1418 – Authority Marketing with Zilker Media’s Rusty Shelton

In this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with Rusty Shelton, Founder & Chairman at Zilker Media.

Rusty shares the impact of building a people-driven brand to easily earn your audience's trust. He says that to become a “thought leader”, you have to lead like someone who has something to teach. You call for authority and focus on impact – not ego. Earn those impressions and build trust like that, Rusty says.

Rusty also explains the importance of avoiding transactional or fixed-term relationships with customers from a business model perspective. Instead, he recommends developing long-term customers through visibility and authenticity. He believes the best leaders today are those who are willing to be candid. They reflect well for themselves and their business.

Rusty provides some tips for referral marketing and customer acquisition. He recommends anyone who wants to do marketing a little differently to read his FREE book for a pragmatic roadmap to thought leadership.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • What is a People-Driven Brand?
  • Practical Tips on How to become a Thought Leader
  • Advantages of Authority Marketing

About Rusty Shelton:

Rusty Shelton first spoke at Harvard on the changing world of PR and marketing at the age of 23. He is a bestselling author, dynamic keynote speaker and successful entrepreneur. He is the co-author (alongside Adam Witty) of Authority Marketing: How to Leverage 7 Pillars of Thought Leadership to Make Competition Irrelevant (ForbesBooks, 2018), which features a foreword from Steve Forbes, and co-author (alongside Barbara Cave Henricks) of Mastering the New Media Landscape: Embrace the Micromedia Mindset (Berrett-Koehler, 2016), which debuted at #2 on the Austin American-Statesman bestseller list.

An active keynote speaker, Rusty speaks to tens of thousands of people every year about how to build thought leadership, navigate the changing media landscape and make a bigger impact with Authority Marketing. He has been on faculty at more than 20 Harvard Medical School CME courses over the past 15 years and has spoken for YPO, EO, SXSW Interactive, Oregon State University and numerous Fortune 1000 companies.

An EO Member with two exits under his belt prior to the age of 35, he is the Founder & Chairman of Zilker Media, Senior Marketing Strategist at Advantage Media Group, Publisher at ForbesBooks and a partner in Catch Engine and Think Engine.

Rusty’s commentary on the changing world of PR and marketing has been featured in Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Wharton and many other top media outlets. An avid Texas Longhorns fan, he sits on the University of Texas Texas Exes PR Committee and is a proud member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) in Austin, where he has served on the board.

He lives just west of Austin in Spicewood with his wife, Paige and three children (Luke, Brady & Sadie) and their very rowdy black lab, Charlie. Rusty loves to play golf, fish, coach his sons’ sports teams and is the QB for Lake Travis’ top “old man” flag football team.

About Zilker Media:

Zilker Media was founded to help clients make a positive impact and, along the way, to provide them with the most enjoyable agency experience they will ever have. They specialize in public relations, digital marketing, and platform development, and they're often used by authors, speakers, thought leaders, and brands looking for an experienced, innovative agency experience. and enjoyable – an experience that incorporates everything needed to succeed in the new media landscape under one roof.

Zilker Media is the go-to agency for Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many more. Its roots go back to an award-winning agency, Shelton Interactive, founded by Zilker Media CEO Rusty Shelton in Austin in 2010. The agency represented some of the world's best-known authorities and brands, managed the launches of more than 30 New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers, was named one of the nation's top 10 marketing agencies in 2015 and 2016 by research firm Clutch, and has led digital strategy for some of the biggest best-sellers.

Their namesake, Zilker Park, was founded in 1917 and remains the soul and gathering point of their bustling city, hosting iconic Austin events, such as Austin City Limits, Blues on the Green, Zilker Kite Festival and Trail of Lights, and is the home of Barton Springs. Their team grew up at Zilker Park, and to this day, not only are they regulars there, but they continue to be inspired by the creativity and community the park inspires in Austin and beyond.

Tweetable Moments:

01:16 – “The best way to accelerate trust with your audience is to lead as a thought leader with something to teach rather than an operator with something to sell.”

03:11 – “The biggest value in PR being quoted in Forbes or doing an interview like this is somebody is thinking about taking a job at your company. They're thinking about working for you.”

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Zilker Media’s website at

Check out Zilker Media on LinkedIn at

Check out Rusty Shelton on Instagram at

Check out Rusty Shelton on LinkedIn at

Check out Zilker Media on Facebook at

Check out Zilker Media on Twitter at

Check out Zilker Media on Instagram at

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