moved one liners. And they’re killing it because people are like, literally like scanning their feet. And they’re just like going super, like strong and you’ve got it, you’ve got this ability to say it’s so strong.

 

Rob Hanna  

This is why I also love coming on podcast because you very kindly have me as your guest, but I’m also learning from you. Right? I’m taking coat I’m getting free coaching right now from you. Because every day’s a school day, so yeah, no, I’m please please like make the actionable. So that as well.

 

Mel Francis  
One liners, like star them in my safe section and be like, Look, this is what we need to do to like, this is the this is the sort of content that we need to put out for people that have got really good sound bites, because some people are just really good at it. So I like that for you. Okay, so what about like the creation part of the content? Like, how much time are you now spending like with your videos? Are you just holding camera to face and just, you know, as you’re having a moment, and yep, here I am, and then posting it direct to LinkedIn. Or if you’ve got some sort of like Trello board or Asana board where you’re keeping some of this stuff.

 

Rob Hanna  
And I always have a sort of notes. So like thoughts, ideas, I’m bizarrely keep stuff on my calendar, and I have a thing and it’s like load. So any thought that comes into my head, I’m never going to be short of content, because I’m always having thoughts, right. And if you’re struggling with the content, go for a walk. Yeah, honestly, go for a walk. And you’ll be amazed by the amount of thoughts that come into your head, everyone’s seen that analogy of like the waterfall and you know, when they go for a walk more water comes down. But also, you know, it’s important also to be to be real, you know, when I first started, we were doing a lot of the heavy lifting ourselves on a very low budget, as you suddenly become, you know, you grow revenues pull up, you’re able to invest more. So I have a whole podcast production team that do my videos do my editing. Now, I would personally like them to be a little bit more raw, but when you start entering into corporate sponsorship agreements or certain things standards and you know, industry standards need to be met to you know, be so of that so that that is very much outsourced now, but it saves me time. Right, you know, I look at everything is like where can I save time so I do that but sometimes I will just literally iPhone on a walk talk about something I was talking about the importance of recruiters being recruitment consultants, I shot a video the other day, I think it’s on my LinkedIn like two weeks back. And you know, did a poll about something, gave my thoughts, my reflections on it. And you know, it’s just authentic real and people enjoyed it. So, you know, never be afraid to just be you. Just because you’re seeing all these incredible videos. And of course, you know, it depends on the audience who you’re trying to target because if you’re selling video editing as a service, you probably want them to be top notch and stand out. But if you’re just a legal recruiter, community builder like me, they don’t expect me to be the best video guy in the world, right? They expect me to be me. They want to listen to my brain. Listen to if I’ve got anything interesting to say any wisdom to share. And you get better you get more confident over time. And by the way, leave the odd Amina or you know, whatever, like leave it in there because it’s a bit more real.

 

Mel Francis  
Yeah. So with your podcasts now, with the sponsorship and so forth, you were telling me that you’ve got guests of Shark Tank coming on to your blog. cast.

 

Rob Hanna  
Yeah. So yeah, so over here we have the equivalent of Shark Tank called Dragon’s Den. So recently we had piers Linney, who also was one of the dragons who had one of the the record breaking investment in the den. So I’m a big believer in NS that never stop networking. So every day networking, it’s like my number one thing. I’m always looking to meet new people, engage, start conversations, carry on conversations, whatever. This is an example my podcast agency who do my podcast, he also has a podcast. And he’s had Steven Bartlett on that maybe a lot of people might know now the name is getting more and more bigger. And he had piers Linney. And I was like, by the way, he was former lawyer, can you just intro him and tell them about our show? And all those things like short, easy as that asking the question, and he then obviously, we’d sold obviously, we said, we’re in 5000, cities, top 1% of shows worldwide and over 200 episode had all these incredible people, Kara Baskin from Tiger king of Netflix, you know, all of these amazing things people we’ve had on the show. And it was as straightforward as that. So sometimes, finding the people, I always say, Who do you know, who can introduce you to someone you don’t know, is the best way to think about networking. So I use someone I knew, to introduce me to someone I didn’t know, warmly. And as a result of that, I’ve got the result I wanted. So you know, that was how that particular scenario happened. I’m just very big and just sort of putting yourself out there asking, but leading with leading with value as well. Because if you ask for something, and then nothing’s really getting anything back, that’s take and taking doesn’t always lead to a long relationship. It leads to a transactional, short lived relationship. So think about ways that you can start and by the way, this is what I always say to people entering their career. It’s like Robert, but no experience, I can’t help anyone. I was like, you know, tech skills that could super enhance my business in a minute, because you maybe it’s out on Discord, or maybe you’ve been sat in this, or you’ve been doing that as like, you could easily come and add value to my business straight away. Just because you don’t know how to do the technicalities of legal recruiting, I can teach you that, like, I know that I’m a muppet I you can, you can easily do that you can bring value straight away. So don’t underestimate what you know, to what people don’t know, because a lot of people don’t know what you know. So everyone has a rally.

 

Mel Francis  
How did you end with this? How did you then like from Casey partners? How did you then get into like, sort of investing and getting into all these tech, you know, investments? Like, how did when did that happen? Is that also through inbound? Is that through as you’re building for some brands, people started approaching you. Tell me about that.

 

Rob Hanna  
The latter, really. So as you all know, with building a personal brand new networks, as an extension of that, I always say your personal brand is your biggest asset, but it’s also your biggest insurance policy. So let’s use an example. My companies could all go bust tomorrow, not saying that they would, but I could lose every company. But I’ll never lose my personal brand. Right? So with that is a network is an email I could send to someone now I can send an email to a shark tank, you know, it’s one of Dragon’s Den and be like, Hey, I actually introduced them, someone, they just introduced them to me, but I could lose everything. And I can still use the context like built from that personal personal brands. And that’s why it’s so you know, people sit, it’s not woowoo this is really important stuff. It’s like, really, because we live in an online world. You know, if you’re not visible, you’re invisible nowadays, you know, it’s really important that people understand that word of mouth was great years ago, when people going to lots of offline events and meeting up but Lionshare people are working. You’re in Bali right now. I’m in the UK, we’re working at whatever time zones we meet, we’re not going to all these offline events and having that word of mouth discussion. We live online, right? And so you’ve got to be visible. So yeah, a lot of that has come through building a personal brand. I’ve got involved in interesting conversations. And as a result of those conversations, they’ve led to interesting deal offers and opportunities and investments. And yes, I’m proud to be part of some really exciting investments. One is we’ve just gone through a rebrand called Hector, which is a recruitment tech business. And again, it aligns with my, what I want to be known for, because we’re providing learning and development ed tech platform for recruiters to ensure that we’re bringing out the best of the next generation recruiters who I was 12 years ago, I’m investing in that it’s in my lane because it’s connected to talent, recruiting tech, which I love talking about. It made sense. Legal tech, obviously I recruit lawyers. It’s interesting. When I speak to a partner, it’s like, oh, you’re just not the recruiter? It’s like no, I do community I’ll do this. I’ve got investments, I can offer them some sort of interesting conversation because any deal, any relationship, anything always starts with a conversation.

 

Mel Francis  
I think that you are just one of those serial entrepreneurs that I love having on the show. I mean, this called innovative minds because I love talking to people who’ve got that innovative mind. And, you know, it’s just been a pleasure exploring that innovative mind of yours and how you think I really resonate with so much I mean, I feel so connected and similar in our thinking and that’s what I love it Exploring is, you know other minds that are thinking in a very similar way that love tech love progression that are very, you know, thinking about innovation and being forward and constantly pushing to be the best in their market and reaching that unleashing their full potential and understand that personal brand is absolutely part of it. So, thank you for joining, I’m really looking forward to sharing this one of my favorite pieces, because I’ve recently realized that I need to tell more stories about people’s wise, you know, and more of their journeys on their thought leadership journey. So thank you for being here. I’m really honored to have this connection in this conversation.

 

Rob Hanna  
When they thank you, man, it’s been a real pleasure. I hope you know, your listeners get some value from today, but I’m available, right? So if people want to follow me on LinkedIn, or drop me a message, that very welcome to do so it’s just Robert Hunter on LinkedIn. If you’re in the legal wider world or curious about the world of law, we have a discord community, again, just feel free. It’s the big, it’s the link on my profile. You’re welcome to join that it’s open because we work on trust. And we have it all vetted. And yeah, it’s just been an absolute pleasure. I really, really enjoyed being part of your show. Love what you’re doing. And here’s to lots more continued success for me, you and your community.

 

Mel Francis  
Thank you so much. And yes, the link to the LinkedIn profile will be in the description. So you can just go over and hit that and follow Rob Hannah. Thank you.

 

Rob Hanna  
Thank you.

 

Mel Francis  
You’re listening to innovative minds.

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