“You really, really, really need to have somebody that you can get along with. Your partners and the people that you’re involved with, you have to spend some time getting to know how they operate under distress and have a plan for how you’re going to deal with the financials… Nobody wants to invest when you’re going to the next level, but I think a real, true business structure is essential.”
For episode 180 of The Search Engine Journal Show, it’s my turn to interview Brent Csutoras, Co-Owner of Search Engine Journal and a seasoned digital marketing consultant.
Csutoras talks about the evolution of social media, the rise of Search Engine Journal, and his fascinating journey in the industry.
About Brent Csutoras
Brent is a digital marketing consultant with over 13 years of combined experience in SEO and social media marketing.
He is also a co-owner at Search Engine Journal and founder of its parent company, Alpha Brand Media.
Aside from having founded various digital agencies throughout the years, he has also spoken at many of the top marketing conferences, such as Pubcon, Affiliate Summit, SMX Advanced, State of Search, SES, UnGagged, SEOktoberfest, and more.
An avid futurist, Brent enjoys focusing on the implications of future technology on society and societal growth.
In today’s episode, we’re turning the tables and putting The Search Engine Journal Show’s own Brent Csutoras in the hot seat.
- How was digital marketing 15 years ago? What’s so different now? [2:22]
- Brent shares how he got started in the industry during the early days. [3:10]
- Listening to SEO Rockstars on Webmaster Radio then hosted by Greg Boser and Todd Friesen helped Brent learn about SEO. [5:07]
- On his background in publishing, getting into computers when he was really young and how these experiences came together when her started doing SEO. [6:06]
- Within a month of getting hired in his first SEO job, Brent decided to attend Pubcon for the first time. [12:20]
- He shares how his social skills helped him connect with people as a newbie in the industry. [14:00]
- Early on, Brent started building his own websites so he could do SEO tests. [14:32]
- How he applied the learnings from his SEO tests toward his in-house SEO job. [18:27]
- The need for content and the rise of social bookmarking sites Digg and Reddit. [19:27]
- What made Brent shift from SEO to social media? [21:24]
- Four months into his career, Pubcon’s Brett Tabke invited Brent to speak at the event after a successful test to put Tabke’s post on the front page of Digg. [21:47]
- Back then, a lot of marketers were “anti-social” but Brent rode the wave anyway. By the time social media became popular, he already has 5-6 years of experience. [23:56]
- Social came at a time period when Brent wasn’t tied to SEO. [26:53]
- Brent would choose to create viral content campaigns over any other aspect of marketing. [27:17]
- The interesting story of Brent’s complex social media experiments on Digg and other sites. [30:13]
- Brent shares his thoughts on how he ended up teaming with some of the best minds in the industry to form a company in the 2010s and the various challenges they faced to keep it afloat. [38:33]
- On cleaning up Search Engine Journal and the process of turning the brand around. [45:40]
- Advice for independent contractors and solopreneurs who are thinking about starting an agency on their own. [46:35]
- The factors that greatly contributed to SEJ’s success in recent years. [48:27]
- On stepping down from the agencies he founded, going through tough times, and resuming client work as a consultant. [51:53]
- Why should brands and marketers get on Reddit? [53:28]
- Brent’s takeaways after being on Reddit for so many years: “What has been important for me on Reddit has been being flexible and to learn quickly… The key is to be nimble and to engage in that conversation in a way where you’re flexible to be wrong and you’re willing to figure it out.” [56:50]
- What’s next for Brent and Search Engine Journal? [1:01:56]
Links from the Episode
How to connect with Brent Csutoras:
To listen to this Search Engine Show Podcast with Brent Csutoras:
Visit our podcast archive to listen to other Search Engine Journal Show podcasts!
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita