Rand Fishkin is the author of Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World and is the former CEO of Moz. He is now the Co-founder and CEO of SparkToro, a software company that helps businesses understand more about their audience, and he is continuing to spread his knowledge of the SEO world with others. In his free time, Rand enjoys cooking and enjoying good storytelling in fiction, such as movies or literature.
Learn more about empowering businesses to build great brands with long-term strategies, how to protect your brand by auditing your ads, and fighting ad giants like Google and Facebook.
Listen to the Podcast version of this episode:
Connecting Personal Passion with Business Passion
Rand wrote a book about the struggles of building a business without the money and college education and throughout that story, his passions are showcased. How important is passion in business?
“I don’t love the raw money-making financial passion side of entrepreneurship, which I think is unfortunately very dominant in business and startup culture,” Rand says. “For me, the passion that I have around entrepreneurship and business is creating something new that did not exist previously that helps people accomplish something in new, interesting, and fun ways.”
“I think when it comes to passion, I find a lot of affinity with people who share that mentality. I also have a ton of passion for wanting to change the culture around this.”
Can a sSmall Business Use Brand Affinity Marketing to Build Engaging Audiences?
Do you think small businesses can also use brand affinity and brand affinity marketing through video series, podcasts and great content to actually build a brand and build a micro audience of lovers of the brand?
“It’s possible, but you have to find something that resonates with your audience already,” Rand says. “What you can’t expect as a marketer is for someone to see a video series and be like, ‘Oh, okay, I should invest in video.’ You have to find the thing that works for that person.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about creating audiences that actually like your content.”
Investing in Long-Term Marketing Strategies
“Investments like SEO, content marketing and strategy, digital PR, and events strategy, all those kinds of things are long-term strategies,” Rand says. “You make the investment and in six months, or nine months, or twelve months, they start really paying dividends and building that flywheel for you.”
Investing in long-term strategies is important because it not only brings visits to your website and leads, but it also builds a brand. At the end of the day, these long-term strategies are what it takes to own your audience and build a human connection and bring in the audiences that want to engage with your brand.
“Don’t rely on some external provider like Google or Facebook. Don’t rely on paying for each separate impression, visit, and conversion,” Rand says.
“I think any time that you are making a long-term investment, such as a podcast or video series, there has to be elements that are relatively easy to invest in and get better at each time."
“If you watch the early Whiteboard Fridays, you’ll think, ‘That guy is terrible. He should not be on video.’ But if you watch from 2010, 2011, 2012, like he’s getting good. That is the way I think about brand building, content marketing, content strategy, and the way I think about building any sort of marketing flywheel.”
3 Major Takeaways for Marketers:
1. Audit Your Google Ads Account to be a Responsible Advertiser
24:29 - “If we take the money away from Google and Facebook and put it toward another source of marketing and advertising, could we earn a better return on investment?”
2. Long Term Play of Content / Brand Affinity Marketing
30:23 - “Investments like SEO, content marketing and strategy, digital PR, event strategy, all of those kinds of things are long-term, and this is where pulling out of the slurry, auditing the slurry and getting your dollars into these longer term flywheel models that don’t rely on some external provider like Google or Facebook. Don’t rely on paying for each separate, you know, impression, visit, and conversion.”
3. Build Your Audience Separate From Your Channels
39:40 - Example: Limited reach of organic social posts for businesses, “Today, the average Facebook organic page reach is 0.09%.”
Rand’s Top Quotes:
“I think fiction has a power to give people empathy for situations that they themselves might never be part of and that is one of the most beautiful parts of being a human being, is being able to empathize with others and feel their pains and losses, their regrets, their triumphs.”
“The passion that I have around entrepreneurship and business is creating something new that did not exist previously that helps people accomplish something in new, interesting and fun ways.”
“The challenge for a lot of companies is finding that initial budget, to be able to make that investment. And this is where pulling out of the slurry and getting your dollars into these longer term flywheel models that don’t rely on external providers like Google and Facebook is where the magic happens.”
“It’s the small ongoing consistency of investment that builds up over time.”
Check out these resources from the episode.