Audience Growth Through Visual Storytelling w/Kacy Maxwell

Welcome back to another episode of Audience Growth School! I’m your host, Dan Sanchez, and today we have an incredible guest with us. Kacy Maxwell is an expert in the art of sketchnoting and visual note-taking, and he has successfully built a strong audience through his captivating content. Today, Kacy shares his journey, strategies, and valuable insights on connecting with your audience and growing your brand.

Here are my top three takeaways: 

1. Simplify Complex Concepts with Visual Representations

One of the key elements that have contributed to Kacy’s success is his ability to simplify complex concepts into engaging visual representations. His book, “The Boy with Horns,” not only addresses the important theme of feeling different and alone but also provides parents with a language to approach these emotions with their children. By transforming complex ideas into visual sketches, Kacy has effectively communicated his message to a wider audience. Think about how you can incorporate visual elements into your content to make it more approachable and understandable to your audience.

2. Leverage the Power of LinkedIn for Networking and Growth

Networking events may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and Kacy agrees. Instead, he turned to LinkedIn as a curated platform for professionals to connect and learn from each other. By building meaningful relationships and expanding his network on LinkedIn, Kacy has discovered a world of valuable insights and opportunities. He advises leveraging the power of LinkedIn to refine ideas, create engaging discussions, and grow your audience through frequent and meaningful interactions. So take the time to build your LinkedIn profile, participate in discussions, and connect with like-minded professionals in your industry for collaboration and growth.

3. Engage Multiple Parts of the Brain Through Sketchnoting

Kacy’s passion for sketchnoting emerged long before he even realized it was a recognized practice. By turning words into pictures and engaging multiple parts of the brain simultaneously, sketchnoting aids in memory and thinking. Kacy has harnessed this technique to not only capture and retain information but also to create visual content that resonates with his audience. Consider incorporating sketchnotes into your content creation process, whether it be for presentations, blog articles, or social media posts. Engaging your audience visually will enhance the impact and effectiveness of your message, leading to better audience growth.

Episode Transcript

Dan Sanchez [00:00:01]:

Welcome back to audience grow school where we’re documenting how creators and businesses have grown their audience so you can do the same. I’m Dan Sanchez. And today, I’m talking to Casey Maxwell, who is the CMO Provisions Group, an author of the boy with horns. Casey, welcome to the show.

Kacy Maxwell [00:00:19]:

Hey. Thanks, Dan. Good to be here.

Dan Sanchez [00:00:21]:

Man, this is the second time we’ve done an interview, different podcasts, different time, but I’m excited to be with you here today because a lot’s progress since then. Like, a ton has changed. you were just starting to, like, build an audience on LinkedIn. And now a lot of things have changed for you. You’ve ended up at a different company. You’ve launched a whole kids book, and you have a good sized LinkedIn audience now and maybe martech me a little bit in the, audience of this podcast, like, who where your general audience is, and what are the topics you’re known for by them?

Kacy Maxwell [00:00:53]:

Yeah. I mean, honestly, you know, when you look at the strategy of audience growth, I didn’t really go in with a a big strategy. Now I’m a I’m a CMO, and so everything that I want to do needs to have a strategic approach to it. but LinkedIn was honestly just something that I started doing as kind of a passion, aside it wasn’t even a side hustle. I wasn’t getting paid for it. I just started this thing called sketch noting. Right? And so it’s like for those of you that don’t know what a sketch note is, a sketch note is just kind of it’s it’s like an infographic, but not as polished. right? It’s taking, a talk or something like that and just making it into a, a, an approachable sort of message. So I started doing that from the stuff I was learning and just started posting it on LinkedIn. And it was more just to kinda the reason I did it, I was like, okay. If I can create something that is that people would understand and that is appealing, then I understand what I’m actually learning. Right? So because if you wanna teach somebody else, you need to know it really well yourself.

Dan Sanchez [00:02:05]:


Kacy Maxwell [00:02:05]:

So I started doing that and started getting really good feedback, and it just kept going from there. Right? I just consistently doing it month after month. And so I’ve been on there for about 2 years. And, again, I don’t have crazy numbers. I mean, I have, I I really only focus on LinkedIn. and so I’ve got about 15,000 followers on there, and I’ve got some on Instagram. I don’t spend much time there and some on Facebook, which is mostly my family and people I went to high school with. but LinkedIn is where I spend a ton of time, and it’s it’s a lot of business professionals, which makes sense. Oh, that’s LinkedIn. But the thing that I love about LinkedIn is that the ideas, the sketchnotes that I’m putting on there, people wanna have discussions about them. they’re not just like, oh, pretty picture. Oh, great food dish you had last night. Right? They’re like, hey. I wanna I wanna talk to you more about that, and I’ll get DMs and I’ll get, you know, conversations happening more. So, yeah, it’s just it’s a really fun place

Dan Sanchez [00:03:14]:

There’s something special about LinkedIn. it it kinda reminds me of, like, what online school forums should be. or should have been. I don’t know. Do you ever do, like, online college?

Kacy Maxwell [00:03:26]:

I didn’t. I’m I’m too old, that that was not an option when I was in school.

Dan Sanchez [00:03:32]:

Oh, man. I tried it once, and they have these things called discussion forms. That’s how they grade, you know, because they can’t have these conversations. They’re like, hey. Here’s the prompt. You need to have a 300 word response and then respond to, like, 3 of your peers with this 250 word follow-up. you’re like, okay. But, like, people are just trying to knock out their word counts and then just move on, and then they get graded on their response. but it’s funny because no one has conversations like that. No one actually throws down a 300 word thing. Usually, it’s just kinda like clarifying question. Okay. Here’s my thoughts. You know? But on LinkedIn, the kinds of conversations that are taking place in the comments, I swear I’ve learned more from that than a lot of books that I’ve read on marketing. just because you have professionals, people that actually know what they’re talking about, asking good questions, poking, like, putting their 2¢ on it, and you’re like, oh, that is a good point. You’re like, dang. So it’s a place where you can be refined and actually build community in a way that, I don’t know, I don’t feel like it’s happening in such a positive way on other social networks. know it’s — Yeah. — it’s kinda rare on Twitter where you’re gonna get kicked a lot more.

Kacy Maxwell [00:04:33]:

Yeah. Well, and and I hate networking. I have never been good at going to networking events. I always thought I was an extrovert. I think maybe I am an introvert, but, like, when I go to a big party, I I kinda wanna find a couple people that I know, and I wanna go find a table in the back and just hang out with them the entire night. I don’t wanna work a room or talk to anybody like that. And so generally, I I didn’t have a lot of business associates. I don’t know a good term to put that. I didn’t have a lot of people that I was connected with from a business perspective. And so LinkedIn just started growing that for me. It was it was very easy to start having these conversations. I mean, that’s that’s how you and I met. Right? we’ve met in person since then because now you now you live here low but we just started connecting on LinkedIn. Started. I was commenting on your posts. You were commenting on mine. I think we, we DM ed a couple times, and then I we did a podcast together. And then from there, we met in person. And so we’ve we’ve been connected and it’s all because of an interaction on LinkedIn. I’ve found that with a lot of my customers at my current role, whether it’s my side hustle of, you know, creating sketched notes and helping with frameworks or whether it’s my full time gig about marketing strategy and fractional CMO work. Like, either one of those, I I connect with them online, and then we still have interactions that wouldn’t happen otherwise. So it’s like I’m I’m interacting with my clients, not just in the, preplanned meetings that we have, but I’m also having conversations with him about stuff that’s important to them and stuff that’s important to me. And it just creates a a a better dynamic with people than just one meeting, you know, every 3 months.

Dan Sanchez [00:06:24]:

Yep. It’s kinda like the dream that social media was supposed to be. At least in the business context, for LinkedIn. Some of that’s actually taking place where instead of just like news and hype and you know, I guess there’s probably a little niche group on Facebook somewhere, but I feel like LinkedIn, it’s like where social media is finally, like, like, the promise of social media is at least played out for for me, and it seems like for you, and a lot of other people who are actually involved and engaged there. Like, you’re actually able to find the people that are doing the thing you do and actually have great conversations and make make new friends. That’s when I tell people on LinkedIn. I’m like, I’m not here to network. I’m just here to make friends and you know, if it happens to come about something pa something positive comes my way because of that, like, a job or a client or something fantastic, If not, then hopefully, I’m here just to help a lot of people and have some fun too. You know? That’s the —

Kacy Maxwell [00:07:13]:

Well, and that’s that’s the best way to have people reach out to you to work. Right? You are you are giving. You are so this is a great example. when I left my last job, I left without a role in place. I was kinda like, I don’t know what I wanted to do and just kinda put it out there. Said, hey. I’m kinda looking for my next full time role. or maybe some contract work if you have either, just send them my way. And I had a guy reach out to me. and at first, the the DM seemed pretty shady. It was like, I I because I didn’t know this guy. He’s he wasn’t, somebody that I had talked to, and he was like, hey. I would like to talk to you about, maybe working for my company for your next role. And I was kinda like, I don’t even know who you are, like, and you’re offering me a job. And so it definitely didn’t sound legit. I jumped on the phone completely legit. This company had been around for 14 years. really good sized company. And he proceeded to tell me. He’s like, I’ve followed you for the last 2 years. I’ve printed out some of your sketch notes. They’re on my desktop. And I can tell by the way that you write LinkedIn posts how your mind works. And I want that type of thinking at my company. And it was just like, Oh, he had he had never I I at least I don’t remember him commenting on my post. It’s always a marker. Yeah. Linked clicking on any links or or doing any of that kind of stuff, but he trusted me because of what I put out there. And I had been investing in putting that out there for 2 years. And then, like, when I did ask, I was extremely surprised by the type of results that I got.

Dan Sanchez [00:08:58]:

Yeah. It’s amazing when people come out of the woodwork. You put all this time into making these this content. You’re like, you see the numbers. You’re like, oh, a few thousand people saw a few thousand people saw that. But after a while, you just kinda become numb to the fact that thousands of people are seeing it, and the probably, like, 100 are actually, like, consuming every piece of it. And maybe a few 100 are, like, reading it and actually consuming it consistently, but you’re like, oh, every one of those numbers is a person on the other side that are reading an in being influenced by your stuff, and then they just come out and become buyers or people that hire you or become really strategic for you later on, because most people just don’t make content. Most people like, I don’t know about you, but on other platforms, I don’t I hardly ever comment. I’m literally just lurking most of the time on almost all other platforms. I’m just there to consume. Most people do that on LinkedIn too. So Let’s talk about the sketch notes. You, like, you’re like, it’s like a lesser quality than infographic. I’m like, your your sketch notes are, like, better than most infographics that I’ve receipt. I mean, every once in a while, you get a really intricate infographic that’s, like, designed by digital artists, and it’s like, nuts, and you’re just like, woah. But beyond just like the 5 percent of infographics that are like that, your sketch notes are amazing. And it’s like no no surprise to me why you have the following you do now. because so much thought goes into those sketch notes. So maybe it just comes naturally to you. How much time do you spend making those? And how much are you usually I it’s hard to keep track from the outside. How many of those are you putting out a, like, a month?

Kacy Maxwell [00:10:24]:

Yeah. well, I appreciate you saying that. I, you know, I’ve Some of that is, my career. I when I was young, I love to draw. I love doing all of that. And then I got into sort of the business side of business. And so I had creatives on my team, and I always kinda had this. Anytime I’d give feedback or speaking to that, they’re like, You’re not you’re not a creative. You don’t get to have opinions on that. Like, you know, and so there was the now there’s this sort of thing that I’ve got in my mind that I’m like, well, I’m not really creative. I just kinda these lesser, you know, because I’m not designing these these beautiful masterpieces. but the there’s there’s something that I’ve just I that’s kinda how I used to always just take notes. I would draw pictures because my mind, I’ve never been diagnosed with anything, but, like, focusing when someone’s talking, it’s so my mind goes 50 different directions, and I know a lot of people are like that. But if I was taking notes and able to draw pictures next to the notes, 1, I would pay attention more. But 2, I would remember the notes. And I didn’t realize why that was, but I I did some research and Sketch noting and just visual note taking uses

Dan Sanchez [00:11:44]:


Kacy Maxwell [00:11:45]:

different parts of your brain. It uses the parts of your brain that processes words and then the part of your brain that processes pictures because you’re doing 2 different functions at the same time. Right? If you if someone says words, and you write those words down, you’re processing the words. If you, if someone says words and you take those words, turn them into a picture and write them down, you’re also you’re now using multiple parts of your brain. And the more pieces of your brain, the the more it sticks, Right? And so I I was sketched noting before I even knew it it was a thing. And so I’ve always I’ve always just really enjoy that. It helps me think it helps me remember. but again, I I just started putting them out on LinkedIn, And when I first started, they took me a lot longer. Right? They would and and some of it is probably, every creative person out there would understand this where you’re like, you want it to be perfect. and you’re like, I’m gonna spend this infinite amount and I’m gonna do all this detail. I’m just gonna, you know, and you spend way too much time, like 7 or 8 hours on one of these sketched notes. And it was just — — how much time you spent? Early on, I did. I was spending I was spending a sit. And, again, it wasn’t all just dedicated focus. I because I do this on nights weekends. Right? It’s not — Yep.

Dan Sanchez [00:13:02]:

Kacy Maxwell [00:13:02]:

it’s not my full time gig. And so I’d be doing it watching TV or just hanging out, you know, kind of focus, kinda drawing here and there. but then when I really started getting consistent about it. I was like, I’ve gotta I gotta figure out smarter ways to do this. And some of it was I learned, how I want to do text. Right? And so I’ve learned how I I’ve got a separate thing that has all of these letters that I’ve I’ve done before, and I can just kind of drag those in and I can use different styles. So I’ve created a library to be able to do them a little bit faster. I kinda know styles of how I how I approach things. So, I would say some will take me an hour. and it’s funny. those often are ones that hit better than ones that I spent 2 a half, 3 hours on. mean, I did one. Yeah. I did I did one that I’ve I’ve started doing a new series called, leadership whiteboard. where it looks like I’m writing on a whiteboard. I made my my procreate settings look like a whiteboard, and it usually just has one message in the middle and then some sketches around it. And those those don’t take me any time at all. Like, that one would take me 30 minutes. And I had one of those go crazy. Like, it was it was silly. And I’m like, really? Really? I spent so much time

Dan Sanchez [00:14:22]:

on this one over here.

Kacy Maxwell [00:14:24]:

And this this is the 1. This is the

Dan Sanchez [00:14:27]:


Kacy Maxwell [00:14:28]:

but I’m I’m trying to do 2 of those a week. So one leadership whiteboard and then one sort of a bigger idea that’s kind of my my normal sketched note. And so I try to do those about up to a week.

Dan Sanchez [00:14:43]:

How many how many views are you averaging on those sketched notes?

Kacy Maxwell [00:14:47]:

It depend it’s really it’s so I would say kind of base level, is around 7,8000. And then I I’ve had a couple crazy ones with, like, a 150,000 which has just been it’s just been — — so much. Well, it is, and it’s it’s silly. But the interesting thing and because this is audience growth, you know, about growing your audience. I have seen a correlation between my number of followers and growth, but I’ve I’ve had higher impressions and higher interactions than people with a lot higher followers than me. And so followers are important, but to get content out there, that the they’re not it it’s not necessarily one to one, right, because of the algorithm and depending on what hits and when it hits and and and all of that. But but, yeah, I’ve had I’ve had a couple of the really, really big ones, but, one of my friends had had a a big, quote, unquote viral post, and she gained, like,

Dan Sanchez [00:15:56]:


Kacy Maxwell [00:15:57]:

followers from that one post, which was amazing. I’ve had, I think, based on interactions, I think I’ve had more viral post. Like, my my posts were more viral than hers. And I got, like, 500. You know, so, like, again, I don’t I don’t even know how that works from the, quote, unquote, viral aspect of it, but, Yeah.

Dan Sanchez [00:16:23]:

Bay based on what I’ve heard from other creators on LinkedIn, like, like, I, like, I had a conversation with Sam Brown who probably is around 80 k followers now. he does one post a week. He goes all in on just one big carousel and just, like, bam, and hits everybody. And he’s active throughout the week commenting and building relationship but every Wednesday, he drops his carousel. they all probably reach, you know, between 60 and a hundred k people, a carousel deck.

Kacy Maxwell [00:16:50]:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. He’s he’s

Dan Sanchez [00:16:51]:

just hedged, but he’s got slow and steady growth. You like, he’s like, I can watch other than one one part where, like, I peaked early on. It’s kind of like, nope. it’s going on. It’s amazing that he can do it all because I I mean, you’re if you’re getting, you know, 7, 8 k a post, you know, you’re probably doing, you know, between 15:20 k impressions a week where I’m doing 20 to 30, but I’m also posting way more to get there. So it’d be interesting to see, like, a per minute breakdown of that, but, ultimately, there’s different ways that there’s so many different ways to win, which is the cool part. Like, you can get away with posting one but it better be killer where you can post, like, once or twice a day like I do multiple times a week and still do relatively well. just so many ways to win on LinkedIn, which is what I love.

Kacy Maxwell [00:17:38]:


Dan Sanchez [00:17:40]:

So the sketch note thing has led to bigger things for you. And you launched a kid’s book. Tell me a little bit about that. What was your thinking about that? Did the the sketch thing, like, build the confidence you needed in order to, like, do a kid’s book? or did you just always wanted to do a kid’s book and that now was the time you just happened to be doing something artistically on the side too?

Kacy Maxwell [00:18:02]:

I I don’t think they were, one necessarily led to the other, but one helped make the other possible. And what I mean by that is, I had not always wanted to write a kid’s book. I probably if you ask most people, they’re like, I wanna write a book one day. know, most people would say that. I I don’t know how many people would say, I wanna write a kid’s book one day. but about 5, five and a half years ago, My son, was asking me to put him to bed. And one of his tactics to keep me in the room after we do all the other routine of reading a book and praying and doing all that is to tell me a story. And so most most of the time my stories are terrible, They they have no plot. They’re all over the place. But one night, I just started, the the hook was a boy wakes up one morning. and he found out he grew horns overnight. And the strange thing is he’s the only one that can see him. That was that was the hook don’t know where it came from. It just kinda came at because, you know, most of the hooks are really stupid to start with. You know, it’s about a peach or, you know, some animal or whatever. And so I just start telling this story, and it’s he can’t find anybody, and he’s asking all these people. And I knew I wanted him to find somebody. Right? So I get to the I get to the end. He finds somebody. And I I finished that story in son, like, it’s just quiet in the room. And my son goes, dad, that was actually a good story. And that was and and, you know, I wasn’t even mad that he said, actually, because most of my stories were terrible. Right? But I he asked me to tell him the next night and then the next night and then the next night. And then I eventually told my wife, and she’s like, you should probably write that down. And so I did. And then it sat in a Google doc for about 5 years. And every every year, I would write goals. And one of the goals was write a kid’s book. And every year, I would move it to the bottom of the goals, and then I would move it to the top of next year’s goals. Right? So it was always one of these things that I’m like, I need to do it. And I, you know, I I’ve never written I’d never written a kid’s book. I didn’t know who was gonna illustrate it. I I didn’t know who was gonna publish it, so I didn’t know any of this stuff. And I got to the end of of the year last year, in December, and I got a wild hair. I don’t I don’t again, I don’t know why, but I just said, you know what? Forget it. I’m gonna illustrate it. I’m gonna publish it, and I’m gonna write it. And so I made a post and put it out on social media. I didn’t know how to do any of that stuff. Right? But the simple act of putting it out on social media, all of a sudden they get this flood of people reaching out to me saying, oh my gosh. That’s so cool. I wanna write, I wanna write a kid’s book. I’m gonna watch you. I’ll you know, let me know how you do it. Do you know this and start asking me all these questions? So I’m like, alright. Well, this is this will be good content. I can just kinda share my progress through this as I’m figuring stuff out. So I started an email list and started writing a blog just about, hey. This is how I I’ve found this, and this is how I’m learning how to actually illustrate. And the reason I say they they’re kind of together is I had gotten an iPad a couple years ago, and that’s what I’d started using to do the sketch notes. And so I’d learned a program called Procreate. And that program is like a super simple version of Photoshop and or any of the Adobe suite. which was that was never the way my brain worked. I could never make sense of Photoshop in that. I just it it just wasn’t logical to me. But once I get on to procreate, it just made it also simple. And it and it brought back the tactical feeling of drawing that I had when when I was younger. So I created the entire book in procreate. I did I did all the illustrations. I would, you know, go on Google and figure out, oh, how do you do this type of shading, or how do you do X Y Z? and so, yep, just I started, you know, doing that. And and just this the the simple act of posting it on social media followed by just continuing to talk about it continue to give me that positive peer pressure of people asking, hey. You said you were gonna do that book. When is it coming out? Is it still gonna be April? Is it still and now I didn’t publish in April. I published, in May. So about 5 or 6 weeks later, but At least I published it. Right? I mean, like, a month out of, a month later, like, that’s better than not doing it at all. And so, LinkedIn LinkedIn where is where a lot of my book sales came from. And, you know, because I could track it from when I would post or from the email list that was mostly generated from LinkedIn, all of that stuff, kinda all worked all worked together. So

Dan Sanchez [00:23:07]:

That’s fun. I love the book. I loved reading it with my kids. It was, like, one of the few kids books, and I just read, gosh, best on story count telling I’ve ever read called the Save the Cat, writes a novel. yeah, I read it. It’s like, it was probably the first good story I’ve read a couple of books on storytelling. This one talks about, like, all the basics of plot and having an a story and a b story. Right? What’s the thing happening to the character? But what’s the b story happening in the character.

Kacy Maxwell [00:23:34]:

Mhmm. And I’m

Dan Sanchez [00:23:35]:

like, it’s one of the few kids’ books I’ve read that has a b story. Like, it’s very much not just I mean, the horns are the is the a story. but the thing going on inside the kid, b story. Right? Yep. Most kids, all a story. So it’s a it’s got a motion to it. It has weight you could feel you could feel the thing. The but the part at the end got me with the dad. I was like, I don’t know. It just hit different.

Kacy Maxwell [00:23:58]:

Yeah. Yeah.

Dan Sanchez [00:23:59]:

And it’s probably one of the few books. And I’m like, man, this is, like, one of the few books I’ve seen, even children’s anything I’ve seen in a long time that actually sets the dad in a, like, a really good light Mhmm. And that was just refreshing. So it was fun to read with my son. So I hope more people go and read it and write more kids’ books.

Kacy Maxwell [00:24:15]:

And, of course, Appreciate that.

Dan Sanchez [00:24:16]:

We’re both fans of kids books in general. So, hopefully, you’ve

Kacy Maxwell [00:24:19]:

got a you’ve got a couple. you got a couple under your belt now. You got 2. Right?

Dan Sanchez [00:24:24]:

Yeah. 2 books. I didn’t do the illustrations for them, but someday I’m like, dang. I I I loved art in high school. So I’m like, I would like to do that. Like, actually do the illustration myself. They won’t be like the ones I’ve done or the the illustrator I had do mine, but it would still be fun to, like, get creative and figure out what those could be too.

Kacy Maxwell [00:24:44]:

I’d have to actually write something

Dan Sanchez [00:24:45]:

that I could possibly illustrate.

Kacy Maxwell [00:24:47]:

But — Yeah.

Dan Sanchez [00:24:48]:

— it’d be fun.

Kacy Maxwell [00:24:48]:

Well, I’m more than I’m more than happy to to help you show you how to use procreate. Cause again, it’s it’s a re it’s a really simple tool. but, yeah, that I I was learning all the things How do you shade this? How do you make this look? I mean, at one point, one of my favorite illustrations in the book is he’s playing, you know, he he’s so stressed out about, you know, these horns. Nobody can see him that he goes down to eat his dinner, and it’s his favorite dinner, but he can’t even eat it. So he just, he’s basically playing with his food. And so he creates his favorite dish is mashed potatoes, fish and fish sticks and, with crescent rolls. And so he creates a mashed potato boy with fish sticks, arms, and legs, and crescent roll horns. And when I had that idea, I was like, I have no idea how to draw all that food to make it actually look like food. I mean, it’s harder than you think to make mashed potatoes.

Dan Sanchez [00:25:44]:

— do mashed potatoes on a white plate. Right? You’re like — Yeah. Yeah. You like it. Just — — kinda yellow from the butter.

Kacy Maxwell [00:25:50]:

Uh-huh. Like clouds then? Yeah. There’s a little there’s a little brownness. There’s a little shading that, you know, yeah. It’s a it was it was a challenge. but it was one of those things that I knew. I I knew going into it. I’m like, this is where I’m the weakest. I mean, I can I can draw okay, but I illustrating and drawing are 2 different things, having it look consistent throughout the whole book and having all of these characters and all this stuff. So And that’s why it was

Dan Sanchez [00:26:19]:

— — mid journey still can’t do it. Mhmm. At least that well because it can’t be consistent. It’s in its illustration right now. People ask me, did you do this with mid journey? I’m like, You clearly don’t understand how AI ImageWare works, where you can’t make a consistent character with that thing yet.

Kacy Maxwell [00:26:33]:

No. No. They’re all over the place.

Dan Sanchez [00:26:36]:

Well, what did that do for your audience growth or, just your audience in general? So you published the book. You put you posted it all over LinkedIn. I saw it was, like, well celebrated. So Did your did that just, like, re like, how did your audience receive it?

Kacy Maxwell [00:26:52]:

I think they they received it well. a lot of, a lot of people were helping me out. People were introducing me to other people. They were buying it and for other people, some people were buying it for their schools. they were, they were connecting me. I just had, I just had, a connection connect me with this guy who is creating a YouTube series where the authors come on and read books. And it’s it has legit people on there. And I’m like, okay. it didn’t do anything from a, oh gosh, it got this, and now I got 50,000 followers or any of that kind of stuff. But The same thing is true with the book that is also true with the sketch notes. And it’s When I think of things that I really, really enjoy, and I love that you point out that there’s a b story to that book is taking really big concepts and making them simple. Like, that’s the whole idea behind sketched notes. Right? You’re taking a hour long talk, 30 minute talk, hour long, and you’re simplifying it down into an eight and a half by eleven picture. Right? And this the boy with horns is all about the things in life that make us feel different and feel alone that most of the time other people can’t share or can’t see. And it gives a language that a parent can talk to a kid about. They can say, hey. Do you have any horns? Do you have anything that makes you feel scared? Like, and all of a sudden, it’s like, that’s, you know, that that makes it easier. They’re like, oh, yeah. I do kinda have that. Right? There’s that there’s that common language, which is to me frameworks and all that. So, like, it didn’t it didn’t necessarily do anything big, but it as I’m forming who I am from a personal brand stamp, point, it’s helping me hone what I what what I offer. Like, why why would you follow me? Why would you want to consume my content? And it’s like, do you want visual things that are gonna simplify bigger concepts? The answer is yes. then you should probably follow me because that’s what I try and do. And when I take it whenever I post something and it doesn’t do well, I often don’t think that, it’s because I didn’t draw it well enough. I think that I didn’t make it clear enough.

Dan Sanchez [00:29:14]:


Kacy Maxwell [00:29:14]:

And so I didn’t know. And so I usually will go back and go, I feel like I missed something because I didn’t communicate because the reason I made it is it was an for me. And for some reason, it’s not hitting as an as an. Right? So that’s when you think of audience growth, when you think of why people will follow you, getting very, very clear with that, it’s taken me 2 years to slowly clarify that, from who I wanna be to who I want people to think of me as, but the the more clear I get it really helps me go, oh, well, then I can add this or I can also do this or I could do that.

Dan Sanchez [00:29:52]:

I’m pretty sure just by all the notes you’ve posted, you’ve probably sold probably a 100 iPads. Like, I’m pretty sure more people have bought iPads because of you, but then anybody else I know on LinkedIn. because I’ve never wanted one until I see you posting these sketch notes on because you’re drawing them all with your iPad on the I’m like, man, I like drawing, But it’s it’s hard to take a good enough picture of it to really do it justice, and you can’t manipulate it. And there’s no — Yep. — command z on those things or on just pen and paper. So which is hard when you’re trying to, like, draw something as you’re hearing it because then you might wanna move things around based on new information that’s just come in. So I’m like, man. I need to get an iPad. That, and I think it’s just more compelling to even even if I’m recording a video teaching something, I’m like, well, I might wanna sketch it out instead and do his in PowerPoint. you know, it’s just a compelling medium. so Apple should send you a gift card or something. I’m That’s what I’m, yeah, I’m not getting any I’m

Kacy Maxwell [00:30:46]:

not getting any revenue from that. I I have had a lot of people ask me, how are you doing this? And so I will tell Apple Pencil, iPad, and I used to use Notability. that was kind of the first thing I started doing, and then I moved into into Procreate. And I I think it it I think because this the drawings look simple, that it Seems like it’s simple and that it’s just there’s a lack of tools needed. And so, like, it’s it’s not, How do how do I say this and not sound arrogant? It it makes me feel good. And when people say, I got an iPad and it’s hard. Right? Because then I’m like, well, good. Then I’m, I’m making it look easy. Right?

Dan Sanchez [00:31:35]:


Kacy Maxwell [00:31:35]:

Yeah. Because I know it is hard. It’s hard to get it to look how I wanted it to communicate it well, but something, I guess, the way that the way that I’m doing this question is makes it look like, makes it feel like anybody could do it. So

Dan Sanchez [00:31:48]:

— No. That’s the reason why I’m pretty sure You’re the only person posting content like that on LinkedIn that I’ve seen.

Kacy Maxwell [00:31:54]:


Dan Sanchez [00:31:54]:

So because it is hard to make. I remember going in and looking at it and evaluating, I’m like, do I I wanna make that? But I know this is probably gonna take me 5 hours, at least. I don’t know if I wanna make it that bad.

Kacy Maxwell [00:32:07]:

Well, if anybody’s out there listening, I don’t I don’t have it formulated yet, but I’m I’m kind of spinning up some things on the side. You know, companies have been coming to me and asking me to sketch note there, frameworks, or sketch note, how how do we take something? Like, because I’m doing I’m doing, like, 2 different things. 1, it’s people are like, oh, no. I’ve got all the information. Just you just sketch it out. And then when I start putting this, I’m like, this is not cohesive. I have to help you fix this. So, like, I fix frameworks and create a sketched note around that. So if anybody is looking for that, definitely, reach out I I can’t, you know, it’s a side thing, so I can’t take a ton of clients, but it’s a it’s a fun thing. I enjoy doing it.

Dan Sanchez [00:32:51]:

So where is this going for you in the future? You got this sketch thing going on. You’re known for simplifying a lot of leadership concepts. I’ve seen business and, like, work concepts in there. Like, today, you talked about engagement in the office place, which was a fun one. But what do you wanna do with it? Where are you going? You’re a CMO, you’re a strategic thinker. Where do you see this, like, going for you in the future?

Kacy Maxwell [00:33:16]:

Yeah. that’s that’s one of the biggest things that I am wrestling through, journaling through, because there’s a lot of different things when I when I think about it, I’m like, man, I would love to teach it. you know, like, you’re you’re thinking, hey. I’d like to get into that. And I’m like, I would love to sit down with you, Dan, and I’ll just come over. Get your iPad. Let’s sit down. I would love to walk you through it because That’s why so I created a a LinkedIn live a year or 2 ago. I don’t know. It was a while ago of how to sketch note. And it was just taken the process of how I use, you know, my mind and how I’ve had these simple set of icons and how I do that. And so there’s this aspect of teaching other people to do it. Right? There’s an aspect of of doing the sketched notes for people. Right? But then there’s there’s something beyond that. I like I like talking about it. I, you know, there’s something, you know, someone said this to me one time, and I was like, Yeah. I think that they’re like, the with the amount of content that you’ve already put out there, you could take all those sketched notes and just put them into a book and sell the book. And I’m like, that’s probably a interesting idea. So I I think there’s there’s more books. it it wouldn’t be just shoving them together. Right? There would need to be actual other words written in there.

Dan Sanchez [00:34:30]:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Kacy Maxwell [00:34:31]:

And it would need to be on a specific topic because, I I would say I would say my biggest weakness as a creator is that I’m probably from a sketchednote, perspective, I’m probably too broad. I I I go maybe a little too broad on on some of these some of these topics. Maybe. I don’t

Dan Sanchez [00:34:49]:

know if you thought about positioning yourself as, like, someone who simplifies complex things. I mean, CMOs, that’s kind of what you have to do is you have to simplify your go to market you gotta simplify, and then you have to teach it and do internal marketing and then get buy into it. So there’s probably some overlaps there with what you’re doing with sketch notes and what you’re doing with your with your career, then I’m like, I don’t know. There’s probably, like, an overlap with the branding there that I think would probably work out pretty well. That could be a lot of fun.

Kacy Maxwell [00:35:19]:

Yeah. There’s there’s something there. And, honestly, I I came up with the as I’ve been doing kind of the it sounds the the circuit. I’ve been talking on different podcasts about my book. And, I was talking with my son, and we were working through it, and I came up with the the follow-up to the boy with horns. And so I’ve got that book and I’m like, oh, gosh. I don’t think I I am not ready to take on another entire book and and do all of that. But, but, yeah, like, I’ve got I’ve got I’m I’m I I’m not, want for ideas. I just have to choose what is what is the right way to go, in the next step. So stay tuned. some’s formulating. Some’s been percolating, so stay tuned.

Dan Sanchez [00:36:05]:

Well, I’m excited to see what’s next. And it’s good to know that, like, you can grow an audience and not I mean, I think this is true for anybody who grows an audience, whether intentionally or just kind of accidentally as you start posting things, that it’s a journey that you don’t have to have it figured out that you actually, like, at least for me, you kinda discover yourself in the process through the feedback, but also on the soul searching and the testing out of different ideas to see what resonates what you have that actually resonates with the marketplace to find out who you wanna position yourself to be. It’s it’s like, I’m wrestling with it a lot right now having the last transition that I just had a few weeks ago. It’s you’re it’s just part of the process, but it’s awesome. you have to take it. But once you’re out there and you’re being public and you’re having conversations, I actually find that it’s easier because people are giving you feedback that you can make more decisions with.

Kacy Maxwell [00:36:59]:

My biggest my biggest thing, and you are you are a prime example of this, is consistency and sticking with it. The amount of people that I have seen over the last two and a half years that have come and gone Right. I think there’s this expectation I’m gonna go and I’m gonna start posting. And after my 3rd post, I’m gonna be viral. I’m gonna have thousands of followers and all of that, but there’s there’s nothing that I’ve done that has grown my following huge over one act. It’s just been the consistency in staying in there. Right? And so most people will drop out. They just they just will. And so staying with it and making sure you’re consistent you’ll do exactly what you just said. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll do things and you’re like, I don’t like that. Or, oh, I do really like that, and you will find out who you actually want to be because it may you’re exactly right. It may be different than who you start. You’re like, I wanna be known for this. And then you start going in there, like, changes. — even really what I think.

Dan Sanchez [00:38:03]:

It’s that internal b story. —

Kacy Maxwell [00:38:05]:

stay with it. Yep.

Dan Sanchez [00:38:06]:

You go to build an audience and then discovery in the process of building an audience, you kinda discover yourself and find out the audience is great, but what I’ve learned about myself in the process is really what’s the worthwhile thing. Right? Classic like movie stuff. Like, they go on a journey to find something and to find, ah, they didn’t need the thing. But they mark the processes there. Right?

Kacy Maxwell [00:38:25]:

That’s your hope for the opening of this episode right there. What you just what you just summarized. Put that to be good.

Dan Sanchez [00:38:31]:

I’ll spin it around the front. Casey, thank you so much for joining me on this episode. Working people go to buy the book, learn more about you, and connect with you on LinkedIn.

Kacy Maxwell [00:38:42]:

There’s there’s three places that I’ll send people. So I’m I’m on LinkedIn pretty much every day, at least for a portion of time. I post 3 days a week, but I’m there commenting, interacting, and connecting with people. Where you can buy the book is is Amazon. That’s where that’s where you I mean, you can get it on Walmart or Barnes and Noble, but, I’m usually sending most people there. And if you want to read any of the blogs that I’ve done, you know, maybe you’re considering writing a kid’s book or any of that, just go to the boy with and, hit the, like, you you can enter your email. Once you enter your email, then you can just see all the posts there. And and if you’ve ever wondered how to find a publisher, how to work with a copy or editor, any of that kind of stuff, it’s all there.

Dan Sanchez [00:39:32]:

Fantastic. Thanks again for joining me.

Kacy Maxwell [00:39:34]:

My pleasure.

Dan Sanchez, MBA

Dan Sanchez is a marketing director, co-host of the B2B Growth show, and blogger. He holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and BS in Marketing Management from Western Governors University. Learn more about Dan »

Recent Posts