Find Your Communities, Seed Them With Value with Ross Simmonds (@TheCoolestCool)

Posted on October 26, 2017 in Content/community, CredoCast, Marketing Strategies

Ross Simmonds, aka The Coolest Cool, is a marketer’s marketer. He owns his own brands as well as doing marketing for clients.

In this episode, we talk about:

  1. His process for identifying promotion opportunities;
  2. How he doesn’t get flagged for spam or overpromotion;
  3. Why he thinks this is such a big opportunity for brands moving forward.


John: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back. I am super happy to have with me, today, Ross Simmonds, The Coolest Cool himself, to talk about content. And today, we’re actually going to talk about communities and using communities to build your audience, and grow your audience, and grow your business. So I’ve known Ross for about a year now, we’ve gotten to hang out a couple conferences together. I think the first time we met in person was MozCon, was MozCon last year? Yeah. We met at MozCon last year, 2016 and then hang out at SearchLove back in February in San Diego, then hang out in Minneapolis. And Ross and I went and like, got dinner at Old Fashioneds together the night before the conference and they were what, like $16 Old Fashioneds or something like that, it was that crazy.

But we had a fantastic conversation around communities and promotion of content. We were talking about Quora at that time, which was awesome, but I wanted to have Ross on. And so, we’re gonna talk today about, not just, not content creation, but actually how do you find the audience for the content that you’re creating? And actually creating content for those audiences as well. And not just on your own platform, but on other platforms as well, in niche community. So, Ross, welcome to the show. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you’re up to these days?

Ross: Definitely. Thanks for having me on, John. I’m excited to kind of chat with you and I hope your audience can get a lot of great insights from this. So a little bit about me, I’m a digital marketer by trade. I dream in pixels, it’s been something that I’ve done for many years. I’ve always had an itch to be online. I started my first blog when I was in university, it was all about fantasy football. And then eventually, I started to write about marketing and that kind of took off. I’ve been on Twitter since the days of actually using Twitter handles like the coolest cool, so I’ve definitely been on there for quite a while. But these days, the majority of my time is focused on helping my own brands, as well as my clients’ brands, kind of tell their story online through content and seeding that content into communities that are relevant to them.

So I operate my own brands, which would be things like Hustle & Grind, which is an e-commerce site, Crate, which is a SaaS product. And then through Foundation, my marketing company, I also service brands ranging from your startups, SaaS businesses to Fortune 500 companies, trying to leverage content marketing to generate leads and tell their story.

John: Nice. So when you’re, I mean, you’re kind of like me in that you have your own products that you run and companies that you operate and you also have some clients that you work for, what’s the inspiration, how does that inspiration work? Like do you do something for your clients and you use on your own brands or do you test on your own brands and then do it on your clients, like how do you think through that?

Ross: Yeah. So it’s definitely a test on my own brands and then use it for the clients. I always have been a big advocate, we talked about this before, of experimenting with different channels and trying new things and then using that insight that you gained from those experience to kind of guide your best practice and your authority in the industry to kind of do things that are innovative with your own clients. And that’s really something that I’ve embraced for the past few years. So, I definitely like to experiment on my own brands, try different things, and then once you get a few quick wins, you can share those insights with your customers, with the industry as a whole, and everybody gets better as a result.

One thing that we’ve recently been doing, I’ve started to actually hire and build up my team. And the training process requires them to kind of spend time experimenting, creating content for our own brands and then once they’ve gotten comfortable and I can see that they are able to like deliver, then they move over to client work. So it’s been a great process, it’s kind of worked for me it’s the kind of with the fantasy football side and then eventually working with clients and it’s kind of a philosophy and an approach that I’ve kind of trickled down into my team itself.

John: Awesome, I like that. I think a lot more agencies would be served well to have their own like websites and sites they work on. And actually I know there are a bunch that do now like they brand[SP], my friends have started that, have their own platforms or their own like, you know, websites, content sites, whatever, and they teach their junior people there and then they move them over to clients work, which is smart.

Ross: It makes sense.

John: Yeah, totally, totally, yeah. I will probably replicate that in my own business.

Ross: There you go.

John: That’s super cool. So, today we’re gonna chat about communities. So, and I saw you speak, I’ve seen you speak on it a couple times, you spoke on in Minneapolis, MozCon, I think you spoke on it at SearchLove. But so, the audience are really, you know, talking about, talking to you today is, you know, I’m thinking more about like the owner-operator types, right?

Ross: Right.

John: So people that have like started their own business, maybe they’re a real estate agent, you know, in Denver, or they’re, you know, a contractor up on the far east regions of Canada where you are. So like these are people that we go to conferences, you know, and meet and they’re like, “Oh yeah, you know, I’m a real estate agent, I’m not an SEO or I’m not a content person, you know, I’m a decent writer, but I’m trying to learn more about how I get more reach to my audience.” So let’s start from the beginning, tell me like when you talk about communities, what do you mean?

Ross: So when I talk about communities, I’m talking about a group of people with a central focus and a central interest on a specific topic that have gathered around online to kind of have a discussion around that topic. So if you look at the Internet, it’s a lot of different groups. And if you kind of recognize the fact that everybody is living in their own bubble, everybody has their own groups that they live in in the social media world. I’m a part of the fantasy football bubble, I’m a part of the marketing bubble, I’m a part of the barbecue bubble, I’m a part of all these different bubbles, the Old Fashion bubble, like I’m into all of these different bubbles and these are different communities that I’m a part of.

And every single person is like that like if you think about that line from Shrek, we’re all like onions and we all these different layers. I think that we all have different layers of communities that we’re part of. And in many ways, those communities that used to go from us meeting at a local rec center and sitting around and talking about our favorite book or talking about sports, it has evolved into an online world where people are gathering on Stack Overflow to have discussions about biology. People are going to Wattpad to talk about fanfiction. People are going to Facebook groups to talk about becoming a vegan. Like people are having these niche conversations amongst other people who are passionate and interested in these topics. And those communities offer opportunities for brands to kind of get in there and tell their story if you’re willing to put in a little bit of work.

John: Totally, totally. So let’s talk about that for a minute about brands and there being an opportunity there for brands. So maybe this is just me, but, you know, I read and obviously, you know, I’m in the marketing bubble as well and I read about like how your brand can have better conversations, you know, with their customers. And I kind of sit back, and maybe it’s just me being cynical, but I’m like, “I don’t wanna talk to a brand, I don’t want Expedia to engage with me unless I’m asking them for help.”

But you know, that’s more thinking about like you know I tweet something about travel and they’re like, oh, have you checked out like our travel section, like yeah, you’re freakin Expedia. But at the same time, there’s stuff like, you know, I’m also involved in like the credit card churning community, right? So like earning points to be able to take like awesome flights to anywhere in the world for free, you know, based off of what you’re spending and getting new credit cards, and you can do it in smart ways.

And then I look at like, you know, there’s people like the Points Guy and, and you know, One Mile at a Time and communities like that. That like if a brand got in there and was like, you know, writing like if United got in there like United is my airline for better or worse, so like if they got in there and they were, you know, had stuff on the Points Guy, like I would read it and would be happy about it that it gets to be a conversation. So, take that and spitball that with me.

Ross: Yes. So I think that’s essentially the idea. Like everybody, I think the big transition that brands need to recognize is they need to go from this big, heavy grant to kind of the individual level. So like when I was a kid, my dad always used to talk about back in the day, when you went to a barber, you went to the barber who knew your name, you didn’t go to the barber because they had the big ads, they had the big billboards. You went to the barber who you knew you would have a great conversation with, they only took cash, they’re going to make you look fresh but you were going in there because you have a relationship.

Businesses and brands have to go back to that. And I think a lot of the best ones are starting to, where they’re letting their people become their ambassadors and go into these groups and go into these communities and have the dialogue. Like if you look at the sneaker culture and the whole movement around Nike, and Adidas, and Reebok, the entire community is built off of small groups. There’s groups of runners, there’s groups of people who are interested in the hip hop-style of sneakers, people who are interested in cross-fit sneakers. And these brands are now investing in their people to go into these communities and build relationships, write articles about why runners should be using certain shoes, share blog posts about different Iron Man races that they should be running. Like they’re providing these communities with value and they’re doing that as individuals rather than they saying, “I’m Nike,” it’s, “I’m Ross that happens to work at Nike.”

John: Right, gotcha. So this is different from like influencer marketing?

Ross: Exactly, it’s completely different. This is as the brand going in and being authentic, being transparent, and having the layer of empathy, not going in here to sell but going in there to add value to the community and then getting that relationship which leads to a sale down the road. So if you’re running a real estate company, you should be going into your local buy and sell group, and not just sharing your listings. You should be sharing content and saying, “Look at all the great events happening in our city this weekend.” And then when you’re sharing that, people are going to start associating that value that you’ve added to the community with your brand.

And then, ultimately, if they land on your website and you have a forum that’s going to give them more information, gives you an opportunity to remarketing, and we could talk about that stuff for years, but that’s where the value comes from. You add value to the community first. Once the community sees you adding value, that value gets associated with your brand, and with your name, and that just opens up more opportunities for you down the road.

John: Totally, totally. Now that, 100%, makes sense. There’s a…It reminds me of the old adage of, you know, a CFO asking a CEO like, “Well, what if we invested in like in training our people and they leave,” and the CEO, “What if we don’t invest in them and they don’t?”

Ross: Exactly. Right.

John: So, like, I think about that when it comes to brands because, obviously, there’s turnover of employees, right? But if you give them ownership and they’re happy, they’re not going to leave. So it works out well for everybody.

Ross: Right, it’s true. And at the end of the day, if you get these people into these communities early on, it doesn’t matter if they end up leaving. Like at the end of the day the good will has been established. They’re going to put up a post as long as you don’t like mess up the relationship. They’re going to put up a post at the end of their term with you as a company and they’re going to say, “Hey community, thank you so much. I’m actually leaving this company. I have a new employee who’s gonna be jumping in here and they’re gonna be our community ambassador. Thank you, guys, for the great few months that I had with you, call it a day, right?” So you can have a smooth transition, it doesn’t have to be an ugly breakup.

John: Totally, totally, yeah. That absolutely makes sense. And then they can take those lessons and take them to the next company and they’re also an ambassador that’s going out and done it.

Ross: Exactly, exactly. And the reputation will last longer than their time with the community. So the other benefit is that they’re going to have a good relationship with you as a company which ultimately is gonna be good for your recruitment efforts down the road as well.

John: Totally, yeah. Distilled has done that, right? There’s a lot of us there that, you know, we’re consultants for a number of years then we’ve all kind of moved on and, you know, started our own business and all that, but like, we all are for work there, we’re also friends. You know and like they just have this huge network of, you know, director of acquisition in ATCE, you know, running my own company and Phil who’s like the video guy and…

Ross: You’re sponsoring with the lanyards and like…

John: Right, exactly. Yeah, So they made some money back from me, yeah.

Ross: Exactly.

John: Yeah, totally. So let’s take it for a minute, get a little bit tactical. So you know, let’s run with the like, there are two different ways that we can go. One is, that I’d like to kind of look at both quickly. So one is, you know, talking about like online companies like e-commerce companies, right? So like you have a shoe site, right? So let’s say that you own a shoes website, you’re a sneaker head, and you are like, you know, you love like, I don’t know, Nike, Max Airs or something like. Air Max’s, Max Airs? I don’t even which one it is. I’m obviously not a sneaker head, but so like, but I wear shoes, so it’s all good.

So like, so you have a, you know, a niche site around like, you know, Nike shoes. You know, and obviously, you’re up against, you know, and, you know, Zappos, and whoever else, you know, sells Nike shoes like the big, you know, the big brands. But you’re like, you’re a fanatic, you love these shoes, you love everything about the culture, the lifestyle and all of that. Where would you start with going ahead and finding these audiences online? Because obviously not a physical location, we’ll talk about that in a bit. But where…If you got into a site like that to work with or you were starting that site, where does your brain go?

Ross: So I have two places that I go right away. The first place that I go is Facebook because I think at the end of the day, I forget the exact stat but there was like 9 million or something visits to Facebook groups alone like last quarter, something insane like that. Just to groups, like that’s not the Facebook as a platform, that’s just visiting groups. So when you think about that type of a metric, Facebook groups is a great opportunity for anybody in the e-commerce space, especially if you have a niche like sneakers. So what I would do is I’d go to my search bar on Facebook and I type in “Sneaker heads,” and then I find a handful of different groups that are sneaker heads talking about sneakers, trading sneakers, running raffles about sneakers, and I would start joining them.

And then when I start joining those groups, I’m going to, first, study what’s going on, how people are having conversations, what people’s dialogue is like. I’m gonna learn from that and then I’m gonna start to contribute with value. So once I’ve done that, once I start contributing with value, it’s gonna be things like. “Hey folks, I know everybody’s been looking for this rare pair of Nike’s, I happen to have one, check it out. Happy to kind of sell it and get it off my hands.” Or there’s a new Yeezy that’s getting released, “Hey, I think I can get five Yeezys, if anybody’s interested, let me know, I’d be happy to hook you up.” Those are the types of opportunities that a group would offer you.

The next step that I would take would be going to a channel like Reddit, going to whatever sub-Reddit there is, I don’t know what it is off of the top of my head, but it’s probably “our sneaker heads” or “our sneakers.” You go into that sub-Reddit, you’re gonna sort the content by the top post, then you’re going to look at what the top 20 posts were in that sub-Reddit, reverse engineer what it was that allowed that post to get to the top, and then create content similar to it. So if you find that there was one e-commerce brand that a few months ago wrote a blog post and it was like ‘The most rare sneakers in Addidas history,’ you’re going to take that same topic, and you’re gonna apply it to Reebok, you’re gonna apply it to Fubu, you’re gonna apply it to Fila, you’re gonna apply to every sneaker brand that you can think of doing a very similar post because you know the sneaker community is gonna love it.

John: Gotcha, gotcha. And so you basically like, so give me an example of like, like give me an example of this kind[SP] that you’ve reverse engineered or found someone that you’ve seen success with us.

Ross: Yeah, sure. So I’ll give an example from like my entrepreneurship side with Hustle & Grind. So I wanted to connect with entrepreneurs. I knew that entrepreneurs were using Our Entrepreneur, the sub-Reddit. So I go in there and I search the content by the top post, this is like three years ago. When I did that, there was a few posts at the top that were a little bit different from the typical like just dropping a link, sharing in content, driving some traffic. There was one gentleman who ran a beard company, a beard brand. Yes, they had this post on Reddit that went extremely viral and they did a few things.

One, they kept the post native to Reddit so the text was directly baked into it. They embedded their images using Imgur. They were very transparent with their numbers, with their figures, with their sales pricing. And the tone was extremely humble, where they were saying, “Thank you so much, Our Entrepreneur, for giving me so much, this is my way of providing value back. I’ve learned how to launch my business through this,” that kind of thing. So I noticed all these trends. So when I’d seen that, I was like, “Okay, I need to get to the top of Our Entrepreneur, how can I do it?” I wanna talk about growing an Instagram following, how you can do that. I also want to create a post that talks about “How to build a freelance business.”

So I went into Our Entrepreneur, I put up these posts, they were very much Reddit focused. So it was built on the Reddit platform, I didn’t write a blog post off medium and then seed it in, I just wrote it directly into Reddit. I was very transparent, I told people this is how I got showdots, this is a screenshot of the type of message that I was sending. When it came to the freelancing post, I took screenshots of Freshbooks. I uploaded all of this content, and I was did exactly what he had done from a beard brand perspective but applied it to the freelancing site to sell ebooks for Hustle & Grind. And from the Instagram perspective, to kind of build up the foundation brand for the consulting side of things.

So from there, it allowed me to kind of just take insights from somebody else’s success, apply it to my own, add a unique spin, and then have similar results. Since then, I’ve been on the front page, I think like 15, 20 times with different counts. So it’s just like, again, following that model, look at a different niche, look at a different sub-Reddit, reverse engineer the top post, and then create something that kind of applies the same psychology and fundamentals of that content and you’ll be able to find some wins.

John: Totally, that’s unbelievable. What is really interesting to me there is that the founder of beard brand, right, so like it is a person, but like it isn’t like our slide beard oil or something like that, right? Like this is…and I find that kind of thing fascinating like it can be kind of hit or miss, right? But like it’s, I mean, that’s kind of…and I was watching a video about, I was watching one of Ramit Sethi’s videos this morning where he’s talking about like he actually wrote an email live, it’s like a 30-minute video. And he wrote like, you know, one of his marketing emails, they send like 6 million a month or something like that. He’s an incredible copywriter, but he turned up talking about like he tell stories, right?

Ross: Right.

John: And it’s not like, oh, this you know, talking about like something that happened like at work necessarily, but he’s like, “If you’re trying to come up with great copy to send like to your audience, go to drinks to your friends, write your emails, like tell those stories and write them like you’re telling that story to a different set of friends that weren’t there.

Ross: That’s interesting. Makes sense, though.

John: So it’s kind of the same thing there, right?

Ross: Yeah.

John: Because like this guy isn’t talking about like, “Oh, here’s my like, here’s my beard oil and this is like what it can feel like for your beard.” I shaved my beard this morning, so you know [crosstalk]. My wife and I made a deal that if I trimmed it, she’d get TSA pretty. So you know, that works. But so, you know, Ramit is talking about being interesting, right? Like this guy, the founder of beard brand which like I know, I mean, Rand, you know, kind of talks about them all the time. Like really cool brands for those who have standard beards. But like this is him, the founder, telling the story, but it’s also the perfect audience for his company. Like early adopter audience. So how do you think about finding those audiences? I mean, you can’t just tell people like, “Oh, be interesting and be interested in things.” But like the end of the day, people are like that’s not actionable and a lot of people aren’t very interesting, I think.

Ross: It’s true. Yeah, I think it’s a combination of a few things. Like I think you have to start by talking to your existing customers to figure out what’s unique and interesting about them and try to find a relationship or some type of connection amongst all of them. So it’s very likely that he was able to connect the dots of saying, “The people who are buying this are interested in kind of just like their own personal growth because they’re entrepreneurs,” and if you want to beard oil, you clearly care about your looks a bit. So entrepreneurs probably care about the way that they look because they are going to always be on display, they’re going to be talking to people, they have to have a certain type of aesthetic. So it recognizes very clearly, “Okay, that’s a place where my audience is going to be.”

I think that it all starts with that. Like it starts by talking to your customers, talking to the first few people who actually buy your product or who are walking in your shop and getting an understanding of what they’re interested in. You can be a real estate agent and then take a position where it is, “I’m only targeting families, I’m only focused on that young family that’s gonna buy their first home,” and then you create content around that narrative and around that story. You find a very specific type of person that you’re trying to create content for and you own it.

If you look at my blog posts very often, I’ll write a blog post like five headline ideas that are short of work, work, work, work, work with a reference to read on. Because I’m targeting the millennial, the young CMOs early in their career, somebody who’s trying to kinda shake things up, who’s gonna understand that reference, and that’s intentional. So I think that you have to kind of recognize who it is you’re trying to speak to and be laser focussed with that. And when you do it, you can find that it wins. I do think that that whole concept of reverse engineering what other people are reading is a great approach too. Like you can use tools like Buzz Sumo to go into these different media channels that people are reading, type in the URL, see what the top articles were from a certain website, and then you can start to create stories that are similar and aligned to that message.

So if I’m a real estate blogger, I’m gonna go to, I’m going to plug them into a Buzz Sumo, see what’s the top post that Realtor’s posted, and then apply that to kind of my approach with the content I create next.

John: Totally, totally. That makes sense. I wonder, is that…Do you have any tools that are like, I mean, we’re almost talking about affinities here, right? So like if someone is thinking about buying like their first home, what are these other, like demographics, and what other things they’re potentially interested in, right? Like if they’re buying their first home but they don’t have kids yet, they may not think about schools. But maybe they’re thinking about like bars and restaurants or something like that.

Ross: Right, that’s interesting.

John: So do you bring from those ideas, do you put a data driven approach to it, like what…

Ross: It’s a combination of both. So I’ve used in the past like I used to use Followerwonk a lot. I don’t know if it’s still available, I think might be. So what you can do with that is you can look at like different, like who’s following the same account so you can see if a decent portion of people are following as well as following, I don’t know, Oprah. And if they are, you can be like, “Oh, a lot of people who are following Realtor are following Oprah, there’s a synergy here. And you can also do the same thing with media sites.

So if I know that I’m trying to target marketers and I have two pitches coming at me from two different media sites, I can see which of those audiences are more aligned and closer aligned to who I actually wanna connect with by seeing that overlap. So it’s that Venn diagram really. So Followerwonk is one great tool. There’s one to a called Atheneo, which is a little bit pricey, but they have a great service. It’s definitely an enterprise brand but you can use that as well. So there’s not a lot out there that kind of make it easy. Have you used any tools recently that you’ve kind of seen?

John: I haven’t…often what I’ll do is I have…More when it comes to topics, not necessarily like people brands, but topics or actually like Quora, Quora just launched their advertising platform. And so if you say like, you know, “I want to target small businesses,” it’ll also just like similar to Facebook, it’ll also tell you like, “Oh, you should also, you know, you should also think about targeting like real estate agents and investors, and you know, and that sort of thing.” Facebook is a little bit better if you go and, you know, start creating an ad, right? [crosstalk]

Ross: I use that.

John: Yeah, yeah. And that also flag up, you know, people, right? I’m targeting like, you know, SEO agencies also tell me like target people with interesting content marketing and, you know, and that sort of thing and then it kind of extends out and you can see like what the overlap is there [crosstalk], it might get small like 2,000 people, but if you only need 20 to sign up, you are set, right?

Ross: Exactly.

John: So that can be, that can definitely be a good start there and that’s what I’ve done in the past.

Ross: Yeah, that’s a good call. If you’re going to both Facebook audience insights as well, you can go in, you can be very niche and specific with who it is you wanna connect with, you can say, “I only want to target moms who are interested in bad men,” and then you can get data that says, “None of them are watching it or a good portion is,” you can get a lot of insights from there. You could also plug in like geographic information into audience insights and they’ll spit back data to you that is very relevant to you. So if I was to go in and type in “Denver,” it would tell me a lot of people in Denver like the Denver Nuggets, a lot of people in Denver follow this media site or this politician. And then that again provides you with some insights around where you should be, who you should be connecting to, and how you can tell your story on these other media channels as well.

John: Totally, totally. One thing I’ve done there in the past is take like, you know, if you yeah type in “Denver,” and you’ll see a lot people like craft beer [crosstalk 00:24.30] they bring you something like the beer sites, and then basically like copy that content, and throw in like Wordle or something like that, and then if they say flags up like this is the kind of, like these are the words of people are most often using, right? So that you can speak it like in their language if you know if you’re writing something around that.

Ross: That’s awesome, I like that. I’ve never done that but I’m definitely gonna steal that one.

John: Yeah. That one’s free.

Ross: I like it.

John: I’ve definitely seen that work. When I’ve worked in industries, I’m like, “I have no idea like what this is.” So I think…so it sounds like the main things are like, I mean, as I said like being…Well, thinking creatively about, you know, your industry and not just like how do I just find the people that are looking to buy a house right now, but what are people that I’d like to be looking to buy a house right now also interested in. What do they care about? Identifying like how big that potential audience may be. Finding a couple main sites and seeing like, you know, what kind of content they’re sharing so you can reproduce that. And then probably also, you know, go to doing a bit of like heavy research, right? Like what’s on Quora. Like are people there, are they on Stack Overflow, are they on Reddit? And then reverse engineering what’s worked there and putting your own spin.

Ross: Exactly. And you can also so leverage some like the big sites also provide us with a lot of great information. So if you thinking about like, I think it’s called Think with Google, they provide like reports on what food trends are happening, what tech trends are happening, what people in the fashion industry is happening. I’ve seen a report a few months back where they were saying like the search results and the amount of search volume for turmeric is through the roof, and everybody’s going crazy over turmeric. So you can find a lot of these interesting reports to guide some of your approach as well.

So if Google’s putting out this food report every year and you’re in the food industry, you should be probably reading it and understanding, “Okay, maybe we need to double down on turmeric. Okay, nobody’s interested in tofu anymore, they’re all interested in Tempe.” And you can make some decisions around like your business and where you go with things based off of some of those reports. So I’d like to spend a lot of time looking at like research reports, journals even, and kind of getting an understanding from other people who are doing research to kind of gut my approach as well. Because you’d be surprised. Like I saw another piece that said, essentially, that a lot of millennial parents are relying on YouTube to learn how to like swaddle their babies and how to do things with their kids rather than using like their parents or going to a course or to a class. They’re using YouTube which is a complete shift in the way things used to be done.

So when you can understand those types of insights, it’s like, “Okay, if you’re targeting parents, get on YouTube and start creating videos about how to hold your baby, how to rock your baby, how to make sure that your kid doesn’t get SIDS or whatever that may be. Like those are the types of things that the millennial parents are looking for. So that’s your audience, get on YouTube and start creating it.

John: Interesting. So for you like with your own products, right? Hustle & Grind and Crate, like you’re targeting entrepreneurs like a big topic and like an increasingly trending topic is like nomadism, right? Like occasion independence. So like that’s the kind of thing that, you know, that you could talk about as well.

Ross: Exactly. And then find those communities where the nomads are spending time and seed them with values. And one of the greatest ways of adding value is to show people that it’s something that you have done. So for example, all my companies, we all run remote, we don’t have an office. People who are in the nomad space are very intrigued by this idea like we love the idea of being remote. So if I put together a blog post, and it’s like how I’m managing a team remotely, they’re gonna find value in it and they’re going to be interested in buying coffee from Hustle & Grind which can be sent anywhere. They’ll use SAS, they’ll use Crate because they can automate their Twitter account all day. They’ll leverage those tools and they’ll look at me as an expert because I added value to their communities, but that’s sparingly.

John: Totally. That absolutely makes sense. That has me thinking about like, you know, who are the people that are, you know, influencers like in the marketing space that a lot of marketers tend to follow. And then like kind of go on, you know, and then who else do they follow there and then like where is the intersection of, you know, like medium level people and insights and all that. Like who are the sites that are at one time in the past I did a, just a couple years ago, I was doing back link analysis, but I was basically like targeting like the marketing world and I was like who was late to Tim Ferriss’s blog.

Like who’s targeting Tim Ferriss, or who’s in Tim Ferriss’s audience and then like going and basically reaching out to them because they’re writing about the same stuff. And that was a links approached but, you know, there’s also different tools you can use for like audience sizes, all that.

Ross: Yeah, definitely, makes sense. I like it.

John: Awesome. Well, Ross, I want to be respectful of your time. So thank you for taking the time to talk to us about, you know, communities are coming up with new content ideas and then actually seeing value from those, you know, from those communities, and you know, and providing value to those communities, I think is the bigger thing, right? Like do that first and you get the value from it. So where can people find you online and where are you speaking next? You are all over the place.

Ross: I am all over the place. So I think my next one that’s lined up is SearchLove London. So I’m gonna make a trip over the big lake and head over to London. So I’m going to be doing that. But everybody can find me at That’s definitely the easiest place to kind of learn about Crate, learn about Hustle & Grind, learn about my consulting work. But also learn about the public speaking side of things as well. I share a lot of information on the content marketing side, the entrepreneurship side, try to be as transparent as possible with everything going on, and deliver value like we talked about this entire time.

And on Twitter, very easy to find @TheCoolestCool, created the Twitter handle while I was in university, so please don’t judge. But yeah, happy to connect with people who are on any channel at any time. And John, thank you for having me on. I really appreciate you reaching out, and hopefully, we can grab another Old Fashion sometime soon.

John: Absolutely, that’s the plan. Thanks for being on, Ross. Everyone, find Ross, as he said, at, And we’ll put all of the different tools that he referenced in the show notes for this show as well. So Ross, thank you and take care out there in Canada.

Ross: Thanks, man. Take care.