The 3 Skills Every Thought Leader Needs to Master with Andy Crestodina

Posted on March 19, 2020

In this episode of the GrowthTLDR, we talk to Andy Crestodina, the CMO and Co-Founder of Orbit Media, about content marketing, thought leadership, and growing a successful agency.

We talk to Andy about:

– What are the advantages and disadvantages of Andy having such a well known personal brand, and what tips he would give for replicating his success?

– How to be a thought leader for your market and the three types of content you need to master.

– The number one piece of advice Andy would give to other founders who are thinking about starting their agency or company.

Happy Growing


Time Stamped Notes

[1:55] – Orbit Media is a web development agency, a 42 person company based in Chicago. 

[5:20] – We talk to Andy about the advantages and disadvantages of developing a well known personal brand with regards to growing his agency. Growing a personal brand is easier. People connect with people, not companies. But, for an agency owner, it makes an exit more complicated.

[8:35] – It’s hard for a brand to be a thought leader; the best thought leaders are people.

[11:15] – Andy talks to us through his best tips for growing a personal brand. You need to nerd out about your expertise and your ability to help people.

[14:45] – Andy’s original plan was to be a teacher because he loves to educate people, and it’s why he loves content marketing. Every day he aims to help someone through the content he creates and aims to be the most generous person on the internet.

[17:05] – As a career, marketing has a variety of roles that suit a broad range of people who enjoy doing lots of different things.

[18:40] – One of the biggest challenges with being successful at marketing is there are so many things you can dabble in, Andy’s best advice is to pick one thing you want to be great at and triple down on it.

[20:15] – We talk about the advantages of focusing on one tactic to master vs. trying to do lots of different things. 

[23:05] – One channel Andy would love to master is Youtube. It’s one of the best places to build a loyal following.

[24:30] – We talk about the different expectations people have when using search engines vs. social media platforms vs. Youtube.

[26:50] – In a recent study, Andy did around thought leadership, 60% of people who answered said thought leaders needed to have strong opinions, but only 40% said they had to say something controversial. Andy doesn’t think you need to have polarizing opinions to be a thought leader.

[28:30] – Andy’s content focuses on education and teaching people a new skill. He doesn’t create much content that he feels falls into the thought leadership bucket, in that it’s taking a strong stand on a topic.

[30:30] – You don’t need to be a polarizing figure to be a thought leader. To qualify as a thought leader, you need to have an audience, expertise, and sometimes take a stand on different topics. 

[32:00] – At times, the best thought leadership content is the content that frames a problem people care about, in a way, they hadn’t thought of before.

[34:35] – Andy’s best advice to people considering starting an agency or company is to master positioning. He recommends April Dunford’s book – Obviously Awesome (she was also on the podcast here).


Andy on Twitter / LinkedIn
– Kieran on Twitter / LinkedIn / Medium
– Scott on Twitter / Linked / Medium