Brian is the Chief Marketing Officer at Kinsta. He focuses on everything from developing new online growth strategies, content creation, technical SEO, and outreach within the community.
He has a huge passion for WordPress, has been using it for over a decade, and even develops a couple of premium plugins. Brian enjoys blogging, movies, and hiking.
Also Brian has been an entrepreneur from a young age. He started dropshipping CDs and DVDs on eBay in the 6th grade and have been doing internet marketing ever since.
Fun facts about Brian
He help develop perfmatters, a lightweight web performance plugin for WordPress.
He written and published over 2,500 blog posts.
He used WordPress for over a decade.
He develop a WordPress plugin, WP Coupons, to help bloggers and affiliate marketers.
He blog about personal finance, investing, and early retirement.
He a powerseller on eBay with over 1,600 feedback and a 100% rating.
He a super seller on Flippa with over $20,000 in sales.
He hs sold a web hosting company in college, hosting over 700 websites.
In 2013 he received the Microsoft MVP Award in the Windows Expert-IT Pro category.
He runs a gluten-free blog dedicated to helping those suffering from Celiac Disease, UC, and Crohn’s. He been 100% gluten-free for over four years.
He addicted to disaster movies, synthwave music (check out my playlist), and Rocket League.
Announcer: Welcome to the WP tonic podcast, brought to you by WP tonic.com, a WordPress maintenance and support service for business owners. We talk to the leaders in WordPress business and online marketing communities, bringing you insights on how to grow your business and achieve success.
Adrian: Welcome back everybody to the WP tonic show. My name is Adrian. Jonathan, unfortunately, is experiencing some serious technical difficulties, and will maybe be joining us in a moment. We’ll see no promises, but today I am joined by a lovely guest, Brian Jackson, who’s the CMO of Kinsta, who is also evidently the sponsor of today’s episode. Why don’t you just say quickly, hi Brian?
Brian Jackson: Hi, yes, thanks for having me. I’ve been on here once before, but it’s been a couple of years, so I’m glad I could get back on here.
Adrian: And it’s lovely to have you back. And Brian, who is the CMO for Kinsta, who’s also evidently the sponsor Kinsta is honestly one of the best hosting companies currently available for WordPress. You guys focus really down on what good WordPress hosting is, and what makes WordPress super-efficient, super-fast and extremely scalable, especially as businesses scale up their business, grow their orders. They got WooCommerce on there, they got their LMS on there, and on lower level hosting especially, which is a privilege and you can get really cheap hosting. It’s almost like a commodity. You can get it for like $3 a month. You can get up to like $5 a month, but at that level, it’s really just not that effective, especially as a larger company.
So if you’re currently growing your business, and your business is growing, you need to go get yourself on a premium solution. A company that has 24/7 dedicated live chat support in order to be able to solve your problems when you have them; an extremely experienced technical support team, in order to make sure that your site is optimized to the T so that your customers while browsing your site have the best possible user experience. So right now, if you’re currently experiencing problems with your current WordPress host or if you just want to migrate to something that’s just a little bit more refined, a little bit more premium, and with a support team that just cares that much more about the success of your business, then I highly recommend you go check out Kinsta, and that’s at kinsta.com.
So again, I’m here with Brian and we’re going to be talking a lot today about content marketing. It seems almost like there’s just so much noise and so much market saturation and just so much content available now because it’s coming out from all ways. It’s coming at you from Instagram, it’s coming at you from Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and we were talking a little bit ahead about, or a little bit before the show started about you come from both the background of content marketing for yourself. And as a background or you also have a lot of experience doing content marketing for a large company like Kinsta. So why don’t you just share with us a little bit about your background, how you got into content marketing in the first place and your strategy surrounding that. And we’ll see what we can come up with in order to help people who are currently struggling with their own content marketing and hopefully allow them to develop a new strategy to get them heard.
Brian Jackson: Sure, yes, so a little background I guess about me is I guess if you go all the way back to like even back to high school, I just liked internet marketing when I figured out you could make money over the internet. It was like the coolest thing ever to me. Ever since then I’ve been always doing different little projects online to flipping websites doing affiliate marketing and all these different types of things to try to make money online. And it always revolved around content for me. It seemed like it always came back to like writing something, like whether it was an advertisement whether it was a blog post. So just over time it seemed naturally I was just writing more and more and more, so I finally kind of grew to love writing, I guess you could say because I didn’t go to school for writing.
I never think of myself as a writer either even though I do a lot of writing. But yes, it’s just figuring out that you could write content, you could figure out how to rank it on Google and then you could make money from that. So like just that, if you put it as simple as that, I just love that back even till even today. It’s a lot more complicated today than it was when I first started doing this stuff but it’s still that simple. Like you write content, you rank it and you generate money. So the tricky part is, nowadays, like you were saying it’s a lot more saturated, and one thing that we probably want to dive into a little bit is like multi-lingual stuff. That’s something that has been working really well for us.
And I know I talked with a few people at WordCamp US about a month ago, and a lot of people aren’t diving into the multi-lingual stuff, partially because it does take a lot of work. Or maybe you’re not that tech-savvy and so you might be a little scared off about how do I do this? You do have to know how to do everything correctly but there are plugins like [inaudible 05:33], hopefully, I’m not mispronouncing that name, but a bunch of multi-lingual translation plugins that make it a lot easier than it used to be, even like three years ago.
Adrian: So let’s start with, you know, because it is so saturated, and there’s so much content available. And one of the things that businesses think that they really need to be as original because the content is so saturated. So I’m wondering is there a certain area or how do I want to put this? When you start writing content, what part of this biggest struggle won’t, you know, struggle number one is what content do you write? Do you have a strategy or something to choose or do you have like a Go-To system for deciding based on whatever your business vertical is to what content should you be focusing on and actually putting effort into?
Brian Jackson: So the content that has always worked well for me, even on my own projects and with Kinsta is always writing like how to solve problems. So tutorials are just like still the number one thing, in my opinion, that really people are searching for. Like, if you think about it like, if you go to Google, most of the time you’re trying to solve a problem.
Adrian: How to do this?
Brian Jackson: Yes, exactly, yes, how to do this. Even if you’re looking for a product, you’re still technically at some level trying to solve a problem and you’re just looking for what product can solve it. So it’s always about people are looking how to fix this problem, how to solve this issue, and so tutorials I think are still in my opinion, the number one thing that does well on Google. I think another thing I’ve seen a lot lately and I’ve already seen it getting quite saturated, but that seems to do pretty well is like statistical posts. So that posts that have a lot of stats in case studies stuff, like scattered throughout them. People for some reason love to share that kind of stuff on Twitter; I do myself. So I’m probably a part of the problem.
Adrian: Can you give us an example of what that would look like?
Brian Jackson: Yes, actually a good, I’ll just give a shout out because I actually have it up in my browser at the moment, growthbadger.com. It’s just a blog but he just published a post that’s called “A Hundred Plus Great Content Marketing Examples and Ideas”. And I actually threw that in our Kinsta newsletter this week because it had a lot of just great stuff that I’ve done in the past, all just in one great summary. It wasn’t just another list post or anything; it actually has a lot of great things if you’re diving into content marketing. So posts like that [inaudible 08:14] just, you know, a lot of like applicable tips I think do quite well, especially on social too, because people would just like to share that stuff.
Adrian: So I guess if you’re not sure, always come back to, alright, how do I help someone solve this problem? Just from, like a technical standpoint, what should the title of that article be? Should it be like how to do X, is that the title?
Brian Jackson: Yes, like how to do X is fine. I would say probably half of our posts at Kinsta are like how-to, and then you know, how to like optimize your database, or how to speed up your WordPress site. Like they’re all like, over of them were like that, so I think whatever product or service you’re offering, figure out what does your product or service solve? And then like, how can you demonstrate that to clients?
Adrian: And it doesn’t even need to be like the big overarching problem that your business solves. It can be like if your business solves the loops, little tiny niche problems within kind of like an overall goal, you can break it down into several different articles instead of kind of just like one big one, right?
Brian Jackson: Exactly, so like we have articles on like how to install like a free SSL certificate. Now while we don’t sell SSL certificates, we have free ones with less encrypt, but that’s not our business model, but we’re still going into really fine grade tutorials that are just solving all types of different issues from, I would say the top of the funnel down to the bottom. So yes, even little nit-picky things with your service that are causing headaches for customers, like find those and write about them, that’s what we’ve found that works really well. And I’ve taken that approach probably for 11 years. Like always how to solve a problem and just writing about it.
Adrian: Beautiful, and it looks like Jonathan, you’ve made it.
Jonathon: Sorry, listeners and viewers. I had a few technical problems, to say the least, it’s loaded, but I think Adrian has been doing a great job.
Adrian: Awesome, well why don’t we throw it over to you then? So we’re currently talking about content marketing, just to catch you up. I’m not sure if you’ve heard the rest of the podcast so far, but we’re talking about content marketing. We just finished up; if you’re new to content marketing or you’re about to start content marketing, what kind of content is really successful at sort of getting you into the noise and defining kind of like what you’re going to be tackling so you can have some ideas about how to start. So I think we should probably move into, at this point, how do you actually get your content noticed? Now that you have the concept, the next step is actually putting it in front of people. So–
Jonathon: How are we doing for time, actually Adrian, are we getting close to our break?
Adrian: We have about five minutes because we started a little bit late.
Jonathon: Oh yes, sure. Go on, off you go, Adrian, you can go, no, I’m interrupting, I apologize.
Adrian: That’s okay. So let’s talk about, now that you have the content, you’ve written 10 or 12, let’s say, how-to articles, and you’re ready to solve some people’s problems. How do you get people with those problems in front of your content?
Brian Jackson: Sure, yes, so two things with that too, that I want to mention because I see this problem all the time, is even if you’re going with like little nit-picky things to solve issues, I always say focus on the quality over the quantity. So whatever it is, just make sure you have enough quality content in these articles because, and that goes to my second point is don’t stop too early with your content marketing because it’s really a long-term play. I see so many business owners like they’ll launch their content marketing strategies, and they’ll stop in like four months after they don’t see anything happen.
Adrian: You can’t like go out into your backyard, plant flowers seeds, and then the next day go into the back garden, expect there to be a flower, it doesn’t work like that.
Brian Jackson: Exactly, yes, and today, I’ll be honest; I haven’t launched a brand new project for probably a couple of years now because I’m so focused on my existing projects and Kinsta. So it probably is taking even longer today when you start something than it was if you launch something five years ago just because of all the saturated content on the market. So I would say like, don’t expect to see anything for six months. I know it’s hard to hear that, but just put content marketing as part of your strategy, make sure you’re focusing on the quality and are consistent, and then just over time, make sure you’re tracking things too. I think that’s another thing people don’t do. They don’t always track their progress, because when you talk about like how do I get it out there? The first thing you want to do is have tracking tools in place to know if it is even getting out there.
Adrian: Right, do you have a recommendation for a tracking tool that might help?
Brian Jackson: Yes, so a couple of tools I use, Google analytics obviously is one I still use today. And then I use [inaudible 13:35] on a daily basis, that is very expensive for small business owners, so if you can’t afford that, another great alternative that’s cheaper is KW-Finder is another one, but that will allow you to, you know, you can literally put in any blog post on the internet and see what keywords it’s ranking for, including your own. And the great thing about that is you can see like maybe you have a competitor that has a post that you like already, that is a similar topic that you want to write about. You know, throw their posts into a tool like this, and see what keywords they’re ranked for. If they’re doing really well, that’s a good indicator that you could probably also do as well but you might need to improve on what they’re doing. So like if they have a great post that’s like 2000 words long, make something that’s like 3000 words long that has better tips in it or something like that. So little things like that–
Adrian: So I’m going to cut you off.
Brian Jackson: Sure.
Adrian: I’m going to cut you off because we do need to go for the break, but we’re going to come back right after the break and we’re going to be continuing the conversation about how you actually go about, now that you have content, and getting it in front of the people that it’s going to matter to that it’s going to help. So stick around and we’ll be back in just a few moments.
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Adrian: And welcome back. We’re here with Brian, the CMO of Kinsta hosting, a wealth of knowledge and an expert in content marketing. Sharing his knowledge with us so that anybody who’s looking to get into content marketing can be able to start actually makes it a successful source of leads or a successful source of revenue for their business. But before we jumped back into the conversation with Brian, I want to talk a little bit about our sponsor Lifter LMS. I personally have a great relationship with Chris Badgett, who’s the CEO over at Lifter LMS, and just without even talking about the software, I just want to talk about Chris for a moment because my business would personally not be around at the stage that it is without just so much of the help and the time that he has lent and the expertise that he is lent to me that I was able to then go and implement in my business.
So with that kind of like personal testimonial from you, I want then want to go into talking about the software because not only has he been a resource for me, but he’s building those same resources that he provided to me. And so I could build my business into the tools that he is providing to businesses around the WordPress community, and around the world to grow their course and membership business. And he just puts so much effort and so much of his own personal knowledge that he’s accrued over like the nine years he’s been doing this, into that plugin so that you can create the best content, and really just get it out in front of the people that are going to benefit from it the most. So if you are currently thinking about launching into building a course, building a membership site, you have knowledge that you want to share with the world.
Go check out Lifter LMS. That’s at lifterlms.com. You can even talk to Chris, he’s got a 1800 number that he answers personally, so you can talk to him about what the best way is for you to continue and start that journey. So again, go to lifterlms.com, they’ve got a black Friday deal running. If this gets out before black Friday and you can actually get in for like 25% off, so I think that’s pretty cool. So again, go check out lifter LMS. Alright, now jumping back into the conversation with Brian about content marketing, so just before I cut you off to go into the break, we were talking about how to actually start getting your content in front of people and we were about, you got like [inaudible 17:49], you got some software to do the analytics and stuff.
Let’s talk a little bit about the different channels that you actually use in order to publish that content because they always say like the money’s in the list, right? You need a certain audience of people, where do you go to get that audience? Is there like, do you go to Facebook? Do you go to Twitter? Do you do just all of the above? What are the best ways to start if you’re especially brand new, what are the best ways to start building that audience?
Brian Jackson: So I think you have to first do a little research at least based on your own industry to see, like which networks do the best. So like just for the WordPress community, I feel Twitter is the best and it’s just because it happens to be that lots of people in the WordPress community just love Twitter and are using it. Like, you go to a WordCamp, and hashtags for the WordCamp or just like streaming down the page all day long. And if you go to like LinkedIn, I’ve noticed it’s just not as present. So I think you have to find where are your customers and visitors, like what networks they’re using because that’s the ones that you want to use. So yes, for WordPress, I think Twitter does great.
We use Twitter extensively at Kinsta, like, it’s something I have tweet deck up with like a whole bunch of different columns of streams that like, it never closes in my browser. But I know a lot of other people have great success with like Pinterest boards, which I’ve never figured out. I don’t even understand how that works or how to drive traffic and make money from that. But I think it really depends on what you’re trying to sell and then figuring out which of those networks your customers are using on a daily basis.
Adrian: So it’s just about finding out where your audience is, and then going to where they are.
Brian Jackson: Yes, and the only way you can really do that is just to dive into each one and start throwing stuff out there and see what’s happening. And over a couple of months, see, like if you’re going to get feedback from one, and maybe role with that channel and see how it does.
Adrian: So let’s say you find where your audience is. Let’s say, you mentioned Twitter, so let’s just go with Twitter as an example. You found your audience on Twitter, that’s where they hanging out, how do you start to engage with that audience on that platform?
Brian Jackson: So yes, the first thing is I think the important thing is to create conversations. If you’re just like tweeting and just like doing a couple of hash-tags and just tweeting your own stuff–
Adrian: It’s blasting out content.
Brian Jackson: Yes, you’re never going to get anywhere. Like you really need to start following people, start hopping into conversations and engaging, and it sounds like a lot of work and it is a lot of work. But the people that are successful at social media, they’re actively spending time on those platforms to make it successful. They’re not using any of these automated tools, and then just stepping back and doing something else. They’re–
Adrian: They’re actively involved in the conversation.
Brian Jackson: Exactly, yes. I’m biased because I love Twitter so much, I’ve actually signed up enterprise customers for Kinsta over Twitter-DMs, completely over DMs.
Adrian: Really, wow.
Brian Jackson: And I’ve met awesome people in the WordPress space for coffee, like here in Scottsdale where I’m at, like just over DMs. We’re like, “Hey, let’s meet up”, and they like “DM me”. So there are so many things you can do with social networking that I think a lot of people don’t take advantage of. I use it for creating conversations; I even use it for like meeting our current clients. I tweet out some times if any Kinsta clients are in the Scottsdale area, tweet me, let’s meet up for coffee because I love to just meet like some of our current clients. So there are so many different ways you can take advantage of social media to make it work for you.
And then, of course, it’s like content marketing. Over time you’ll slowly start growing engagement and followers and all of this stuff. And so you get to the point where you’ll see just more things happening on your own Twitter account, like overtime.
Adrian: So as you start to engage in the conversation, you can create just as using Twitter, you engage in the conversation, you’d be an active contributor, and start helping people, your audience grows the follower account. And then when you start kind of like tweeting, “Hey listen, I just wrote this article about how to do X topic”, that’s when the actual juice of it starts to kick in and you start to get that a little bit of traction as far as your actual content piece goes.
Brian Jackson: Exactly, yes, and I always try to keep a ratio of like three to one. I try to, I don’t know, it’s something I always forget about. Some days are just so busy, I’m just like tweeting stuff, but
Adrian: Ratio for what?
Brian Jackson: So like–
Adrian: Like three to one [inaudible 22:32].
Brian Jackson: So like three to one. I try to share like more third party content than I am sharing of my own content and I’ve found that that just works. I’m sure everyone has kind of their own ratios that they try to try to keep but I always try to share interesting things that are like happening in the WordPress space or it’ll depend on what industry you’re in, but things that are happening that your customers might be interested in.
Adrian: So it doesn’t always just need to be all about you, right. You can just start a conversation, you needed to go find other people and contribute to their conversation.
Brian Jackson: Yes, and I think that’s a big part of social media. Like I would never just share your own stuff in my work, but I wouldn’t try that. I think you need to take advantage of some of the other content marketing that people are putting out there because it’s so saturated, to help engage, and create engagement on your own social media.
Adrian: Beautiful Jonathan, do you want to be part of it? Speaking of conversations, do you want to be part of this conversation?
Jonathon: Yes, I’ve got questions for Brian. So what’s your view on YouTube, and how are you fitting YouTube in with your content marketing strategy for Kinsta?
Brian Jackson: So that is a great question, and I’m actually glad you brought that up because we are just about to launch our YouTube channel.
Adrian: You heard it here first.
Brian Jackson: So I can’t say and I actually don’t mind throwing this out there because we were about to just send this out over social. If anyone’s looking for a YouTube job we are actually going to be looking for someone.
Jonathon: Oh, you found him. I’ll do that for Kinsta.
Brian Jackson: So I don’t have any great; like this works great for YouTube because, to be honest, it’s one of those channels that I’m literally just going to start learning myself.
Adrian: So when you come back next year, we’re going to deep dive into it, right?
Brian Jackson: Yes, I’m sure I’ll have like, this doesn’t work, this does work, but I can’t tell you a few things that I asked some people at WordCamp US about their YouTube strategy because I was trying to get some ideas going since I haven’t used it myself. And a lot of them said they’re having a lot of success with YouTube and I think a primary reason is because it’s one area, at least if you’re in the WordPress industry, that’s a lot less saturated than WordPress content, like a Google.
Brian Jackson: So, it depends on your industry, look to see what’s on YouTube, like how many videos there are about certain topics. But if you go to YouTube right now, it’s, there are a lot of gaps in the WordPress space on there, and so we’re obviously going to try to take advantage of that. I know a lot of other WordPress YouTubers are like starting up this year. I’ve seen a lot of new ones pop up. So I think it’s one area that’s just a lot less saturated, so probably have some success there for a couple of years and hopefully, by then you’re at a level of traffic and stuff that even after it’s saturated, you can continue to see some growth.
Adrian: Beautiful, and I think we’re actually just approaching the end of the show, Jonathan, so do you want to do the end bit?
Jonathon: Yes, sure. Sorry for the technical problems folks, but I think Adrian has done a fantastic job and obviously Brian. Brian is a friend of the show and obviously, the support of Kinsta is most welcome. They’ve been a great sponsor of the show. Hopefully, you feel that we’ve been doing a great job saying the merits of Kinsta, I’ve been doing my best Brian. I think it’s been a great show note for you, and hopefully, Brian will join us next year to tell us about his success stories around YouTube. We will be back next week where we hopefully have another fantastic guest or we will have a fantastic guest to give you knowledge, and practical insights to make your business more successful in 2020. We’ll be back next week folks, bye.
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