My guest today is a young man named Darrell Vesterfelt. Darrell is a managing partner in Copyblogger. He is also a partner in an online design and digital marketing agency called Authentik. Darrell has a really, really great story and he’s bringing forth some new ideas and some new concepts on how businesses, entrepreneurs or personal brands should display content for their audiences.
It’s a groundbreaking new idea. I think when you hear this interview you’re going to see or hear how exciting this new strategy is and this new way of presenting content to your audience and you’ll definitely hear my excitement.
As somebody who is passionate about online business and online entrepreneurship, this is a brand new way of presenting information to people and using it as a way to grow your audience, grow your business, grow your sales. It’s really great. It’s super exciting.
I loved this conversation. I’m really glad that I’ve gotten to know Darrell in the capacity that I have. I’ve learned so much from him already in the few conversations that we’ve had and in this podcast you will hear some of the experience that he and I have had with each other and some of the lessons that we’ve already learned in growth and in marketing.
In this episode we talk about…
- How Darrell used online education to help build a multi-million dollar company in ConvertKit.
- A brilliant new strategy to display content on your website.
- The “subtle reminder” to tell yourself when you are suffering from “imposters syndrome.”
- How Copyblogger continues to be the industry leader in content marketing education.
Transcript of the Conversation
Tim Stoddart: Hey Darrell, thank you for joining me on my show. I really appreciate your time.
Darrell Vesterfelt: Yeah. Thanks for having me here. I’m excited to chat today.
Tim Stoddart: Yeah, me too. So you and I just got to know each other a little bit. And when we were talking we had pretty similar stories and we had pretty similar views about the internet and online business and how we’ve kind of developed our careers, but our pasts are very different in the event that I’ve always been more into the lead generation side of things and you’ve been much more focused on online education and actually selling products and selling tools. I’d love to hear more about that because that’s something that I always thought was so cool and something that I wanted to do more, but I just never had the chance. So you worked at ConvertKit for quite a long time and you played a big role in the success of the growth of their product and from what you told me you did a lot of that through online education and I would really just love to hear more about that process.
Darrell Vesterfelt: So online education is something I’ve been doing since, goodness 2012 or 13, and it’s looked a lot different. I’m not an oh gee like some of the people that I came up watching like Brian Clark and these guys who have been doing it for a lot longer than me. But I’ve been doing it for quite a long time and specifically at ConvertKit, we used online education in the form of webinars and teaching on webinars. Prior to that I was doing a lot of online course development and even post ConvertKit I was doing a lot of course development. So, online education has looked a lot of different ways for me over the time. But, while at ConvertKit is was really like the whole growth strategy was really about teaching and that really stemmed from one of our core values which is teach everything you know.
Darrell Vesterfelt: So when I came on at ConvertKit part of the reason that I came on was because I had such an extensive background in online education. I had such an extensive background in online education with a target market like ConvertKit had. So when we came on, I think ConvertKit had taught something like four or five, six webinars the previous year. In the next 15 months, I taught over 150 webinars.
Tim Stoddart: Whoa.
Darrell Vesterfelt: And we really found a niche where, it’s people really wanted to learn what we were teaching. People wanted to learn what we were teaching one. Two, we found the right thing to be teaching to the right group of people. It was kind of like content and market fit were a really good fit and it was just working out really well. On top of that, we really incentivized our partners to let me teach to their audience in a way that would help bring our teaching in front of a bunch of people who didn’t know prior to that, or who we didn’t have direct connections with.
Darrell Vesterfelt: The first couple of webinars I did, I think the first three I did at ConvertKit were with Nathan Barry’s audience. Nathan Barry was a blogger prior to starting ConvertKit, so we did it with his audience. That was a quick easy one for us. Another one was with a guy named Jeff Goins and then another one was with Pat Flynn. Pat was an advisor for ConvertKit and so it made a lot of sense. Jeff was close friend of mine, so it made a lot of sense there as well. So we just started with those. They went super well. Once we had those success stories it was really easy for us to scale that to go beyond what we were doing. Beyond just the handful of webinars once we had those success stories in our pocket. It was easy for me to go out and get as many possible people to partner with to do teaching in front of their audience where I could market it specifically.
Tim Stoddart: I’ve kind of two questions to go off of that. You said the word teaching over and over again, is that really the biggest priority when you’re doing webinars? Is your priority to teach first and sell second, or do you see them as almost kind of one and the same? Because when I think of webinars, the first thing I think of is let’s call it a product demonstration, where you’re just saying, this is our product, this is what we offer, this is how you can use it. I get pitches for webinars all the time through my agency, because people want to basically display their product. But the way that you’re presenting it, it’s much more an upfront value and education and from what I think you’re telling me, the sale of it with your product growth and your company growth comes from the backend of that. Talk about that process a little for me as well.
Darrell Vesterfelt: Yeah, so this is something that was really important to us with these webinars, is people really came to expect that when I join a webinar or I sign up for a webinar, I’m going to be sold on it. And then teaching is going to be the secondary modal. But like you’re telling me that teaching is the most important, but really I can tell very easily that selling is the number one most important thing on this call. So we’re really sensitive to that, because we knew that our audience was really frustrated with this, this idea. And people aren’t stupid man. People aren’t stupid. People can feel and sense when you are telling them one thing and doing something differently. So, a lot of people are doing this. Like, “Hey come to this webinar where I’m going to teach you a bunch of stuff.” And the teaching was so light. The teaching was so … Ah, it was just so shallow and then it was like 30 minutes in and they’re like, “Oh God, you want me to buy this product and the only way this teaching makes sense is if I buy your product. It can’t standalone.”
Darrell Vesterfelt: So, some of the things that we did is teaching has to be the number one. Selling is going to happen on this webinar, but I did it in a way that was super conservative. So what I did is I call it the no pitch webinar. I basically got on right away and just said, “Hey so that you know at the end of this webinar, I’m going to tell you about something, but I’m not going to ask you to spend any money today. So you can be on this webinar, if when I’m done with the teaching you want to leave, that’s totally fine. None of this has to do with ConvertKit or the thing that I’m going to talk about at the end. All this teaching is standalone and you can use it no matter if you’re using Mailchimp or ConvertKit or Aweber or whatever else. This teaching works period. Now there will be some bonuses, but again you’re going to spend zero dollars.” So no pitch.
Darrell Vesterfelt: So I just kind of said that upfront. Now I’m going to dive into teaching and teaching is going to be the number one thing, then I’d teach for 45 minutes. I would teach really really practical stuff and our audience for that specifically was beginners with email marketing. So we were saying for beginners was the number one pain point they want to have is to grow their audience or grow their email list. So I was giving them the framework to get their first 1,000 email subscribers. It was incredibly practical. In fact, we had many many people implement the teachings that we had to grow their email list by hundreds of people even within the first 24 hours. Teaching was the number one piece. When we got to the end, I basically gave them a 30 trial of ConvertKit Plus. If they signed up for that trial with ConvertKit they’d get hundreds of dollars of other online education, a course that Nathan Barry had created, Nathan’s ebook. If we were doing a partner the partner had often thrown in something as well.
Darrell Vesterfelt: So you got tons of stuff. Tons of value for free without having to spend a single dollar. The only time they’d have to spend a dollar is if you really genuinely liked the trail of ConvertKit and you wanted to keep going on beyond that trial you could do it. And I showed you basically how to kind of build the list with ConvertKit, not specifically, but it worked with everything else. So, we were very heavy handed on value. Then that value translated into people signing up for ConvertKit.
Tim Stoddart: I love that. I completely agree with what you said where people aren’t stupid and I think this a lot with a lot of the ads I’m served about funnels and this whole concept of funnel hacking where it’s you can almost guide people like cattle just down this perfect path. I’m sure to an extent it works, but in the back of my mind, I’m always thinking to myself, people aren’t as dumb as the internet portrays them to be and if you build an audience with trust and you speak to them as though they’re informed intelligent people, I just think that that’s a better way to do it. So, I really appreciate what you were saying there.
Darrell Vesterfelt: And I’ve been having an ongoing conversation with a friend about this, because we’re looking at companies like ClickFunnels, other companies who are really heavy handed in this quote unquote funnel hacking thing. And what’s hard is you can’t deny the financial success of some of these companies and what some of these people are doing. They’re making a lot of money. And so the question that, and this could be a really interesting topic of conversation going off of that, people aren’t stupid. It’s very true, but people are desperate to find a way to become successful. People are incredibly desperate.
Darrell Vesterfelt: So the debate that my friend and I are having is, his point of view is I think that we can learn from these people who are doing this the quote unquote wrong way, or the aggressive way, or this quote unquote hacker way and we can just not be, I don’t know the word, sleazy. It cannot be sleazy, like good content, and we can build the same kind of funnels. And I just keep coming around to some, this is just still kind of up for debate to me a little bit, is will that type of quote unquote funnel, herding people through these funnels work without the factor of preying on people’s desire to skip steps. Preying on people’s desire to shortcut the system. Preying on people’s desire to become an overnight success. I think that’s what’s being sold there more than it’s like a process that can be replicated by people who are not going to try to trick people or try to get people through a short cutted system. And it’s a really interesting conversation.
Darrell Vesterfelt: I don’t know the answer, because on one hand, you can’t deny the success of a company like ClickFunnels who has now maybe over 100 million in revenue a year. And you can even compare it to a company like ConvertKit that is maybe at 20 or 25. They’re obviously at different life cycles of the company as well, but they approach this stuff completely differently. Now the question is, is what people are buying with those hackers a shortcut, a snake oil, a falsity, like where you can shortcut a system that’s not meant to be short cutted, or does that system work and we can implement good content within that system and it will work the same way? I know I have my opinion specifically, but it’s a very interesting conversation.
Tim Stoddart: Yeah, wow. It’s so funny that you mentioned that, because I’ve been having this same exact conversation and the jury is still out for me too, because I look at it on one side and I think to myself, there’s got to be something to making the path from introduction to purchase as simple as possible, but where I get hung up is essentially the dreams. Everyone of these ads or these funnels or something like that says something like, buy my … They always use the word secret, my secret formula to earn extra revenue in 30 days while sitting on the couch in your underwear. I always think to myself, where’s the actual substance involved, because people can’t help see an opportunity and an easy path to success. Like you said, people are just kind of desperate to do something. So wow, we could talk about that for a long time and I don’t want to go down this rabbit hole because I know that we could get hung up on it, but I think you’re right. I think there’s something to it and there’s got to be a way to combine the dark side and the good side of the force for some real optimum product. So I’m excited to see where we go with that.
Tim Stoddart: All right so moving on, I love the work that you guys do with Authentik. Authentik is your mostly design agency and I think you guys dabble in a little bit of strategy as well. I’ve been a fan of StudioPress for years and that’s how I learned about Brian Gardner and I think seeing your face on the Authentik website was when I was first introduced to you and your work. I love that concept of design just because of the minimalist ethos that you guys have. I hate cluttered websites. I love white space. It’s just always really really stuck out to me. But truthfully I didn’t realize you guys had such a high profile of clients and you guys were actually so deep into the agency work. How did that whole entire project start for you?
Darrell Vesterfelt: Yeah, it was actually about this time last year. Up until that point, once I left ConvertKit … I left ConvertKit in let’s see, 2017. It was this time last year where I had been doing the freelance thing. I had been kind of freelancing with clients, helping them do some online education stuff. I was freelancing with clients on their web design and strategy. I was freelancing all kinds of different things and I was kind of all over the place. So one of the things that I decided to do is to join forces with some guys who are also freelancing, designers I was working with, developers I was working with, Brian Gardner is a friend of mine, to sync up and to join up. And for us to create an agency model together instead of all being disjointed freelancers. The idea would be that we’d be better together, because we’d be able to present ourselves as an agency, because we actually are an agency. We’d be able to demand higher prices because we can bundle our services together. And so we decided to kind of go after it.
Darrell Vesterfelt: It was kind of an interesting phase of our career where, Rafal was a freelancer. Chris was a freelancer. Chris was the lead developer and Brian had sold StudioPress and he was kind of now a free agent of his own and so-
Tim Stoddart: Probably meandering about trying to figure out-
Darrell Vesterfelt: Yeah, we’re all just kind of wandering about and I just had … Brian and I were talking one day and we’re like, “We should all just get on a Zoom call and see what it would look like if we wanted to partner together.” And within the first 30 minutes we all knew we wanted to partner together. So it was just a matter of us kind of forming a brand and a name and picking that out. Because of pooling all of our resources and assets together into this new agency, we were able to approach some really high level clients with Brian’s relationship and Rafal’s relationships and my relationships and Chris’s relationships, we were able to do some projects. So we’ve worked with all kinds of amazing people over the last year. I’m actually in the process of writing an epic post kind of detailing all the work that we’ve done in 2019, our first official year as a company. We’ve had the distinct pleasure to do some work for Nathan Barry the CEO of ConvertKit, for ConvertKit itself. For Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. We redid the website for Yoga With Adriene, which is the largest yoga YouTube channel with four and a half million subscribers.
Tim Stoddart: Oh wow. Yeah I know who she is. When I had my back surgery I was just trying to do some yoga to stay fit and I came across her YouTube channel just thinking it was a random YouTube video and then I checked her out. I was like, “Man, this girl’s got like four million subscribers,” or something like that.
Darrell Vesterfelt: Yeah. We’ve done projects for a division of Silicon Valley Bank. So we’ve also kind of delved into the corporate side and it’s been a lot of fun man. It’s been a whole lot of fun. We’re continuing to kind of dive into what it looks like to be an agency in kind of the new internet world. Because traditional agencies have been around for a long time. We don’t exactly want to be like that. I mean, we want to be a little bit of a boutique, but we also know that our team is not just designers and developers, but we do a whole lot of strategy as well. So, there’s a lot that we’re doing on strategy around content, like the content strategy. This is a really interesting conversation that we could dive into for a little bit too. You’re very aware of my passion around kind of a new modern Netflix style content strategy for websites. And so we’re helping with that kind of thing.
Darrell Vesterfelt: We’re also partnering with our clients to build products, which is super fun. So beyond the idea of just being a service agency and, hey you sign up for us to do X number of service hours or X project, design and develop your site. We do those things and we’re really proud of the work that we do. I think we’re some of the best in the business in the WordPress space for that stuff, but also, hey do you have an idea, like if you have an audience and an idea, I think we can help you execute that idea. So one of the partnerships that I’m super proud to announce that we’re working on now is with Pat Flynn and his Smart Podcast Player which will be rebranded in 2020. We’re coming on as partners in that project to help grow that both in the number of customers and to grow that with the software offering that is offered to podcasters through Pat’s software offering on Smart Podcast Player.
Darrell Vesterfelt: So, we’re really trying to begin pushing ourselves forward as an agency that not only can build a website for you. Not only can help you with strategy. Not only can help you grow your audience, but can also help you accomplish ideas that you had outside of a traditional agency relationship. We can help build software tools for you, with you. We can build them on your behalf. We can build cool things and have a more … It’s like a less traditional model in the type of relationships that we have with our clients, and so we’re really excited to explore more of those. We have a few more in the works for 2020, which I’m really excited about. We have some projects of our own that we’re really excited about to announce in 2020, as one called Co-Pilot.
Darrell Vesterfelt: So a traditional agency model in that we do traditional agency work, non-traditional in the fact that we’re all remote. We have people as far … Well not very far west, like Chicago and Nashville is as far west as we go, but we have people in Florida and the U.K. and Poland and all over the place. So it’s super fun for us to be a non-traditional agency in that sense as well. And also non-traditional in the way that we can approach and actually build things with you and not just do a website or brand refresh or content strategy, but we can actually build a tool for you or build a software with you. It’s just really fun.
Tim Stoddart: I think there’s a huge opportunity for you guys there, because I truly think in this world of let’s call it audience building, the first thing that people do, because they don’t necessarily know how to monetize, is they either serve ads or they come up with some kind of product and I’ve personally found that a lot of these products are basically the same thing, just with different people’s names on it. And one of the missing links in this is the product development side. How can I come up with something unique that pertains specifically to my audience. I’m speaking for myself really. I’ve had a ton of ideas with stuff, but I’m not a coder, I’m not a developer, I’m not even really a designer, so I’m excited for you guys in that space. As soon as you mentioned the fact that you guys are actually working hand in hand with people to kind of help them develop a product or some kind of offer, my eyebrows popped up a little bit, because that’s something that I think a lot of people need help with.
Darrell Vesterfelt: I agree. I agree completely and we’re really excited about that, because it’s a huge pain point of people too right?
Tim Stoddart: Oh yeah.
Darrell Vesterfelt: And this is the concept of what I’ve learned early on in my career in the whole online education stuff, is the power of partnership. And partnerships are an incredibly powerful tool if used correctly. We want to be partners. So first of all, I’m not a designer or a developer, any of those things. I can’t do any of the stuff without my partners in the Authentik team. It’s really exciting for me to be able to partner with guys who have those skillsets. So I can now inside of my partnership build something that I couldn’t have built before. Then we can take that same principle into our agency partners and say, “You can’t do this alone. That’s great. We have a team that can partner with you to do that.” And it kind of helps. It’s like partnerships done the right way have the best win-win you can possibly imagine, right? Like I have a skillset, you have an audience. Let me take my skillset and we use your audience and then that’s let’s collaborate an idea together and build something, which is super fun.
Tim Stoddart: That is fun. I’m really just excited to hear about that and to watch it, but the small relationship that you and I have built, I’m excited for you. I think that’s going to be really a great thing in your life and your company. So, all right. Let’s transition to the really really exciting news, at least for you and I, you mentioned your passion for your kind of Netflix style of content. You mentioned in the beginning talking to Brian Clark and I’ve mentioned Brian a bunch of times in my show, simply because Copyblogger and his website and the work of that entire team was so influential in my life. Not just as something to aspire to, but for something where I learned. Quite literally learned how to build my life and my entrepreneurial career.
Tim Stoddart: So, you are now a partner in Copyblogger, which within itself every time I say that out loud or I’m talking to you, I can’t imagine what that even feels like to say, but you have some big plans for the website. I think I can speak for you a little bit, but you present this new idea and this new let’s call it concept of the way that our culture like to absorb content. And you want to apply it to online media and especially in the case of Copyblogger, like rating content. So please, please, please just tell this story. How did this whole thing happen? How did you dive into this or back into this idea of presenting online content in this way?
Darrell Vesterfelt: Yeah, so I mean the reality is I’ve had some growing frustrations with some TV shows that I love. It’s just like I get upset about it and I start ruminating on it and then I started connecting dots a little bit. So one of my favorite TV shows is called Billions, it’s on Showtime. When it comes out, it’s one of these old school shows like it’s the way that we used to do it. And when it comes out one episode every week and I just want to like punch through the screen at the end, because they leave a cliff hanger. I just want to punch it, right? Now when Netflix releases a series, I get all 10 or 12 or 15 episodes, however many at once so I can just binge. I can put on my sweatpants on a Saturday morning and just watch as many as I want to, and I love that way of consuming content now and I was just really frustrated. Like, “Dang it. I want to watch the show the way that I want to watch the show.”
Darrell Vesterfelt: It got me thinking about how quickly the way that we consume content has changed, right? There are a lot of podcasts now that when they drop, they release all of the episodes for a season right away and I just binge through all of them right away, and it’s just very bingeable. And I was thinking about the way that we do content online and it just doesn’t make any sense for this kind of new shift. The way that we do it is much more of a kind of like an old broadcast television where you turn the TV on and whatever was on, that’s kind of what you watched and you could channel surf around and try to find something that you liked, but it probably was like 13 iterations of Law & Order: SVU and three iterations of Real Housewives and you couldn’t really find something that you wanted.
Darrell Vesterfelt: The way that we’ve done online content for so long it’s kind of been that way. It’s like I publish something, then the next week or the next day, or whatever your content strategy looks like, you post something else there too. So it’s just kind of like a stream of stuff that’s maybe disjointed and not organized. The way that we started organizing that content was through categories, but even when you put down a category on a site it was just categorized by the date that it was published, but there was no real way of doing it. The thing that made Netflix so brilliant is not only the way that we could binge the content altogether because it was released at one time, or grouped in one time, but they also keyed up other content that was similar based on their idea of what they thought I would like.
Darrell Vesterfelt: So I started working with people, my clients at the Authentik, with the agency at Authentik. We started working with people who had similar frustrations like, “Hey, the old content strategy is not working for me.” And some of the other ways these frustrations came up and were one, “I don’t know what to say or write anymore, so I just stopped writing.” I realized that we have this old school strategy in the way that we do a content strategy. It’s like, “Yeah, just write three or five times a week and then never stop.” It just hit my mind, we’re not infinite people. I don’t have an infinite number of things to say. I have a very finite number of things to say about a particular topic and that’s it. And there’s so many people who are banging their head against their laptop late at night trying to think of the next thing to write, when really they don’t have anything else to say and that’s okay.
Darrell Vesterfelt: So how do we adjust this content strategy? We’re now 20 years into this blogging thing online. When I say blogging, I just mean creating content and putting it online. People are going to run out of stuff to say and people have run out of stuff to say, and what that has caused them to just maybe abandon their sites or stop showing up, or whatever else. So that was one of the frustrations and so, I started realizing frustration one, content is just displayed linearly based on dates. Frustration two, my clients are running out of things to say and they’re just not posting on a consistent schedule anymore, so what do we do? So, we started working with our clients to reorganize the content of, update the content in a way that is in more of a Netflix style of navigation, where once you land on a post, there are other posts that are part of a group or a guide or a content capsule, kind of like these pillars of content. I mean, it’s like where it takes them through an area.
Darrell Vesterfelt: A good example of this could be we talked about webinars, so maybe what I can do is I’m going to create a content capsule or I one of these guides and it’s going to be called How to Teach Your First Webinar. I’m going to gather maybe 10 articles that I’ve written over the last five years together about running a webinar and group them together into this narrative format where it teaches somebody stuff like how to run their first webinar. All I’m going to do is update that content to make sense in that in this new context and now all of a sudden I have one of these Netflix style groupings that when somebody lands on one of those blog posts, maybe they find it through an organic search or maybe a link on social media, but they land on it. Maybe they land on number four of five posts, but there’s now going to be a navigation display of these other five posts that are not just categorically relevant, but relevant because they’re within a five step process to take people from start to finish, at a beginning, middle, end narrative.
Darrell Vesterfelt: This now all of a sudden is like spitting all kinds of potential benefits. You’re much more of an SCO expert than I am, but from my understanding two of the biggest pieces of juice that you can squeeze out of SCO for your site are time that people are spending on site and the number pages visited on a site. In this new organization not only are you able to serve content to your audience in a way that’s more useful to them, not are you only maybe categorizing content in a way where you don’t have to just infinitely write over and over and over again, you can just update these articles when they need to be updated instead of writing a 13 post about how to layout slides on webinars, but you’re also getting some SCO benefit by having people clicking around the site, because they’re much more likely to click on other pages on your site and stay on your site and subsequently stay on your site longer because you have queued up into this content together in way that makes sense in the way that we like to consume content now.
Tim Stoddart: This is such an exciting idea for me, because I really am like your, let’s call it perfect customer, where I’ve personally … So, let me just speak personally for a little bit. I’ve always really prided myself in my ability to keep going. I have a lot of stamina with my work and it’s something that I talk about with fitness a lot, but a lot of times with business and with building an audience, it’s just kind of like a race of endurance. If you just keep going and you keep going eventually something will hit. But sure, what that does is it brings is a little bit of fatigue and let’s call it creative fatigue. So how many times am I going to say the same thing. At this point people really know my message. That’s the case for a lot of my websites.
Tim Stoddart: So, there’s that pain point, but the other pain point which is kind of though to talk about through a podcast, but when you see it visually, it totally totally clicks for me. If you go to a Netflix or something, you don’t have the articles laid out in front of you. You have shows. You have the title cards and when you click on that card, when you click on that show in the context of Netflix, all of a sudden you get an entire batch of content that is within a system. There’s episode one all the way to episode 10 and when you see it laid out visually and then I think about how that can be laid out on a website where …
Tim Stoddart: So speaking from my website, let’s say I have things about cardio, because I’ve always been a runner. So, I can batch all of my cardio content together, present it with a cover and then when you click on that cover I can itemize that content chronologically so it does two things. One it does make it bingeable as you talked about, but two and I think more importantly, it makes it so I can come and go as I please. I don’t have to scan this spiderweb of endless information to sort of find what I’m looking for. But if I want to start at step one, and you know let’s say my phone rings or let’s say my dog’s barking at me, I can hit pause, right? You can hit the DVR and then go do your thing and then come back where you left off. That is just so exciting for me. When you told me about this I kind of got it and then when I researched a little bit more what you were talking about and it clicked for me, especially from like how you display it visually, I just think it’s so brilliant. I really really really think you’re on to something very special there. I commend you for being able to see that.
Darrell Vesterfelt: Yeah, I’m excited. I’m excited to see people just be able to serve themselves. This sounds kind of weird, but serve themselves better and what I mean by that is creating more sustainable more long term approaches. One of the biggest things that happen to people in business is they flame out because they try so hard and they just burn out, right? So serve the business by being sustainable. Serve the audience by queuing up content in a way that’s easier for them to consume in a way that they want to consume, in a way that’s easier for them to come back to consume later. Then it’s also serving the business again by having these SCO benefits, which are super helpful. So I think it’s just a win, win, win all the way around. And I’m super excited for people to start adopting this idea. And I think this is going to be a shift in the way that we just think about content strategy. You’ll be hearing me talk about this in as many places as will allow me to talk about it.
Tim Stoddart: Absolutely. And I think that’s great. I am a believer in this without … I mean from SCO, and you and I can talk about it a lot, there’s a lot of different ways where that will help you SCO from a technical perspective. And I can tell you about all that stuff at some later time, but what I’m trying to say is it fits what we need right now. This is how we as a culture like to learn and consume and basically watch and read. It’s just how we do it. So why is it that everything else … And when you mentioned podcasts too, I mean, I think Serial is probably a great example of that. They did a podcast last year, maybe two years ago called Shit Town, where they released all six episodes at the same time. I didn’t listen to a single thing for that two weeks other than that Shit Town podcast, until it was over. I think the whole thing was like nine hours long. So yeah, how come everything else has caught onto this except what we’re doing.
Darrell Vesterfelt: Man there’s nothing better than when you find an old podcast that was released chronologically and you didn’t know about it, but all of them are released and you can listen to all of 20 episodes.
Tim Stoddart: I know.
Darrell Vesterfelt: I did this with UP And Vanished. It was my favorite podcast, but I was a late adopter. So every joker in the world was waiting for the next week to release, but I found it once they had all been finished. And there’s nothing better than that, because that’s the way that I want to consume content. I don’t think I’m the only one. When you find an old show that you didn’t know about and you can watch all the seasons straight through, in your time the way that you want to, you love that. You know what you don’t love, is like waiting until next Thursday at 7:00 PM Central for the show to come out. You love the fact that you can come back to it on your own terms. People love consuming content on their own terms. So, we need to rethink the way that we’re doing the online with our businesses and our blogs and our podcasts. We just need to rethink it and be a little bit more strategic. So I’m really excited to continue to be a champion for this message going forward.
Tim Stoddart: Yeah, I’m excited for you. All right. Let’s start wrapping this thing up. I had something that I wanted to end this podcast with, because when you and I met, I guess it was about a month ago, maybe a little bit more, you said something to me that I wrote a blog post about. It punched me. It really just punched me in the head, the power of this thing that you said. So we were talking a little bit about what it was like for us 10 years ago seeing these people that had this kind of success and looking up to them and now you and I are in a position where you’re a partner on Copyblogger and Authentik and all of my websites seem to be doing better than at least I hoped. I mean, there’s always room, but really proud of myself and the work that I’ve done. You said that we have to keep into context that you and I and people around us, we still kind of feel just like regular guys, but there’s people that are looking up to us now in the same way that we were looking up to them.
Tim Stoddart: I’m not even really asking it as a question, more so just making it as a statement, because I just appreciated you so much reminding me of this is more than podcasts and blogs and web traffic. What we do is important and building online brands and building these companies really really has a huge impact on my life and my family’s life and even the people’s lives that are listening to this and hearing this and thinking to themselves like, “Wow, I can do that.” I think you’re just a great example of that and I appreciate that message from you.
Darrell Vesterfelt: So let me tell you how I learned this. It’s a good story, because I think it’s a really powerful message for people and I kind of want to give the context for how I learned this. But, I was 21 years old and I was interning now at this company. I would come in as a 21 year old, 22 year old, I’d come in every single day. My perspective was that my boss was the man. He was older than me. He had a family. He was successful. He was making the kind of money that I hoped to make someday. I would come into to work and he would give me a task to do that day and I would be like, even it was cleaning out a closet in some random area, it was fine. I was an intern, I was super stoked about it. I was 21, he was 28.
Darrell Vesterfelt: Fast forward, I was 28 years old, I was in Minneapolis at the time and we hired two summer interns for our business at the time. We were doing online courses and had an online magazine. We had two interns come in. They came in three days a week for a day. I realized in that moment I had no clue what to have them do most of the time. I was making stuff up like having them clean out a random closet. At that moment perspective really hit me, where I used to be, I was now having perspective on somebody that I really looked up to. And what I realized is that, that guy didn’t have anymore of an idea of what he was doing with me as an intern than I do in this exact moment.
Darrell Vesterfelt: I think that’s one of the biggest myths of leadership is that we think we don’t know what we’re doing, and we think we’re the only one. The reality is we look at these other people, especially people who went before us and we think they’re on some sort of pedestal that is unattainable for us. Then when we arrive at these moments where we have what these people that have gone before us have or had, we think that we’re different somehow. We think that they had it more figured out than we do. All of this is a myth that puts it … It’s like one of these human condition lies or myths that go into our head, where we think that we’re less off or worse off or further behind or that other people have it better off than us. It’s just one of these myths that cause a lot of suffering in our lives, that’s just really easy to overcome by just a subtle reminder that if people we’re looking up … And Brian Clark’s a perfect example of this in my life … If people were looking up to Brian Clark when he was Copyblogger, then now that I’m at Copyblogger, people are looking up to me in a way that I was looking up to him.
Darrell Vesterfelt: Just a subtle reminder that you’re not different. You’re not further behind. You don’t have things figured out less than other people and we’re all just on this journey together and it’s just really easy to assume the best about other people and assume the worst about ourselves. It’s just a really powerful and important message for me to believe and to remind myself as I’m kind of progressing through my life. Now I’m in my mid-30s, I’m in positions where people see what I’m doing. Look up to them. I’m not different than the people that I looked up to 10 years ago when I was in my mid-20s and they were in their mid-30s and they were doing certain stuff. Just a subtle reminder that this is all part of the process. Part of the journey.
Tim Stoddart: It is a subtle reminder and I’ve been reminding myself of that every day recently since you said that to me. It does two things for me. One, it makes me appreciate myself a little bit more, because just like you said everybody else is doing better and everyone has it more figure out than me, and that’s just not true. So, it’s made it easier. It’s made me kinder to myself in just this last month and a half, but in the opposite respect it’s also made me realize that like, “Yeah, I am an example and I need to hold myself accountable in that way so that in the same way I had these other people to look up to, I can be an example for other people behind me.” I just really wanted to thank you for it, because that made a really big impact on me. So I appreciate it.
Darrell Vesterfelt: Yeah man. It’s super fun hanging out with you today. It was a fun conversation.
Tim Stoddart: Yeah, likewise. Shit. Let’s keep in touch.
Darrell Vesterfelt: You bet.
Tim Stoddart: I’m a huge fan of your work. I’m going to continue following you. Before we sign off, please tell everybody where they can follow you. I believe you have a newsletter that you send out once a month or something like that. Where can they find that?
Darrell Vesterfelt: Yeah, you can find me at darrellvesterfelt.com or at dvest on Twitter.
Tim Stoddart: Great. I will link all that stuff in the show notes. Darrell I appreciate your time so much. Congratulations on all your success and I look forward to working with you in the future.
Darrell Vesterfelt: Yeah, thanks Tim.
Tim Stoddart: All right. Take care.
One last time before we wrap up. I just wanted to say thank you for tuning into the podcast. Please subscribe on iTunes, please leave me an honest rating. Please follow me on Spotify. It’s the best thing you can do to support the show. If you want to find out more go to timstodz.com. Feel free to fill out the contact form to reach out to me personally. I always respond. I appreciate you guys so much. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Have a good one.
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