Brian Dean on SaaS, Growing Audiences & SEO Consulting
We sat down with Brian Dean of Backlinko to talk about his blog, software projects and why he NEVER takes on consulting work.
Let’s get into it!
- 3:17 – What is the difference between Exploding Topics and Google Trends?
- 5:39 – Where are you getting the data for Exploding Topics?
- 7:49 – How do you plan on growing Exploding Topics?
- 10:21 – How and why did you scale-up content creation for Backlinko?
- 13:40 – Who is helping you create content for Backlinko?
- 17:22 – What is your promotion process now that you are a successful blogger?
- 18:51 – How do you maintain good open rates for your emails?
- 26:10 – How did you grow your YouTube Channel?
- 27:10 – Why don’t you do any consulting work and what is the best way to scale it?
What is the difference between Exploding Topics and Google Trends?
Google Trends is good if you already know the topic and just want to confirm whether it is trending up or down.
With Exploding Topics, you can discover new topics you would never have found with Google Trends.
What is the best use-case for Exploding Topics?
You can find topics that are blowing up right now and based on this information you can create content, products, and services around those topics.
Where are you getting the data for Exploding Topics?
It is a proprietary scarping technology that scrapes terms and then automatically bubbles up terms that are appearing more often. It analyses data from sources like Google Trends, news websites, platforms like Reddit, e-commerce websites like Amazon, etc.
It is interesting because it gets the data from different sources instead of just one.
How do you plan on growing Exploding Topics?
One of the advantages of a tool like this is that you bypass all the gatekeepers like Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. and directly get the data scrapped from different sources.
Most people want to skip visiting the tool and instead want a weekly newsletter with insights taken from the Exploding Topics. I will be working on building that newsletter and getting tons of subscribers and hopefully sponsors later on.
How and why did you scale-up content creation for Backlinko?
I always wanted to create more content without sacrificing quality. Usually when you scale up the quality of your content goes down and I did not want that.
You cannot grow on 12 posts a year. I was able to do it to a certain point but after that, I realized that I needed to scale up.
Content creation these days is a process with steps like idea generation, keyword research, topic research, outlining, writing, formatting, designing, optimizing, editing, publishing and finally promoting.
The part that I was always reluctant to scale was the writing part because people easily sense when someone else is writing for you.
So I decided to keep the writing part for myself while getting help with the rest and that is how I was able to scale.
Who is helping you create content for Backlinko?
I have a full-time content coordinator working for me. He makes sure every step is happening and all our content projects are on time.
If we have a post coming out next month, he will make sure that the draft is in on time. He will edit it and make sure all the screenshots are done. He will make sure that the designs are in for any visuals that are included. He will make sure it is coded and he does the coding. Almost like a CEO of content sort of.
What is your promotion process now that you are a successful blogger?
The number one thing is promoting to my email list.
When I started I was sending about 300 emails per blog post to promote it and now I send around 150,000. Promotion would take 80% of my time before and now it takes about 10% so it is a lot easier than before.
I recommend building an email list because, besides all the amazing benefits that come from having an email list, one of the most underrated is content promotion.
You get an army of people waiting to hear about your next post. They will open it, read it and share it. It is way more powerful than social media promotion if you ask me.
How do you maintain good open rates for your emails?
I did not clean my email list for a long time and I noticed that my open rates are going down with time.
It is this vicious cycle that you get into. People do not open your emails and then Gmail thinks people do not like your emails and it starts reducing your deliverability and so on.
I noticed this and deleted 15,000 subscribers, people that had not opened my emails for months. The next email that went out had a much higher open rate. From there it was all gravy and now I take out stale subscribers from my list regularly.
How did your blog contribute to your YouTube success?
Having a blog and a list and then pushing those people to your Youtube channel really helps.
It is a cheat code you can use for Youtube growth. For my videos that have been out for a while, I would say 99% of their views are from people that are on YouTube that have never heard of me. That is the power of YouTube.
It takes a while to learn what works on YouTube and it helps a lot to have that initial little push from your existing audience.
Why don’t you do any consulting work and what is the best way to scale it?
I do not do client work because it is not scalable. There is only one of me and there are a lot of people that I could do consulting for and there are only so many hours in a day.
The best way to scale consulting is by creating a course. A lot of people that reach out to me for consulting end up buying the course. The conversion rates are excellent.
It is a great business model and the funny thing is it is still a little bit underground because everyone is busy doing SAAS.
People are more attracted to a personal brand and they want to be trained by a person not by a company and I think that is where you can win with a good training course.