In the 100th episode of the Social PR Secrets Podcast, host Lisa Buyer interviewed Rand Fishkin, best-selling author, award-winning author of Lost and Founder and co-founder of Spark Toro. He also happens to tweet about 30x a week on the topics of marketing, tech, and startups.
Rand was the founder and CEO of Moz, which he grew into the market’s biggest SEO suite, taking it from $800k to $29.3M in revenue. He is a hero in the marketing and Social PR Secrets world known for his transparency, keynotes, and strong opinions on the Silicon giants. His Whiteboard Friday series is watched by tens of thousands of marketers every week. His book, Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World is an eye-opener. Listen to find out everything Rand has to say about the ever-changing field of digital marketing.
As digital PR professionals know, SEO is central to any successful strategy. According to Rand, the SEO field is still vibrant, but Google’s dominance is becoming a severe issue. Rand mentions the numerous statements put out by Google officials that inevitably end up disapproved. To him, the industry should stop treating these statements with such acceptance and so little skepticism. Additionally, he criticizes Google’s dominance in every digital field. Because of it, 12% of all Google searches end up taking users to another google site.
Overall, Rand wishes Google was more focused on driving value to consumers and publishers rather than stealing from them. “Google is kind of like a default utility with a capitalistic model,” he said. Adding value to people’s lives is exactly what Rand does. After leaving Moz, which he founded and led for years, he started a new tool for digital marketers. SparkToro lets digital PR users know in a few seconds what any audience reads, engages with, follows, or shares online. Want to know what landscape architects in Canada are subscribing to on YouTube? SparkToro has the answer!
Rand dislikes the term influencer marketing. A few years ago, influencer marketing meant finding publications and people of influence and marketing to them. That allowed businesses to reach their audience through influential third-parties. Nowadays, however, influencer marketing doesn’t mean much and doesn’t work for most businesses. If influencer marketing is defined as Instagram stars posing with a detox tea, then it doesn’t have a long life ahead, said Rand.
Lisa and Rand agreed that influencer marketing 1.0 is now called digital PR and is a central part of any marketing effort. Rand’s biggest Social PR Secret when it comes to digital PR? Develop your brand and creative TOF impact but don’t forget to also focus on direct response conversion impact. That’s one of the most valuable ways to get customers. According to Rand, digital PR creates awareness, liking, and trust in people’s thinking process. That way, the rest of the marketing at the bottom of the funnel will get a lift from brand recognition, trust, and familiarity.
Another topic Rand and Lisa discussed is digital detox. More and more people are getting addicted to social media, and tech companies do not do much about it. Rand mentioned how Instagram lets users know when they’ve gotten to the end of their feed, which is a first step more companies should be taking.
Additionally, Rand called out venture capitalists and the general hustler mindset. The overall discourse and expectations within these circles are long workdays and sacrificing family time, health, and hobbies. To Rand, it shouldn’t be the case. You can run a successful business while having a balanced and healthy life, he said.
“Build companies that are great, not big.” - Rand Fishkin.
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