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Todd Kunsman, Head of Marketing at Jetpack Workflow, shares his social media tips, emphasizing authenticity and finding one’s voice. Lisa and Todd discuss the evolving SEO landscape, continuous learning, the use of AI tools for content creation, and the importance of platforms like LinkedIn, YouTube, and podcasting for audience engagement. They stress creating quality content, repurposing it across channels, and staying adaptable in digital marketing. The conversation also covers balancing side hustles with full-time roles.




Todd Kunsman

Todd Kunsman | LinkedIn
Head of Marketing at Jetpack Workflow, Flexible SaaS Marketing Services at RevFoundry, Founder of Remote Work Junkie, and SmartAcre Alumnus.


Lisa 0:00
Welcome to the Agency Balance Podcast. Today I am joined by Todd Kunsman, he is Head of Marketing at jetpack workflow. And I kind of think of him as the king of the side hustle. He’s always got a lot going on. Todd, can you introduce yourself?

Todd 0:16
Thanks, Lisa. Yeah, excited to be here. Good to reconnect, So my name is Todd, I’ve been in the marketing space now for 13 plus years, which is kind of crazy to think about now. But yea working on all sorts of marketing projects, side hustles, you name it, but glad to be here and excited to chat through all these questions you have for me.

Lisa 0:34
Yeah, I’m pumped to I don’t know if everyone listening knows this. But Todd, you also used to be a Smartacre, you’re officially a Smartacre alumni. So that’s awesome. We’ve stayed connected over the years through LinkedIn, and on B2B marketing communities like exitfive, I always love your content. You’re a great thought leader. You’re always sharing things, especially buzz behind the scenes, tips, data acquisition knowledge. So let’s talk a little bit about that. I think thought leadership is a hot topic right now in the B2B community as everyone’s trying to navigate shifts in SEO and becoming content creators. So tell me about how you balanced thought leadership and and the thought that you put into it.

Todd 1:19
Yeah, so it started in my last role, where I was working for a company where the whole goal was really to get employees and leaders to be sharing and creating content. So kind of getting the inside scoop of many SaaS companies or B2B companies that were looking to dive into that space, which is really interesting, because it was such a new thing when I first joined there, back in 2017. And now it’s becoming kind of a bigger thing today more than ever, but I think balancing it’s, it can be challenging, right? Because it’s like you’re doing marketing all day, you’re doing other kinds of content, copywriting, and then you’re like, oh, I have this other thing around my either personal brand or driving awareness to work on to. But I found the more you start doing these things, it just becomes easier and easier. Like now I’m writing things, takes me 510 minutes most days, and it’s just becoming second nature. So of course, in the beginning, it was a lot harder, we’re spending hours planning and figuring things out. But then over time, it just kind of gets easier and easier. And then you start to find a balance between working full time, which you know, hopefully, as a marketer, they’re supportive of that, because LinkedIn is a really important channel these days. So you kind of need to be active there. And you want to work for leaders that understand that too, because they’re missing something really important. If they are against it, you know, you remember back in the day, it was like, Oh, if you’re on social media at work, like you’d get fired or something like for marketers, like you have to be there. And even non marketers who are working for b2b or SaaS companies should be active here, too. So yeah, I think it’s, it’s changed. It’s been a interesting journey over the years to see how LinkedIn especially has progressed. But I think it’s important to be active here and find your balance between the timing of your work and what you’re creating personally as well.

Lisa 2:53
Yeah, that’s one thing that I really love about your content is that I can tell you’re not just spending all your time on LinkedIn. But you’re, you’re getting things done. And then that’s what you post about. So you’re still in the craft, you’re still doing the work. But then you have that as really what drives a lot of your content strategy. Is Is that intentional?

Todd 3:13
Yeah, I mean, I think like defining a couple different things like that want to talk about, and I’ve, I’ve rotated what that looks like over the years, but I think I found the right combo, where it’s like the marketing stuff, right, the kind of like, here’s what I’m doing in full time and side hustles. And then just the general side hustles of like, I’m building side businesses, I want to learn and take what I can from there maybe apply to full time work. I think really defining those things has made it easier for me, especially. But yeah, I don’t I don’t spend a ton of time I used to I think it’s just again, you get used to building all this stuff up. And you kind of understand like what’s going to resonate with audiences the most, but it’s been a lot of fun to do that. And I’m happy to dive further into like some of the strategies or what we think others might get value out of on the LinkedIn side.

Lisa 3:57
Yeah, let’s talk a little bit about that. What’s just some of your tips for great content on LinkedIn?

Todd 4:05
Yeah, I think the big one is just use the same kind of voice and personality you have. So I think a lot of people end up getting really stuffy because it is a professional network, you still want to keep it obviously as professional as possible and don’t go down certain rabbit holes. Like I see sometimes political things in there. And I understand people have views and opinions on things, but that sometimes can lead to really negative comments or just really heated discussions. But I think using your personality and your voice is perfect, right? Like I tried to write how I would speak where there might be some grammar issues in there. Right? I like emojis. So like I use emojis pretty often or I have a certain structure style to it. People know that’s mean, they want to see the authentic you. So if it sounds like a corporate drone, you know, people are going to tune it out. And not everyone’s going to resonate right away either, right? Like, there might be posts that I don’t get a ton of attention on and that’s fine. I don’t know who’s viewing it or lurking in the background that could get value too. So I try to use the personal voice and my kind of tone, and maybe you have to figure out what that is, you could test a couple of different things. Some people like, the spicy takes on things all the time. And I live for those content too. But that’s not really me. So I don’t often do that. I’d rather just share kind of what’s working or not working in wins and fails. And that seems to work really well. So I think people have to find their voice. The point of views are also a big one. So working with different founders and different sales or marketing teams, like what’s your specific point of view? For founders, especially because this is a great place to grow your business, or at least drive awareness for what your business can do. So writing that story, like what’s your narratives, like? We just went through this at Jetpack Workflow, because I was like, hey, like, you already have a personal brand, you already have this podcast that people know about, let’s put you front and center on LinkedIn too a little bit more, not only connecting with customers and other accounting firms. That’s what the businesses for software firm owners, so we started figuring out like, what’s our story, what’s our positioning is like, Okay, this offer solves these problems. But what are people doing the old ways? And now let’s tell that story of why David, the founder, decided to build this product, and then search incorporate that in the content. And that’s what’s going to start resonating to you get to be kind of known for that one thing. And that’s worked really well. So I think those two things like defining your story, and really finding your voice is a great place to start. And then I’d say the third one would be you don’t want to mix too many things together. So I love a lot of different things that I would love to talk about. But for me, I broke it down, usually in three spots. It was usually marketing things, I’m doing marketing insights in the industry, my side hustles, that I’m just building things, hopefully, you can drive attention, or maybe people would find value out of it. And then what I’m doing in my actual current work, it could be the industry. So I don’t really talk about the accounting industry, because it’s not my industry, but I can still talk about the marketing I’m doing to help the business grow. So firm owners find them. Where in the previous role, I was very social media centric, because that’s what the software was for. So I could talk a lot about social media leaders and the value of businesses being active and, and growing on LinkedIn, things like that. So I’d say those are the three main ones I would focus on.

Lisa 7:03
Yeah, I love that I think it is really important to give yourself some guardrails. I’ve done something similar, where I’ve started to even just put ideas down on just a Google Doc. And that’s helped me hone in on my voice and kind of bucket things into a couple key themes. So I there’s so many things that I could talk about as a B2B marketer, but starting to think about how can I build my own brand? How can I differentiate, differentiate my own voice and say something that’s different than what everyone else is saying?And I don’t know about you, but I tend to write my best content, not typing it out. But in my brain, when I can’t fall asleep at night, they’re the things keeping me awake. And I think, oh, man, I just need to, I need to start keeping a notebook next to my bed or something like that. Because it’s those things that keep me awake at night that I often think I bet someone else could benefit from this just knowing that they’re not alone or getting some other perspectives or point of views on it, it would be this would be helpful content to share on LinkedIn, helpful content. I think that that’s another key not just something that you have a perspective on or a playbook on but something that you’re challenged with being a little bit vulnerable in that regard to. which I think you do a great job of doing.

Todd 8:15
My notes app is crazy right now with just like different random thoughts, whether it was like, Oh, I’m about to go in the shower, I just had a thought, let me go type that or like you said, like, you’re about to go to sleep and something hits you. And typically, those are the posts that do really well where you’re not spending hours crafting the content. I’ve I’ve seen that happen. Other people have said that to where they’re spent hours writing something and then like crickets, or they write something five minutes on the fly. And so the thing that ends up going like viral are a lot of people end up liking it. But I don’t even look at it that way, either. It’s like if it’s still value, people are still going to read it or see it and you don’t know who you’re influencing all the time, just because people aren’t always liking it or commenting.

Lisa 8:50
From a B2B marketing perspective, do you think it’s important for business owners, leaders, marketers to be on LinkedIn right now?

Todd 8:58
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s getting more challenging, because there’s more people there, but there’s still so much room for opportunity. And I don’t know if you’ve heard this one, too, with the 1-9-90 rule. So like in social media, I think it applies to other things too. But like 1% are the actual creators or people doing something on a consistent basis. And then 9% are those that are commenting or liking and then 90% are just kind of scrolling. So that still applies, I think, to LinkedIn. Now, even though in the last two to three years, we’ve seen that surge of, you know more people using it to create content or share things, right. It used to be job fields, like it’s just all job postings are like people that we’re hiring. Now. It’s a mix of everything and like thought leadership, but there’s still so much room for opportunity. I still see new SaaS companies or B2B companies pop up, or their leader is on my radar, all of a sudden, I think a great example of that is hockey stack, which I’m not sure if you’re familiar with them, but last year, they were everywhere. And there was only six of them. And it was just the founders and like one sales rep and a marketing person and now they’ve gotten a huge investment. They’re part of Y Combinator and you see them all over social media, and they built a million dollar business off of that. And there’s a ton of marketers out there, there’s a ton of people talking about attribution, but they found their lane, they found their point of view, and it’s worked really well. And they have a great product. So you know, hey, obviously, if you’re listening, pay me for that promo. But you know, that’s just one example right? There. They’re newer in the space, but still made. And I still see this every day with new kind of startups or companies, it’s like the best place to start building that brand awareness for your company and what your product does.

Lisa 10:26
Yeah, and I find it to be such a helpful way to start testing some messaging to you get instant feedback of what’s working, what’s not what, what are hot button issues, what people are not engaging with, and you have to take that all the grain of salt, but it is really helpful to start to leverage that as a piece of your content strategy, to get things out quickly, to find your voice to hone your messaging to tune into what those differentiators truly are.

Todd 10:52
Definitely, and even Rand Fishkin still does that what sparked her Oh, yeah, he famously from Mars, but I mean, he’s doing these like product videos, where he walks through, solves a problem that goes, oh, like, our product does this too. So he’s getting this like instant feedback loop, you know, from people who already he has a huge following. So it’s helpful that he gets a lot of comments from that. But even like his VP of Marketing is doing the same kind of stuff, too. So they’re getting kind of instant feedback of like, what they should fix in the product, or if if it’s becoming useful, or if people will pay for it. And I think a lot of SaaS companies should kind of almost emulate that too, and probably even improve what they’re building just off of that. So that’s kind of the reason why I do some of the building public too, even though I’m not, you know, side hustling with, with SaaS companies, its community or content, whatever, it is the same thing, it still drives value, where I can kind of see what people are kind of resonating towards.

Lisa 11:42
Awesome, those are some great examples. So if anyone listening is holding back on sharing things on LinkedIn, this is your sign from the universe that go for it, just start doing it. And follow Todd because you’ll get some good inspiration. So switching gears a little bit, one of the things I want to talk to you about is SEO because when you were at Smartacre, you were the SEO expert, you were always one of the people that our team turned to when we had questions related to SEO, or when we were trying to create new content or optimize it for on…on page cleaning up Moz errors, all that good stuff. So the question of I think the quarter has been is SEO dead? What’s your take on that?

Todd 12:24
Yeah, I think a lot of people say a lot of different things in marketing data. Remember, email marketing is dead is still been a common thread. But no, I don’t think it’s dead I think it’s changed dramatically. It’s a lot more challenging for sure. Which, obviously, the strategies that used to work aren’t necessarily going to work the same anymore. So I think a common one was, look at this keyword, is it easy to rank for has good volume, it’s related to our industry. Look at the top three, top five people rewrite what they wrote, maybe add one extra snippet, maybe get some backlinks, and we’ll rank that might work. Occasionally, still, I mean, I’ve had a post or two where that still happens where I’ve written. But it’s definitely evolved from more than that, you know, Google’s always changing things with algorithm updates, there’s been massive ones, whether that’s good or bad. For most people, it’s been bad for a lot of smaller publishers, just because I’m in that space, too. So I see the changes. But you can’t always go by what Google says. Because sometimes what they say they prioritize, they don’t necessarily right away. So that has changed the strategy completely. One of the bigger things I think now is looking at the high intent kind of conversion content. So your software industry kind of posts, the alternative posts, the comparison posts, like kind of starting there might not be as much search volume, but your conversions, you got to worry more about that over traffic now, because I think the top of the funnel game is kind of what’s been slowing down. And people are realizing it’s not really converting to revenue for them. So I think that and then part two would be the customers, we all talk about it you need to talk to customers, listen, that customer calls, all that good stuff. But those are the things right, we’re finding really interesting content ideas, even my current role, too, they had so much research and data of things that I would never have found just my basic knowledge on Google of searching for the accounting industry or looking at keywords. And a lot of these aren’t going to get a lot of traffic. But I’m like, hey, if those customers are having that challenge, we’re talking about it. Their firm owners, most likely other firm owners are feeling that way or might be excited when we distribute content related to that or searching in Google for that. So it’s a little bit different in that sense, where now that’s the places I feel you have to start over just trying to do the traffic game. Obviously, if you’re just immediate publisher word, it depends on display. And your targeting might be a little bit different. But I think from b2b SaaS, it kind of starts with with those two areas. So SEO isn’t dead. It’s going to be a challenge. It’s going to continue to be a challenge but it’s it’s now focusing on that you need to write it for people and be thinking about what their interests are over just like keywords and volume.

Lisa 14:51
Yeah, completely agree with every thing that’s happening in the AI landscape. I’m loving it because I think it’s forcing the good marketers to be even better, and the marketers that are trying to cheat the system or get things done quick, they’re going to fail. Because having a strong foundation, having good messaging, being really smart about the content that you are producing, it’s just going to help you stand out. So I think that there’s a ton of opportunity for doing really, really good marketing. But that’s the play like it has to be has to be thoughtful, it has to be personalized, it has, you have to be listening to your audience, and you have to be able to move fast without compromising quality.

Todd 15:38
Yeah, and I think it also forces you to look at the other SEO channels that are helpful to you, right? So YouTube, right? That’s still a thing. So like, what content are you writing that you could turn to videos or shorts or podcasts? The other thing would be like Reddit and Quora, we know that they struck a deal with Reddit. So all of a sudden, all these Reddit, you know, links are ranking. So like, Okay, is there threads in there where your content can be placed, where you can start joining conversations. So if somebody does click the Reddit thing, you’re still showing up for your brand. So I think it’s changed in that sense too. And even AI, like you said, I mean, it’s still helpful. But it’s, it’s funny watching a lot of people who used AI to kind of cheat the system and started growing really fast. I saw a lot of them take major hits now because Google caught up to them. And they’re not saying you shouldn’t use AI, but it’s you still got to use it carefully and still interject your own personal views and and insights, not just use ChatGPT and hope that’s gonna solve all your problems.

Lisa 16:31
Yeah, totally agree. I think there’s some really smart use cases for content production that don’t involve producing a first draft of content. Like you were talking about listening to sales calls, analyzing data like that really quickly. We did this to generate some content ideas for a client where we analyzed just the field have their contact form of what can we help you with, and analyzing all that data and pulling together some key themes of what’s even getting someone to fill out a form to talk to a salesperson, there was content gold in there. That’s awesome. So what about you? How are you using AI? Do you have any use cases that you’re really loving right now?

Todd 17:11
Yeah, so really minor, I use a, it’s called swell AI. So there’s a couple different tools like this, but basically drop like video or audio in and it’ll kind of spit out a transcript and podcast kind of blog post about the content that’s in there. So they have like the the ChatGPT 3.5. And then the 4.0, once you can kind of go or 4.5 and forget what they’re calling the newer version, but basically, it’s a little bit cleaner. So I do that just because I’m a solo marketer, and don’t have time to write everything. And we also have certain budgets and things. So it’s been super helpful to drop that in there. And also can create like Twitter, X, whatever you want to call it these days in LinkedIn threads and content. So it also kind of helps kind of structure that I still have to go back and kind of edit a little bit or add some personalization to it. But it saves me a ton of time by utilizing that. And then sometimes I can use some of that content for like the YouTube video version. So I’ll put that link in the description too. So there’s that kind of SEO value from a YouTube perspective. So that’s a big one. Sometimes I use ChatGPT, I haven’t logged into it more recently, just was a good time. But there has been some good use cases with that. And I know a lot of the tools that we’re starting to use are going to start implementing AI features like I use SEM Rush quite often. And they added like the co pilot AI and that’s been helpful to to kind of catch certain issues or SEO technical things that we should be fixing.

Lisa 18:29
Awesome, great examples. What tactics are you seeing success with in just getting eyes on your content or your website? What’s working for you right now?

Todd 18:40
Definitely LinkedIn. So that’s one thing we talked about, were not only just using links, but taking content and actually chopping it up into like, shorter format. So it was worked really well, for my company page on one of my side hustles it’s working pretty well for the current full time role where we’re distributing some of that through David the founders content as well. So yes, you don’t always get that direct clicks, but we’re finding is people want to be in the feed. And when they kind of resonate with that they’ll go search for relatable stuff that’s in your brand. So like we’re see brand traffic grow up or go up or like direct traffic is increasing, too. So people were coming aware of us that way. So that’s a really good channel for us. YouTube, again, I’ve mentioned it before, but we started putting more content on there and now I’m seeing a few demos that come through that say YouTube or YouTube podcast or how they heard about us which is which is great. So like we know that channel is working. We don’t have millions of followers, we have a couple 1000 But like, that doesn’t matter. It’s the right people that are seeing it or searching it and most of the videos are under 1000 views but again, if it’s hitting the right target, that’s fantastic. So those have been some of our distribution channels I think work really well podcast still does too, just like you’re doing here, there’s a million podcasts but it creates so much content and feedback loop that you can utilize in different ways. I mean, one episode for us we’ll get five or six clips that are worth it. On top of YouTube on top of you know, Apple and Spotify and all these places that were surrounding people, different channels that they might attend and find us.

Lisa 20:08
That’s smart. Good examples. I’m going to check out your YouTube page after this to to gain some of my own inspiration…

Todd 20:16
It’s a work in progress. But yeah, it’s it’s come a long way from when I first kind of started. But there’s there’s a lot more we can do, I think going forward and just having the time to create all the video and find what we want to put out there. So we’re doing some of those things.

Lisa 20:30
Yeah, well, it’s smart to have just repurposing content and thinking about how you can leverage it for video. I agree, I think in terms of search video is going to be huge, especially because, again, it’s going to be a little bit harder to make good quality video. So good quality video, I do think will stand out. And it’s a way people go to get instant information and just a different way for them to digest it and learn it and understand it. I’m a huge believer in building something once and using it many different ways across all channels. Just because you have content in a certain format doesn’t mean you can’t use it in as many ways as you possibly can.

Todd 21:11
Exactly, yep.

Lisa 21:13
So you said a side hustle a few times taught, I want to talk to you about this, because it’s so impressive how you can balance what seems like a million and ten things at once. So tell everyone a little bit about your thoughts on how you balance side hustles with a full time marketing role.

Todd 21:35
Yeah, I’ve been doing this since basically, I was working full time, like out of college. So I always kind of felt like it’d be nice to have something extra on the side, whether just for extra money or to learn and became really apparent when I was at my first like major company I was laid off right before Christmas. And I was like, wow, like, that stinks. But I also had these other side hustles where then I could leverage into that kind of help me not only learn but have extra income coming in while it kind of figured out that next move. So I’ve always been a big believer in it. I know, some generations don’t like it. And I’ve talked about why I think it’s important that people do this, as long as it’s not overlapping, you know, in your current work, or you’re not competing in a competing product, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with with having that side hustle. So balancing it is, is fun. Yeah, it’s been a little crazy. Because recently, I’ve had three different things running the one, I’m probably going to be in the process of selling just because of the time and knowing that I have a family full time role and these other side projects. So that can be a challenge. But I think balancing it with all that is finding things that you can do an operational standpoint, that makes the most sense, there’s going to be things you just can’t do. Like, I know, like my roadwork site, for example, I think could be a lot bigger had I been able to do more of the sales stuff or partnership building. But I’m like, I have to write the content, I run the social for it, I run the job board for it. So I don’t have the time to do everything. So I have to kind of let those things kind of fall by the wayside. And I think that’s the challenge for a lot of people is they want to do it all to make it work. But you have to prioritize certain things. And even in full time work, right. I’m a solo marketer. So like, yes, there’s a lot of key areas I would love to do. But those aren’t the ones moving the needle right now. So I want to double down on the things that are. And I kind of apply that to the side hustle mentality, too. That way, you’re not getting burned out. Because I’ve been there I’ve have burned out and I’ve had to take breaks, you know, in between it because otherwise, you will drive yourself a little crazy, trying to do it all and having a young one too, who demands a lot of energy and attention, right? Like you want to make sure you’re spending time with them. So I kind of find those little bits of time throughout the day too, right? Like in the mornings before work, I’ll do some stuff where it might be a little more quiet or at night after the little one goes to sleep right, there might be an hour or two where I can kind of sneak some things in there. So that’s where the balance kind of comes from. And I think you really have to think about what you can prioritize and the prioritize and just know your… is not going to be a perfect format. Now if you go full time in it, of course great. Like that becomes your own your own project, but I’ve never really wanted to pursue any of them full time at this point. And just finding finding what works. What doesn’t. So yeah, it’s definitely not easy. But I think you know, some people are worried with the families. I think you just have to you know how to prioritize your time. It’s really time management. That’s the big thing.

Lisa 24:13
Yeah, well, I love that you’re talking about time management too, because I I’ve definitely been in a place of burnout. But it happened way more frequently. Early in my career when I didn’t have any hard stops really I could stay in the office as late as I wanted to. I was coming home to my apartment all by myself. So if I wanted to get back on my computer, I could get back on my computer or even if I didn’t want to get back on my computer. I didn’t really have anything else holding me back. But when you’re time bound when you have other things going on, whether it’s a side hustle full time job, kiddos, pets, whatever it may be. I personally find it so much easier to prioritize because if I have an hour to get something done, I know that I need to use that hour to my full advantage. So it takes some of the thinking out of it. And it’s just, it’s just easier to focus on that one thing that’s going to move the needle or that you have to get done in that day.

Todd 25:14
Yeah I’m with you. I think that is the key thing, too. I would say I was more burnout when I didn’t have the family just because I’m like, Oh, well, I can dedicate another nine hours to doing this because no one’s going to bother me. But then it’s like, over time it creeps up on you that you can’t be on the computer for 20 hours a day. Like you need to go outside, exercise, you know, socialize with others. Worried like, with your family, like you said, you kind of like okay, well, I can’t get all this done. But these things I can’t get done right now. So let me focus my attention. And sometimes that’s better, you’re more focused, you’re doing better work, you’re kind of not just doing mediocre a bunch of mediocre things. I even see that in marketing, too. It’s like, if you’re trying to make everything stick, right, you’re just doing mediocre of every little thing. But if you’re only focused on three or four key channels, like you’re more likely to do a lot better work. And with the attention that it needs. You know, instead of just like, Oh, I’m gonna send the email that I’m gonna go here, I’m gonna go here like, No, you’re you’re focused on these key areas.

Lisa 26:06
Yep, a key part of balance for sure. I love side hustles I think that they’re, they’re such a great way to get people out of their comfort zones, whether it’s another business or if it’s, if it’s a hobby, whatever it may be. We asked about that during the interview process quite frequently. I was a barre three instructor for a little while. And even that I found like I learned so much from doing that, that I wouldn’t have learned from any marketing course I learned how to eliminate up speak from calls and present differently. And command a room, all great business skills that I learned from being a fitness instructor. Never would have thought that but…

Todd 26:48
Yea, you don’t realize all these things that carry over to yeah, like I mean, obviously, mine are more marketing centric. But they don’t have to be like you said, like the barre is a great example. Because that you’re doing almost like sales pitches, you know what I mean? You’re talking to clients all the time. So being in front of all these people just makes it more comfortable for you. Which is cool.

Lisa 27:06
Yep. So thinking back to your role at an agency, I want to hear a little bit about that, too because I think a lot of times people either love agency life, or they want to go and just focus on one thing at a time talk about balance, and in an agency setting here, often working on a variety of clients doing a ton of different things. So just curious as your career has evolved, what are some of your takeaways from starting out in an agency setting?

Todd 27:33
Yeah, I actually really think a lot of people who are coming out of college should also start an agency doesn’t mean they have to stay there forever. But it’s also can be a great outlet to I love agencies and want to be any agency owner or partner or whatever it is for the rest of their career, which is also great. For me, I felt it was a great stepping stone. So right at the time before I joined Smartacre, right, I was kind of doing some marketing things on the side, but didn’t really have a defined career path at a college. I mean, I went for computer science, but it wasn’t particular to what I wanted to do. But I had this minor in communications, which was like writing and copywriting stuff. I was like, Oh, I kind of like that. Maybe marketing is the place. And then when this layoff happened, I was already doing a side hustle for marketing. It was like a consulting role, basically. And it’s like, well, I’m eager to learn. So let me go take on this like Google AdWords test and maybe Google Analytics. And then you guys had recommended HubSpot when I applied some like, Okay, I’ll take that one too. But for me, a lot of agencies, which I think Smartacre was really good about was like, you don’t need to know everything, we want to teach you a lot of stuff. As long as you’re hungry to learn and can adapt. Like, we’ll give you the shot. And I think more agencies need to do that. There’s a lot to do. But that was a great stepping stone for me to learn the things I like or don’t like in marketing, right, I gravitated towards SEO pretty quickly. Your team taught me a lot of different stuff. And then I was able to go okay, I’m gonna take that and learn more and dive into it deeper so I can become more of the expert for clients that are coming through. I started to like the paid search and paid social stuff was like, okay, it’s another thing I like, do Google Analytics stuff I didn’t like as much I mean, I still do it. It’s still part of marketing, but I was like, Okay, this is not maybe the direction I’d want to go. If it was like marketing ops, for example. Like there’s some things I like about it, some things I don’t. So I think for for someone who is like looking to be that kind of creative, but also analytical side and agency is a great setting to start to kind of learn. So I mean, I quickly learned so much by being there and having multiple clients because they all have different issues or challenges. So kind of got exposure to SaaS, which is what I really ended up liking. But then we had some B2C companies to or some local companies, I got to kind of understand their business needs a little bit different. And even the agency I was marketing, the agency of SmartAcre itself. So that was a whole different challenge. So it quickly, you got all exposed to a lot of things really fast, which I think prepared me too for being in software because startups move fast and you have to be adaptable and willing to learn and even after 13 years I’m still learning marketing stuff. So I think that’s a huge thing. So yeah, I think anyone that’s like looking to get into marketing should at some point either be in an agency or intern at an agency, or just to understand how everything runs, and you start to learn a lot, you don’t teach you a lot of stuff in college, right? Like, there’s specialty schools now and things. But I mean, my education came from the agency.

Lisa 30:15
Yeah, practicing the craft, getting to try new things, getting out of your comfort zone, I’m still learning as a marketer too. And I don’t see that ever changing. If it does, then I’m probably not doing good marketing anymore. Because there’s so much that you just have to be willing to try be willing to change the playbook to take bets on to just do something that’s, that’s different. So it’s personally why I love it agency or internally or, you know, whoever you’re doing marketing for. Being a head of marketing now, I’m curious, when would a marketing leader benefit from working with an agency? You have thoughts on that, experiencing both sides of it?

Todd 30:58
Yeah, so we work with like, smaller agencies from like, an SEO standpoint. So I have one, that’s an SEO person, that just helps because I just don’t have the time even though I love it. But it’s easier to talk shop with this person, because they know I know it. And so like, we can bounce ideas. And also I could step in if like they’re out, for example, we had a paid ad agency as well scaled that back for now. I’m just kind of managing it myself. But yeah, I think when you start to see the needs of like, okay, I’m a one person team, and there’s a million different things we need to accomplish, right? Outsourcing it to an agency who has the experience and SaaS can be super helpful, and get us to the place that we need to be. So for me, it’s just when that timing is right, or when the budget is right, then it’s something worth exploring, you know, especially if you don’t plan on hiring any full time roles. For example, even if you do, that agency can be that kind of counterbalance. I mean, I remember, you know, working with you guys, and there’s a couple that there was like four or five markers on the team, but they’re just like we have so much to do, we still can’t get this. And we’re also stuck on some of these things that you guys can probably as an outsider, not being within the company all the time, but still learning about our business might have new creative ideas that we’re not thinking about. So that’s like a big unlock for me, too, I think is someone who’s been on the agency side, but could also hire agencies, knowing that there’s probably new creative ideas that they’re not thinking about, which is probably one reason too when I was hired, right? Like, I have no background in accounting. And sometimes that can be a flag for people who they want someone in cybersecurity or they want someone in accounting, or they want that specific marketer. But I think this team was smart and thinking about like, well, he might have new ideas that isn’t related to accounting that can still be beneficial here. And I think that’s what works really well. So I see that in the same ways that agencies too right they don’t have to be the expert in every industry, they will become one they’ll quickly learn, right? Like you guys are going to study their customers, you’re going to learn about their industry, and then provide those new insights. So for me, I think it’s a big unlock for companies to consider more.

Lisa 32:48
Yeah, that’s, I love how you said that. Because oftentimes, I think that there’s this perception that I need to hire an agency to be part of my team or to go on a retainer, pay them monthly. But there’s a lot of opportunities just to leverage agency partners to come in and do a quick audit like a HubSpot audit, for example. That’s something that we do quite often at SmartAcre. And it’s so helpful for someone just to get some ideas, see what’s broken, get some best practices that they might not be thinking about. Same thing for. I love doing customer journey audits, it’s one of still one of my favorite things to do to be able to go through the experience of if I put myself in the shoes of their customer, where are the gaps, what breaks? What are competitors, doing better just to have a an updated set of ideas, campaigns playbook operational fixes that need to happen. Sometimes when you’re so close to it, you just don’t see that I would love for someone to come do that for SmartAcre marketing, because we are so close to it. Sometimes you just you just miss it.

Todd 33:50
Yeah, no, that’s that’s definitely the thing. Like because I’m staring at something sometimes for so long. I’m like, What am I missing? And then it’s like, oh, I asked one of the salespeople, or I can ask someone else. And they might say something that I was completely oblivious to you that maybe was actually pretty obvious, but to them, it’s because they weren’t working on it so closely. And I see the same thing where agencies, they’ll catch things all the time that I wasn’t thinking about or didn’t even think of that angle to it, which is really beneficial I think for our marketing.

Lisa 34:14
So we covered a few things thought leadership, SEO, side hustles agency life, is there anything else before we get into my Zwikl Sizzle? Like my quick-hitting questions that you want our listeners to know about you or perspectives that you want to share right now?

Todd 34:33
No, I think we’ve covered a lot. Let’s get into the the spicy stuff.

Lisa 34:36
Let’s get into it. All right. We talked about thought leadership who is influencing you right now? Who are you really inspired by?

Todd 34:45
That’s a good question. I would probably have to say Dave Gearhardt at exitfive. I mean, I think he’s on a lot of people’s list but just seeing the progression. So I started following him when he was at like 10,000 followers, which was a lot even back then and now he’s at like whatever 200,000 or something and was really interesting seeing the progression not only like drift as a brand, but moving on to different things, and then kind of launching his own side hustle, I remember it was like on Patreon. I was like, that’s really interesting. And then I saw some other marketers kind of do that too. And then then he moved into, you know, the community that it is today. But I think his, his persona, kind of like how he approaches he could tell us his like, natural voice, as marketing experience is really interesting. But also he’s doing the building public too which I’ve, I always like people that do that, where you kind of see the insights of the business and kind of what’s happening or what they’re planning on. So yeah, definitely him for sure. There’s definitely some others. And I can’t even think of all of them at the top of my mind, but just other kinds of SaaS business leaders who, I think are just sharing really insights or get the fact that LinkedIn and social, you know, is really important part to kind of community building and brand building today. So yeah, that’d be my answer there.

Lisa 35:50
I agree with that. 100%, we’ll put a link to exitfive in the podcast, everyone can access that and follow along with Dave great content. He’s super vulnerable, which I appreciate. I think he’s, you know, his perspective is unique. And he’s always sharing what he’s seeing working and his personal successes and failures. On the flip side of agency life, what’s one thing you’d go back and tell young Todd when we were sitting across from each other, at SmartAcre. What piece of advice would you give yourself?

Todd 36:23
One, don’t have my eyebrows looked down, say everyone thinking I’m angry all the time. Inside joke for everyone, but I remember, at least he used to turn around and be like, are you upset? Are you mad about someone’s like, oh, no, it’s just my thinking face. My concentration. No, but for a real answer, I think absorb as much as possible, like be a sponge. There’s definitely times where I think I could have done a better job of just like listening or absorbing more, or at least seeing something interesting and being like, let me go to the next that person. And just like I want to watch what you’re doing or just to learn. I definitely learned a lot. And there was a lot of that kind of keep in the back of my mind. But I think there was more opportunity that I could have picked things up just from because there’s so many unique people, they’re doing different things and working on different clients could have been cool to just spend, like, Hey, I just want to spend like 20 minutes just to see what you’re doing. I think that’s really important, especially if you’re new to marketing, or just kind of coming in after school and you’re looking to kind of break into the industry. Being a sponge is like the most important thing you can do.

Lisa 37:19
Great pro tip. What’s one thing that you do every week to find balance?

Todd 37:22
Good one, I would say now it’s walks. So I don’t get to do them every day. Especially because my son’s nap schedule changed. But before, during my lunch break, he was still awake. So we would go like on walks around our neighborhood, my wife would join occasionally too. So we get some like sun, fresh air, just a good way to break away from the day-to-day grind of the job, or especially if I’m like in a creative rut or something sometimes that opens up my mind a little bit more, but definitely felt more relaxed by getting a little bit of fresh air and that exercise because it is hard when you’re doing side hustles and full time work and a family to make time to, you know, get outside or exercise or do these things, especially as you get older as an adult. It’s more important. So yeah, I think the those walks have been a really good balance and just my son loves them. So it kind of like makes you smile throughout the day that he’s like pointing and laughing and things are putting in airplanes or whatever it may be.

Lisa 38:13
Love that. That’s one of my favorite things to see life through my little guy’s eyes because their perspective is so different. It challenges me to change my own perspective on things or just realize, wow, this isn’t as big of a deal as I thought it was. And just having that space to think is so appreciated. I am a big fan of walks myself. Last one, what’s one marketing tool you cannot live without? Just one.

Todd 38:41
Just one…these days, it’s been HubSpot. Just because one I’ve I’ve always had. I mean, I don’t knock on Salesforce. But I also find HubSpot way easier to use. And I think just because I’ve been using it for so long, and they keep adding new features. But I mean I’m in it almost every day, mostly to like look at data too I mean, the data is not perfect, right? Like you can only do so much with you know that kind of tracking and things get broken. But kind of underlying that, like how’d you hear about us some other kind of quantitative qualitative data and contacts, of course, like understanding who’s coming in the pipeline, what is sales doing? All those things. So I it’s one of those like places that are just always bookmarked and open. So if I have to jump back to it, I can look at things I need it for. So yeah, I mean, might be a simple answer, because everyone knows Hubspot these days. But honestly, it’s it’s one of the main tools that I’m using constantly.

Lisa 39:31
Love it, same. I don’t think SmartAcre would exist without HubSpot. We’re in it all the time. And our clients keep migrating there. We’re seeing less and less across the board in other systems. So 10 out of 10 agree. All right Todd…

Todd 39:49
That’s the easiest use of it. Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt it.

Lisa 39:51
No, that’s okay.

Todd 39:53
The ease of use of it, I think is what everyone loves. Right? Like, I remember looking at like Marketo and Salesforce is like I’m so lost in these but they’re powerful. Super powerful, but I was like I always get lost. And I think for people who are non technical HubSpot is just the way to go.

Lisa 40:06
Yeah. And it’s always being updated. The integration of AI features. There’s something in beta I feel like every single day, something new is rolling out the content remix that they have now. There’s, it’s yeah, it’s powerful. All right, Todd, any final thoughts?

Todd 40:24
No, thanks for having me on. This is a great discussion.

Lisa 40:27
Yeah, I love talking to you. We’ll have to do this again. And in the meantime, I’ll be following you on LinkedIn. I’m gonna check out your YouTube channel as well. But where else can our listeners find you and connect with you? What’s the best way?

Todd 40:41
Yeah, so a bunch of side hustle things. I mean, obviously, LinkedIn, you can find me I’m pretty active there. And you know, if you DM me or want to chat, I’m always open to that. Let’s see what else I have Rev Foundry. This is It’s basically consulting and advising on a productized service basis. So if your SaaS company in the C to series A needs some help, I’m they’re also just acquired, I will say it’s More of a public announcement coming, but we require that it’s a community for tech workers to learn and grow and find remote jobs or regular jobs in tech. So really excited about that. And then I have a remote work junkie, which is all about remote work content and remote jobs. So you could find me on any of those platforms as well. Otherwise, yeah, hopefully we get to chat soon again, Lisa.

Lisa 41:28
See, I said you’re the king of the side hustle. Awesome. Thank you so much, Todd.