Ep.31 – Personal Branding With Lachlan Kirkwood

In today’s episode, Chris is joined by Lachlan Kirkwood, someone who really understands personal branding. When it comes to the digital stage, we’re all putting ourselves out there on display and how we come across and who we target are important factors in helping to build a community around us.

Lachlan is based in Australia, his accent gives it away, and he’s spent the last few years working for agencies and clients, focusing on paid performance for campaigns. During that time, he started sharing his learnings and case studies in detail on his website. The content that started as just for him to keep a record of his career, ended up providing huge value to a lot of others.

From there, Lachlan’s personal brand and community grew. Today, he’s a freelancer, and his community and reputation, thanks to his personal brand, allows him to work with people through his network and thanks to his reputation.

One of the biggest takeaways from this episode was this. By giving value, and not expecting anything in return, you’ll invariably start to attract people to your personal brand.

Thanks for listening.

Get Social About It

What does it take to create a real Personal Brand? Find out with @LachlanKirkwood and @justchrisbruno on the @AllAboutDigMar #podcast:

Stuff We Mentioned

Transcript

Chris Bruno 0:01
Welcome to the all about digital marketing podcast, the show all about digital marketing, digital marketing, digital marketing, digital marketing, brought to you by social Inc. digital marketing agency specialising in social media and content marketing for great brands and forward thinking SMEs. I’m your host, Chris Bruno. And as always, we’re here to bring you the most actionable tips, tricks, tools and insights to help you achieve more when it comes to your digital marketing. Subscribe to the show. And be sure to share with a friend if you found something useful or interesting. You can find all the show notes and more information on www dot all about digital marketing.co.uk

Lachlan hi, thank you so much for joining me today.

Lachlan Kirkwood 0:56
Hey, thanks for having me. Absolute pleasure.

Chris Bruno 0:59
So Lachlan you and I have connected on LinkedIn. We’ve had a bit of a chat back and forth. And we’ve been talking about lots of things to do with branding. But for anybody who doesn’t know you and for anybody out there that wants to understand a little bit more about yourself and how you got to where you are today. Give us a little bit of the intro.

Lachlan Kirkwood 1:14
Yeah, absolutely. So you probably tell by now that I am from Australia, I’m in Brisbane. And my background is in digital marketing, where I’ve worked across a bunch of different tech startups and digital agencies. And I guess the role that I’ve always sat in was around paid performance, where I leveraged a lot of data to help drive conversion objectives through whatever campaigns we were running, whether it be for SaaS companies, ecommerce stores, or any other industries there. One thing that I did throughout my career from early stages was I took it I guess, to my time to start documenting exactly what I was learning and sharing my experiences with other digital marketers, and I didn’t do this intentionally for any particular reason. I just want To do purely from my own record, just keep track of my career. But after a while it started accumulating in a bit of an audience myself, which has really taken off. And it’s allowed me to now be a freelancer, essentially, and work off the audience of the network that I’ve built myself throughout my career and, you know, for my services as a digital marketer, and even helped me understand how to start building products to service the needs of my audience. So, yeah, it’s really exciting.

Chris Bruno 2:27
I think it’s, it’s always awesome for me anyway, when I talk to people like yourself, or we spoken to other people in the past, and they’ve ended up building a community, but not by focusing on trying to build a community, if that makes sense.

Unknown Speaker 2:40
It’s always around that. I think when you have intentions to be authentic and just genuinely share value, it just naturally happens because people gravitate towards people that you know, are willing to give out more than they want to receive anything.

Chris Bruno 2:54
Absolutely. And it’s a it’s a really interesting paradigm shift. I think, for a lot of people where they’re kind of Yeah, I want to be in a influencer, I want to be x or y. And you know the overnight success stories that lots of people talk about. And not realising that actually, there’s probably a good few years that’s gone into, like your to, like you are doing, just sharing that information giving value to people. And that’s how you kind of build up this audience. These things don’t usually happen overnight, will give a couple of exceptions, I’m sure to some people. But from your point of view, then that the personal brand side of things that’s ended up happening, almost coincidentally, and alongside what you’re actually doing, how important has that been for you in terms of your career now, because you mentioned then you’ve gone freelance. So I’m guessing now with the network and this community around you, that you’re able to interact and engage with lots of people on different levels for for different reasons, I’m guessing.

Lachlan Kirkwood 3:44
Yeah, absolutely. And going in that kind of organic approach or the timeline throughout my career. It’s worked really well because I’ve been doing this for about three or four years now. And throughout that time, as I mentioned as digital marketer learning new skills, sharing my experience Is I kind of got to a point in my career where just personally I was ready to do the next thing. I don’t think it was a nine to five job was the answer of what I wanted to do was something in my own time. And being a millennial like, time is something that I valued, like being able to have that flexibility around my work. And at that point, I guess I published so much content, sharing a lot of case studies about what I’ve worked on my thoughts on industry topics. I’ve really given my network a good understanding of who I was, what I stood for, and what real tangible skills I actually had. So when it came to wanting to source work, to be honest, a lot of it was inbound To start with, but if you know, I see opportunities, I’m able to share links to as I mentioned, case studies that I’ve worked on or anything just so I’ve always got this repository of content that I can rely on if I am pitching my services or anything else like that. So it’s been really effective along my journey.

Chris Bruno 5:00
So for everybody listening, and I think this is what I really want to kind of dig into, when we talk to small businesses, startups, especially at the early stages, we feel that lots of people are trying to create this brand identity. And a lot of people are missing out the fact that when you are just starting out, and you have a very small team, usually, for me, the brand identity comes from the founders identity, whether you want to or not, and I’m sure there’s going to be discrepancies in this. But you know, the person who’s running the show, and the person who’s trying to get this off the ground becomes kind of the champion for the business. And I think the personal branding side of it is so important, because again, you kind of permeate into every aspect of the business afterwards. And I wanted to get your input on that. How do you find the businesses react when it comes to kind of having that champion for the business, especially in the early stages, and having that kind of presence and that personal brand to help boost what you’re doing as a company?

Lachlan Kirkwood 5:55
Yeah, it’s a really good statement. Actually, really good example of this is you probably were but by sermon when they started to co founders and Joel someone I follow on Twitter, quite religiously. And they started by just being as open and transparent as possible, and it just aligned with the content that their audience actually wanted to engage with. And they grew quite a good audience throughout that time. What I found is that, yeah, with a lot of startups, they don’t have massive budgets to spend on paid acquisition strategies, or they don’t have a team to write content. So the most cost effective and time efficient thing that you can really do is just share your own story and try and share the problems that you’re really trying to get to the bottom of and see if that resonates with your audience. And something really powerful about that is that you can get really quick and honest feedback from your audience. So if you know your audience doesn’t like a particular product or something that you’re building, you can learn that really quickly and have those open and honest conversations with your audience. And then either Right based on that from there, and that’s something I’m doing at the moment trying to definitely understand where my audience finds value and build, like a product around that. So you can kind of productize your service that you’re offering. But yeah, I think it’s really important. And the last thing I want to touch on that is also around. If you are a small startup, if you have a small team, or even if you have a couple of co founders, really just encouraging a culture or embedding it within the organisation, that you are the main content distribution channel. So if you know you’ve got a team of five people, instead of just a single solo founder, you can really amplify I guess the amount of content you’re putting out us everyone is champions of the brand.

Chris Bruno 7:46
It’s really interesting that you say that actually we AM. We’ve come across big companies that do have the budgets for paid acquisition, etc. But the company culture including sales, people, marketing people, etc, we find that actually there A lot of reticence to share company content. And actually the people themselves are sharing the content that they find interesting, but not necessarily industry related. And what people don’t realise, or what we try to help people realise, is the fact that you know, if you’re not willing within your organisation or you don’t feel that it’s appropriate for you to be sharing company, company updates, whether it be on LinkedIn, blogs, whatever it might be, or videos, if you’re not actually getting involved in that, then why should anybody else? And this is something that you’ve just mentioned there, when you said sort of the culture building that into the culture, this transparency, be yourself, but also actually, you know, you are the biggest content distribution asset compared to having a Facebook page or a Twitter account or whatever it might be for the brand, that people really make it up because again, you know, we always talk about people buy people buy from people, you know, b2b, actually, they’re still Joe and Bob that make a deal. Not actually two brands or two businesses or two entities that do a deal.

Lachlan Kirkwood 8:59
Definitely And another thing on that is, a lot of brands don’t realise that, especially if you are b2b and using LinkedIn as your main distribution channel, like a lot of personal profiles get much more, I guess, important white in the algorithm compared to branded profiles. So if you’re, you know, just publishing content on your branded page, you might not get as much exposure, as opposed to if you were to publish it across five people’s pages that work for you. So that’s something I think a lot of brands Miss. Absolutely, I agree.

Chris Bruno 9:30
So let’s talk a little bit then about how small businesses and especially small business owners can start doing more in terms of their personal brand. So what are the sort of what sort of advice or techniques, tips, tricks, tools, whatever you want to call it? And that you would actually say to people, you know, if you’re not doing this, these are the initial starting points, and this is how to get started with your personal branding?

Lachlan Kirkwood 9:52
Yeah, absolutely. And I guess my answer is advice from my own personal experience. Just as a solo kinda just marketer and founder. But when I started, I think it was really important to, first of all identify what channels my audience would be on. And this might sound really basic to a lot of digital marketers. And it’s because it is kind of branding one on one you building a brand, it just happens to be that the brand is yourself. So you really need to treat it like a brand and take time to identify who your target audience and persona is going to be in, what channels are they going to be hanging out on. And again, if your channel is LinkedIn, my next suggestion would be to then start small, you don’t have to go in overnight and start creating a tonne of video content, original podcast series, you can just talk to more by just engaging with your audience, leave a walk on someone’s post, leave a comment on someone’s post the next day really take the time to engage with them understand what it is they’re sharing, and then see if you can add additional value onto that that they might find useful. And then you’ll just start to see over time that that momentum builds and I mean when I started my personal blog throughout my career I aim to post one post a month, which at the time seems really overwhelming. But you know, I could write a certain amount of words per week. And that just became addictive over time. And as I said, I learned what my audience really engaged with. So it just kind of grew over time. And it turned into a blog and then a podcast and now collaborations with other people like yourself, and it just grows over time. And the reason it does that is because as I said, you will eventually find out what your audience wants. So the best advice I would give us just start small and then really iterate based on that.

Chris Bruno 11:37
That’s great advice. And it’s something that we always say to people, I can remember years ago being in a meeting with a company that was doing nothing online. And their plan was website, blog, YouTube videos, every social media network, they could do and you’re like that, let’s let’s scale this back a little bit, guys, then let’s do this in a stage to kind of attack process. So let’s start with something easy. So how many blog articles Do you want to see? Feel that you can start creating etc. And people don’t realise there but exactly what you said there, you start small. And if you set up something for us that we really believe in is community building, we think it’s at the heart of everything that you should do. And you’ve already mentioned some of the amazing reasons why, for example, getting honest feedback from the people that you’re building your product or service for, is the best way to make sure that you’re building a product that is great for them. Too many people focus on the product and don’t actually remember that you’ve got all these people around you that will tell you what their what the most important thing is, or what the most important tool or whatever it might be that they’re actually looking for. So that’s the first bit that for me, community is so important. But the second thing is exactly what you mentioned there. By engaging with these people. All of these things start to build up. So you go from that slow at the beginning, you know, I don’t have a community you start engaging with other people. And then suddenly people are talking to you and then people are commenting on your posts and then people are actually having a chat with you about an opportunity like you said, a bit like how we met on the Then. And then now we’re doing the podcast together. All of these things come from spending a bit of time and putting a little bit of content and effort out there. And from doing a little bit of engagement, and I think that community for me is is such an important thing. So I wanted to ask from your side to help founders, small businesses, startups, what however, they’re kind of defined or categorised? How can they really focus on community building? And do you think that community building is where it’s at in terms of building this personal brand?

Lachlan Kirkwood 13:29
Yeah, hundred percent. I honestly couldn’t agree more with everything you just mentioned then. And I guess again, from my personal experience, at the moment, I’m building a product really trying to kind of find product market fit. And to be honest community is absolutely my biggest priority. And the way I’m focusing on building that is by leveraging other communities, sorry, if there’s an existing platform like this Facebook group subreddits really trying to find where my audience is hanging out at the moment and again, really trying to see if any common trends about problems that they have that I can relate to, and really trying to, I guess, engage with that community, and then build my own off the back of that as well. So I think that the thought of having to start a community from scratch can be really daunting. And again, I’m probably gonna sound really repetitive now, but just really going back to the basics and starting small, you don’t have to build this overnight. You, you know, if you were to build it overnight, you could run the risk of building the completely wrong thing, which guilty as hell for doing that myself. So yeah, really just take it back to basics, try and leverage other communities if you can. And then also try to use your community as user generated content. So if you can encourage conversations that really relate with your audience within a community, encouraging them to distribute that content within that our networks, because if they are facing a particular problem, chances are someone else and then Network might also be facing particular problem and then they might become a member of the community. And that’ll just compound over time.

Chris Bruno 15:06
It’s, it’s awesome to hear you say this. It sounds like we have a lot of synergy in this regard. Why it sounds so simple when we talk about it, or it sounds so obvious when we talk about it. But I still think that a lot of people need convincing and we did a talk for we work labs recently in London, they say recently, just before Christmas, but we were talking with some startups and and our idea is this focus on this community building we were getting a lot of pushback from, from New founders from people that were starting out. And we had a bit of everything. There was people that were selling actual products, there was people that were selling services, software, and other people that had sort of fitness and apps and stuff like that. But one of the things that we were trying to explain is the reason why we want community and we call it the three C’s internally, but community drives conversations, conversations, just drives conversions, and conversions drive community. So it’s just kind of this ongoing Going circle for us as we see it, which is, you know, and again, when you’re starting people say we don’t have a community or anything else, but exactly what you said leveraging other people’s communities, finding where people are. and engaging in those conversations stills brings you back to conversations. And then conversations can lead to conversions to your community. And then you start building it up. And exactly what you mentioned there, you know, one person that you’re helping, there’s so many businesses that will never say to that person, hey, like you love what we do, and we’re working together, and we’ve been working together for six months, nine months, a year, whatever it might be. And do you know anybody else who would like this product or could use this product or this product would help for example, and there’s loads of people that just don’t do that? You know, that there’s people that aren’t taking advantage of properly what is one of the highest converting channels or mediums which would be referrals? You know, john telling Bob, a really good friend of his that he’s using this and it’s absolutely fantastic and you should have a look at it is more likely to bring you something in then spending a tenner on paid ads is boosted posts or whatever it might be on Facebook,

Lachlan Kirkwood 17:02
definitely, hundred percent. I think that something that a lot of founders forget is that. And I mean, it’s easier said than done. But there’s a million different ways that you could actually monetize an audience. But if you build a beautiful product, and it doesn’t have an audience, it’s not worth very much. So I think that before you build a product, you should focus on building a community. And then as I said before, really try and track some insights out of that.

Chris Bruno 17:28
Thank you for saying that. We met with one of the startups that was in, in the wework Labs presentation that we were giving. And literally they were saying to us he ever the products not finished yet. So we haven’t started on marketing. And one thing another when do you think we should start and I was like that you should have already started. I was like, Yeah, I was like, why aren’t you talking to people? Why aren’t you finding people that potentially would have interest in your product? Why aren’t you engaging with them to understand what their true needs are, rather than building what you think is perfect for a group of people that would have probably tell you, this is the important thing. You know, if you literally took the time to ask them, the lot of people online will just turn around and go, yeah, I’m really am struggling with x or I really need a solution to why or actually my biggest issue isn’t why it’s all it said. And if you start to collect this feedback in the sense of Hang on a second, that’s 20 people now that have told me I shouldn’t be doing a not be, then you can actually start building a product that for 20 people, you can bring them in, you can ask them things you can ask them to, to complete a feedback survey if you want to, but you could literally get in touch with these people and have one to one conversations, especially in these early stages, and start documenting that process a bit like what you were talking about, and show the whole process of how you’re building your business, your app, your community, your sass, product, whatever it might be, and use that to drive the community building aspect, especially in those early stages.

Lachlan Kirkwood 18:49
Absolutely, people love being included in that process as well. It makes it seem like they’re kind of building the product with you.

Chris Bruno 18:55
I can’t remember I think it was Dropbox, but I’m probably gonna get his name wrong. It’s been a while since I’ve really looked into this, but I think it was Drew, who was starting Dropbox. And actually before he had even written a line of code for Dropbox, he explained what it was that he thought would be a good useful product is this idea of file storage, file sharing really easy to use one thing another, and then put it up as a landing page, no products, no buy in no nothing. But literally saying if this sounds like a product that you’d like, or that it would be useful to you or anything else, then just sign up for the newsletter, and we’ll keep you informed of what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. And if I can’t remember what the numbers were, but literally it was thousands of people signed up shared one thing and other and this thing kind of went from nothing an idea to Holy shit. Actually, this is something that we need to start working on. Now. We need to start writing the code because there’s a huge audience that are telling us that this is exactly what they want.

Lachlan Kirkwood 19:51
Absolutely, yeah, I can make a survey of homes that have done similar things and I mean, yet the proofs there is geofencing the founders are too focused on the products that they forget to listen to the community 100%. And as I said before, I’m guilty of doing this myself, I think it was probably made last year, a lot of really powerful no code tools kind of caught the spotlight. And then I always got a bit of shiny object syndrome and started just building pointless things for the fun of it. But then I was thankful enough to pull myself out of it and say, take things back to basics. I think that the barrier to entry is so I wouldn’t say low, but it’s much more minimal than what it used to be for building products now that it is easy to get distracted and trying to solve what you think are your own unique problems, which is great, because you’ve got great insights for that. But again, you just really need to be able to take things back and validate things. And as you mentioned before, the example of don’t even build a product, build the concept of a product and try and sell that vision to other people and get buy in from them before you even go into it. I think that’s an amazing idea that most founders and if you were here, a lot of story is from successful startups like product time segment. bafa. Like these all followed that exact trend and the story that you just mentioned. So, yeah, it’s really powerful. It’s um,

Chris Bruno 21:11
yeah, ever again, I’m glad to hear you say it. And again, for everybody else who’s listening, really bear that in mind, it’s time to look around yourself a little bit of introspection and see whether or not you’re building something for somebody else. Or if you’re building it based on your own views and what you’re thinking lockland in terms of video, for me, I think video is a huge opportunity for both personal and company brands. And but I wanted to find out a little bit from your your point of view or from anything that you’ve done in tests or anything like that. What are the kind of what sort of things would you say to founders to small businesses, to be able to use video to help maximise what they’re trying to do in terms of their personal branding?

Lachlan Kirkwood 21:50
Yeah, that’s a really good question. There’s three things that comes to mind that I’d like to cover with that. The first is keep it as authentic as possible. So video certainly doesn’t need to be as polished And again, the barrier to entry for creating videos so simple these days, you know, with the iPhone 11 Pro camera, like it’s so easy to shoot quality content and quickly publish that natively on through a mobile app. The other thing is, especially if you are a startup founder, your time might be limited. So you really need to get the most out of the content you create. So I always give founders the advice of repurposing their content. So if you shoot, let’s say, a video interview with someone that’s a couple minutes long, you could transcribe that turn it into a blog post, and then you’ve got great content on your website that can be indexed. Why in Search Console, you could repurpose the audio from that and into a podcast, upload that to something like anchor and distribute that across every podcasting platform. You could grab some quartz, turn it into some social posts, and if you’re doing an interview with a guest, you could create some social posts for them and get that share that within at work. So I think repurposing video is really powerful and at the same time, don’t put Guess don’t overdo or try and recall video because you think that it needs to be this glorious thing. I think that a lot of people prefer short, actionable, by action on the main something that delivers actionable insights video from honest people. It’s again,

Chris Bruno 23:19
I agree completely, we’re literally we’re, it’s like we’re both singing off the same hymn sheet and that we’ve agreed all of this in advance. But I was saying to somebody, if you record a really good video, no matter what it is a Facebook Live you chatting with a supplier or with somebody else. If you’re doing that video, how many social posts would that represent for you at the moment? And the guy turned around or when probably a couple we know we could put it on Twitter, we could put it on LinkedIn, we could share it and just tell people about the videos. Okay, cool. What if and then I went into the exact same list of what you’ve just done. And suddenly these people going Hang on a second. I didn’t know you could do that. Why would I do well actually, that’s interesting or the blog aspect of it or, or quote graphics or shorter videos that you can clip and then put that out to get people interested to bring them back to the main video, all of these little things. And they do take a bit of time, I’m not gonna lie, but they take a hell of a lot less time than trying to secure your next guest or your next person to talk to or organising another full of scale interview. It’s things that literally can be done. After hours, whenever you find that the time to do it. There’s loads of tools out there that are really useful for people things like headline or you know, make a really easy version of the video or a shorter version of the video or make a version of an audio file into a video, whatever you want to do. But these things are such a great way to keep your audience engaged. And I think it was from Tim Ferriss podcast, but one of the things that he had tested after having done I don’t know how many was this idea that what can I do better and people were commenting and that’s going through the comments and everything else. And you realise that actually one of the things that people said was, I need a short clip, to send this to john to Bob to whoever it is in my friend group that will catch their interest. Then make them want to listen to the rest of the interview. Because if you share something with somebody and it’s an hour long, for example, then they’re less more they can be more hesitant to, to invest that one hour of time. Whereas if you can capture their interest with a 32nd or 62nd clip, that is enough to get people to go, that’s interesting. I want to find out more, I’m going to listen to the episode or watch the video or whatever it might be. Would you agree with that?

Lachlan Kirkwood 25:24
5%. I think a really good example of that is someone like Gary Vee in the industry. So, yes, he does create a whole bunch of content. I mean, he’s got a team dedicated to that. But if you go across every one of his social platforms, a lot of its just repurposed from other platforms. So it’s not like he’s going out and creating native content specifically for a dedicated platform. They tend to just grab relevant snippets from different videos and kind of segment that across different platforms, and that’s why he’s able to adopt these new platforms and Bill quite a good audience on them as soon as they come out because he’s just quite smart about repurposing that content.

Chris Bruno 26:00
Interesting. I try not to bring up Gary Vee because I find that he really polarises people.

Lachlan Kirkwood 26:07
Character mind.

Chris Bruno 26:08
Yeah. Well, the thing is, it’s interesting because if you are in marketing or if you are a marketer, you look at him and you go, this is brilliant, like the way he does it on platforms constantly, like you said, a lot of it is repurposed. So it will be him giving a talk somewhere and that turns into four or five clips that then get used on various different platforms and everything else. But I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says in terms of you know, you should be working 100 hours and not sleeping and buying stuff from a garage sale and selling it on etc. But I think that what we talked about earlier on in terms of, you know, the engagement side of it, and finding and leveraging other communities, just putting yourself out there. You know, the first step to all of this, and I did an interview recently, where a conversation on the podcast recently with Cheryl tan, and she was an ex TV news journalist who’s now doing video coaching and media training. Help founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs and stuff like that to come across better on video, whether it be for themselves or for interviews with news. But literally, we were talking about issues like that. But the most important thing and congratulations as you started, and this is the bit that people don’t realise, you know, you’ve just got to get started don’t compare yourself to a Gary Vee. That’s not the interesting point. That’s not where you’re at. Look at the big YouTube stars go all the way back to their first ever videos. And that’s where you’re at right now. And that’s where they were as well. So all of these things take time to kind of build up but your skills go up your level of engagement with community with people starts to build you find the right people and they find you that builds your your starting blocks, but all of these things just begin with getting started. And I think that’s the bit that people really struggle with. Have you found that as well.

Lachlan Kirkwood 27:48
100% even myself, to be honest, like when I started I kind of went in with the mentality that whatever I was going to publish, I knew it was going to be crap, to be honest but beauty was is that no one was listening. So throughout that period where I had no audience, I kind of took that as positive and kind of took it to myself to iterate again, on what type of like, what can I do better next time, as you mentioned early before, and by the time that I did start to know how to polish my content, like that is when the audience started coming in. So I think I remember like in the first year of posting a blog, once a month, I think I probably had maybe like, six visitors to my blog, which was shocking. I mean, when I look back at it now, but at the time, like, I was stoked on that, because I kind of went in with the mentality that no one was going to see it all. And it was just an experimental platform for me. So I think just yeah, accepting that it’s going to be bad and embracing that and just knowing that you will get better. It’s like anything else. I guess if you just keep trying at it, you will only get better at it.

Chris Bruno 28:51
Yeah, I’ve got two bits or two stories to sort of say around that. We we decided to do this as an agency. We wanted to create a podcast. We wanted to create For small to mid sized businesses, business owners, people that are trying their best, but we wanted to find a way to give more value back and have these great conversations with people to kind of help encourage people to do more when it came to their marketing and to realise that, you know, small steps can have huge impacts, etc. But when we actually recorded the very first episode, this podcast didn’t have a name.

Lachlan Kirkwood 29:22
And its MVP. Yeah,

Chris Bruno 29:27
Absolutely. So our first call ever for regarding the podcast was actually the first podcast. So we brought the whole team together. And we all just sort of chatted about it and what we were trying to do and why we were trying to do it and what we wanted to kind of achieve from it. But it didn’t have a name. So I think the first episode, we even ended up naming something along the lines of a podcast has no name. And it was it was literally based on that. And it was kind of funny, but the point that we tried to say to people afterwards was it’s not about perfecting this brand, this image, you know, I’ve got to get the right name. I’ve got to get the right URL. I’ve got to None of those things really matter at the beginning. Like if you think about it, you know, Uber has nothing to do with transport until Uber became Uber. It’s not, you know, it was never something that you were thinking, yep, I’m going to quickly have a Google for an Uber and because that equates to the perfect name for taxis or car services or anything else like that. But people don’t realise that getting that first step. And getting started is one of the first bits that I really think is important. But the other side of it, you would saying, you know, it’s an experimental platform. And this is something that a lot of people don’t realise or they don’t notice. But Tim Ferriss recently, has been trying all sorts of new things. So he’s trying to shake up the way he does his newsletters. He’s trying to shake up the way he’s doing the blog articles. He’s focused a lot on the the five bullet Friday, but he literally is sending people emails at the moment going, I’m still telling he’s still experimenting. And this is a guy with millions of followers and millions of people listening. Every week, every new episode that he puts out every piece of content he puts out, but he said still experimenting, and he’s still testing things. And this is something where if I feel that people want to try and perfect the idea in their head, without actually validating it, ie, just do it, and see how people respond and don’t do it once and then tell me that video doesn’t work, do it 100 times and then tell me video doesn’t work because you haven’t found any way of changing it or experimenting in a different way or finding a new audience. That’s how you kind of build that up. And I think that experimentation is so so important. Like, what sort of things have you tried over the years when you’re doing your blogs and your own personal branding? What are some of the things that you’ve tried that have worked that haven’t worked or anything like that?

Lachlan Kirkwood 31:39
It’s really good question. So I went through a stage of life had two different podcasts now. So my original one was just me talking into my phone once a week talking about the latest industry news and the reason that I did that is because as a digital marketer, I think the US 2017 podcasts are really starting to take off over here in the Australia and I was looking at changing jobs at the time. And a lot of people in interviews, a lot of brands I was interviewing, and they were talking about how they wanted to grow a marketing team to build some content. And then they all mentioned that they wanted to build a podcast or create a podcast. And so I kind of took it to myself to be ahead of my competition in the marketplace applying for these roles. So I literally just grabbed my phone and started recording my own podcasts. And just taking back to what you mentioned before about being experimental platform. The beauty of anything related to personal branding for digital marketing is that you’re actually learning how to market yourself. So if you’re creating content, that’s content marketing, if you’re optimising it on your blog, that’s SEO, you’re doing community management, like these are all really relevant skills. Even if you’re a CTO and a startup, early stage startup, like these are all important skills that you should know as a founder or co founder. Some other experimental things I’ve tried, like storytelling, really trying to get posts and a lot. A lot of There’s a phase there where I did that and trying to think what else video native video, LinkedIn articles, articles on my blog collaboration on like guest publishing for the blogs, and even now just kind of featuring a lot of other podcasts internationally to see where I can add value across outside of my small network itself. But has there been anything that you’ve tried yourself that’s changed over time as well?

Chris Bruno 33:25
Off we’ve we went crazy last year as an agency and we started setting ourselves monthly experiments, which became sort of internal challenges. But my favourite was the 30 days of life challenge. So somebody on the team every day for a whole month would go live on one platform or another. By the end of the month. I think we ended up with like 32 different videos they ranged from I was in Italy at one point in France then in England, one of the guys did alive from a canoe and it just became so much fun, and it was always around Current audience it was always around the same themes of digital marketing, etc. But it just became fun. And we kind of enjoyed it more and more. I was out on a Saturday with a friend at Goodwood racetrack. And he was doing a BMW skid pad kind of thing. So literally, I went live and in the background, you can just see him slipping and sliding this BMW over the place. But it just became something that was really interesting. And funnily enough, one of the challenges was, right, can we set up record starts a podcast in 30 days. And here we are, we’re now you know, I think this is our 31st or second 32nd episode that we’re that we’re recording today with yourself. And all of this has happened since we launched at the end of July, beginning of August, the podcast has had over two and a bit thousand listens, how we keep getting sort of more feedback and people actually reaching out to us now to try and get on the show as well. And it’s just been incredible. And this started as could we create something and would it have value or would it add value to other people And could we do it in 30 days? So none of this while talk about it for six months planet for another six months, and then look at the execution for six months, it was literally a case of No, we’re going to do this. We know what we want to do we know how we want what we can talk about what our strong points are. Let’s just do it. And starting and recording the very first episode when we didn’t even have a name, but all but all of this was these challenges.

One of the ones that we did was 100 blogs in a month, the team, the team so with only four of us on full time, we’ve got other people and freelancers, etc, that we work with, but it in our heads it didn’t sound so bad. And then as you started giving it up, you know, it was absolutely huge. We had nearly an article each per day to keep knocking out and to make sure that it was valuable as well and content that was good. But again, it was an experiment and you know, our we’ve got articles about it online. But literally I think our organic search rates are general traffic. And everything else just skyrocketed as a result. And the 30 days of live videos ended up with 10s of thousands of views across all the various different platforms as we kept sharing and using the videos. And we looked at this afterwards, and you’re like that, Oh, my God. Like the reality of it is, you know, when you’re doing these experiments, obviously, not all of these things are sustainable and massive disclaimer, I don’t recommend anyone tries to buy 100 blogs in a month. Start with one a month like lockland did. And I think that’s a really good starting point. But the idea was, we just wanted to keep playing. We wanted to keep trying, we wanted to see how people reacted to different things. You know, we’ve built other websites for variations of our products, and we’ve tested those with people. We’ve done all sorts of things, because, for me, I don’t know it all. And in fact, when I talk to clients, I tell them, I don’t know it all. I can’t guarantee your results and anyone who does guarantee results or tells you that within the next 30 days, they’re going to make you a million pounds in sales. Well good luck to you. I hope it works out. I hope that they’re telling the truth. I genuinely don’t think that they But everything from our side has been a slow and steady process of constantly and continuously, building slowly but surely a real engaged community. And that’s how we’ve ended up building our business and our clients as businesses. And that’s something that I really believe in. And actually, that probably brings me on to a really good question for you. I absolutely hates all the people that are out there selling, this is the funnel for you. And with this funnel, you’re going to make six figures.

Lachlan Kirkwood 37:26
100% Yeah, I’m like you I try and almost not pitch myself in a way I pitch that I’m not the solution. But as you said, like I’m always learning. I think that there’s no such thing as someone who works in the digital industry. That’s not learning. I remember when I started as a paid performance marketer working across things like Facebook ads, like you could literally just build a drop shipping store and create a business overnight and run it sustainably with Facebook ads, but then that model completely got Saturday. rated and that’s not relevant anymore. And even paid acquisition channels in general are just becoming so expensive over here. So, again, like that’s not something I knew that was going to be sustainable. So now we’re looking at, like other growth channels. And yeah, really just kind of putting yourself out there. And I think you mentioned before, it’s just kind of iterating and trying to almost fell quickly in a way. So I think that as digital marketers, it’s so important to just be experimental, whether it be with new platforms like Tick Tock or Pinterest, I mean, Pinterest, you know, for a while, but just really seeing if you can build something off that. And if the worst case scenario it fails, write a blog post about it, and then share your thoughts on it so other people can learn from it as well.

Chris Bruno 38:43
Couldn’t agree more. Laughlin. This has been an awesome conversation. And I think we both feel very similarly about certain things. So there hasn’t been as much division in terms of what we’ve been talking about, but and in terms of yourself, personally, what’s your favourite platform?

Lachlan Kirkwood 39:00
I’m really loving to talk at the moment. As I mentioned, I think it’s very underutilised, particularly in Australia, both for brands and I guess influences creators. Awesome. Okay.

Chris Bruno 39:13
And we’re going to get your Tick Tock username so that people can follow you on there as well and find out what you’re doing. And Laughlin, thank you very much where can people find you online then other than on Tick Tock?

Lachlan Kirkwood 39:25
Um, absolutely. So my personal blog, which I mentioned, is just Laughlin kirkwood.com. I publish a lot on LinkedIn just Laughlin Kirkwood and on Twitter. I’m at Laughlin Kirkwood, unfortunately on tik tok, I couldn’t get my handle. Someone beat me to it. So I’m at Laughlin Kirkwood number one. Yeah, sure. Check it out. Again. I was too late. So I made that mistake. Again, I regret it.

Chris Bruno 39:50
So good. What we’ll do is we’ll add all those links into the show notes. Laughlin, thank you so much for coming on today. And I’m hoping that we’re going to continue our conversations afterwards and hopefully create some more content together because I think this message just needs to be repeated experiment. Just get started, try things and see what happens and I think it’s going to be a huge impact for for anybody who’s listening.

Lachlan Kirkwood 40:10
Absolutely. It’s been a pleasure. Thanks, man.

Chris Bruno 40:14
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Music by Hani Koi from Fugue