Matt Watson is a lifelong entrepreneur. He sold his first company, VinSolutions in 2011, for 150 Million Dollars. Matt now dedicates his efforts to the software development community via his current company, Stackify, an APM company with users in over 40 countries!
Welcome to the podcast Matt. What's going on? Alright. Alright. Yeah. Thanks little bring the doozy azzam. Appreciate you coming on to the podcast today the topic of the day that you're going to be enlightening us on is going to be. Content marketing and before we get into all of that, but you tell us a little bit about your background.
And since you're still going as an entrepreneur, I guess one of my first questions is why you can elaborate on this as you tell us about your background is. After that a hundred fifty million dollar check. Why aren't you just chilling somewhere on some beach. The probably would've been the smartest thing.
I should have done and looking back that might still be the best option. But I think it's just in my blood to be a problem solver. Right? I had breakfast with somebody today who wants me to get involved in their business just to help them and Monday this week. I went to Dallas friend of mine wants to acquire some business and all the things she needs help with like she needs help with product Vision how the products are work how to develop the product how to get it to Market all these different things.
I don't even think about them. They just come to me naturally like she has no idea she's know what to do. And I'm like I could fall asleep and still give you a plan. So some of these things are just in your blood and it's fun and I enjoy it and I've been a software developer for the last 17 years, but during the whole time.
I've also spent a lot of time on what the product should do. You know, I've always been like the CTO and really the product person but I've also always been heavily involved in product marketing content marketing, you know, SEO all those sort of things. So I just wear a lot of hats is entrepreneur and learn how not to do things.
Right more than anything, right? That's really what you learned. I mean, my current business is doing great. But I have this this other business does offshore development in the Philippines and Eastern Europe and we're having planning sessions yesterday talking about in the next 12 months. We want to hire 500 people I've ever done that before.
No, but you freaking figure it out, you know, that's just part of being an entrepreneur as you just. Solve problems for yourself or your customers the business and just have a good time doing it. So that's awesome. It's really good to hear that. You really have a passion for what you're doing and for entrepreneurial ship in general.
You're not just in it just for a quick Buck because you obviously have already made that so you're in it really for the passion of it, and I that's really good to hear because you know, I talked to so many people all the time and they're not. Happy and they're thinking money is going to be the answer and all that times.
They get that and it's not the answer. So, you know really have to be doing something you're passionate about and like you said the problem-solving aspect of what you do is really something that excites you and I can definitely Echo that I love talking to businesses and helping them grow and solve their problems.
And so that's a. That is you know, you think money does not buy happiness. And I know that from all sides of it as a person who has been on all sides, but it's more clear than ever to me from visiting all my employees in the Philippines and seeing how they live where the average person or makes four hundred dollars a month.
They have no hot water no air conditioning. No refrigerator no microwave. I mean, they only have drinkable tap water, but you know what there are a hundred times happier than the average American is right. And the reason why is Americans do it to themselves we go buy a house. We buy the most expensive.
When we can find we buy a car we buy the most expensive one we can find that's the problem we do it to ourselves. So yeah now to get off on a tangent, but yeah, not a problem. I mean, it's just the angel thing of just we're all just trying to keep up with keeping up with the Joneses and just that's the problem thinking we've gotta impress the next guy likes person, but it's not the answer.
Nope. Yes. So as far as the topic for today as I mentioned content marketing, I know he's got a lot of expertise and content marketing. And I'd like to learn a little bit about the successes that you've had with content marketing during your career. Let's kind of start there. I started doing this back in my old company, which was VinSolutions and it was a CRM type software something about, you know, Salesforce or HubSpot those things but for car dealers, it was specific for car dealers, and I really wanted to own the phrase Automotive CRM.
So if you Googled Automotive CRM, I want to own that phrase and so I spent a lot of time. Trying to use SEO and backlinking and writing guest posts and you're doing all these things and had some success with it, you know a ranking for certain keywords. That wasn't the main driver of our business the main go-to-market strategy for that business was actually cold calling.
It was calling car dealers up and just getting the right person on the phone and trying to get them on a demo right fast forward to stack of Phi which is my main focus today. Our product is application performance monitoring for. Software developers and you know, you don't cold call software developers.
They don't answer the phone. They don't have phones right? You can't do advertisements to them. They're the first ones that use ad blockers. They hate spam. They certain percentage them probably where you know, aluminum foil hat like that's our audience, right but they all have one universal truth.
And this goes to everyone in the world these days if they have a problem they go to Google and they search for it doesn't matter what it is as matter if you got a weird rash on your leg. Igor you need software for application performance or affiliate marketing or whatever it is, right. They search on Google for it.
So that's stack of his entire business model our go-to-market strategy. So we produce blog post three to five times a week. We've been doing it for two years now. Okay, very steady. We did it before that too. But we really double down on it about two years ago. Okay, and today we get about a over a million visitors a month on our website.
From the organic content that we create. Okay, and you know, I wouldn't say we're experts at it, but we're pretty good at it. We do a whole lot of it and you know, we understand that at the end of the day, it's all about creating good quality content and not a bunch of other weird black hat goofy crap.
It's just create really good content. So that's what we do every day that makes sense and yet thanks for sharing that you know, I know a lot of the businesses that are listening and in a marketing professionals that are. Trying to glean what they can from this conversation. What would be like an initial content marketing strategy that simply any e-commerce business can follow just kind of straight out of the gate.
I think no matter what kind of business that you have. You got to think about who your audience is right now identifying the Persona and then think about the type of content you would create that's kind of more top of the funnel middle of the funnel bottom of the funnel. So for example for us, Somebody is Googling application Performance Management.
That's probably more middle to the bottom of the funnel. Like they're really looking for a solution. But if they're looking for things like PHP error handling our product helps with that, but that's not necessarily they're not actually looking for our product. They're trying to learn like, how do I do a better job at this thing?
Right? And so that's more top of the funnel. And that's probably what ninety percent of our traffic is its people that are more top of the funnel. It's the right persona. It's the right potential buyer of our product. We're writing content that is helpful for them. We're not asking for anything in return to all free content, but point one percent of them will sign up for our product and try it and so it's a numbers game.
We just create a lot of high-quality content. And so I think you just have to figure out. What are the kind of core key phrases that you know, true product marketing like somebody searches for this? They're searching for my product. But then what are all the other phrase is all the other topics that relate to it.
So like for example, if you're trying to sell basketball hoops, trying to also Market the people that like sneakers that are basketball-related might be the same audience, right? So it's just trying to figure out who your audience is figure out all the different kinds of topics and how to reach them and that is so true.
The ideal customer Persona is very very important across not only your content marketing efforts, but. Trying to identify the right customers no matter what area is your marketing whether it's through social media, whether it's through even traditional advertising even the kind of old-school print advertising you really have to have that identified first before.
Couldn't start creating that content because you could be creating content for a whole nother type of person or demographic that is not really a good fit for your business or your products or services. So I think that really is very important. You know, for sure now, I think that one of the biggest mistakes that almost every startup makes for sure and young companies is they try to sell to everybody right where they're a lot better off trying to.
Get their Niche and focus on that Niche so that whoever their customer is knows who they are and can self-identify and buy the product where if you're trying to sell to everybody everybody that looks at it's not is going to look at that. Like I don't know if that's the right fit for me or not.
We're if there's a certain percentage that look at it every time and say yes that will solve my problem or yes. I'm the customer right? It's so much easier, but nobody wants to do that because they want to service everybody that counterintuitive. That's so true. I was just talking to somebody else about that the other day and that's the mistake that a lot of business owners have is just initially being so aggressive because you need as many sales as you can initially and you're hungry.
And so you're trying to just capture everything as much as you can, but unfortunately that can be a mistake. Like you said if you haven't really narrowed down. Your Niche demographic is specific demographic. You could be spreading out way too wide and touching people that have no even used for your product or services.
So, yeah, it's well, very important and I think a really good simple example of that would be opening a restaurant when you open a restaurant, you're not going to serve all kinds of food, right? So you got to figure out what you want to service and if you decide you're going to open a vegan restaurant.
Then you've laser-focused who your audience is, but your customer also knows like I'm began its like a one to one match, right? And you know, that's just one simple example, but sometimes so many businesses can do so much better if they just narrow their focus. Yeah. Definitely. Yes, they're for sure now, you know a lot of the businesses when we're talking about content marketing and how important it is to just create really quality content.
I talked a lot of business owners and most business owners are in the same boat. Come as businesses alike, you know, they're overwhelmed typically with what they're doing and a lot of times I know content creation kind of takes a back burner a lot of times. I always hear that, you know, I'm not a great writer.
I can't come up with content of my own my web developers. Not really a Content person. What do I do? And so what do you think are some good affordable content creation options? For business that doesn't have a dedicated internal person on staff. It is always really hard and early on in the days for sacrifi going back over the last couple of years.
I wrote probably half the contents. Today I right maybe 10% of the content. I don't write near as much anymore and part of our challenge is our content is highly technical. So it's about how to do this thing with PHP and Docker and kubernetes on the Amazon web services. Like it's like you don't just find a random person off the street to write about that.
So we use a lot of freelance writers that are. Practitioners in their field but they like writing there's you know, just kind of a highly for them and we pay them to do the writing. Okay. Can you get American Writers to do that? It can be very expensive for us. Like we may spend $400 to $800 per blog post.
So it's pretty pricey. Now. I've also found writers in like India or the Philippines or some places like that that might write that same article for twenty to fifty dollars, but the quality of the. Isn't necessarily as good it's all over the board, but it depends a lot on your topic and the type of post the quality of the post, you know, all that sort of stuff somebody in India can write me a top 10 list about something and the quality of it is good enough.
It's fine. But if it's some really complicated. I thought out topic then maybe they're not the right person. So it requires a mixture of those things. There are some great firms that do this stuff. I've used a couple of different companies before that. Did the content marketing for us and we still use one today and to help we have struggled a lot to write stuff internally.
So to your point of doing the writing ourselves like I have. 22 employees here in Kansas City and none of them like to write you know, once in awhile. I can get one of them to write, you know, maybe once a quarter or something like that but to your point, they're busy. It's just not their favorite thing to do and that makes it hard so.
At the end of the day you just have to do it and try not to make excuses. You have to dedicate time to it. Right and we have somebody here who is like our content marketing manager like this on our marketing team. So that's part of the responsibility is to deal with the Freelancers and chase me around chase other people around get them to write the stuff and at the end of day again, at least have somebody who's hurting cats.
Yeah that's facing people frown right at that's what it comes down to and I have a fair amount of experience. It's writing content myself internally and like you said it goes down to not a lot of people like to do it, especially within your staff. But sometimes you have to do a fair amount of it and then going the Outsourcing route is definitely a good option as you compare those two costs from one blog post here in the US could be about $400 and then somewhere like in the.
You paying 20 to 40 dollars for that same post? It could be a crapshoot as far as the quality of the content based on the writer that you get when I like to tell business owners all the time because I talk to business owners that aren't familiar with and comfortable doing the Outsourcing. They've never done it.
You know, it does take a little bit of due diligence up front but I think over time it's definitely worthwhile going that route but one of the things that you need to make sure that you do is. You don't have a good screening process or mechanism and that can be easily done by just giving them some tests assignments, you know, just saying, you know, we're yeah are you but can you write this short blog post piece on this particular subject and you know, first off is just see how responsive they are.
You know, do they respond to you quickly how quickly can they do it? And then what's the quality of it? And then you know for you, of course you check it through sites like copyscape to make sure there's nothing plagiarized or anything like that. That's usually a pretty good filter. What do you think most of the time you probably want to leverage Freelancers is you don't need or want somebody full-time on staff to do it because it's good to have different personalities and different voices and different levels of expertise all that stuff.
Anyways, yeah, you just try people out you have them write a couple articles and see how they do and I just coming those offshore development the Philippines and we and we do some content writing as part of that for some of our clients, but we do a lot of content writing for ourselves and like for sacrifi we.
Person there that's a hundred percent full-time that helps to our documentation for our software. And even though she's in the Philippines her English is better than mine. I can promise you that right because she actually studied it like she went to college for that and I like grammar and all that stuff and she's amazing and.
That doesn't necessarily mean she's a thought leader to write about our product right either right? But potentially I can throw together some of the content and then handed over to smell like that to see a flush this out edit it fill in the gaps. And sometimes you just trying to figure out how to get the stuff done because you gotta have somebody who can come up with the strategy the topics, you know, the figuring all that side out of it.
And then you have people that will do the busy work of actually writing it and reviewing it and optimizing it for SEO and promoting the content posting it on social and doing link building and all these different things. It's a lot of work. Yeah. It's a lot of work we've published I think probably 600 blog post over the last 24 months.
Okay, and it's a lot of work and we're not perfect at it. We most the post. We just freaking publish on WordPress and don't do any other promotion around them. Our goal is to drive organic traffic. Some people might post once a week and it's because they're trying to leverage it via newsletter or ads or social or whatever.
So just kind of pins on what your strategy is and what you're going to do with the content as well. But that is so true is really a lot that goes into it and there's a lot that you can do. Once the content is out there as far as con further leveraging it now. I know when business is kind of get into the groove where they've got some consistent.
Content that they're putting out there whether it's via their blog or various other resource areas of their websites and you know, they got a consistent flow there Vanek traffic is growing. What do you think are some more advanced content creation strategies that you could recommend? You know, I don't think any of these strategies are I would call them very Advanced.
It's just thinking about all the different angles right like so we published an article last week. That's a good example of this. We wrote an article about how to uninstall our competitor software. Okay, because people Google and all the time like, how do I remove XYZ? How do I disable XYZ right.
All right. Let's write an article about we were ranked number two for now, okay. After one week write a lot of comparison articles are really good like our main competitor. Let's say is like New Relic an app Dynamics. Well, there's lots of people that are searching New Relic versus appdynamics or New Relic persons this whatever let's write content about it.
But include us like New Relic versus appdynamics versus stack of Phi let's add ourselves to the conversation. Let's insert ourselves into it. There's so many different ways and strategies to do this stuff. It's not all about just a couple key words. I mean our website ranks over a hundred thousand keywords.
It's just trying to understand your audience and think about all the different. Holes, we had a lot of success doing group interviews to where we would just reach out to people in our industry to get their opinion about what's the best way to interview a software developer or whatever about different Trends or different things and that gave us a good reason to reach out to potential customers.
Okay, once we publish it we go back to all of them and say, hey we published this article that included you would you mind, you know, posting a link about it or on your blog or on social or whatever and that helps with link building and some promotion and ever. Is likes it when you're right about him.
So it's always a good thing that way but there's just a lot of different strategies like that that you can do. None of them are really Advanced or complicated. They just take time. Yeah, that is the key word in the main thing. It's time consuming because I hear what you're saying and there's really nothing to advance about any of this.
It's just time consuming and yeah, I mean you have to do it which really kind of brings me to my next question because all of this whole content creation. And content marketing really is coming down to just making your site and your whole internet presence more attractive in the eyes of Google which is of course the ever-changing Beast.
I guess you could say, I mean, what do you think are some key things with respect to Google rankings that you know, the business owners out there that are listening what did some things that they can know that they can do when they're coming up with content with respect to. Well, I think it's just all about creating good quality content like in November.
We saw some really wacky changes with the first week in November like our traffic fell 15 or 20 percent just all of a sudden and it seemed to have something to do with some algorithm changes. They were making because we got to the second week in November and then we set a record high. Wow, so.
Sometimes you never know like Google is doing whatever in the world are doing over there changing their algorithms around but I'm not worried about it because I know all of my content is super high quality. It's not weird spammy stuff now on the flip side of that a friend of mine. This was back several years ago.
Had figured out how to work the system and create all these like duplicate pages and duplicate content and all this different stuff his business I think was making I want to say it was hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in revenue and a lot of profit it was doing really really well and then all of a sudden Google came out with like the Panda and Penguin or whatever and killed his business overnight it was done.
Oh, wow, his whole website look like Enron stock dead, but he knew he was working the system. He knew he was gaming the system, right? So I'm not gaming the system. I'm worried. I'm not worried about it at all. I'm creating high-quality content. It's good content. It's not spam. It's not junk and what I always tell people is I feel like somebody goes to Google and they type something they're asking a question.
Yeah, if I can answer the question better than anybody else it'll rank really well given enough time. It'll rise to the rankings may not be number one tomorrow, but it'll surface its way up through the algorithm eventually because people figure out. The best answer. Yeah, that really is what it comes down to I think I mean you you hit the nail right on the head that essentially is a part of Google that we're really never changed.
They're going to list those sites that answer that particular question that keyword question better than anybody else those are going to rank higher because they they obviously they want the users experience to be you know, as Isis fossils. They want people to be able to find the answer. With these and that's the yeah that part of their whole algorithm is really always going to be there for you know, for sure.
The other thing to remember for people who are just getting started with this is it takes time my offshore company that websites full-scale dot IO and we just started doing content marketing for it and we're starting to produce more content now and it only gets like 30 visitors a day. Okay from its content.
That's nothing stack by gets 40,000 a day comparison. Right? Right, but you know what you start slow and you just slowly ramp up its not a get-rich-quick scheme. That's for sure. It's a long-term game it takes. Six to 12 months to really see that bear some fruit. But everybody ever talk to it does like you know mad.
I followed your advice. I started writing one or two blog posts a week and you know 90 days later. It's like yeah, we got a couple customers from it. It's where we're seeing some traction like next thing, you know, they're addicted to it and they're doing more and more of it it just but it takes time it does.
Yeah. It's definitely not an overnight game you can. Put a bunch of posts out there and then just expect to it just immediately get to have them ranked inspired and Google and just start getting a ton of traffic. It definitely takes time. And so you have to be patient any time you're dealing with content and content marketing.
Yeah, you got to build up your domain Authority or however, you want to look at it. Whatever you want to call it these days and that's one of the things we've been lucky with on stack of fire hazard. Domain Authority is really high and just keeps growing. Yeah, that's awesome. And that's a as a company here myself.
I have we. Experience as well done Lee starred are we have a fairly age domain here at Omni start with our OSI affiliate.com account and domain and that definitely helps. So I'm your there's a lot of factors there that contribute to all of this, but that's I got I got you beat your domain authority of 47 on the 53.
Okay, he's got his be just a little bit. Boom. I guess we have a little bit more work to do you guys work demands? Yeah, I guess we gotta stay at it. But you know what, my new company is only a 12. Okay got you. But so it takes time because and that domain Authority helps like because almost everything we published on stack if I all of a sudden shows up on the first or second page of Google and if it's a good piece that will keep Rising but that domain Authority helps club that takes a long time to build it.
Yeah, for sure for sure. We definitely know that well Matt. Well, I definitely appreciate you coming on to the podcast you've given us a wealth of information about content marketing and. The success is that you had some key strategies for business as I know. This is going to be you know, really good if some definite action items for people that are listening.
I like to always close things out now with kind of a switch subjects and kind of changing speed here. What is one thing that our audience would be surprised to know about you. Wow, that's a really good question. I don't know. I guess you could say anything non-business related item experienced in the Philippines anything.
Like doing that people be surprised about I think I'm just addicted to business and I'm a glutton for punishment. I guess I don't gotcha. I love startups and Entrepreneurship and I think that might be its own disease. Okay, but you know what? I'm always willing to help people to so if somebody wants to reach out on LinkedIn find Matt Watson on LinkedIn and shoot me a message and buy me a cup of coffee and I'll listen you know, what if I can help I'll help.
I mean, I'm always open that way. So okay. I always feel like if an hour of my time. And can change somebody's life because they got the advice they needed then I'm all for trying to help. So if anybody wants some helpful free to reach out. Okay, that's that's awesome. Yeah, I appreciate that. And that's why you don't hear that a lot, you know, lots of people expecting something and it's good to have that that whole mindset that you're you just here to help and that you really want to make an impact and.
You know I try to do that myself and no matter what aspect that you're dealing with someone whether it's their business life or personal life, you know, if you can make an impact some type of assistance. That's that's awesome. Alright great. Well Matt with thank you for joining us. We appreciate it and you thanks for letting us know how we can contact you as well again, if you can let us know you said that was Matt Watson on LinkedIn and what are some other ways people can get in touch with you.
That's probably the best way, okay. My company is stack if I sta CK ify and then have full skill dot IO, which is our offshore company, and but yeah finding me on LinkedIn is probably the easiest way just look for Matt Watson it stack up. I and feel free to shoot me a message. All right, that sounds awesome.
Well, thanks again for joining us today on the e-commerce marketing podcast Matt. We appreciate all of your advice. All right. Thank you. Thank you for listening to the e-commerce marketing podcast. You need to get more feedback and reviews from your customers and improve your customer retention.
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Founder and CEO of Stackify