Brian Dean of Backlinko may be a self-described SEO expert, but his content skills aren’t too shabby, either. And that’s putting it lightly.
After a few false starts, he figured out how to make SEO and content work hard to bring in traffic and leads for his websites. Now he’s sharing everything he knows, and is probably one of the best SEO experts out there for understandable, actionable advice and guidance.
Particularly, Brian has become renowned and endlessly name-dropped in the content marketing industry for his ultimate blog guides, which explain SEO concepts in his signature style: plain-spoken, to-the-point, and beyond practical.
Today, Brian Dean is in the hot seat, sharing some insights for our series of Content Hacker Spotlights. (We’re SO excited he agreed to participate! He’s a favorite around here.)
Let’s get into the interview.
Content Hacker Spotlight Interview: with Brian Dean
1. When did you get started in marketing, and why?
A: I first got into marketing after I launched my first website in the nutrition space. I quickly realized that building the website was easy. Getting people to actually visit my website was hard.
2. What's your favorite part of what you do today?
A: Creating huge content pieces. I love collaborating with people on a huge ultimate guide or industry study. I still like writing lists posts and case studies. But I have the most fun working on the big stuff.
3. What's one of the biggest challenges you have overcome in your work as a marketer?
A: Hiring. We have a great team at Backlinko. But it took years (and lots of bad hires) to put together. And I always feel like I'm starting from square one whenever we need to hire someone new.
4. How has the industry landscape changed since you started?
A: The content bar is MUCH higher than it was when I first started. When I launched my first website back in 2008, publishing a list post with 20 items was considered "epic." Even when I first started Backlinko in 2013, anything longer than 2,000 words was considered a huge post. Today, a 2,000-word post with 20 tips is completely normal. It takes a lot more for your content to stand out.
5. What does the future of marketing look like to you?
A: It's all about User Experience. Even SEO, which for years was a super technical thing, is now more about UX than anything else. In general, the sites and products with the best UX will ultimately win.
6. What key traits or skills does it take to be a marketing leader?
A: The ability to see the future… but also still stick with what's already working. Email is a great example. Marketing leaders dabble in new ways to keep in touch with their customers, like Facebook Messenger. But they didn't abandon the mainstays (like email).
7. What are some of your favorite tools or hacks for marketers?
A: Writing great headlines is the ultimate marketing superhack. This skill translates to pretty much any content that you publish, from a post on Medium to a YouTube video to a Facebook ad.
8. Do you have any daily habits, hobbies, or rituals you couldn't survive without?
A: Walking. I walk 10k steps per day almost without exception.
9. Coffee or tea?
10. What are some great blogs we should be reading or people we should be following on social media?
A: There are so many great marketing blogs to read. But one that isn't marketing-focused, but does marketing the right way, is NerdWallet.com. They came out of nowhere in an established space and absolutely crushed it.
For More, Follow Brian Dean Around the Web
Thanks, Brian, for taking part in our Spotlight series!
Brian is one to follow if you want to learn the ins and outs of SEO + inbound marketing. Here’s where you’ll find him:
I highly suggest subscribing to his newsletter, too!
Have you seen our other Spotlights? We've featured 11+ experts so far like Madalyn Sklar, Ryan Robinson, Robert Rose, and so many more. Find the entire series right here.