Building trust in B2B: insights from evangelist Logan Lyles

Logan Lyles
READ TIME – 10 minutes

You sure have noticed that not many company pages are doing well with engagement on platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter.

Maybe it’s because their content is often viewed as too promotional or because it lacks that personal touch.

No matter the case, it’s still important for companies to build brand awareness on social platforms like LinkedIn, X, or Instagram.

So, how can they achieve this?

B2B companies need to build brand evangelists

First, let’s see what’s the difference between a B2B creator, a brand evangelist and a brand ambassador. 

A B2B creator produces content specifically aimed at business audiences, focusing on creating valuable, insightful content that addresses the needs, challenges, and interests of other businesses. 

A brand ambassador is someone who has been formally engaged by a company to represent and promote its brand, with the goal of increasing brand awareness and driving sales.

A brand evangelist is someone who passionately promotes a brand because they truly believe in its value. They can be employees, customers, or influencers who go beyond just liking a brand to actively spreading the word about it. 

Brand evangelists with their established reputations and proven expertise can lend legitimacy to the company’s message and offerings.

This is because people are naturally more inclined to believe information from a perceived expert than from a company directly promoting itself.

Having established audiences means it will be much easier for evangelists to spread brand awareness and brand information to their audience and connect it to the brand. 

Evangelists play an important role in building a strong community around the brand, creating discussions, providing feedback, addressing concerns, answering questions, and offering customer support. 

Evangelists can also position themselves and the company as thought leaders within the industry. 

For insurance, Zoe Hartsfield said that it would be more powerful for her CRO to write about what CROs need to be thinking about in terms of tech consolidation and establish her expertise in this field than it would be for her. 

This thought leadership can significantly boost the brand’s reputation and attract potential customers who value industry knowledge and innovation.

Having thought leaders, a trusted brand can only mean a  significant advantage when recruiting top talent.

Potential employees are often drawn to companies that have evangelists, B2B creators, and ambassadors with engaged communities, as it suggests they work in a positive work environment and a culture that values collaboration and knowledge sharing.

And today we’re going to talk about Logan Lyles, who combines elements of all three roles and also helps his company create internal and external evangelists.

As a B2B creator, he produces content like podcasts and LinkedIn posts aimed at business audiences.

As a brand evangelist, he passionately advocates for the brands he represents based on his genuine belief in their value.

While not explicitly stated, he might also function as a brand ambassador given his formal roles and responsibilities within his company.

By blending these roles, Logan promotes brand awareness and engagement in the B2B space, leveraging his expertise and authenticity.

We are going to dive deep into how he does all this. So let’s get started, but first let’s see who Logan is.

Who is Logan Lyles?

Logan Lyles is the evangelists’ evangelist as he calls himself, meaning he’s activating evangelists for B2B brands.

He talks a lot about this subject on his LinkedIn profile where he has built a community of 18.929 followers where he’s been posting since May 2017 and created 1,037 posts.

Logan is also an Evangelist and Content Marketer at Teamwork.com where he launched, hosted & produced top ranked, biweekly Agency Life Podcast to increase the company’s brand awareness.

He increased Agency Life podcast audience through organic & paid social media, influencer collaborations, display ad campaigns & in-person events.

The podcast was in top Apple podcasts: Top 40 Podcast in US, Top 5 in US: Business & #1 in the US: Marketing (2024).

Before working at Teamwork, he was VP of Sales and Customer Experience at Sweet Fish and Co-host at The B2B Sales Show and B2B Growth Show.

Before leaning into the sales and marketing world, Logan was a photojournalist producing news photographs for the paper, as well as photo galleries and editorial video for Daily Camera and Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Why is he a B2B creator?

  1. Successful brand evangelist and its secret strategies
  2. Talks about content-based networking
  3. Expended his audience by being a podcast host
  4. Built a personal brand that resonates with his audience

A. Successful brand evangelist and Logan’s secret strategies

At Teamwork.com, Logan Lyles initially started as an evangelist by hosting the “Agency Life” podcast.

This made sense because marketing, PR, web development, and similar agencies constitute a significant portion of Teamwork.com’s ideal customer profile.

Having spent four years at a podcast production agency, Logan was deeply familiar with their ICP.

By leveraging his network, becoming active on LinkedIn, and sharing the company’s activities, he successfully generated new brand awareness for Teamwork.com.

And Logan strongly believes that evangelism is the purest form of sales that a marketing team or founder can leverage.

His approach focuses on evangelizing the problem by sharing helpful content with the idea of building a community rather than pushing for immediate sales.

In a podcast Logan talks about Jared Fuller who has been talking about a shift from the “how” economy to the “who” economy.

Meaning that the market has moved from the information age to an era of information overload.

People can easily turn to Google or YouTube for answers to questions like “How do I set up an ABM campaign?” or “How do I rank first on Google?”, but the abundance of sources offering different answers has created a new challenge.

So now people are still using search engines, but they are also turning to their networks for trusted advice.

They seek recommendations from those they know and trust to shortcut their path to a solution.

This is where evangelists come in—they are the trusted “who” that prospects turn to for valuable information.

Logan has been active on LinkedIn for the past five years, so he sees LinkedIn as a key platform where evangelists can be active, whether they are internal to a company or external.

Additionally, other methods such as podcasting, webinars, and live events are effective for evangelism.

For companies not generating much engagement on their LinkedIn pages, Logan suggests transforming their employees and external collaborators into evangelists because, he says, People trust people more than brand logos.”

Logan’s framework for building evangelists

In a recent podcast, Logan talks about Teamwork.com’s ICP which also includes architecture and engineering firms, IT services, and consultancies.

He knows he’s not an expert in those fields, so he began identifying and collaborating with “mini evangelists” both internally within the team and externally.

These individuals should possess the specific expertise needed to reach those segments of the ICP.

Logan created a helpful acronym, E.A.R., to guide this process. 

It stands for Expertise, Audience, and Readiness and it consists of:

  • Expertise: Do they have deep knowledge in the relevant field?
  • Audience: Do they have an existing following that aligns with the ICP?
  • Readiness: Are they willing to participate and collaborate?

Logan’s 5 step process to create evangelists

Logan’s Logan effective approach to leveraging evangelists in B2B marketing is based on:

  1. Identifying: Determine who should be the evangelist by recognizing individuals who have the potential to effectively advocate for the brand.
  1. Evaluating: Ensure that the chosen individuals possess the necessary qualities and capabilities.
  1. Activating: Engage and motivate the selected evangelists by providing them with the resources and support.
  1. Distributing: Share the content created by or with the evangelists across relevant platforms to maximizes the reach and impact of the content.
  1. Tracking: Monitor and analyze the performance of the content.

It’s important to focus on the E.A.R. when selecting potential in-house or external evangelists because you need them to be willing to collaborate and create mutual value.

If they can’t be convinced to co-create and co-distribute content, they’re not the right fit.

Even executives or founders can become evangelists but it’s important to consider their willingness to engage – think about Dave Gerhardt who is a really involved founder.

B. Talks about content-based networking

This strategy was created by James Carberry, founder of Sweet Fish where Logan used to work.

James actually published a book on this subject if any of you are interested.

So, content-based networking diverges from creating content not just for the target audience but alongside them.

It involves collaborating with members of the ideal audience to produce content that resonates deeply with them.

In a podcast, Logan mentioned that when he was at Sweet Fish, rather than directly pitching Sweet Fish’s podcast production services to potential clients, he tried a more subtle tactic.

He invited prospects to feature as guests on the B2B Growth podcast he hosted, offering them a platform to share insights and expertise.

During these podcast recordings, Logan would engage guests in authentic conversations.

However, after recording, the conversation was about the guest’s own interest in podcasting or exploring Sweet Fish’s services.

This natural conversation established trust with potential clients in a non-intrusive manner.

By initiating interactions through content creation and collaboration creators can produce valuable content and create meaningful relationships with individuals who could potentially become clients.

So this content-based networking approach enables creators to provide value upfront, positioning themselves as trusted advisors rather than salespeople.

C. Being a podcast host twice

As I mentioned before, Logan was a co-host at The B2B Growth Podcast created by Sweet Fish, and now he is the host of the Agency Life Podcast at Teamwork.com.

For the The B2B Growth Podcast Logan has managed outreach, interview planning & hosting for 500+ episodes of this daily marketing podcast.

He interviewed CMOs, Founders, CEOs, VPs of Sales, Marketing and other revenue leaders in B2B sales & marketing.

He managed to build strategic relationships with decision-makers at target accounts, directly leading to new pipeline creation.

Also, with Logan’s help the Agency Life Podcast experienced audience growth through a multifaceted approach.

Using both organic and paid social media strategies, influencer partnerships, display advertising campaigns, and participation in live events, the podcast achieved top rankings on Apple Podcasts, securing a position among the Top 40 Podcasts in the US, Top 5 in the Business category, and claiming the coveted #1 spot in the Marketing category in 2024.

On LinkedIn he writes about what are your goals and how you can obtain them while podcasting.

If you want to grow your audience, prioritize podcast downloads, or if you want to build relationships with potential customers you should focus on relationship building, and so on.

He also advises people to promote and repurpose their content on LinkedIn.

This obviously will increase the podcast listeners and could increase your LinkedIn following if you start sharing valuable insights from the podcasts.

D. Built a personal brand that resonates with his audience

Logan dedicated his time to posting on LinkedIn since May 2017, and according to Kleo he posts approximately two times per week during mid-day.

Since he started posting he gained 69.781 engagements, 42.317 interactions, 26.639 comments, and 825 reposts.

He’s not afraid of testing different types of content on LinkedIn, such as carousels, images, and videos, but his favorite remains simple text posts.

He believes that being active on LinkedIn is a strategy for network growth and content visibility within a specific niche. 

In a podcast episode, he talks about several actionable steps to grow your network and visibility:

  1. Commenting: Engage with other users’ content by leaving thoughtful comments to start interactions with potential connections.
  1. Connecting: After engaging with others’ content, Logan advises sending connection requests to individuals within the target niche.
  1. Content sharing: Once a network of connections is established, start sharing your content with your connections. This could include insightful articles, industry updates, personal achievements, or any other relevant content that adds value to your niche community.
  1. Supporting others: Engaging with and sharing their posts. This reciprocity not only strengthens relationships within the network but also increases the likelihood of others reciprocating the support.
  1. Continue to engage: Logan highlights the need for consistent engagement on the platform. Spending time regularly engaging with content, commenting, and connecting with others helps to maintain visibility and strengthen relationships.

Logan believes that LinkedIn encourages new creators by helping them gain visibility and traction on LinkedIn, as opposed to established creators whose growth is no longer so prominent.

What can B2B creators learn from him?

1. Embracing content-based networking

Logan thinks that to build trust and cultivate long-term relationships with potential clients one way to do it is by co-creating valuable content with his ideal audience. 

So invite industry experts and potential clients to be guests in your podcast or to be part of an interview.

By collaborating on insightful content that resonates with the target market, you can position yourself as a trusted advisor.

Remember, even though sales are a goal, focus on building genuine connections – you never know where those connections might lead.

2. Build evangelists or become one

If you want to build evangelists in your company or outside of it, just focus on Logan’s strategy focusing on E.A.R. to identify individuals who can effectively amplify your brand message.

But what if you want to become a brand evangelist yourself?

Sharing the company content you love is the first step, but to become a true brand evangelist you should do more than hitting the retweet button.

You need to actively promote the brand’s message in your personal style and build genuine connections with its audience.

Provide value, build connections, and go the extra mile to establish yourself as a powerful voice for the brand you admire.

3. Build a personal brand based on what you know best

Logan built his personal brand around his existing knowledge and expertise.

By consistently sharing valuable insights on content creation, co-marketing activities, and podcasts, Logan’s expertise attracted an audience and established himself as an authority figure. 

Why is this effective?

Focusing on what you know best makes creating valuable content easier and ensures it resonates with your target audience. 

Sharing this knowledge consistently positions you as a thought leader in your niche. 

People will naturally gravitate towards you for clear and insightful explanations of these concepts, making you a trusted resource.

Remember, a strong personal brand benefits everyone! It enhances your individual visibility within the industry, while also positively impacting the brand you’re associated with.

Final Thoughts

Logan said that people are bombarded with information after a simple Google search, so they often turn to what they perceive as more trusted sources, such as evangelists.

Knowing this, it’s crucial for evangelists to have in-depth knowledge in their area of expertise to provide accurate answers to their audience.

While their answers might still be biased because of their own perspective, companies should still focus on building a community of evangelists, brand advocates, and B2B content creators. 

After all, people inherently trust people more than they trust brands.